Dregs One on Gentrification

SF native and hip hop artist Dregs One just started a series of videos called “The Wake Up Report“. The first subject? Mission and Fillmore gentrification. Oh boy, here we go again.

Nothing too new here: he drops the H-Bomb a couple of times, there is a cameo by the Bay Area Derailleurs, and some extremely awkward interviews with inarticulate folks in Dolores Park. He doesn’t get too nasty towards transplants, but it seems like his big beef is that the new folks don’t really make an effort to integrate into the community or learn it’s history. I assume opening your fancy restaurant on Valencia street doesn’t count as integrating and debating which Taqueria invented the Mission burrito doesn’t count as history.

55 Responses to “Dregs One on Gentrification”

  1. jim says:

    If you can get past a few sentences, he actually gives a very cogent and informative explanation of gentrification and its effects on a community.

  2. jim says:

    I’d also argue the Lower Haight is much worse off than the Mission in that the people who’ve moved in are much less interested in the culture of the neighborhood and much more interested in having a little Yuppie hangout strip.

  3. Lyc says:

    Cry me a fucking river… I can’t afford to live her, but I do. Supply and demand. It is what it is. If you can’t afford it, go somewhere else. He points out the obvious and makes some stupid conclusions.

    • jrstevens says:

      You obviously can afford to live here because you do.

      Yes, the world simply “is what it is.” So why say anything? Idiot.

    • cami says:

      dude, who are you? i would be willing to bet that you haven’t lived here long, and you don’t have any ties to your community. that is just a ridiculously ignorant comment.

  4. olu says:

    I think my favorite part of that vid was when all those white people said they moved to the mission for its diversity.

    but there is no legal (or ethical) way to stop gentrification. cities change, shit, even suburbs change, that’s what happens when people are free to move about the country.

    something is lost, but something is gained as well.

  5. Ben S says:

    I thought it was pretty telling how the focus was on “well, it would be ok if these people moved here so long as they integrated themselves with the community more”, but when it was time to list the things that one can do to stop gentrification, making newcomers feel welcome and integrated into the community was conspicuously absent.

    arizona 2.0

  6. A One says:

    “Arizona 2.0″… Really Bro?

    I don’t see anybody moving to San Francisco on packed trains where people lose limbs and get abused like they do to get to Arizona. No one moves to San Francisco because conditions were so bad where they were from that they need a new place to work and send a little money home. People move there because its the trendy/hip thing to do, and then walk around like the natives are the ones that don’t belong there.
    Last year I had a group of transplanted San Franciscans tell me “It’s people like you that are turning this neighborhood into shit”. Keep in mind I was in the neighborhood that I had lived in my entire life (on my own block in fact) and they said that because I was rolling a spliff on some steps. Just an example of people who don’t understand the culture coming in and trying to criticize it. I’m not saying cities can’t change, all I’m saying is that it is perfectly valid for people to be frustrated and want to stop it from changing so drastically and so quickly. What happens when people get tired of San Francisco and its no longer hip to live there? Will they move to the places we had to move to? Will we be kicked out again? Will all the big popular cities be reserved for wealthy Americans while the diminishing middle class has to settle for the boring parts of America? Where does it end? I don’t think better rent control and more low income housing is unethical or too much to ask for in a highly populated city like San Francisco. Arizona 2.0 though? C’mon son!

  7. Old Mo says:

    Yeah, those gentrifying jerks invented YouTube where he’s hosting his video for free, WordPress which MissionMission uses for free, the New York gentrifying Bob Dylan style photos for links on his site, the soundcloud folks moving to lower income Berlin, etc. They gave nothing back to the community though.

  8. bg says:

    dude, please, stfu

  9. A One says:

    Spare me the sarcasm dude, the guys who made those websites are millionaires they didn’t do it for their community. And besides that this whole debate isn’t just about web developers specifically its about people from EVERYWHERE coming in with money and pushing low and middle class renters out. Those are the “gentrifying jerks” (your words not mine) that this conversation is about.

  10. Guero says:

    When I moved to SF in the late 80′s I was chill and respectful of my new hood – got to know all about it – the back alleys and the local G’s. Now the Google bus drops off a gaggle of kids with money to burn but no will to learn. They don’t care about anyone but themselves – Facebook mentality. I’m out. PNY here I come…..just gotta repeat the transition and not come off like an asshole from S.F. – alot of people already done that.

    • Paging Dr. Sweeping Generalization…

    • Ryan Adams says:

      Guero is making the most sense here ie if you don’t like it then move to PNY (anyone know where PNY is?). Also, the Mission has been in the process of gentrification for decades (ie Dregs One’s entire life. Is he just now taking notice? Gentrification a property of freedom like gravity is a property of physics ie worthless to seriously debate in terms of validity or existence or etc. Also if we really want to get serious about the history of the Mission then lets talk about the Native Americans that where enslaved and forced into Christianity by Spanish/Mexican settlers. What does Dregs One have to say about that? Boo-ya.

      • james says:

        Is this what people really think? As soon as anyone makes any sort of social commentary about societal forces at work and how these forces effect lower class individuals, families and communities there’s a knee jerk, oh shit not me sort of bullshit that goes on. It smacks of, I don’t want to feel bad about being an individual who, doing what he/she wants to do, is part of a large trend that is forcing families out of neighborhoods. That’s what’s happening. It’s better to acknowledge it and figure out how to ameliorate it than simply say, “That’s the way life works, fuckers!” which is essentially what’s being said here.

  11. Corn Chops says:

    Look, the fact of the matter is San Francisco has always been an expensive place to live, even before the dotcom boom. And the reason for that is because it’s one of the best places to live on the globe hands down, I think most of us can agree on that.
    Usually the reason people move into these neighborhoods is because the rent is low there, not because they’re looking for a gritty place to earn street cred. Over time they give back to the neighborhood by opening shops and helping ensure it’s a safe place to live
    Everyone in a community should be striving to make it a better place to live. And it’s typically not a bad thing for money to come into a neighborhood. It enriches the community directly by creating local jobs and increasing the money flow within the neighborhood. People who previously lived in those communities stand to benefit from these situations just as much as new transplants do.
    In fact, San Francisco also has some of the best tenants rights in the nation. A landlord can’t just decide that they want to raise the rent a tenant out of thin air. So I don’t see how it’s forcing people out of the neighborhood. Sure, when those people do move out for whatever reason there’s a good chance that the rent will be raised if the unit is located in a desirable area. And that can make it difficult for people to return to an old neighborhood.
    But laying the blame on individuals who move into the neighborhood and directly make it a better place is fallible complaint to make.

  12. Ferocious Foot Odor says:


  13. NIMBY says:

    This topic is such a waste of time. People talk about the Mission losing it’s identity or flavor or culture and it means absolutely nothing. The Mission as well as every other neighborhood in this City is in a constant state of change. It’s all cyclical. Just enjoy what you have and make the most of it.

  14. A One says:

    Ok… I’m sure everyone can agree that San Francisco is one of the best places to live in America hands down. New York is pretty cool, and LA is a very popular place to live as well. All these places are being gentrified. So my question is this… Are lower middle class people doomed to eventually only live in boring places? Seriously! People keep saying that this is “the way it is” and “cities change and people just have to get used to it”, but that would imply that cool cities are reserved for rich people. Every time a lease changes hands in the city the rent skyrockets because renters know they can get away with it. True, San Francisco has decent rent control but as soon as I give up my lease I can never come back, the rent will increase and it will be just too darn expensive. So how can we make it so people of all socio-economic backgrounds can have equal stake in a city? Am I to believe that this is impossible? Am I doomed to live the rest of my days in San Mateo instead of San Fran? Staten Island instead of Manhattan? Alhambra instead of Los Angeles?

  15. Dregs One says:

    Thanks for posting and thanks for all the comments… first off I appreciate everything said here and I dont mean to offend anyone. I understand that people move into new places and cities and neighborhoods change. All I wanted to communicate is how the people that were born & raised in the City feel about these changes. Ask yourself who these changes really benefit, and who suffers from them. Ask yourself what you can do to make this community a better place for ALL that live there, not just a certain few. I think both sides need to think of that. I’m not a journalist or professional videographer, I’m just a young man from the City trying to use my art to make a change.

    Thanks for checking out the video.

    • redseca2 says:

      I hear everything you say, but still the truth is everyplace changes. Except I guess for the very tippy top of the hills of Pacific Heights and the lowest of the Projects, they never change.

      The point is, it is a two way street, and every neighborhood culture here today moved in on another at some time in the past and made the previous residents feel the way you do now, change beyond their control.

  16. jesse says:

    As easy a target as hipsters are, I don’t think the dude in the red hoodie hanging out in Dolores Park is the problem. That dude has no money, maybe outside of his basic wage, or funds coming in from out-of-state. And money is what fuels decisions. Forget Dolores Park, go track down a BMW or a Lexus, then you’ll start getting closer to the source of what influences what. Gentrification needs to be discussed, and this is definitely getting people to talk, so well done! And for full disclosure: I’m not from here, and I’m certainly not balling; I’m paying high rent, a college loan, and spending my hard-earned dollars at Farolitos when I don’t feel like cooking…

  17. sfsanity says:

    Same happening in the TL with a boost from Academy of Art University.

    • Ryan Adams says:

      oh gawd say it aint so. never let the TL change. its such nice neighborhood. i love the smell of drunk crackhead prostitute in the morning.

  18. ig75 says:

    First off…I grew up in the Mission (18th/Capp) and I thought it was great as a young kid and fuckin crazy as a teen. All that was here during high school was violence and even more violence. If people think that it’s a little sketchy now…15-20yrs ago you couldn’t walk around past 10pm. If gentrification means less crime and better schools I am all for it!!!

    • Guero says:

      So true, Nortenos and Surenos were literally 10-deep on most corners at night…good thing they just laughed at the punkers, but it was still sketchy. I miss that culture, the pressed khakis and cons and winos (the ropas that is), but they killed each other off for pride.

  19. rod says:

    historically, i don’t think “keep the outsiders out” has proven to be a very good solution to any problem.

  20. cliff notes says:

    I’m hispanic, and a transplant from Texas to SF..

    In the 3 months of living in the mission i’ve seen so much more blatant racism towards people, and too myself then the 30 years I spent in Texas. It really is sad.

  21. yunion says:

    Olu said….”I think my favorite part of that vid was when all those white people said they moved to the mission for its diversity.”

    to me that was hilarious!! the mission is all hipsters! Ok, that might be an exaggeration but IMO the mission is the new Marina except with hipsters.

    Oh and Dregs, I know you mean well and you seem like a cool guy, BUT the reason why rents are high and people are getting gentrified is because of high paying jobs in SF. BOTTOM LINE. Its called capitalism. People flow to where the money and opportunites are. There is money here and people are flocking here. There are jobs here! Its not rocket science. Man up and get one of those high paying jobs. Or stop complaining and move to Antioch.

  22. AttF says:

    I think the biggest problem with gentrification is a lack of context. I work in community development and am all for neighborhood improvements. However, there are a lot of people who move into an area without doing their homework and then have a problem with a lot of things that were a positive part of the community before their arrival. This is why bands need to play at a lower volume and can’t pass through the soundproof backstage doors during sets at Slim’s and why the Attic is being sued and can no longer host turntable DJs (ipods at moderate volume only). I recently spoke to a promoter at the DNA Lounge and he recounted a story about a woman who, 3 days after occupying her new condo on 11th Street, came to the club to complain about noise because she didn’t realize it was a full blown nightclub. It isn’t limited to SF or cities either. I’ve seen the same thing happen in the suburbs of PA where I grew up….transplants from NY and NJ complain about farm tractors, contractors who run businesses out of their houses and horse traffic on country roads. It would be ideal if people were a bit more open-minded and interested in working with those who came before and after. That is how viable communities work. Change is inevitable and necessary, but there is are responsible inclusive ways to go about it.

  23. Oh crap. What a motherfucking dingbat history-less idiot. Less than halfway through, I gave up.

    I wasn’t born or raised in this city, but I’ve lived in this city longer than this dope has been alive. Get a grip, jackass. You don’t own the neighborhood, or its culture, or its profile, or anything else about it. You get to fit into it if you can, or complain about it if you can’t — just like everybody else who lives here.

  24. Dr. Sweet T says:

    This video, and the comments that follow, seem to highlight a deficit in class consciousness. Those people moving into the Mission, gentrifying and consuming everything in sight like a swarm of white locusts, that is the middle class; the children and standard-bearers of the petite bourgeoisie. Those people who are being forced to move elsewhere, that’s the working class.

    The wealthy are not moving into the Mission or Lower Haight. The wealthy don’t pump their own gas. The wealthy have estates in places you’ve never been and maybe keep a second or third home in Pacific Heights. The number of zeros at the end of a person’s paycheck has very little to do with their wealth.

    Mr. One implies that outside of San Francisco, a person making a $100k salary is wealthy. There isn’t a podunk, two-horse town in this country where a $100k salary alone (absent capital, investments, etc.) will place a person on the wealthy, or upper-class, rung of the socio-economic ladder. That’s not saying that the cost of living in cities like San Francisco and New York doesn’t skew the class structure a bit. In San Francisco, at least, this is mitigated by higher wages, including a higher minimum wage for unskilled workers.

    The modern trend in urbanization is not, as is suggested in the video, the creation of a landscape of wealthy and poor, where the middle class has been cast out to roam the East Bay in search of shelter. Rather, it’s one that results in a small number of wealthy, a vast urban middle class, and a steadily declining working class and working poor community. So, as the middle class dwindles across the country, the young of the herd, newly educated and laden with student loan debt, file into the cities in search of jobs that will entrench them in a moderately salaried , middle class career path.

    Since the 1950s, numerous studies have been conducted on class awareness in Americans. The studies usually consisted of polling people from different demographics, occupational fields, socio-economic backgrounds (you get the point) about social class. Of those who could actually articulate any sort of basic American class structure (generally, just over 1/4 could not) the tendency was for people to associate themselves with a social class above their own, and to associate people from certain occupations with higher classes than they were members of. Doctors and lawyers associated themselves with the upper class. Factory workers and bus drivers also associated doctors and lawyers as being upper class, but associated themselves with the middle class. Generally, doctors and lawyers fall within the middle class. Factory workers and bus drivers are typically working class occupations.

    The point is, affiliation with a social class is bundled up with seeking to further the interests of that class. We can see it playing out now on the National political stage. Large segments of our society have been duped into voting against their own interests (against public healthcare, against taxing the wealthy) because they’re confused about where they actually stand socio-economically. What you get is a nation of individuals, each pursuing the interests of those better off than themselves, all the way to the top to the group who needs our support least of all.

    • Dr. Sweet T says:

      Oh, and most of the shit in this video reeks of primitive turf-war nonsense. The guy on Fillmore implying that he was personally owed some sort of submissive deference on the part of his neighbors because he still lives with his mom. Shit’s jokey.

  25. Califizzy says:

    He’s wrong on a few counts. First, hipsters don’t move into these areas because there’s a “gritty street life they are attracted to.” Hipsters move into the areas that are cheap but still central. Secondly, gentrification does not cause rent to rise for those already living in an area. SF is rent controlled, so for anyone living in an area already, their rent stays the same.

  26. Screw the middle classes! I will never accept them, and they will never deny me anything again. My father’s other family were middle class and we were kept out of sight, hidden from view, at his funeral.

    • Califizzy says:

      What makes me angry is how people seem to think that being from the working class gives them a right to be prejudice against benders.

  27. ack says:

    I would feel pretty frustrated if due to economical restraints I was basically forced out of where I grew up. Though, blaming that on “outsiders” is slanderous. Blame your parents for not making an economically wise choice. Everyone knows and has known that SF is expensive and that there is an impending super-quake coming our way. No matter how you look at it – living in SF may not be the wisest of choices.

    But we love it. Everyone loves SF… except for homophobic republicans who are closet dick suckers. Most of the “outsiders” that I know that have moved to the TL, lower-haight or the mission over the decade I’ve been here – have lived in shit houses. Really, cheap, terribly shitty places. It’s not our fault that the yuppies always show up after us.

  28. Lara says:

    I’d like to thank Dregs One for posting this. I thought he addressed this in a respectful and accessible way, without accusing anyone. I would also like to respond to some of what Dr Sweet T and Calfizzy said about rent control… there are many cases in which landlords can do illegal evictions which then lead to rent control. Many of these illegal evictions are motivated by raising the rent to sell a building, then they can raise they rent as much as they like. Guess who USUALLY suffers the eviction? Families of color. You might not hear about it here, because they are generally not blogging.

    Also, of course “rich people” (if you mean established, later in life rich people) don’t live in the Mission. All their kids do. They go to school and live there for 4 years, enjoy all it’s beauty and luxury without ever having to think for a second about what gradual steps enabled them to arrive there, and leave their junk for everyone to collect in the street.

    Think, people. Use your heart.

    • Ryan Adams says:

      It seems to me that people love street junk in this town. Have you ever seen a sofa last longer than a day?

  29. Lara says:

    Oops I mis-typed: 4th line down: “Illegal evictions, which then lead others to enjoy rent control.”

  30. Caitlin says:

    My mom was born and raised in Kansas. My dad was born and raised in Ohio. They both moved to NYC in their early twenties. They like to tell dramatic true stories about how poor they were, as struggling actors. I was born in Manhattan, then lived in Jersey City until I was 9, and then a semi-posh, 99% white suburb until I left for college.

    Now I live in San Francisco. My parents still live in their house in suburban New Jersey. They really aren’t suited to the suburbs, and don’t have many close friends in the area. They’d certainly prefer to live in NYC, but they say they can’t afford it. Of course, they could afford it if they were willing to be poor again, but at this point, they’re no longer willing to be poor.

    I am willing to be poor in order to live in San Francisco. As a kid, when we’d visit relatives, I’d spend the entire trip thanking God that my parents had moved to NYC, and that I had been lucky enough to grow up *near* New York.

    If you were born in an amazing city, you’re lucky. If you have middle class parents, you’re lucky. I don’t think moving to an awesome city makes you a bad person. But at the very least, you should make an effort not to be snotty about the existing residents and culture of that awesome city. The snottiness is what makes some people gentrifying jerks, in my opinion.

  31. sparkle pony says:

    I appreciate that this video was made to stimulate reaction and create dialogue- despite hate and fear seeping from certain parts of the video and almost all responses from y’all.

    a friend of mine used to say “we’re all in this together”- and thats the bottom line folks. stop the bullshit being on the defense. we all have a right to be here so make some goddamn food together and eat it too. then we can start talking about positive solutions instead of complaining. Don’t talk about it, be about it.

    also- those ladies dancing at the beginning of this video are my homegirls *the derailleurs* pioneering the world of bike dance. They are working class ladies working hard to make their dreams real- so stop judging each other and dance.

  32. Hammercise says:

    So hey Dregs One, while I appreciate your legitimate concern about gentrification, I don’t appreciate you using video footage of my free dance performance piece,Hammercise, and wrongly tag me and my friends as the poster children for gentrification. You even interviewed me about the Mission neighborhood, yet you failed to include even one shred of my interview on your video. Without thinking to ask what our project is about and what our philosophy is, you completely took my free, community oriented, community involved project,out of context. We never ask for money. Our mission is to INVOLVE people in the community. The Mission neighborhood was one of 3 stops that day where we danced and played with people publicly. I’d be happy to provide you with photos of LOCALS PARTICIPATING with us. But in the end, you chose to stereotype me and my friends and take our interaction with the community out of context. I’m appalled to say the least, offended considering you interviewed me and used no footage of that interview, and lastly, disappointed that you failed to get the larger story about what we, Hammercise, do. We’re all about breaking down social barriers that impede people from playing, moving, and having fun. We break down social barriers by creating activities for people to participate with us, therefore getting to know each other, all for free. I ask you to please consider this next time you stereotype groups of people in “your neighborhood”. Look up Hammercise on YouTube and you might begin to understand our intentions better.

  33. SoDeep says:

    What happened to the Irish in the Mission?

  34. Wow says:

    this kid’s video is so far off base. we really need to fix our public school system.

  35. Miguel Sanchez says: