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Meet V Smoothe

I’m going to be blogging here with Oakland native, so I want to introduce myself.

He’s a native; I’m transplant. I grew up across the country – my hometowns were sprawling, bland, and overwhelmingly white. Before I came to Oakland, I lived in Portland, OR for five years.

I visited a friend here one January, and it was truly love at first sight. On my first day in Oakland, he took me downtown for an all-day walking tour. We rode the bus down Broadway, got off at West Grand. He showed me the Paramount, Uptown (when it was really nothing), City Center, Old Oakland, Chinatown, 17th Street, the Lake Merritt Apartment district, and the financial district. We ate lunch at Le Cheval and ended the day sitting on a bench on Lake Merritt, shaded by the Kaiser Center and staring at Children’s Fairyland. After watching me sit in silence for a long while, my friend nervously asked me if something was wrong. All I could say in response was “I’m moving here.” From my very first day, I knew I belonged here.

I returned to Portland and started saving my money. A year and a half later, I was a proud Oaklander. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was at home. I have lived downtown ever since. I love it here. I can step outside my door and get a bus anywhere in the city. My weekends are spent enjoying the wealth of distinct neighborhoods in Oakland and all they have to offer. Years after moving here, I am still constantly finding new things to enjoy all over the city.

But the bulk of my life is spent downtown. I live here and work here. I have never before been in a place where I felt a true sense of community. I know my neighbors. I know the owners and employees at businesses all over downtown. I see the same people on the street day after day and night after night. I want downtown to succeed, not just for myself, but for everyone around me. That is why I am a passionate Ignacio De La Fuente supporter. I want more development, more residents downtown, and more business here.

I may be a transplant, but I have as much passion for this city as any native. I know we have problems – it will take a long time for Oakland to reach its potential – but I’m not giving up, I’m looking for solutions. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on this race and the future of our city with you.

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4 Responses

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  1. deckin says


    Great to have you guys posting too; I say the more the merrier. You have an interesting history. I was just in Portland and I have to say, I agree with you. It’s nice, but it’s not Oakland.

    I’m sure others reading that other blog really appreciate you and Native both really going to bat for Oakland. I absolutely know that there many out there with your beliefs, and, more importantly, your intelligence and abilities to analyze arguments and evidence. I think what we get is an incredibly vociferous and often maddeningly incoherent small slice of the pie.

    I honestly can feel their frustration when, after so long of just being able to post stupid photoshop pictures of DLF in a clown suit or whatever, they now have to defend themselves in the crucible of good argument. You can almost feel the spit coming through the screen! I say it’s good for them and very good for Oakland that we now have real debate online–would that our raggish Tribune, the worse Chron and those other fishwraps covered what’s really going on.

    I’ve linked you guys already.

Continuing the Discussion

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