Oakland went through a period of decline during in the mid 20th century
Then came the 50s, 60s, and 70s which were a very tough time for Oakland. The city became every more dangerous, crime-ridden, and unlivable. First West Oakland was destroyed by the Nimitz Freeway and the Cypress Viaduct. Many homes and businesses were destroyed creating a period of poverty for West Oakland. Then in the 1960 West Oakland suffered from the construction of BART and the Main Post Office Building on 7th Street. Again local businesses suffered, more jobs and entire neighborhoods were replaced.
Oakland become the home of the motorcycle gang the “Hell’s Angels” named after Howard Hughes movie, and eventually grew ever more corrupt and crime ridden. Eventually it became the market place of Fred Mitchell who ran a crime symposium changing Oakland into a hotbed for the sale of Crack Cocaine, a very harmful substance that ruined many people’s lives. Additionally, the crime wave sent a lot of middle class inhabitants packing and many of the people who remained lost business. They eventually were unable to keep buildings, street, school and the city services in good repair. Crime attracted more crime and the lack of policing opened the door for more crime.
By the end of the 70s crime was twice as high in Oakland than it was in San Francisco. Most of the Police Officers were white, frightened and entitled. As a result police brutality created ever more problems. This in turn brought impoverished communities together to forge alliances such as the Black Power Movement to help each other by “policing the police.” They created kindergardens and food pantries for the poor, but grew ever more militaristic. Unfortunately, this turned the city into a gang run town, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Crips and the Bloods, the People and the Folk, the 35th Street Gang, Norteños, Border Brothers and Sureños.
By 2010 it was estimated that Oakland’s population of gang members had grown to over 10,000 members. The situation of both, the crime level, corruption and problems with the police became untenable.
Even in 2009 SF Gate reported that Schwarzenegger decided to California ranks 47th in per-pupil spending, according to “Quality Counts,” a report issued Tuesday from Education Week, a national newspaper specializing in public schools. It showed that while the national average is $9,963 per pupil, California spends only $7,571 per pupil and three times that much on prisoners. Vermont spends the most, with $15,139. Utah spends the least, with just $5,964 per pupil.
Around the state, school administrators have begun looking at how many employees they can lay off next year and which programs they can cancel. Then citizens, business leaders, charities, and religious groups decided to get involved.