The Price of “Progress”

Greg Beale
4 min readAug 21, 2020

Trains and buses…trains and buses…stop sprawling..stop all housing developments outside of 15 miles of the center of Sacramento…build up not out…

And stop relying on cars as a transportation modality….

That is the only way we will control climate change, and heal our miserable cities.

Lewis Mumford in his long forgotten book, The City, forecast this disaster of social and housing planning.

He didn’t identify the white flight for what it was, it was 1940 after all, but he did forecast the blow to community that moving away from the city center would cause.

The war stopped the white flight, but after the war, as millions of African Americans fled from the hopelessly segregated south, white flight exploded.

That is what caused the suburban white flight after the war, not the allure of wide open spaces or a pool in the backyard; no, it was to get away from the southern African Americans who were coming into places like Del Paso Heights in North Sacramento, the Capital of California and today one of the most segregated areas in the state….and this is a very liberal city!

Del Paso Heights before the war was an exclusive area for rich white folks…after the war, the white privileged saw black faces and ran for Roseville; etc.

And the houses exploded as greedy contractors built ram shackle cheap homes with a two car garage. Fair Oaks went from a farming area to suburban in a few years, causing schools to spring up all over the place.

San Juan Unified, which was not even in existence before the war, became all white real quick.

I student taught at Mira Loma High School, taught and coached in the Grant Union High School District , which was minority loaded…..Sac City Unified became more of color as the 1970s wore on.

And as the whites fled “them”, the schools they left deteriorated slowly….

Grant High School has survived, but other areas of the district, now Twin Rivers, has seen Charter Schools spring up, made up of mostly students of color. Interestingly, with Russians mixed in, Twin Rivers is pretty much segregated.

The rest..why drive and drive and drive out Hwy 50 and 80, miles east of Sacramento.

Folsom High is a power, made up of a few good African American football stars, a winning football team, and a pretty much segregated town.

The more east you go, the whiter it gets. And the more conservative.

Now, as the fires burn, many of these suburban homes cannot be insured because of the fire danger and lack of fire houses.

The city of Sacramento is seeing a resurgence as millennials at least temporarily, have figured out that it is way easier living within a few blocks of where you work. The mid-town areas are growing back, a healthy night life goes on in mid-town as well to do millennials stay close to the capital.

But go to Roseville and acres of homes are going up, miles from the city center, same old urban sprawl.

And in the foothills the fires come, as they always have with renewed ferocity because of the warming climate….burning down entire cities like Paradise, as people foolishly move into timber areas that are not maintained and waiting to burn.

The Redding Carr Fire almost burned down a city of thousands saved only by a change in the wind. A year or so before, two tax measures were defeated that would. have put back the staffing from the fire department and police department that the recession had caused.

Most rural areas of Shasta County were “protected” by a volunteer country fire department that was hopelessly out gunned by the wildfire. Suburban type housing patterns literally made it easy for the fire to destroy whole neighborhoods, with no firemen in sight.

Borate Bombers could not access most homes, that were built in gullies and hillsides that the bombers couldn’t reach.

Mumford forecast this stupidity; that has now manifested itself into a killer pandemic.

All because White people are afraid of a person with a different skin color. And because these areas are so underserved, those people of color who get into the middle class, also take flight to the east.

A young African American entrepreneur even did a piece on the web, taking kids of color out to the affluent suburbs in El Dorado Hills (a disaster waiting to happen) so they could be motivated to join the affluent.

The affluent that make a lot of mistakes.

There is something very wrong with this…and it is showing itself every day in death and destruction.

Listen to science, vote the rich. white class out of office and keep them out…

And read Lewis Mumford…he was so right so long ago…revitalize the downtown and rid yourself of reliance an a climate killing car.

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Greg Beale

Stanford grad, BA Political Science, MA from Sac State, Varsity Football Player, in public education as teacher, coach, athletic director, and administrator.