Oakland is a 2nd-class city?

Over at my brother’s blog he shares a quote about San Francisco, Oakland and sports:

“Oakland teams will always be second fiddle to the San Francisco teams — regardless of records — because Oakland is a second-class city. When people around the country think of the Bay Area, they think of San Francisco. If there was no San Francisco, nobody would ever even hear of a city called Oakland, except when they break their own record for homicides each year.”

I’m going to ignore the sports angle (mostly because it is ludicrous to state that teams deserve coverage based on the size/prestige of their city (Green Bay Packers anyone?)) and focus on the merits of the two cities.

First of all, there is no denying that SF is an elite city, higher in stature than Oakland.  It’s in that list of cities everyone in the world has heard of: New York, Chicago, Paris, London, etc..  That said, I think it is a stretch to call Oakland 2nd-class unless we’re scoring on an 10 class scale where SF is greater than Oakland is greater than Sacramento is greater than Modesto is greater than Roseville is greater than Rocklin is greater than Newcastle is greater than Gridley is greater than Biggs is greater than nothing kinda way.  The reality is that any city in the US that has 3 pro-sports franchises is in the top tier, at least in the tiers I would have.

But more importantly, since the above argument is just an argument for how to split up the tiers, is that this person seems to think that SF is a better city because of the people and the way the city is run.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If you look at 9 out of 10 elite cities, they are elite cities because of geography.  They are in genuinely unique places often very a great shipping port, well sheltered from the ocean.  The reality is that SF would be an elite city no matter what they did.  Heck, the current policies of SF pretty much prove the point.

So his statement “If there was no San Francisco, nobody would ever even hear of a city called Oakland” is completely false.  If SF were to fall into the ocean Superman I style, some other city in the Bay Area would be the elite one (and I’m guessing it would be Oakland).  The geography of the area dictates it.

So the next time somebody tries to sell you some crap about how awesome their elite city is, especially if that person is from the pathetically run San Franciso that no longer even has a substantial port despite being in one of the worlds best locations for one (and it should be noted that the reason is because the Port of Oakland put them out of business), know in your heart that their arogance is unfounded.

4 Responses to “Oakland is a 2nd-class city?”

  1. Ken's Brother Says:

    The worst part of it is that the guy is from Daly City… talk about a burb trying to talk garbage about Oakland.
    In addition to your argument, one could make the statement that if it wasn’t for Sacramento’s gold rush, nobody would have heard of Frisco.

  2. Ken Crawford Says:

    Yeah, the Daly City part is pretty humorous.

    As for the Gold Rush, you could make that argument… but it would be false. The timing may have been different, but the Bay Area is a geographic gem. The old book “Two Years Before the Mast” knew this way back in the 18th Century and predicted exactly what would happen: it would be the greatest Port on the West Coast. There is truly no more protected port in all the world, particularly one with such quick and easy access to the ocean.

    Interestingly, with the crummy administration of SF, the Bay Area is no longer the largest port on the west coast with Seattle and Long Beach far suprassing the Bay Area.

  3. Michael Says:

    How about Berkeley? SF is elite because of geography, because it’s bordered on three sides by water and has the golden gate bridge. The city itself is a dank, traffic and bum infested dirty place which lacks the charm it gets so much credit for. Oakland unfortunately is pretty much the same. Still, I would expect the premier city on the bay to be Oaktown should SF fall into the sea, but maybe also Alameda, as it is the county seat. Oakland would need to clean up its act a bit to be the gem city of the bay. Aside from the aforementioned three pro sports teams, there really isn’t anything unique or cool about Oakland…maybe the zoo…the observatory? No real cultural icon, so to speak.

    How about we create a new city that floats over the waters of the bay? It would be earthquake proof! Yeah!

  4. Ken's Brother Says:

    Actually, Alameda county seat is Oakland.
    I know, it’s confusing.

    But see that’s part of the media controlling you to make you think Oakland is nothing more than a place to go to get shot. Did you know that in Oakland there is a lake? One of the most beautiful urban lakes in the USA? Did you know that Oakland has Fairyland, the childrens’ themed park that gave Disney his inspiration? What about the unique wedding cake designed City Hall?
    Tom Hanks? McHammer? Tower of Power? All Oakland icons. I could go on all day!