I STARTED PHOTOGRAPHING WEST OAKLAND on its outermost edges because I love exploring and Oakland is my hometown. The area that first interested me visually was an old black neighborhood at the southwest edge of the city known as the “Lower Bottoms." Here, in 2008, at the height of the recession, I found a bit of the Old South: grandparents playing dominoes and chess in the parks, families holding barbecues to raise money for schools and funerals, and everyone greeting each other on the street. Today that southern charm is going away because gentrification is happening at lightening speed. Thousands of condo developments are being built in abandoned lots; cafes and coffee houses are popping up next to homeless camps; warehouses are being converted to expensive lofts, and most of the old Victorian homes (built in the late 1800s) are being renovated. Half of the black population has left. The mostly young, mostly white and Asian BART commuters moving in say they love the diversity of the neighborhood and San Francisco being only one BART stop away. But where are the grocery stores? And why is trash still being dumped everywhere? And what can a good Bay Area liberal do about all the homeless camps, the drugs, the potholes, and the crime?