From the Editor


A Certain or Uncertain Future

    It’s May, about the time when members of Oakland’s class of 2008 will be tossing their mortarboards into the air and enjoying a final summer before getting serious about their college careers.
    They’ve worked hard for this important day, and they deserve accolades aplenty for their successes, and that’s what Oakland Magazine is doing in this issue—saluting outstanding high school seniors. In “ExtraOAKLANDary Students,” contributing writer Marcus W. Thompson II, himself a graduate of Oakland Tech, finds 10 amazing young adults whose accomplishments, drive and ambitions may put you to shame. Their stories will certainly inspire.
    Coming from Castlemont, Bishop O’Dowd, McClymonds, Head-Royce and beyond, this year’s crop of exceptional seniors, who mugged for the camera at College Prep and Castlemont, includes a brainiac athlete, an altruistic artist, a sweet songbird, a bold mathematician, a tenacious debater, a driven activist, a formidable environmentalist, an aspiring physician, a savvy entrepreneur and an abstract thinker. We can learn something from these teens about setting priorities and achieving goals, two tasks that come easy for them. Their futures seem certain.
    One area of huge Bay Area concern, with a future potentially way less certain, is real estate. Because homes represent most consumers’ largest investment, East Bay homeowners have legitimate and formidable worries about the East Bay housing market and how their houses will fair in the ever-worsening economic downturn. Is now the time to buy? Should you sell?
    We asked Jeff Swenerton, former editor in chief of EQUITY, a magazine for California homeowners, to contemplate the heady real estate meltdown. In his article, “Bay Area Real Estate Survival Guide,” he assesses the local real estate landscape, explains how the Central Valley became foreclosure central and presents some words of wisdom about what makes East Bay real estate less volatile than tailspinning locales like Stockton, Tracy and Vacaville.
    The bottom line, he concludes, is that real estate is an old-fashioned investment, not a modern-day ATM. And when homeowners factor in the East Bay’s diverse economy, its colleges and neighborhoods, its limited housing and pockets of good schools, many may not have so much to feel so glum about after all.

Judith M. Gallman

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