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Oakland Residents Shame Neighbor Over Loud Parties, Alleged Drug Deals In Open Letter

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- When was the last time you were so frustrated with your neighbor, you wrote them a letter and posted it to Facebook for all to see? Some neighbors in one Oakland neighborhood have simply had it.

Monique Brown and her family live in the home at the center of the dispute. Brown said her family has lived here for 20 years, since she was one year old.

"Like literally, since we were kids, running up and down the block, playing. We never had a problem with nobody," Brown told KPIX 5.

That changed when a new wave of neighbors moved in over the last five years, among them Barbara Jones and Paul Steindal. They call Brown's home a nuisance.

"People hanging out in large groups of people, and they are smoking and drinking and there is garbage and there's loud music," Jones said.

Steindal said it gets worse. "I have witnessed quite a few drug deals. I know what crack looks like. I know what pot looks like," he said.

Brown said that is laughable. She said they are young people in their 20s who have parties, but there is no drug dealing.

"We hang out and that's all we do over there. We chill. We kick it," Brown said.

Neighbors said they reached their breaking point on August 8th when there was a shootout on this block and that's when they took matters into their own hands.

"We decided to write a letter anonymously to all the neighbors to essentially shame the people living in the house," Steindal said.

The letter said in part, "You need to go somewhere else to sell your drugs...This letter is being sent to every household on the block and each person is encouraged to call the police whenever they witness drug activity."

Brown said the shooting had nothing to do with her family or her house.

"One person turned everybody against us. Now everybody's looking at us funny. I just don't like that," she said.

Brown believes this is a culture clash, the ugly side of gentrification, a microcosm of what is happening in neighborhoods all over Oakland.

"Yes, gentrification has a bearing. At the same token, it's all about drugs," Steindal said.

Brown told KPIX 5 Thursday that the parties will stop. "That's what they want. Basically we're gonna give them what they want," she said.

Neighbors said they will believe it when they see it.

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