By on December 23, 2013

googlebus

Image from Twitter @craigsfrost

Positively or negatively, mass transit is often viewed as a social leveler. Rich and poor alike ride the subway in New York, London and Berlin. Atlantans of all economic and social backgrounds make use of MARTA’s facilities, as they do in many other American cities where public transit is the most efficient way of navigating the inner cities. Of course, these are public systems, funded by fares and taxpayer money.

 

They fulfill the transportation needs of a wide segment of the population, and they generally give the same level of service regardless of income or status. In areas that aren’t as densely urbanized as the aforementioned examples and where car ownership for city dwellers is a more practical proposition, mass transit usage tends to skew towards a less affluent demographic. As a political football, mass transit can thus be kicked in many directions depending on ideological necessity. However, the underlying assumption for either end of the political spectrum remains the same: mass transit is an equalizer. But what happens when this typical political equation is turned on its head? Could riding the bus be considered a show of affluence instead of equality or penury? Protestors in the San Francisco bay area seem to think so.

On December 20th, demonstrators blocked the paths of two private buses (operated by tech firms Google and Apple) in a protest action. In Oakland and in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, protestors held up the buses when they stopped to collect employees. This was the second such action in two weeks. Previous protests were peaceful, but in Oakland things got ugly. The Google bus had a window broken and tires slashed; protestors dispersed after police were called, with no arrests or citations issued. Before they left, protestors harangued bus riders and handed out copies of this supremely classy flyer. Many of the largest tech firms with headquarters in the area run private bus lines that ferry workers from the city to the suburbs. This sort of anti-Levittown arrangement has led to simmering tensions between employees of the tech giants and other city residents.

So what’s driving these protests? In a word, gentrification. The expansion of tech firms on the city’s outskirts and general economic recovery since the Great Recession has driven up rents enormously within the city. The median rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is now almost $2800 a month, a 27% increase since 2011. Protestors blame new arrivals to the city for skyrocketing rents, a new wave of evictions, and overall social unrest. They claim that Google, Apple, and other tech companies are turning older neighborhoods into bedroom communities for their employees. This is done, they say, with little regard for the impact on long-term residents, many of whom live in rent-controlled apartments. The bus services are the most obvious manifestation of this trend, and have thus become a target for protestors.

Tech companies offer shuttle service between the city and their suburban campuses as an employment perk. These unregulated private buses often use public stops to pick up and drop off employees, without paying anything to city. This has generated complaints about congestion and obstruction of public buses. Some metro San Francisco buses have been forced to stop short or to let passengers off in the middle of the street, undoubtedly an irritating circumstance. The city is currently in negotiations with Google and other tech companies to institute a fee system for use of public stops, and to prevent congestion. But it’s clear that frustration with the situation has already transcended bureaucratic dialogue.

One can sympathize with the concerns of protestors about the upheaval in established neighborhoods and the misuse of public facilities. Forking over the better part of three grand a month for a one-bedroom apartment seems insane anywhere outside of Manhattan or Tokyo. But attacking the workers responsible for a city’s economic renaissance is surely a self-defeating strategy. New construction may help alleviate housing pressures, as thousands of city apartments are scheduled to become available within the next several years. Until then, the city’s longtime residents and the architects of the new tech boom will have to learn to live with each other. In this case, riding the bus divides citizens rather than uniting them.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

120 Comments on “Scrambling the Politics of Mass Transit in San Francisco...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    Wow ;

    Social unrest in Oaktown ~ that never happened before .

    -Nate

  • avatar

    “These unregulated private buses often use public stops to pick up and drop off employees, without paying anything to city”

    Here in New York, Mayor Bloomberg made it almost impossible to park the car without getting a ticket. He has also set up widened “bus only” lanes – some of which have cameras watching them.

    The so-called “Jamaican dollar vans” tried picking up passengers at city bus stops. When they do, the police come down on them so hard you’d think that they were a SWAT team. In the absence of police, the cameras take a picture and send the driver a ticket for $140 in the mail.

    The sad thing is that the dollar vans take a lot of pressure off of the public buses (and citizens) especially in times of inclement weather – not to mention the almost biannual bus strikes.

  • avatar
    shaker

    “…and handed out copies of this supremely classy flyer.”
    Yes, indeed. “Classy” as in the nouveau riche vs. their neighbors.
    I’ll admit that the protests are crude, and likely seem overly aggressive, but they’re in response to REAL pain being inflicted by the growing economic divide that (until recently) has been entirely ignored since the inception of “trickle-down” economics.
    Google employees themselves should not be targeted; they’re simply “cogs” in the growing structural divide that’s fueled (unwittingly) by our 401(k) plans, Wall St. bailouts, and a “race to the bottom” in working-class wages.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Unfortunately, most of the protestors are likely educated, largely Caucasian persons who were responsible for the first stage of gentrification – or maybe later stages given we’re talking about SF. They’re only different in degree from the Google employees they’re attacking and thus hypocrites, IMHO.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Oh look. Another lot of rabble that thinks protesting is going to improve their lives.

    Look, rioting over “inequality” and “the one percent” will get you nowhere worth being. Getting the hell out of Soviet Kalifornistan and going someplace with actual jobs will.

    I hear Texas has work.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      We don’t want these animals to come to Texas. Austin is filling up with them. They voted every industry and business out of their state except intellectual property creation with their environmentalism, redistributionism, and union extortion tactics. Now they reap what they sowed.

      There Is No Free Lunch.

      Besides that, if you rent, you are a customer, not a resident. There are a plethora of programs to help Californians who can’t support themselves. The rest of you should buy in or drive out only don’t come here and start trying to change Texas. There is a reason people are all moving here, and it’s because it’s not like where you already crapped all over everything with identity politics.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        On second thought, good point.

        Keep the contagion bottled up in SK, and soon it will die because it will have no more healthy tissue to feed on.

        I might point out, though, that the “plethora of programs” you referenced IS THE REASON the Kalifornis can’t support themselves.

        • 0 avatar

          You can’t keep them bottled up. Sooner of later, feds will come and take your things to give it to them. Containment is not a viable option when you share a government and they vote all the same.

        • 0 avatar

          In 1997 the US National Academy of Sciences reported that the average Californian family paid an extra $1,600 in taxes (I’ve inflation-adjusted to the present) to provide $4,200 to the average immigrant family.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Immigration is not an ideal topic for this website, but it could be fairly argued that illegals do more to contribute to high real estate costs than tech workers.

            Then again, getting rid of the illegals could come with its own set of costs, such as higher wages that would be at least partially passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

            There are no easy answers to this, particularly when you are talking about a city that is both an economic center and desirable to affluent people that also has inherent geographic and physical limitations on housing supply.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            The housing supply in SF is a red herring. The issue is supply for the entire area where there are owners wishing to develop who can’t. Plenty of land tied up within commuting range. Bigger issue is actually the people willing to fly in, only they won’t expand any of the airports for General Aviation to become a workable alternative.

            Yes, there are going to be people whining they were chased out of the city, but if they can commute 30 minutes and keep their jobs, I am not having sympathy.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Free lunch? Read the story. I’ll paraphrase for you: “The median rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is now almost $2800 a month, a 27% increase since 2011.:

        Kind of hard to afford $2,000-per-month rent when you’re on the “free lunch” program, don’t you think? In fact, the rate of poverty in the city of San Francisco is FAR lower than it is in Dallas or Houston. Median income in San Francisco is almost twice as high as it is in Houston.

        And as far as low taxes are concerned, you might mention that while there’s no state income tax, property taxes are ridiculously high everywhere in Texas. No free lunch, indeed.

        Granted, these protests look silly from the outside, but if you read the story, a lot of these folks are going to lose their businesses because they can’t afford to live in the community they do business in. In the last election, Mitt Romney called these folks “job creators.” I don’t know if protesting Google buses does anything to fix this problem, but the problem certainly exists.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          The free lunch was voted in years ago – taking private property for social and environmental reasons. Rent is high because supply is artificially kept low. Demand is high because many people who thought they could have a free lunch are still living there waiting for the next free lunch. If the rent isn’t to your liking move. Why is that hard to understand?

          You are right about property taxes being high here, but it’s not every where. It’s just in the cities mostly run by liberals.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Supply is kept artificially low in San Francisco because of limited space. Other cities deal with supply issues by building higher, or sprawling out, but neither is an option in San Francisco for obvious reasons…unless, of course, the underwater city has been perfected, or you think it’s a good idea to have scores of 50-story apartment buildings in a city that was wiped out by an earthquake not too long ago.

            As far as demand being high because of the “free lunch” set is concerned, San Francisco has a MEDIAN income of about $70,000 a year. People move there to work in international finance or trade, or high tech, both of which are high paying fields. If you want to live there, the opening ante is a six figure salary, and you don’t get that from being a welfare queen. If you think these folks are there for a free lunch, you aren’t paying attention.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            San Fran is just one part of the Bay Area which is commuted to by people living out in Tracy, which is part of a state whis part of a country.

            I used to live in the area. I know of what I speak. Rent was too high, buying seemed risky. I left.

            There was a big lawsuit over a big ranch the owners wanted to develop. The owners of all the surrounding tract homes screamed it would ruin their views, etc. Reap it.

            Walmart wanted to build a store off the highway. Lawsuit. Reap it.

            In another part of the state a power company wanted to convert an unused coal plant to NG. Every group in the area piled on. Some wanted it destroyed because it was on the coast and hurt the view. Others said that it was too profitable so they should have to pay for some new schools. The list goes on. Enron later took advantage of the power shortages caused by this sort of action that when combined with creation of a ridiculously artificial and regulated so called deregulated market to simply rip off the whole state. So, that one was reaped.

            Lastly, please stop assuming what I think. I am not assuming these people are welfare queens. I do assume they have voted. They voted for rules which helped create their problems. If they can’t afford to live there they should leave, not whine about the price that they helped to raise.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Liberals in Texas? You learn something new every day.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      The right to protest is one of the foundations of this country. America was literally founded on protest. Protesting is likely responsible for the wages you earn and your ability to take weekends off. It is the reason you have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe.

      I actually do not side with this protest. I think that the tech buses are efficient at getting people exactly where they are going and they get people out of their cars, reducing traffic and emissions.

      But protesting itself is a good thing. If Bush had listened to the Iraq war protesters, we wouldn’t be in the kind of debt we are in, nor would we have tens of thousands of dead or disabled soldiers, along with a massive pension and disability bill for their care after the war.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        These guys aren’t protesting bus transit, per se. They are protesting the efforts that tech companies make to make it easier for their workers to live in and commute from the city, which drives up rents for everyone else who isn’t earning those kinds of salaries.

        SF is a desirable place to live with a shortage of housing, and there’s not much room to build more housing. SF has a form of rent control that allows rents to be reset to market when a unit goes vacant, so it is very tempting for landlords to push out those tenants who are paying below-market rents and to replace them with new tenants with higher rents reset to market. Naturally, this will upset those who have lost their housing as a result — most people don’t want to lose their homes involuntarily.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          I agree, but I think their efforts are misguided. I know all about SF housing; I have lived in SF a number of times and I currently live in Oakland.

          For homeowners, the rising prices due to a rising economy are good. For renters (and I am one), there is always a risk that one needs to go where the rent is lower. That is just the rule of renting. Desirable areas will go up in price and you need to move to new areas, which then become more desirable. The tech folks are often moving to the city because places on the Peninsula are even more expensive. Economic success spreads outward. I would prefer a robust economy to an economy like Detroit, which has cheap rents but nothing else.

          The latest tech boom in SF is resulting in a finally balanced state budget, which does get back to everyone. My personal opinion is that the protesters would be better off focusing on taxes and low income housing over highly efficient transit. And I think that the people on here lumping all liberals together have no idea what they are talking about.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I wasn’t taking sides. I was (a) summarizing their position and (b) attempting to clarify the confusion created by the headline.

            This is only marginally a transit story. This is more of a have/ have nots story; the tech commuter buses are an easy target because of who is using them.

            The protestors are also claiming that the rent control laws are failing them. Under rent control, evictions are more closely regulated in order to prevent landlords from pushing out tenants for the purpose of getting rent increases, and these protestors are suggesting that those laws are failing them.

            (No, I don’t have an answer to this. I see all sides of this argument, and have sympathies with both camps.)

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The idea of haves and have nots is different in a place like San Francisco – it’s more like the well off versus the truly wealthy.

            And, imag, you are right about places like San Jose – it’s beyond expensive. I underwrite mortgages and just did a loan in San Jose for a 3 bed, two bath tract house – $800,000, and that was a fixer-upper. It’s just crazy expensive out there.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Imag, Well said, and I agree with your point about lumping. Conservative and liberal have very little meaning anymore and we all ought to be more careful about lumping and labels.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        No, the reason that I have clean water and air is because somebody found a way to make a buck providing those things.

        The revolution against the British crown was by decent, normal people trying to be rid of an oppressive government, not filthy, dismal little urban savages who take their inspiration from Vladimir Lenin rather than Thomas Paine.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          That is absolutely untrue. People were making a ton of money off of dirty water and air. People like you were against any kind of government regulation that would cut into them taking the profits and subsidizing the costs.

          Libertarian economics work when things can be privatized. That can be done with land and commodities. But libertarianism breaks down when it comes to commons, because everyone is incentivized to take greatest advantage of the public resource, while spreading the cost to everyone else. That is basic economic theory. Water and air are commons – there is no way to privatize the sky and the rivers. The only way to protect public commons is regulation by the public that benefits from them.

          Note, that does NOT mean I am arguing that everything should be a commons or that we should be communist. It means that it is worth understanding what is, and is not, a commons and regulating accordingly.

          And folks always call themselves the “decent, normal people”. The British did the same, and I am certain that the British gentry loved to call us dismal country savages. The reality is that almost all people are trying to be decent. I might argue that the savages are the ones who look down on others.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            It’s hard to argue with libertarians. They all believe that they are “alphas” and will do well in a totally unregulated environment. The best antidote to this sort of thinking would be to put them in places where they could experience utterly unfettered “free” markets first hand. I suspect that very few of them would not end up as fodder for the smartest sharks who would very quickly become the top predators.

            And, since Heinlein was mentioned earlier today, even he understood what would happen. Read his story “Coventry” for his take on “totally unrestricted freedom”.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Imag, not sure what you mean by libertarian economics.

            You guys don’t get libertarians. Most libertarians are for a state. They desire the state to do things like settle contract disputes justly. Also, a free market can not exist without protections from monopolies on many kinds of things. Libertarians abhor monopoly which is why they want the state out of everything they can get it out of without being ridiculous.

            Libertarians are really big into your rights being abridged when they trample on other’s rights. This makes pollution a no-no. There is a school of thought based on taxation being based on pollution and usage of resources and commons which is very popular with many libertarians.

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            Landcrusher – fair point.

            I was reacting against the philosophy I saw being espoused, which is actually closer to laissez faire capitalism than thoughtful libertarianism. I think there are a lot of knee-jerk folks who call themselves libertarians who are simply against any regulation other than forced military taxation.

            Again, the labels are a mess these days. The neo-cons are not true conservatives and people calling themselves libertarian are not paying attention to the whole philosophy.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Complete garbage. Polluters fought clean air and water laws tooth and nail, and still do.

        • 0 avatar
          WhiskerDaVinci

          “filthy, dismal little urban savages”?? What is wrong with you, Jesus Christ. I’m amazed that your comment hasn’t been removed for blatant racism. It doesn’t have a place on this website, and neither do you if you can’t behave in a civil manner.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I liked it.

            I’m on an interwar Britain readathon right now and it sounded like something Churchill or Lloyd George would have said.

            Yay OneAlpha!

          • 0 avatar
            JD321

            High density population combined with Democracy creates “filthy, dismal little urban savages”…Violent, emotionally-crippled parasites all trying to live at the expense of everyone else. This is a fact of reality and proven by viewing voting results of urban vs suburban/rural areas. What does race have to do with it? What is wrong with you?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The only racism I see is your own. Nobody else assumed there was a racial component to filthy dismal little urban savages. You probably think the reason Obama is the worst president of the past hundred years is because he’s half black too.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I can’t remember ever seeing a comment here that I thought deserved censorship more than yours, Whiskey.

          • 0 avatar
            AlternateReality

            Get over it, Whiskers. It’s an extremely accurate description of the rotten underclass festering in many urban areas. (And while they aren’t ALL one color, it’s hard to ignore that most of them look very similar…)

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        All protests get judged on their merits. They aren’t inherently good. In fact, most are immorally based temper tantrums full of people who want something for nothing.

        Occasionally, people are rightfully demanding justice. We can argue over what is just, but I seem to find the better behaved the protestors are, the more likely the issue is just and moral.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          I agree, but lately I have seen the behavior of a few protesters (or even police acting as provocateurs) used to tar an entire (very) well behaved group. I do not know if that’s the case here, but it is certainly a useful tactic for discrediting the protest.

      • 0 avatar
        GoCougs

        Lol, romanticizing more than a bit I think. Protesting has done none of those things.

        The “right” to protest does not translate into rational standing to violate liberty and property as is being done with these hateful jealous 99%ers.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The median income in San Francisco is about $80,000 a year. That means that the average protestor there, in all likelihood, dramatically out-earns a Tea Party protestor in Alabama.

          What we’re talking about isn’t poor folks looking for a handout – it’s people making good money whose livelihoods are threatened because they can’t afford to live in the city they do business in. Protesting may not solve the issue, but it doesn’t mean there is no issue to solve.

          When corporations and wealthy people make that argument, conservatives listen. But when San Franciscans make that argument, they scoff. Fascinating, isn’t it?

          And, yes, protesting WAS a major factor leading to the clean air and water laws that YOU benefit from every day.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            What we are talking about here are fools who voted themselves out of their own cities. Tech and finance outperform because they are the only things not being chased out of the state by union rules, environmental rules and other regulations. They then use that advantage to out compete the other players in the market for resources like housing.

            Why is this so complex for people to figure out?

            Of course they vote for the same policies. It’s great for them. The problems are borne by middle class types in other industries.

            A couple other points. Comparing salaries in different markets and then talking about earning as if it’s the same value being measured is just wrong. Second, the clean air thing isn’t an example of how demonstrations are all good and necessary.it doesn’t follow. Killing roaming bands of murderous thugs in the dark ages didn’t make killing killing a used car salesman a good thing today.

          • 0 avatar
            Charliej

            You talk about not being able to live where they work. That goes on in lots of places. Alabama is known as a low cost of living state. However, people who work in the hospitality industry can not afford to live near where they work in south Alabama. A lack of low cost housing near the beaches on the gulf coast, means that there are no workers with in easy commuting distance. The hospitality industry solution, import eastern Europeans to live in company barracks. Bused to work and bused back to the barracks each night. It helps keep the cost of rooms down so people can afford to vacation on the Redneck Riviera. However, it does make it hard for local people to compete for jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      BigFire

      Texas doesn’t want these rent seekers. Better keep them bottled up here in California than polluting the rest of the country with them. Yes, I’m in California.

  • avatar

    A couple of isses with this article are worth addressing.

    First is the myth of “levelling” by mass transit in general, which “rich and poor” ride together. It is just a bald-faced lie, and always was. All mass transit does is pulling the middle class into the dehumanizing cesspit where the welfare scum can interact closer with them, but rich and powerful never rode the transit even in London. Not only that, anyone who can avoid riding transit in Tokyo does that too, and Tokyo has the best transit in the world – better than London’s anyhow. I don’t have a first-hand experience with Berlin, perhaps it is a progressivist utopia there, but certainly not anywhere else in the world, even in the densest cities (such as Moscow).

    Second is that none of these transit lies and propaganda have anything to do with California’s liberal scum destroying California and attacking anyone’s who’s still productive there, both on the streets of Frisco and in halls of Sacto. We’d have the same — and we will — even if every Googler rode BART to work. Heck, even if they were mugged at MUNI every week… which they do now BTW, but it’s not pacifying anyone. It is all about keeping the city a pool of human fodder over which the city’s power brokers have complete control because these people are clients, masquarading as preservation of historic neighbourhoods. We saw all that back when The Occupy was still a thing, and all the footsoldiers of liberal oppression are still there. Back then they slashed tires of trucks, now they slash tires of buses, is all. This has nothing to do with the transit!

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      You do realize that most Apple and Google employees are liberal, right?

      And the “scum” you look down on were often made that way by the scum at the very top. It’s the oldest trick around: you screw over the folks at the bottom out of their pensions and their wages, then you demonize them when they demand a right to life and liberty. It is literally medieval thinking.

      As I said above, I don’t agree with this particular protest, but your attitude toward fellow humans is a disgrace. Most people on welfare do not *want* to be on welfare. They would love to have high paying jobs. But defunding public education and public services just creates more of the folks you despise.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        It’s still generally true that in America, the only people that don’t get ahead are the ones who don’t try.

        People on public assistance may want high-paying jobs, but the don’t want them BADLY ENOUGH to do what it takes to get them.

        History highlights one significant truth over and over again. If a man truly wants something – to be a king, to conquer a foreign nation, to succeed at SOMETHING – then there’s no force short of God that can stop him.

        This is not to say that it’ll be easy or quick, but if a person TRULY wants something, he’ll eventually get it. That’s why I have very little sympathy for most poor people – because they can fix their own lives and don’t need my pity. I’ll save my sympathy for the disabled who can’t help it.

        So it seems that the Army drill sergeants WERE right, and that CAN’T really does mean WON’T.

        • 0 avatar
          stryker1

          Sure, this all sounds great, except that it’s extremely easy to look at outcomes, and find a way to arrange “could haves” and “should haves” in such a way that everyone “got what they deserved”, especially when your own outcomes are good.

          “Want what I have? You should have been me, and lived my life, and you’re stupid if you didn’t do that” isn’t a very satisfying, or convincing political philosophy.

          Also, the people who ride public/mass transit are not merely the listless poor. Most of these folks have jobs they’re trying to get to. Most likely service jobs that cater to the yuppies who are taking the bus out of the city to their high paying tech jobs. So maybe lets not be in such a hurry to write them off?

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Who is writing them off? No one here said, “Let’s write off people taking the bus to work.”

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “‘Want what I have? You should have been me, and lived my life, and you’re stupid if you didn’t do that’ isn’t a very satisfying, or convincing political philosophy.”

            It worked out well for Marie Antoinette.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          I think you’re right when it comes to someone like me, who is white and had a good education. But I do not fool myself that everyone is in the same boat. Why? Because there is evidence:

          Read the OECD report on social mobility. http://www.oecd.org/eco/growth/49849281.pdf

          “Low mobility across generations, as
          measured by a close link between parents’ and children’s earnings, is particularly
          pronounced in the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States and France, while mobility is higher in the Nordic countries, Australia and Canada.”

          America had much more income equality in the 50′s and 60′s. Do you know why? Because after the record inequality of the 1920′s, which resulted in the Great Depression, Roosevelt implemented social programs. Union protests stabilized wages. The folks on top hated it. Prescott Bush (who supported the Nazis) fought it. It took them almost a century, but his son and grandson managed to undo a lot of the progress that was made. They criminalized drug use for drugs used by lower income folks. They destroyed the fabric of lower income society.

          When you say that everyone has mobility because you do, you are living in a fantasy world. An inner city kid does not have the same chance. The facts are not on your side.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Social programs weren’t the great leveler of incomes – it was World War II, which leveled our economic competition by bombing it to smithereens. This, in turn, gave us a 15-20 year run as the only economic game in town, and incomes rose. Greatest economic bubble in human history, far as I’m concerned.

            Our mistake was investing in consumerism, not long term sustainability. We’re paying for that now.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            “An inner city kid does not have the same chance. The facts are not on your side.”

            My mistake. I thought that people could escape poverty if they worked for a better life and made good decisions.

            I totally forgot that black and Hispanic people from the hood are utter incompetents, doomed to live in the ghetto forever because they’re completely incapable of rational thought, enlightened self-interest and diligent effort.

            Silly me.

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            OneAlpha,

            I want the same world, where someone who works hard can get ahead. However, world doesn’t happen without basic protections and good public education.

            My point is not that the lazy should get a handout. My point is that the people who are working hard cannot get ahead. Look at the infamous McDonald’s budget, which assumes someone is working two jobs (i.e. not lazy):

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2013/07/18/why-mcdonalds-employee-budget-has-everyone-up-in-arms/

            You try to live on that budget, working two jobs, and tell me that these folks are just lazy. The point is that, through a repressed minimum wage, increasing costs of higher education, inflation due to QE, and ruthless pursuit of poverty level wages on the part of certain large employers, that these people have no way out. Hard work is not enough. The system is broken for them, and it is breaking them, all while a whole class of people have literally more money than they know what to do with.

            Six Walton heirs have more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans. Six people have more than the combined total of 125 *million* people in the same country. Did they work harder for it?

            The point is that the disparity has gotten so extreme that it ultimately hurts us all. The solution is not simply to blame anyone who doesn’t have money; it comes from understanding that we need to create a pathway for people to escape from poverty. And I need to point out that your attitude simply results in more of the poverty you despise.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        If that’s the oldest trick, the next oldest is claiming everyone who gets ahead must have done so by pulling the first trick and using that as an excuse to steal from everyone.

        You do realize we are talking about Kali here, right? Not Mississippi, Kali. If you want to rail against Boss Hogg, you have to realize that everything that can be done in the name of the “oldest trick” has been done in Kali.

        So please, let’s not replay the same old argument. You find the guys who steal pensions and I will provide the rope. Otherwise, not buying it.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          Where did I say that everyone who gets ahead pulled that trick? I didn’t. There are plenty of folks who have worked hard.

          What I am saying is that there are people on top who have engineered this situation. They have built an ever-expanding set of ways to pull money out of private government contracts and the federal reserve to take our money. Quantitative easing takes money from every one of us, hands it out to people who are already wealthy, and lets them keep the upside. That is theft, perpetrated on a grand scale.

          And Enron took down the pensions of tens of thousands of people who had nothing to do with their financial engineering. They bought companies and gutted them, taking down their pensions as they went. I knew an electrician who worked for 30 years for a company in Oregon that got bought by Enron right before it went down. That guy, who *was* hard working, got nothing.

          You guys are out railing on a couple of small-time thieves who happen to abuse food stamps, while ignoring the people who are stealing money right from your bank account. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            You didn’t say it, but that’s the basic premise behind so many modern political ploys including these protests.

            The people on top were elected or often being kept there by those who are.

            Enron was made possible by a perfect storm of government regulations and incompetents. Those guys were rotten, but the size of their success was the fault of government whose policies changed the take from millions to billions. The pensions were often free lunches in the first place, so while I feel sorry for the victims, I blame politicians and unions and the people who voted for them for most of the pain.

            I am not ignoring the big time crooks, but I need allies to take them down. I can break a thieves neck, but the cops work for the other guys.

      • 0 avatar
        GoCougs

        If they don’t *want* to be on welfare why do they do the things that put them and keep them on welfare – don’t graduate high school, have children out of wedlock, and commit crime?

        Public education and services expand the welfare rolls by destroying family and community, and replacing it with the implacable, irrational, dependency-compelling state.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Public education and services expand the welfare rolls by destroying family and community, and replacing it with the implacable, irrational, dependency-compelling state.”

          Public education and services have been in place in this country since day one, and last I checked, we’ve done rather well.

          Either you really believe this, in which case you need your head examined, or you’re just trolling.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          We seem to have a difference in philosophy. I think we both want a society where people can be successful if they want to be. I would add that I prefer that children in poverty not be consigned to starvation because of the poor decisions of their parents. I can’t tell what you think on that front.

          I think we have tried unfettered laissez faire capitalism before, and it resulted in good folks who wanted to work hard starving to death. It resulted in dirty air, dirty water, and wanton destruction of land. I am not remotely a communist, but I think *some* wealth redistribution is necessary to avoid a medieval feudal culture of robber-barons versus serfs.

          The innovations of this country came about in large part because of public education, public libraries, and the new energy technologies and innovations that resulted. It came from people like Henry Ford, who knew that if he paid his workers fairly, they could afford to buy his products, increasing wealth overall. That is the philosophy I agree with.

          Warren Buffett apparently agrees too, as he has called for taxation on very high earners to level things out a bit. He is not a communist; he recognizes that society doesn’t function with such a massive disparity. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/opinion/buffett-a-minimum-tax-for-the-wealthy.html

          As he points out, a reasonable tax rate isn’t going to stop people from investing. But it will allow the public to benefit from gains in productivity, many of which were due to public investment in science, technology, schooling, and infrastructure. I think that is different than the dependency-compelling state that you say we have.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            No one with any sense wants complete Laissez Faire. They just think they do.

            Warren Buffett makes a huge amount of money on millionaires needing to avoid taxes who buy his products. He sees the rich and powerful as just playing a game, and he says those things to improve his own score.

            Sure, people who consistently make million plus incomes could pay more, but you also then catch the guy who worked for decades and finally made it who will make that much a year or two and then retire. That guy then needs to hire lawyers, accountants, and Warren Buffett’s companies to sell him services and financial tools to avoid getting burned.

            Shouldn’t we fix the game rather than simply trying to adjust the score at the end of each year by having the winners send lots to Washington where they rig the game?

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      This is just shrill.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      Was in London this summer on vacation. Took mass transit everywhere. It was fantastic. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

      • 0 avatar
        GoCougs

        And I’ve lived in Japan. It’s nice for you tourists but it is a destroyer of nations – Japan’s malaise can be directly tied to its extensive public transportation system (and not only the high use fees and taxes). It dampens mobility of the workforce and employers and it artificially clusters population (= huge increase in cost of living). Public transportation is evil.

        • 0 avatar
          stryker1

          You’ve got it backwards. The clustering comes first because, you know, jobs.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s a complex process, especially if you look at it from the historical perspective. Technologies available were a big factor, and then cities provied amazing infrastructure, when compared with distributed communication and transportation. When first public transit riders rode steam train from their brick house rows to The City, there was no fiber and not a Freighliner truck. Not even a transport pallet! No wonder that people had to cluster to accomplish anything.

          • 0 avatar
            GoCougs

            No. Kindly research the thugocracy involved in establishing Japanese rail right of way early in the 20th century.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Haters gonna hate. The facts:

      1) San Francisco has a MEDIAN income of $80,000 a year. This is an extremely wealthy city, by any standard, and you don’t get that way by being on welfare.

      2) Without transit, the traffic in most large cities would be almost unbearable; some cities, like New York, simply couldn’t exist without it. So bitch all you want about transit, and the people who use it, but it’s a huge component of our economic life in this country, and has been for a LONG time.

      3) Buses are cheaper than highways.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        A high income does not necessarily make city residents wealthy. You also have to consider the cost of living. If they are paying through the nose for a cramped apartment and can’t afford even a used Corolla, then their high income has not translated into a higher standard of living.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          High incomes beget high housing costs. If San Francisco were an economic backwater, it wouldn’t cost nearly as much to live there. But it isn’t – it’s a hugely important center for trade, finance and high tech.

          The question these protesters beg is whether the housing costs are becoming so high that they are forcing even well-off residents to leave. Many of these people are entrepreneurs or small businesspeople, and if they leave, the city will suffer in a number of ways, including reduced tax revenue. Yes, corporate-owned businesses would probably replace these small businesses, but at what cost? Municipalities routinely have to give away ridiculous tax incentives to lure corporations. That’s just one part of the issue – there are others, like the community wanting to preserve its unique flavor, and that’s not an invalid concern at all.

          They have a legitimate point, even if protesting Google buses seems a silly way to protest it.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            All of which doesn’t prove that San Francisco residents have a higher standard of living than people in other areas with lower incomes, let alone your average, much-derided “Tea Party” member.

            Reminds me of the story in the local paper about a family of four in New York City who had a total household income almost three times that of ours. But they lived in a two-bedroom apartment and had all of one car. I’ll take our much bigger house on a separate lot, not to mention two cars, over their “richer” lifestyle.

            But don’t take my word for it. Here is what one person who looked at more than income had to say:

            “When we think of places with high salaries, big metro areas like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco are usually the first to spring to mind. Or cities with the biggest concentrations of educated workers, such as Boston.

            “But wages are just one part of the equation — high prices in those East and West Coast cities mean the fat paychecks aren’t necessarily getting the locals ahead. When cost of living is factored in, most of the places that boast THE HIGHEST EFFECTIVE PAY turn out to be in the less celebrated and less expensive middle part of the country. My colleague Mark Schill of Praxis Strategy Group and I looked at the average annual wages in the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan statistical areas and adjusted incomes by the cost of living. The results were surprising and revealing.” (emphasis added)

            Here’s more:

            “What about the places we usually associate with high wages and success? THE HIGH PAY IS OFFSET BY EXCEEDINGLY HIGH COSTS. Brain-rich Boston has the fifth-highest income of America’s largest metro areas but its high housing and other costs drive it down to 32nd on our list. San Francisco ranks third in average pay at just under $70,000, some $20,000 below San Jose, but has equally high costs. As a result, the metro area ranks a meager 39th on our list. (emphasis added)

            “Much the same can be said about New York which, like San Francisco, is home to many of the richest Americans and best-paying jobs. The average paycheck clocks in at $69,029, fourth-highest in the country, but high costs, particularly for housing, eat up much of the locals’ pay: adjusted for cost of living, the average salary is worth $44,605. As a result, the Big Apple and its environs rank only 41st on our list.

            “Long associated with glitz and glitter, Los Angeles does particularly poorly, coming in 46th on our list. The L.A. metro area may include Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Malibu, but it also is home to South-Central Los Angeles, East L.A. and small, struggling industrial cities surrounding downtown. The relatively modest average paycheck of $55,000 annually, 12th on our list, is eaten up by a cost of living that is well above the national average. This creates an unpleasant reality for many non-celebrity Angelenos.”

            Here’s the rest of the article: http://www.newgeography.com/content/002950-the-cities-where-a-paycheck-stretches-the-furthest

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I didn’t say that San Franciscans have “a higher standard of living than people in other areas with lower incomes”. What I said was: “The median income in San Francisco is about $80,000 a year. That means that the average protestor there, in all likelihood, dramatically out-earns a Tea Party protestor in Alabama.” I stand by that.

            The point isn’t deriding the lower incomes in Alabama, but doing away with the stupid idea that these protestors were a bunch o freebie-seeking welfare junkies looking for a free ride. Folks like that basically can’t live in a place like San Francisco unless it’s on the streets (which they do there, in large numbers).

            Having said that, though, employers pay what the market requires, and the market for talent is clearly different in San Francisco than it would be in, say, Montgomery, Alabama.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Freedmike, it depends on what you mean by earned. If you mean got a higher salary, you are correct. If you mean created more value because they were paid more, which is on average a fair statement, you would be making an unfair claim based on the differences in the markets. For example, I will bet that a grocery store manager in SF makes quite a lot more than his southern peer even if the lady in Alabama does a much better job. She earned more, but he made more. Of course, she can afford a half acre with a three bedroom home he would likely find grotesquely wasteful! :)

  • avatar
    lostjr

    In the past year, San Francisco added 68,000 jobs and 120 housing units. So lets blame buses for increased rents…

    http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Bay-Area-tech-boom-not-cause-of-region-s-problems-5080195.php

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I kind of agree with Pete. I worked in NYC all my life. I used public transportation up to the time i was mugged. I went thru going to the Grand Jury and appearing in court and finding out the mugger was told to be a good boy and respect other peoples rights and walked out of the court to plan his next mugging. Since that time i drove to my NYC office for the next 45 years. I have been on the subway and LIRR a few times since i gave them up but nothing i noticed made any difference. Same low life,s, teenagers running wild and people selling all kinds of items. My son-in-law stated his career in NYC transit and even helped start the city bicycle police but never, never used public transit (Of course he can ride free with the badge but never used it)I admit traffic is bad in NYC and it cost me about $450.00 a month to park but to be honest it was well worth it when working late in the big city.

    • 0 avatar
      Hillman

      Shame your courts don’t go after the low lifes that target the non criminals. I live in a southern city with a major university and we had a prosecutor say that he wanted to make an example for anyone who wanted to target a student. Amazing what that does for crime.

    • 0 avatar

      My sister (living in those state-named avenue areas down south, east of I-101 IIRC) enjoyed riding MUNI until a neighbourly african-american lady beat her up. Bought a ZX3. Haha. I told her, but nooo, she had to learn it first hand.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    San Francisco has NEVER been a cheap place to love. These people act like Google made the place expensive.

    You’re not entitled to “affordable” rent when you decide to live in one of the most expensive place on Earth. Better get used to it or move.

    I hear Hollywood moguls have made Malibu expensive, who’s going to pay for my vacation home on the beach? They’ve made it expensive for everyone!

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    “This is done, they say, with little regard for the impact on long-term residents, many of whom live in rent-controlled apartments.”

    People living in rent controlled apartments are scumbag thieves stealing from hardworking families. The “landlords” are people forced to use real estate to pay for their retirement, since they are not lazy government employees that can count on six figure, inflation adjusted pensions paid for by regressive sales and property taxes on taxpayers forced to by under threat of violence from the state.

    As many issues as I have with my state one thing I am proud of is that it outlaws any rent control.

    The reason rents in SF are so high is that rent control takes away the incentive to improve and enlarge rental properties. And because it forces landlords to gouge new tenants to cover the *sshole hording the same apartment for $500 a month because he or she is grandfathered in with rent control.

    If you see an area with crappy, run-down, expensive apartments and rental properties with high rental rates and waiting lists you know you are in an area with rent control.

    If you see an area with new and updated, well kept apartments and rental properties, with rent kept down by fierce competition for good tenants then you know you are in an area without rent control.

    Any scumbag that feels he or she has a “right” to live in the Bay Area, instead of moving to some place like Texas, Kansas or Detroit, that they can actually afford, should die. They are just a parasite.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The supply shortage in SF comes from the fact that the place is surrounded by water on three sides, and a lot of the city is relatively low density.

      The only way to increase the density is to knock over existing buildings and replace them with much taller ones that hold a lot more people. But that would obviously come at a price, as it would drastically alter the character of the place.

      It’s a supply-demand problem that cannot possibly be fixed on the supply side.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Pch101
        The Sydney metro area which is half the population of SF Bay area, ie Oakland, San Jose, etc. Sydney has a much more dispersed population than SF and yet is can support a relatively comprehensive urban rail network. It’s actually the largest suburban heavy rail system in the world.

        It will work in SF. Paris has the metro (underground) which extends only 4-5 miles from the centre of Paris. Then the RER extends out to about 20 miles from the centre of Paris. SF doesn’t need to be this comprehensive.

        There are public transport models globally that could be considered to alleviate the SF situation.

        Extend the BART by adding several more lines and loops a centred on SF, Oakland and San Jose.

        A trolley line between Chicago and Milwaukee in the 20s was the onset of very fast trains. The trolley averaged 90mph between the two cities. Why can’t someone come up with an idea as simple as this. Light rail isn’t quite cheap in comparison to heavy rail.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I don’t know much about Sydney, but a simple wikipedia lookup reveals a population density that’s far lower than San Francisco’s, plus there is no significant threat of city-killing earthquakes, which has to be dealt with in San Francisco. That will make subways extremely expensive. Light rail will also be prohibitively expensive because of the basic price of land, which makes everything more expensive.

          Even their new football stadium, which is a pretty basic outdoor job, is costing $1.2 billion. The one they built here in Denver a few years back cost $400 million.

          The best solution there, frankly, would probably be to limit the population.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’ve been to Sydney. There is water in the middle of the city, but the topography is not comparable to SF, at all.

            People complain about sprawl, but it makes real estate more affordable for those who work in metro areas. There’s plenty of room for sprawl in much of the US and Australia, but not in SF.

            SF is, for all intents and purposes, an island. The water places a limit on sprawl, which could provide more affordable housing if it was possible. As it stands, commuting times for suburbanites are already long as is; there’s only so much space left.

      • 0 avatar
        Hillman

        Are you really suggesting that they build taller in San Fran? That just might be a really bad idea for some reason.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “Are you really suggesting that they build taller in San Fran?”

          I’m only pointing out that this is the only way to create new inventory.

          You can build out, subdivide the existing inventory or build up. There’s no land for building out and the existing properties have already been extended with mother-in-law units and the like, which leaves building upward as the only remaining option (and there are local laws that restrict the latter.)

          And there’s no way to create enough inventory to push down rents. In much of the US, it’s possible to just add sprawl at low cost, but there is physically no way to do that in San Francisco. Geography is destiny.

          • 0 avatar
            Hillman

            Fair enough but I can’t imagine how much earthquake proofing a high rise would cost. Plus, high rises take away a lot of the cities character. Might be cheaper to build a train.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Downtown SF is full of highrise office buildings. A modern highrise could better withstand an earthquake than much of the housing that is there now.

            As for trains, they already have trains going east, and to a lesser extent, south. The problem is that the water creates a barrier that adds to commuting time, which limits the land that can be used to support the area population.

            Over the last several decades, the area population has doubled. They are running out of place to put people. And SF is one of the few places in the US where the city center is the most desirable location, which only makes the situation more challenging.

            The solution for lower real estate costs is to drive down the population. But how is that going to happen?

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            The issue here is people who actually work out of town bussing to work. The problem isn’t really SF inventory, it’s Silicon Valley area inventory.

        • 0 avatar
          carlisimo

          “Are you really suggesting that they build taller in San Fran? That just might be a really bad idea for some reason.”

          I work in SF, in structural engineering, and I’ll point out that it can be done. It’s expensive, but given real estate prices it can still be done profitably.

          Until… the NIMBY crowd makes it impossible for you to get a permit. That is the number one obstacle to building things here. No one wants their views blocked, no one wants a building that looks like your design concept, and they’ll pay tens of thousands of dollars to drag out the fight for a decade or more. It’s the well-to-do who do all the fighting and they are persistent.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I’ve lived in the Bay Area, and can attest to SEVERE supply side limitations due to rent control.

        Obviously the Bay Area rents are never going to reach the levels in the rural Midwest. But there would be more supply without rent control.

        Regardless of the supply implications, nobody deserves to live in the Bay Area. Just like nobody deserves to drive a Mercedes. I have as much sympathy for someone that used to be able to afford the Bay Area, but cannot anymore, as I do for someone that used to be able to afford a Mercedes, but cannot anymore. Get a cheaper car (move to a cheaper area) entitled *sshole.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “But there would be more supply without rent control.”

          No, the inventory doesn’t physically exist. It would need to be built, and that’s not an easy thing to do in that location. Having water on three sides prevents that.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Have you seen vast, undeveloped swaths of land, ala Detroit, in San Francisco, just waiting to be developed when rental controls come off? No, you haven’t.

          Supply is constricted there by the city’s geography. Other cities with limited land build lots of high rises, which isn’t really an option in San Francisco for reasons that should be obvious if you’ve lived there. Let’s say that’s a shaky proposition.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “The only way to increase the density is to knock over existing buildings and replace them with much taller ones that hold a lot more people. But that would obviously come at a price, as it would drastically alter the character of the place.”

        Well, that, and how much would it cost to build a 40-50 story apartment building that could withstand an 8.0 quake? I’d have to think it’d cost a lot more than it would in, say, Des Moines.

        Building up probably isn’t an option there.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Do you really need to build up?

          Sydney has a train station approximately every kilometre and has a much lower population density than SF.

          The only problem is an easement for the transport lines, maybe use freeway easements (like Perth) and have small local bus runs to the stations.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          In most of the Bay area turning a two story apartment into a four story apartment is a major improvement. Obviously one that doubles the occupancy of a parcel of land. But to do that the landlord needs to be able to empty out current residents when their leases expire (almost impossible in the Bay Area), and then rent out the units in the new building at market rates to recoup the investment.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “Well, that, and how much would it cost to build a 40-50 story apartment building that could withstand an 8.0 quake?”

          Building up is generally more expensive than building out. The reason to build up is for real estate considerations, i.e. the land costs too much or doesn’t exist in that location.

          The rents would have to be high in order to cover the costs. Building new inventory would solve the supply problem, but the supply wouldn’t be cheap.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The highrises could be built if there was a desire to build them and a willingness to pay for them. Being on a seismic zone doesn’t preclude that.

          The main issues are that nobody has the will to allow it, and that it would be costly housing, since highrise construction is expensive and would need to be paid for through rents to match. The existing neighborhoods don’t want to see radical change that would come from mass demolitions and replacement construction. They don’t want to turn the place into Manhattan (and we can see in Manhattan, cramming in more people does not guarantee affordable rents.)

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Forget Manhattan, San Francisco, by far the densest part of the Bay Area, has half the population density of Brooklyn.

            SF having half the density of an almost suburban NY borough is proof enough that there are supply side constraints.

            But it does not matter anyway, because nobody is able to refute that living in the Bay Area is a luxury that nobody has a right to. Which is enough to refute all the whiners getting outbid by tech workers (and also government employees, which make more than tech workers in the Bay Area).

      • 0 avatar

        Nobody seems to ask what is so good about SF and why Googles and Twitters left their cozy Sunnyvale just so they can fight the entrenched interests for the supremacy in that sorry little piece of hilly hellscape up north.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I suppose these protesters don’t realise that some of the dollars these so called affluent people spend will eventually end up in their pockets.

    As these ‘new’ suburbs become populated with the all of this affluence these people will expect services. This will improve employment.

    Cities are in a constant flux. Look at how the modern ‘western’ city developed. Steam trains gave us the capacity to live far from work and transit to and from different centres daily. Moved products and supported logistics. Inner city areas that once housed affluence degenerated and housed effluence.

    Even in Australia a reversal is occurring in inner city suburbs, this is hardly a Californian experience.

    A few years ago I rode on the BART from SFO into the centre of SF and found the service then limited to one line. Hardly a comprehensive metro/subway.

    I do support comprehensive underground light rail. Paris has a fantastic system. Without it Paris wouldn’t work, the same for New York or even Sydney.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    A ‘cheaper’ solution for the Bay Area.

    http://www.danielbowen.com/category/travel/perth-2012/

  • avatar
    Reino

    And how many of these protesters went home and got on their Android to watch a Youtube video that night? ALL OF THEM.

    Google and Apple have done more for the lower class in the past ten years than any single company in history. Hundreds of millions of people have access to the entire collection of human information that exists in this world. These companies have had a positive impact on every single person in Oakland, whether they believe it or not.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I believe the real source of the problem is being ignored here. I will restate.

    Tech and Finance are more profitable than any other industries in our country because they are the least negatively affected by government externalities. Those externalities, as the econ guys call them, are worse in California than just about any place else in this country. Unfortunately, the trends from there seem to spread.

    Over the years, this has allowed many of the best and brightest to move into those industries where there are not a lot of low wage, high school diploma type jobs. Industries that create those jobs have been being gutted due to government policies on labor, environment, and employment.

    It should be obvious, but apparently it isn’t. The people from those companies now have lots of more money than their neighbors and can price them out of the housing market and other resources. Land control, and regulations, and tort are more important than geography and geology even in this case.

    Reacting to this by taxing everyone who makes good money is the opposite from the ideal. The way to fix it is to unleash the industries who would employ the neighbors rather than making it all too easy to simply export their jobs. Streamlining regulations and taxation is simply necessary or its all going to get worse. Its not just environmental protection, its cost of compliance and abject fear of the enforcers and their chaotic ways. Its not just the tax rates, its the compliance costs and fear of changes that come at the speed of light.

    Decades of big government solutions just simply need to end. It’s not a partisan thing anymore. If you care about the poor, stop harassing the people who are doing positive things in an attempt to stop anyone from doing something exploitive. Poor people need opportunity and guidance. Lower middle class people need growth opportunities. Every dollar spent on lobbying and compliance is likely fifty cents that could have helped solve the problem if simply left in the pocket of the investors and consumers. Taxing it away, or scaring it into mattresses has never really worked.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “The median rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is now almost $2800 a month, a 27% increase since 2011. [...] This is done, they say, with little regard for the impact on long-term residents, many of whom live in rent-controlled apartments.”

    Anyone else see a disconnect between those two sentences?

  • avatar
    sco

    I’m not going to comment on the socioeconomic implications of this matter but I can tell you that because BART does not go north of San Francisco, I drive through downtown SF every day to get to my workplace. And yes those Google, Genetech etc busses are a lane clogging pain in the ass. I dont know if they relieve traffic or not but it seems to me that in the past that companies tried to be civic minded, to help alleviate the problems of their community, and in general to help build the place up. I dont see how using public bus lanes and bus stops to provide transit for only your workers helps build community. It’s more like building a gated community.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    People who say there’s no room to build more housing in the Bay Area are just plain wrong. Drive up I280 from San Jose to San Fran, through Palo Alto. Thousands of acres of open land with literally nothing on it. The power brokers in the area don’t want more development. They have their piece of paradise and everyone else can pi$$ off. I was put off by housing prices when I moved here five years ago; now I’ve finally worked my way into a nice place; now I’m with the ones who say “welcome to the Bay Area, now go home.”
    .
    .

  • avatar
    AH-1WSuperCobra

    It amazes me that so many people would cut their own noses off to spite their faces. All these major tech companies are brining in massive wealth through the area and local taxes will bring those cities more money.

    These protesters should ask rust belt cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland how it worked out for them losing their major industries. Even Las Vegas is feeling the hurt. I’m sure most of these cities would gladly take Silicon Valley and move it within their limits if they could.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    This thread has been not only extremely entertaining but it has also revealed the inherent truths about many here .

    A mixed bag , some good , some bad .

    FWIW , when I travel I usually make a point to ride the local bus as it affords a true view of how any particular place really is .

    I’m in South Central Los Angeles and have 6 Foster Boys , all Teenagers ~ maybe I’m the inner city savage ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I used to date the CFO of Hilton Gaming , she was born & raised in Oakland & hated it , couldn’t wait to leave .

    A stint in The Peace Corps then top of her class @ USC , now she’s back working for Yahoo in S.F. & bought a nice condo in Freemont across the bay , she never whines about the commute .

    She’s also tending her dying mother in that same little house in Oakland on a steep hill , as soon as Moms passes she’ll abandon it and never go back .

    Me , I live in The Ghetto of L.A. South Central and yes , I pick up lots of trash left by the trashy neighbors but life isn’t fair , get over it and move on .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    redpoint5

    The more I hear about SF, the more I’m convinced it should just be burned to the ground. How do people terrorize others, vandalize vehicles by slashing tires and smashing windows, and not get arrested?

    If people don’t like the rent, they should get out. It doesn’t take a rocket economist to figure this out… and if they don’t like they pay they receive for their low skill work, they should quit. Plenty of others would gladly take the job.

    First-world problems- gotta love ‘em.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India