Picket the greedy landlords!
Yes, these are "stupid" suggestions because they don't address the fundamental problem. The basic problem is that the Bay Area is a desirable place to live for employment, climate and cultural reasons but the the supply of housing is limited by a combination of geography and zoning. The result is that high paid employees bid up housing prices and drive out lower income people. The solution is to change the zoning constraints and build more housing. This would be good for everyone - both high earning techies and lower income people would benefit from more plentiful housing, which would keep prices down. Win-Win.
One thing that could be done is to make the tax structure such that landlords don't strike it rich simply by being there before the boom. I found the possible solution in the link below interesting:
The question that immediately comes to my mind, having read the suggestions, is, what incentives do "techies" have to start even with these simple changes? I'm sure there are those in the tech industry who'd like to show more civic responsibility, but, as long as the city is bending over backwards to accomodate the tech industry, they're going to be up against those who say, "I can afford to be hated."
Matt Yglesias says it well: "San Francisco Is Great—They Should Make More of It". San Francisco is about half as dense as Brooklyn and only a quarter as dense as Manhattan. There is a lot of room to accommodate more people in San Francisco by building up. And San Francisco is only a small corner of the Bay Area so there is a lot of potential for denser housing, which would bring down everyone's rent.
Deeper problems are at the core of why SF is so expensive. Development is costly and forbidden in many places and in many ways. The people who own property in SF and make income or derive their wealth from the scarcity of that property have no interest in seeing new housing. This entrenched economic group along with the frequently overlapping set of people who want to keep SF just the way it is to satisfy their aesthetic sensibilities, have found natural allies in the poor who they normally victimize.
Google, as a wealthy company, is an easy target compared to the longstanding politically derived unfairness of San Francisco's housing market. The City council, zoning regulations, home owner associations and rent control have more to do with the high price of housing then the combined workforces of every tech firm in the area.
Why exactly should Google employees support more affordable housing in SF? The world is full of affordable housing. Affordable housing is what you have when a lot of poor people live in a certain area. You can buy a house for a dollar in some areas (Detroit, Gary, etc). Areas that are expensive are that way because rich people want to live in them. It's nice to be around other rich people and it's nice to live with an absence of certain kinds of poor people, especially unemployed poor. I think Google employees should be working against affordable housing. And who wants homeless people around? They are dangerous and unpleasant. They are "why we can't have nice things". There were (and still are) communities in the US where people don't lock their doors, help each other, etc. That kind of society can't exist if the wrong kind of people show up.
Why the fuck should the people on a Google bus feel obligated to volunteer their time? Why the fuck should they then need to demonstrate this and somehow earn the right to ride a bus to work.
I should probably use a Philip J. Fry gif for this but. . .
not sure if humorous reference to fake google bus protestor, or genuine trolling
It's not trolling. Rich people don't aspire to live in an unpleasant area, such as a place with crime, bad schools, drug markets, and blight. Affordable housing, for the wrong kind of poor people, brings in all those things. Homeless are especially the wrong kind of poor people to be around, because they have lots of problems with crime, drugs, and mental illness. Why should Google employees want to have those problems near them? I work hard because I want to live in a community that's good. I sure don't want to support homeless people or unemployed poor near me. Why should I? (I am not a Google employee and don't live in SF).
Ironically, in my area, we had people try to keep other people out on the basis that they would drive property values down. It's all right though, as long as Google folks agree to take a pledge of volunteering, we'll let a few in. But I don't want them dating my kids.
Part of that has to do with the fact that Brooklyn and Manhattan aren't built on any major earthquake faults, so they were able to go vertical before it became feasible in San Francisco.
Maybe all those folks driving up the prices should GTFO of town.
Or maybe the rest of the townfolks could get their legal pitchforks and make them indentured servants to the community?
Right, why exactly would I want to have unemployed poor people, or homeless people, moving into my zip code? They will soak up my tax money, drive my property values down, make the schools worse, and commit crimes. Someone explain to me why anyone who is a Google employee would want to enrich his community with unemployed poor people and homeless? Just to feel less guilty? Any other reasons?
Well, alright, let's run a couple of those points down then
Increasing affordable housing would tend to decrease homelessness. In that homelessness is defined as not having a home
the people who are currently most upset about gentrification are the ones who used to be able to afford rent in SF, and who now cannot because the rapid influx of people with google level salaries are driving up rent by competing for those same apartments. There's a difference between affordable housing & a homeless shelter, although I would argue that both of them are socially beneficial. But the main focus right now seems to be the displacement of people who used to be able to make rent just fine
the phrase "the wrong kind of poor people" really feels like an intentional incitement to class warfare.
There was already a community in SF. If you want to live there, it behooves you to become a part of the community. If you want a gated burbclave where the poors aren't allowed in, then why are you moving into SF?
California used to this, but the infamous Prop 13 put the kibosh on this form of taxation in the late 70s.
You don't need to pass any new laws to implement your idea; all you need to do repeal Prop 13.
good luck with that....
Gisbon's Bridge City to become reality in 3.. 2..
Based on my experiences of living in the bay area for a couple years, any excuse to leave it should be taken as a higher power dropping hints on how to improve your life.
SF is a neat city with some great character, but it's the sort of "neat" that is best experienced as a tourist.
Plus their football team sucks.
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