Editor’s note: A lot of us were amazed to see more than 100 people crowd into the Women’s Building Friday night for a general meeting of SFVision, a new organization that is trying to bring more people from across the spectrum into the politics of saving San Francisco. Author David Talbot gave the opening speech, which we’re running here. 

Enough is enough!

David Talbot says enough is enough
David Talbot says enough is enough

Enough homelessness and human misery on our streets. Enough friends and family members thrown out of their homes by landlords because they’re not worth enough. Enough city hall leaders who think they’re in public service to serve private greed. Enough young men of color being hunted down by trigger-happy cops and shot in the back. Enough Super Bowl cities and corporate orgies taking over our streets for the benefit of billionaires and their entourages, while police tell the rest of us to move along, move along.

Enough, enough, enough. No mas, no mas, no mas! This is our city and we’re taking it back.

By now you’ve all probably heard of a young San Francisco entrepreneur named Justin Keller – the latest “tech bro” to become a poster boy for selfishness. Keller wrote an open letter to Mayor Lee on his blog complaining about the growing homeless problem in our city. Now Keller wasn’t offering to help people in need, by rolling up his sleeves or taking out his wallet — he was just complaining that he was forced to see more and more of these raggedy people. And he wanted the mayor to get rid of this mess, this eyesore… now! Because people like him have worked hard and made lots of money and they shouldn’t have to put up with unpleasant things like this in their city.

This, my friends, is a perfect expression of everything wrong in our city today. Suffering people are seen as problems to be engineered away, to be hosed off the street. They are not part of our community, they are THE OTHER.

Division Street. Where the homeless camp keeps growing. Is there any better name for it? It’s almost poetic. Because we’ve allowed ourselves to be divided into the haves and the have-nots. And those who don’t have do not belong in the new San Francisco. They should be evicted – not just from their homes, but from our sight.

Even if those people were made homeless in the first place by the very city hall policies that benefited tech bros like Justin Keller. Division Street runs directly through city hall — because Mayor Ed Lee and his billionaire tech buddies turned a chronic, but manageable homeless problem into a raging, full-blown crisis by bringing in an occupying army of techies with nowhere to put them. As a result, thousands of hard-working San Franciscans were thrown onto the streets by greedy landlords, so this new cash-flush army could be billeted in their homes. That’s right — over 70 percent of the homeless once had homes in San Francisco.

Many of us remember another time when people in need, people fighting for their lives were scapegoated, were turned into pariahs. That was when AIDS struck our community – a mysterious and deadly epidemic that began cutting down our young gay brothers. There were those who wanted to get rid of these sick men too. They wanted to round them up, or quarantine them, or dump them on the street, or even tattoo them – as if their physical suffering did not mark them enough.

But the people of San Francisco ultimately resisted this reign of cruelty and fear – and we came together to take care of our sick and dying brothers. In that moment, we truly became the City of St. Francis – the city of compassion and love and San Francisco values. The city that said we leave no one behind.

This is who we truly are – we open our golden gate and we take people in. The social outcasts and the dreamers, the freaks and the misfits. And yes the poor and the homeless. Because we are all one. Because we know that they are us.

“There But For Fortune Go You Or I.” Some of you remember that old folk song, written by Phil Ochs and sung so beautifully by Joan Baez.

Show me a prison, show me a jail
Show me a prisoner, whose face is growing pale
And I’ll show you a young man with so many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me an alley, show me a train
Show me a hobo who sleeps out in the rain
And I’ll show you a young man with so many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you and I

There but for fortune…and yes that even goes for tech bros like Justin Keller. What goes up must come down in capitalism, as in life. Keller and his startup company are just one more Chinese stock market crash, one more Silicon Valley bankruptcy away from disaster. And then Keller himself could be one of those raggedy tent people whom he hates looking at every day.

But there’s a way out of this vicious cycle of boom and bust, of luxury and misery. We have to organize to make life in our city more humane again, to restore our San Francisco values of love and compassion.

You know, as I wrote in my book Season of the Witch, those San Francisco values were not born with flowers in their hair – they were born howling, in strife. We had to fight for them every step of the way.

It’s time to fight for them again.

  • More of this PLEASE!!!

  • sebra leaves

    Sorry but nothing in SF can encompass the national farce. Watching NBR, they are saying Wall Street may hold its nose and vote for Hillary. Some may be able to stand Rubio. Looks like it is anybody but the Trumpster!

  • sebra leaves

    ENUF is ENUF!

    • @sebra – Cripes, this has nothing to do with parking entitlement.

      • sfparkripoff

        Sebra, Jym wants taxpayers to funnel more money to his friends at the MTA so that they can use the money for more “improvements”. Of course the money will get funneled back to the same developers and Urban planners who created the SFMTA through Prop E. https://web.archive.org/web/20020814163621/http://www.spur.org/prope.html

        What have urban planners done with the Billions of dollars they siphoned out of Muni? They buy up neighborhoods, evict the tenants, and pay off lobbyists and politicians. I especially love the AstroTurf lobbyists who try and tell the rest of us how to vote and what our values are supposed to be https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=E1rwErD8KDY

        • HZCrane

          I don’t think Jym has friends at SFMTA. I don’t think you know how local government works.

  • AlbertoRogers

    What utter nonsense. Talbot has officially lost the plot.

    • playland

      It’s worse than nonsense. It’s disgusting. Pegging Justin Keeler as emblematic of a group that has widely denounced him does nothing other than relegate Talbot to the irrelevancy that he so richly deserves.

      On February 20th a Black male stabbed a British tourist in the head at Post & Franklin (life threatening). So if one is to follow Talbot’s “thinking” they can ascribe the behavior of that one Black male to an entire group? Let’s write stories about how the behavior of that one individual demonstrates the irresponsible behavior of all Black males. Why not?

      Also, the part about widespread homelessness resulting because thousands of people were thrown out of their homes by greedy landlords is cartoonish. The city’s homeless survey says that “Thirteen percent (13%) of respondents reported eviction as the primary cause of their homelessness, 3% reported their landlord raised their rent, and 2% reported foreclosure”.

      Here’s the link…not that I expect someone like Talbot to actually stoop so low as to consider “facts” before he pontificates: https://sfgov.org/lhcb/sites/sfgov.org.lhcb/files/2015%20San%20Francisco%20Homeless%20Count%20%20Report_0.pdf

      • Chris Courtney

        Here’s what it actually says

        Place of Residence

        Seventy-one percent (71%) of respondents reported they were living in San Francisco at the time they most recently became homeless, an increase from 61% in 2013. Of those, nearly half (49%) had lived in San Francisco for 10 years or more. Eleven percent (11%) had lived in San Francisco for less than one year.

        Ten percent (10%) of respondents reported they were living out of state at the time they lost their housing. Nineteen percent (19%) reported they were living in another county in California. Six percent (6%) reported they were living in Alameda County at the time, 3% San Mateo, 2% Marin, 2% Contra Costa and 1% Santa Clara County.

        • Ringo

          Whether that 71% figure is meaningful depends on how you define “previously living in SF”. And how nuanced the homeless respondents were to subtle meanings in words

          How many were couch surfing, for instance, with no real expectation of tenants’ rights? I would not count their buddy getting sick of them being around as an eviction.

          How many were divorcee where the proximate cause of their loss of housing was nothing to with landlords or greed?

          Again, loss of job or medical problems are hardly a landlord problem even if they do lose the means to pay rent.

          The gap between 13% and 71% is so huge that clearly there are other more important factors.

          • hiker_sf

            Oh damn, I have to block yet another Sam alias.

            As you always talk about the “thousands” of rental units withheld from the market by landlords because of rent control and yet, you never cite any credible source for that information, you have no standing at all to question an actual data source.

            Ringo now Blocked.

          • Ringo

            Makes sense to ignore anyone whom you cannot refute

          • curiousKulak

            You could check Factfinder.gov, check SF, and look for yourself. While there is no clear category for “units kept off the market due to rent control”, you can read between the lines. .

            While its not 30,000 or, I suspect, even 10,000, my reading suggests there is btw 5-10k units in that category (maybe closer to 5 than 10, but…). And while that may be only 2-3% of the housing stock, finding a way to bring them back onto the market would be a ‘cheap fix’ housing-wise.

          • hiker_sf

            “Reading between the lines” isn’t data. Suspecting something isn’t data.

          • Ringo

            I believe it may have been as high as 30,000 in the past, but would go with your 5K to 10K number now. There are a few reasons for the decline:

            1) Ellis evictions have been more formalized with a lot of case history, increasing confidence that an orderly exit is available when needed

            2) Much higher asking rents now

            3) Airbnb as a viable option

            hiker-sf rarely provides evidence for any position he supports, and yet demands higher standards for others.

          • sfister

            I’ve said as much on other comment threads and I’ll say it again: I own a 4 unit building in the Mission. One unit became vacant over a year ago (no, I did not evict, so calm down, jackholes) and I have not backfilled it due to not wanting my fate to be handcuffed to that of a rent-controlled tenant, so make of that what you will. I don’t know about “thousands,” but I assume that at least a handful of others like me exist. At the moment, I use the unit as my home office.

        • playland

          It also says that 13% of the homeless report that they were evicted and 3% say that it was related to a rent increase. This is on page 38.

          I was responding to the mis-information that Talbot was spreading. Specifically “thousands of hard-working San Franciscans were thrown onto the streets by greedy landlords”.

          Yes, if you include evicting a tenant who can no longer pay the rent as ‘greed’ then 13% of the homeless were so affected. Does the city give the landlords a pass on their RE taxes when their tenant can no longer pay rent? Do the utility companies stop charging? Does the bank lower their mortgage payments accordingly?

  • Ringo

    Nothing new here from Talbot, as expected. Just the same tired old progressive cliches, recycled to gladden the heart of the other ageing leftover hippies.

    Meanwhile the rest of us get on with doing what really matters – building success and prosperity, without which none of Talbot’s idealistic goals cannot be funded anyway.

    • IanFlowers

      You don’t deserve “Ringo” as a nickname. You obviously don’t “get” what an amazing and glorious place the SF Bay area once was. Your “values” are anything but: you express merely selfishness, greed, cold heartedness and oppression in the same old evil form it’s taken around the world.

      The good news is your empty life will collapse in short order.

      • Ringo

        You sound very bitter that the world has passed you by, leaving only your rose-tinted misperceptions of your youth and a world that really never was.

        It’s actually quite sad.

  • Pvt. Hudson

    “But there’s a way out of this vicious cycle of boom and bust, of luxury and misery. We have to organize to make life in our city more humane again, to restore our San Francisco values of love and compassion.”

    Still waiting to hear the logistics of this “way out.” I mean, I get it; impassioned diatribes get the base fired up. I even agree with you! I simply don’t however share your optimism that progressives in San Francisco are capable of doing anything but symbolic gestures that protect a lucky few. What you want requires massive national political change (and likely constiutional changes), change that will be resisted by very powerful forces. I don’t think your struggle is going to cut it…

    • wcw

      Applaud Talbot for promoting inclusion and welcome, even if this piece takes a long time to get there. There has been way to much rhetoric of exclusion (including from Talbot) here. This piece is welcome.

    • Karl Young

      Sorry to have to agree with you. While I’m totally in step with Talbot’s message of unity, I don’t think he’s willing to accept the fact that everything changes (everything). While SF has a reputation for creative misfits, it’s also always been the case that people from the Ohlone on (and probably before) have been jobbed by rapacious speculators like the railroad, mining, tech…. barons. I’ll give it to him that the good fight is probably good for the soul but its so fraught with contradictions and self interest that its hard to get too high up on that horse.

      Though I do admire the people that fight for the rights of all, I think you’re right that it’s a reexamination of the basis of US society that’s really the only thing will make any difference to people’s lives. If as an old fart I get Ellis’d out that’s just another change to deal with. But I understand that lacking compassion for situations that lead people into homelessness displays a pretty pathetic lack of understanding of the way the world works (and though I’m not a fan of gloating those people usually end up getting what they desrve). And as I much as I loved Talbot’s book, it left me wondering a bit re. the depth of his ability for social analysis, in terms of arguing that a super bowl victory resurrected SF. It did seem a bit mythic in a down time, but that sort of “resurrection” is so temporary as to seem a bit trivial re. the life of a city. E.g. as much fun as the Warriors are, I don’t see that doing much to buoy the spirits of the bay area displaced.

      • Foginacan

        I’m not sure it marked the end of a chapter, but in Talbot’s defense the 49’ers win has no reference point in todays culture. Simpler times I guess. He doesn’t explain why the Warriors, and Raiders first championships didn’t resonate equally. But this is a guy sitting at his computer who still talks about Tech Bros as outsiders in the house that HP built.

        I enjoyed his book, but without an editor, I agree these rallying cries expose his lack of depth, and make him sound like someone who might comment here, and find themselves written off even by those who agree with him. He comes off shortsighted, and overly romantic, and intentionally polarizing.

        • hiker_sf

          I was here for that Super Bowl win, and it was unifying. All of Broadway turned into a parking lot as tens of thousands of people came to North Beach to celebrate. I can’t articulate what it was like, but race, sexual orientation, etc, didn’t seem to matter as we celebrated.

          As for the tech bros, here is the difference that he doesn’t articulate very well: Earlier groups that descended upon San Francisco did indeed change the way things were. But they also embraced some of San Francisco’s values.

          Today that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe it is because that the tech workers have high salaries and are not economically confined to actual or cultural ghettos like previous groups. While it is always important to change and evaluate the ‘old way’ of doing things, to me it appears there has been a complete discarding of what San Francisco was. I seriously doubt if any of the newcomers even know who Emperor Norton was.

          And this made worse by the embrace of “disruptive” industries.

          Is it harmful? Is it bad? I don’t know. I don’t like it but I can’t predict what it will be like here in 10 years.

          • wcw

            The Yelamu will be interested to hear about this embrace.

          • Foginacan

            It’s true, the city buzzed after that. I’m not sure about it breaking class and identity barriers, but it was an era where a movie premiere, a large concert, the release of a new electronic gadget, a new location of a chain store, etc. could have major cultural impact in a way that’s hard to fathom today.

            Not sure where you get this idea that tech workers today aren’t equally as enamored with the SF life. Most think they’re socially responsible. IMHO, the problem is you can’t move to a city and emulate a culture. It’s as fake as moving here and deciding you’re going to become a “San Francisco Poet” or activist as opposed to an activist who happens to live in San Francisco, and respects the tradition and history that came before them. And it has nothing to do with learning the insider references to Norton, and everything to do with replacing the value of what old San Franciscans know, with this caricature of what San Franciscans are supposed to be.

          • Karl Young

            Yeah, it’s one thing to revel on the streets, in a drunken stupor, with people that you might have major disagreements with (not admitting anything !), it’s another to make policy agreements that serve something other than one’s own interests.

            And I agree that hard as it is to brand anyone invasive or not, becoming part of a culture does seem to at least intially involve doing some listening and not only preaching based on what you think that culture is about.

          • hiker_sf

            Being socially responsible has nothing to do with embracing SF culture.

            Moving to a city and ‘respecting’ the culture isn’t emulating it.

          • Foginacan

            I agree. But I’ll take it farther … someone like Talbot can live here a long time, talk the talk, position himself as a decent historian, and still unbeknownst to him, read like a clueless outsider.

            Just the same, if I moved to Boston, and immersed myself in the culture, I would never attempt to position myself as police of Bostonian culture, or values.

  • hiker_sf

    Here is a ‘way out’: Invest in a large facility that is serves as temporary housing and a multi-service center, with medical/legal partnerships, homeless advocate “navigators”, addiction services, mental health screening and treatment, employment training and that maybe develops a workforce that can be hired by companies in SF. Actually, it could be stipulated that in any contract with SF, a contractor has to hire from this workforce if there are qualified workers available.

    This center should be located in the urban core, not at pier 80. It should be fully staffed, including security/law enforcement.

    Then and only then can a limited/no tolerance policy be implemented.

    • CU

      Great idea. You got the land somewhere in “the urban core” to build this?

      • Ringo

        That is not how progressives work. They rarely create solutions themselves, nor volunteer nor donate to make a difference.

        They would rather lecture others on what they should do, and/or demand that other peoples’ money be spent.

  • whateversville

    “This is who we truly are – we open our golden gate and we take people in. The social outcasts and the dreamers, the freaks and the misfits. And yes the poor and the homeless. Because we are all one. Because we know that they are us.”

    Except for “an occupying army of techies”, apparently. I missed the part about how outcasts, and dreamers don’t count if they work in front of a computer all day.

    • IanFlowers

      You got it right. They DON’T COUNT — and they are despised throughout San Francisco by young and old alike.

      • whateversville

        What a sad, hateful person. I feel sorry for you.

  • chris12bb

    Who the hell are you to lecture me on SF Values! Problem is you think you have more ownership of SF than others. Your generation is dying off and with it some antiquated view of a SF that never existed.

    • Ringo

      Most SF progressives are over 50 these days. Boomers who benefited from rent control and Prop 13 and yet who can rarely see beyond their own privilege.

      Talbot is not even the most talented or persuasive of that dying breed.

      • IanFlowers

        Yes, he is. He’s enormously respected.

        • Ringo

          By whom, outside of the far left extremists?

    • IanFlowers

      Really? Not true. Your clueless device-ridden generation has created and manifested nothing but a ROBOTOCRACY, of which you deal-souled automatons are perfect examples. You guys will crumble soon enough and scuttle off to your empty little mini-caves to stare fruitlessly at screens.

    • HZCrane

      How do you know it never existed? How long have you lived here?

  • Foginacan

    As long as we’re clear, SF values doesn’t include hissing at movie trailers.

    The problem is, people think SF values is a lifestyle, or a diet one can adopt. It’s not a persona.

    And if it’s a mindset that includes tolerance and inclusiveness, I’m not seeing that on display.

    • hiker_sf

      Hissing at movie trailers was quite common about 25 years ago.

      • Ringo

        So was Rubik’s cube, cassette players and CB radio.

      • Foginacan

        Which is my point…if you moved here during a certain era, you might think that type of silliness is what SF values is all about.

  • Obviously, being a troll on the Tech Bros’ payroll is a good business, as evidenced by the comments here.

    • whateversville

      It’s really childish to think that anyone who disagrees with you must be paid by some shadowy villain.

      • sfister

        It’s pretty amazing that he and other weird pseudo-hippie commenters think that tech companies employ “shills” to contribute to blogs. Not only that does that make zero sense as a strategy, tech companies care not a whit for what transpires on comment threads. That much, I can guarantee. They *barely* care about what is said in the actual press. Believe me, they couldn’t give two shits about moving the opinion needle of some sweaty ass-crack with the moniker of “Trademark Dave.”

  • MKR

    Why do so many technology companies insist on locating in San Francisco even when the cost of living becomes prohibitively expensive? The earlier generation of chip companies actually had to locate near silicon valley to be near computer grade silicon for chip making, but that isn’t true of Google or Facebook. Its a lovely city with favorable climate and attractive surroundings, but there are other places on the California coast with the same.
    The same phenomenon is true of Manhattan. Big banks and brokerage firms had to be near the New York Stock Exchange to execute trades. The NYSE is an anachronism now, as trading is done off the floor and these companies don’t need to be in lower Manhattan. And if Hurricane Sandy had taken a slightly different path, the NYSE, Goldman Sachs and many of their brethren would be under water. Yet, still it continues to be some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
    A company could locate in Puerto Rico, pay almost no taxes, and employees could buy luxury beach front mansions at pennies on the dollar compared to what they are paying now. It makes you wonder what type of bizarre collusion is going on and why.

    • Ringo

      It is easy to explain. The reality is that the high-value knowledge workers that these businesses critically need are not going to live in Puerto Rico. Heck, they are not going to live in Oakland. They want to live in prime locations.

      Back when I worked for a SF-based hedge fund, they had a staff meeting about moving to Nevada. The low-value staff were fine with that but the key high-value staff said “no way”. We stayed in SF.

      The reality is that business needs high producers and their lifestyle aspirations more than those alpha folks need any particular employer. The little people may leave; the big players can call the shots.

      • MKR

        Yeah sure but what makes it so prime? The attraction of Millenials to urban areas may be a passing fad in my opinion.

        • Ringo

          Not all urban areas by any means. But certain selected ones, usually indicated by high real estate values. The lower half of Manhattan plus Greenich, CT. The northern and north-eastern parts of SF plus Marin and parts of the Peninsula, La Jolla outside of San Diego, the coastal parts of LA, you get the idea. Wherever winners congregate.

          High value workers demand high-value residential areas, and they get them.

          • MKR

            Perhaps but the best way to make money in real estate is to buy low and sell high. The SF housing market looks to me like any other type of bubble. I grew up in a suburb of Manhattan and I am very familiar with the mentality you describe – but things change. If I had a house in San Francisco I would sell it and take a profit and run.

          • Ringo

            When I bought my first SF property 20 years ago, the average home cost about 250K. I thought RE was too expensive but I held my nose and bought anyway. The average home is now over a million. and if you rented it out you’ve probably collected enough rent to cover the entire purchase price, while still owning a nicely Prop-13’ed asset.

            Betting against SF RE has been a losing bet since forever. Quality, demand and location matters.

          • MKR

            Great Im glad you have a house. That’s one less person who is homeless and miserable. No one really wants to see poverty, misery and suffering or illness and death, whether it is in San Francisco or Syrian refugees being displaced or anywhere else in the world.
            On the other hand, exploding housing and rental prices do not necessarily benefit long term residents who want to continue living in an area. If housing prices rise too rapidly it leads to inflation in other areas, which diminishes your purchasing power and can lead to social unrest. That’s the whole issue. What can and should the local governments do to control the prices such that people can continue to send their kids to public schools and buy coffee at Dunkin Donuts.

          • Ringo

            Not everyone who wants “who want to continue living in an area” can afford to in any event. Everyone would live in the most desirable places if somehow magically they were not more expensive.

            I do not believe the government either could or should engage in the kind of merciless micro-management and erosion of freedoms that would be necessary to change that natural state of affairs.

            Not every little girl gets a pony.

          • IanFlowers

            What heartless arrogant rubbish you speak!

          • sfister

            You’re missing his point. He’s saying that $250K was considered high back then (20 years ago), just as $1.2M is considered high now. Back then, no one (except for a very smart minority, clearly) thought it would ever go up. History repeats itself.

          • MKR

            History doesn’t repeat itself . The idea that it does is a very Newtonian idea.

          • Ringo

            With your uncanny and reliable ability to predict market cycles, readers should assume that you are very rich, right?

        • sfister

          The pleasant/mild weather, topography, proximity to both urban and rural areas, access to fresh produce and game…shall I go on?

          • MKR

            You can find that anywhere

  • Tod1732

    Rage! Rage against change!

    Reminds me of what the residents of the Eureka Valley neighborhood said when gay people moved into The Castro in the 60s.

  • Bryan Costales

    The 10th amendment classically protects states from being forced to enforce federal law. But the trailing part of that amendment, the “to the people” of “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
    or to the people.” implies that at the people level new rights may be enacted.

    What would happen if the board of supervisors amended the city charter to create new fundamental rights. Perhaps a right to housing, or a right to health, or a right to adequate food. Would such new rights be upheld by courts? Would they in anyway help the homeless, or help to prevent new homeless? This might be a daring effort, or a stupid one. I don’t know.

    • Ringo

      Creating a “right” to housing or healthcare, without funding, would be a futile gesture.

      The voters might support your generous sounding language. I doubt they would support the huge tax increases that would be needed to provide anything tangible, especially given that the city cannot raise its own income tax and there are strict limits on property tax.

    • sojourner_7

      The City could do all kinds of wacky things with its charter, and they probably will. The State of California, however, won’t be along for the ride, and thus any new fundamental rights wouldn’t have any legal support.

  • S. Bird

    The City needs (or needed, past tense) complete reform of the rent control ordinance. It needs to apply (or needed, I think it may be too late) to a much wider range of properties without the new construction exemption that the RBA got included (that’s problem #1) and with allowable rent increases set at THE ACTUAL RATE OF INFLATION. The rule now is that increases are set at 60% of the Federal COLA (that’s problem #2), which in turn is set well below actual inflation so that Uncle Sam doesn’t have to raise Social Security payments by very much.

    That ‘compromise’ between tenant activists (very small increases + supposedly vigorous eviction protection) and real estate developers (NO rent control on new units) back in ’79 that gave them both what they wanted has been a disaster.

    Rents on older buildings fall farther and farther behind their fair market value (Not their FREE market value, which could be vastly higher) thus creating incentives and pressure for the owners of older buildings to evict tenants, allow their property to deteriorate, sell their property (and then the new owner will evict the tenants) or leave apartments off the market entirely. Also, all that pressure means that the City had to have rather extreme protection against tenants being evicted even for very good reasons.

    It’s very nice to have your rent increase less than all of your other expenses … until your landlord realizes that he/she’s not just making somewhat less money than he might be, she/he’s making VASTLY less than they could be. Or if they actually can no longer afford to maintain their old building at all. Then, you’re OUT. And if you’d been paying $1400 a month instead of $900 a month, maybe you wouldn’t be forced out so the place could be sold.

    As it is now, a landlord has an incentive to set initial rent AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE because their rental income will fall behind real inflation starting immediately. If they could count on rental income keeping up with expenses, that would not be necessary. They wouldn’t get to cash in on real estate booms, but would be more insulated from busts (those DO happen, something we forget here)

    Sorry to rant, but it seems that people just don’t understand how much that ’79 rent control compromise has backfired. It created tremendous pressure for property owners to do anything but let people stay in their apartments for the long term.

    • curiousKulak

      I don’t recall the RBA being involved in that ‘compromise’ (rent control was restricted to larger bldgs anyway – not the RBAs forte), but it would make a certain sense; as also the notion that if you restrict what can be done with new construction, you won’t get much of it (even with that exemption, just the possibility that new construction would be later included has influenced a generation of builders.)

      San Francisco values should be shared with the rest of the country. Dispersing the ‘blue’ avante guard to ‘red’ areas would help the country become more purple. Incentivizing people to stay here has its own unintended political consequence – the country becomes more ‘red’.

      If SF progressives made a real attempt to move to five small states and change their culture, that would be 10 Republican senators that would then become Dems. Blue senate! (talking’ ’bout the SCOTUS, y’all!)

  • akinyele

    Question: Did any of the SF Vision-airys show up at the Bayview newspaper’s 40th anniversary celebration last Sunday (2/21)? Jeff Adachi, Francisco Da Costa, Avotcja, Mark Leno, Terry Collins, and about 100 more of us were there. The black Bayview (and Dogpatch, Hunters Point, Viz Valley, etc) is the new/next/final ground zero for greed and gentrification in SF. But it still seems to me that Talbot, like his book, is still hoping some new “good ol’ white boys” will save the City. Do you only wish to save your own version of SF, or are you reaching out to longtime poor, brown, black and working class activists to help you fight for ALL of us? Answer that and maybe I’ll feel I can trust your motivations.

    • IanFlowers

      Your criticism is unfair. I didn’t know about the 40th anniversary and I imagine few others did as well.

      • akinyele

        100 of us did know about it. Why did other “progressives” NOT know about this gathering? Perhaps we’re too isolated to check-in with potential allies. I should not need to say this, but here goes: Black San Franciscan Lives Matter.

  • sfparkripoff

    Ed Lee is just the patsy. At the end of the day there is one organization that seems to continually get a free pass. They call themselves a “think tank” but they are a lobby and they pull the strings Of every department in the city from transportation to zoning. http://www.spur.org/reports.htm The 30 cranes in the sky were put there by the same people who Have funneled BILLIONS out of the SFMTA to redesign the city into their model of “sustainably”

    They have created their own AstroTurf organizations to tell the rest of us that we are supposed to live and work In the same place and pay exorbinate rents and high taxes to walk and bike to our jobs. Thse of us who can’t walk or bike to our six figure tech jobs can hop on one of the many shuttles to mountain view or Santa Clara. All of this has been conceived by http://www.spur.org/reports.htm, executed through Plan Bay Area, and enabled by City Hall. I no longer trust the people who try and tell me what my values are because most of them are on city and developer payrolls. True San Franciscans don’t try and push their ideology and way of life on to others. We are not trying to create another Manhattan because we know who we are and why we are here.

  • sfister

    I’ve lived here for over 15 years and I’ll be damned if I’ll let anyone tell me whether or not I “deserve” to stay based on some arbitrary set of “values.” I took nothing for granted, saved, and bought a place. Everyone is responsible for buying their own ticket. Sorry if you’ve lived here for 50 years and feel that the city should be frozen in place just for you but that’s just not how cities work. The industry you hate so much is also responsible for this city thriving over the years. Don’t like it? Put your money where your mouth is and stop using technology products. Delete your Facebook account, stop using Google—and that includes search, mail, and maps—only buy paper/physical media, and maybe, just maybe you’ll be on your way to making a substantive case. That’s right: no Netflix streaming, no nytimes.com, no iPhone/Android, no mobile apps, no Kindle—nothing.

    Do all of that or shut the fuck up and tolerate other humans that happen to work in tech.

    Seriously: go fuck yourself, Talbot.

    • IanFlowers

      Comical comment — if it weren’t so heartless, selfish, and dumb. Yes, you personify what we call “tech dreck” — a worthless, vain little chunk of human programming impotently staring at drivel on a screen all day.

      This city isn’t “thriving” at all: it’s dying.

      Seriously, look in the mirror, you worthless sfshiter.

      • sfister

        Sorry, dude. You’re wrong.

    • MKR

      San Francisco was around long before the people at Google were ever born. It will be around long after they die. People lived without computers and Internet for most of human history and they were probably much better off. Someday there will be a huge earthquake which will level the place , it could be this year or 1000 years from now no one really knows. Get real about technology and its impact on humanity it is not the driving force in evolution or human existence in San Francisco or anywhere else

      • Ringo

        So your big political idea is wait for an earthquake, and then hope?

      • IanFlowers

        Thank you for the wise, clear, and accurate observations, MKR!

    • IanFlowers

      Do you have even a vague notion of how hysterical, hateful, and willfully blind your insulting rage is?

      Talbot is a good man, a very good man, and he’s saying what hundreds of thousands of us San Franciscans are also saying and thinking.

      What’s happened and continues to happen every day to once soulful, beautiful, and affordable San Francisco is a truly wicked phenomenon which ranks as one of the great American tragedies.

  • Earl D.

    Talbot rubs me the wrong way, so I’ll try to be extra vigilant with respect to personal attacks. But his biography in brief is: born in LA, drop out of Harvard, graduate from UC Santa Cruz, work as media executive, move to SF, create dot.com (1.0) start-up, take it to IPO, cash-out before the stock goes to pennies a share, at some point buy a house in SF.

    All fine and good. Nothing illegal. Nothing even shady. But when in that time did SF become full and off limits to rich start-up founders? And doesn’t he feel that there is an apparent conflict of interest that he apparently sat in on the committee that made that decision? Since he’s agreed that we can’t build any more market rate housing, why does he get one but no other tech worker, investment banker, medical device engineer, gets one?

    And to be clear this is not a peripheral issue. SF is severely constrained in terms of housing, we all can agree on that. If the rich (Talbot) can move in and purchase it with impunity, and we’ve decided we’re not going to build any more, then someone is going to be left without.

    Please let me know. Is this a nasty, or unfair characterization? Am I missing something?

  • IanFlowers

    Superb talk! I intend to be at the next gathering. It’s essential that the Iron Heel not be permitted to crush out the soul and spirit of San Francisco with its continuous demonic oppression. Otherwise San Francisco — the real San Francisco — will perish, as it nearly has already. The term “tech dreck” needs to become part of the popular parlance.

  • sebra leaves

    Last night all was revealed about why authorities are pushing a higher level of population on us at the expense of many. All was revealed last night at the I-280 Tear Down and Downtown Extension update meeting on Potrero Hill. This is all about creating a market for a product that does not yet exist and may never be realized, in order to attract enough capital to jump start a stalled venture. Read it and decide for yourself who you trust to solve our problems.
    https://zrants.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/the-truth-about-high-speed-rail/

  • PennyLuckySF

    Anyone who thinks David Talbot is only speaking for himself and the people of his generation is a fool. He gave a key note that reflects the views of hundreds of thousands. Yes, hundreds of thousands. Of all ages and backgrounds. .