Do we really need all the handwringing and the denunciations of the actor who tricked reporters (for all of an hour or two?) It happens. It’s going to happen again. The guy was good. He made his point. I’m really not going to get agitated about it.

What we do know, and don’t need actors or activists or anyone else to tell us, is that lots and lots of people in San Francisco are mad at the new tech workers who are driving up rents. Not the fault of the workers so much at the landlords, who are taking huge advantage of the situation, but still: The folks who ride in luxury buses to work on the Peninsula, and the folks who work at Twitter and the Financial Children of Ron Conway aren’t helping themselves at all. There’s too much of the “I’m richer so I must be smarter” attitude and not enough involvement in the community. Even Willie Brown says that.

You wonder why people would believe that a Google worker would tell the rest of us we’re not good enough to live here? Check this out.


The supervisors have agreed to allow the SFMTA to buy new parking meters,but not to put any meters in new locations.

I could have predicted the backlash when MTA announced back in November that it was buying 10,000 more meters than it actually needed for the current replacement project those meters weren’t going to sit around doing nothing.

Parking meters bring in a lot of money, and Muni needs a lot of money, and making people pay for street parking is one way to get it. But San Francisco is a notoriously mixed-use city – most neighborhoods have commercial and residential and sometimes offices running right up against each other and sometimes sharing the same space.

So while pretty much everyone agrees that we need meters in commercial areas, where people are (unfortunately) driving to go shopping, it gets much trickier in areas where the meters might start to creep into blocks that are mostly housing.

And it also clashes with the concept of neighborhood parking permits, which in essence allow people who live in an area (and pay a ridiculously low nominal annual fee) to essentially buy a valuable parking space that’s not available to anyone else. (It’s also a way to keep out-of-town commuters from, say, driving to 24th Street, parking in Noe Valley, and taking BART downtown to work. Which makes sense.)

Meters and “congestion pricing” (higher fees for parking when there’s lots of demand) make perfect sense in a lot of areas. There’s some serious dispute about how much of traffic congestion is caused by people looking for parking, but it’s a lot. At least, in certain times and places.

But adding meters to residential streets is going to be such a huge fight, and piss off so many people, that the MTA wisely backed down. There are other options to bring in Muni money – I have been talking for years about the need for a local vehicle license fee hike, which the mayor is finally taking up. I also have to wonder why malls and big-box outlets get away with offering all that free parking – how come people who shop in the neighborhoods, at locally owned businesses (which we like) pay for parking at meters, while people who go to Lowe’s or Stonestown Mall (chain stores, don’t like) get to park free? Would it be possible for the city to ban free parking at big-box outlets and make them install meters? And give some money to the city?

(And on the subject of car culture: The Niners can’t host Monday Night Football in Santa Clara because there’s no parking– and because, unlike the Giants stadium, and to a certain extent, Candlestick, there’s zero way to get to the fancy new digs without driving.)