Sunday, May 9, 2021
Uncategorized The Cove of Weepers: Why San Francisco has often...

The Cove of Weepers: Why San Francisco has often had good reason to be nervous about new arrivals

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48hillsohlone
You can’t blame the Ohlone People if they weren’t thrilled with the newcomers who displaced and ultimately killed many of them.

 

By Rebecca Solnit

“In the past, it was racists and homophobes who attacked newcomers to San Francisco. Today, anti-tech activists are promoting a new nativism, charging incoming tech workers with undermining the city’s traditional values,” wrote Randy Shaw recently in a not-very-subtle ultimatum: love the massive new tech population and its impact on our city — or be compared to Bad People. But San Francisco’s history, though brief, is still varied enough that you can find any example you like. Including a lot in which new arrivals weren’t welcome for very good reasons.

Let’s start at the beginning of the recorded history of what the Spaniards dubbed la Bahia de San Francisco, San Francisco Bay (the city didn’t get its name until much later). Relative newcomer (from Mexico City) and magnificent community member Adriana Camarena recently wrote about what may have been the first encounter between really really native San Franciscans and Europeans in her Unsettlers project:

“Ocean fog protected the Bay from European discovery, until 1769, when explorer Gaspar de Portolá viewed the body of water from a mountaintop. Six years later, on August 5, 1775, the ship San Carlos sailed through the golden gate under a moonlit sky. The Huimen Ohlone awoke to find a 193-ton, two-masted brig, 58 feet in length, floating in their landscape. In the following days, the crew of the San Carlos set out to sound the Bay in their longboats. Second Pilot Juan Bautista Aguirre took a boat Southeast to scout for good anchorage.

“On an inlet of a cove, he observed three native people weeping; their faces painted black and streaked with tears…. That day, we do not know for whom cried the Ohlone, but impressed, Second Pilot Aguirre named this cove after them La Ensenada de los Llorones or the Cove of Weepers; later to be renamed Mission Bay. On that day, the watershed of the Mission was first christened by the Spaniards in the name of tears.”

You could be fanciful and imagine they were weeping for Mission Bay itself, due to be filled in with garbage, sewage, rubbish, and sand from leveling the dunes nearby to develop the South of Market area. The new-made land housed the great railroad and terrible political power known as the Southern Pacific , then the huge biotech complex that is a triumph of Willie Brown’s manipulation of San Francisco demographics and economics and the biggest single development in the city’s history. Or you could imagine that the Ohlone were weeping at the arrival of the Europeans who would dispossess them of their land and attempt to annihilate their culture and, to a fair extent, their existence. Though there are still Ohlone here, who would still like some of their land back.

One Ohlone descendant,  Andrew Galvan, recalls that in 1806, among the indigenous people in what would become San Francisco, “Out of a population of 850 people, 343 died of measles in a period of 36 hours. Every child under the age of five died.” Measles came with the newcomers, and along with the pretty marked graves with Irish and Spanish names in Mission Dolores Cemetery are the unmarked graves of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Ohlone people. Though probably delighted by some of the technology of the newcomers, they were not, so far as we can tell, thrilled by the newcomers themselves.

We don’t blame them for not being thrilled. Not all newcomers come with their hat in their hand, humbly, to learn the ways of the people there and meld with the existing culture.

In 1846, Captain John C. Fremont of the American Army came into Mexican California and began a campaign of murder and plunder known as the Bear Flag Revolt. It merged with the larger war on Mexico, by which the United States stole Mexico’s northern half and turned most of the Euro-Mexicans living here into a dispossessed underclass. Though the Californianos were legendary for their hospitality, they were not delighted by the arrival of the shabby, rag-tag, mixed-bag of an army Fremont and his gang assembled. “A marauding band of horse thieves, trappers and runaway sailors,” one witness called them.

General Mariano Vallejo himself recalled in later years ‘the vandal-like manner in which the ‘Bear’ soldiers sacked the Olompalí Rancho [just north of modern-day Novato on the Marin/Sonoma border] and maltreated the eighty year old Damaso Rodriguez Alférez, whom they beat so badly as to cause his death in the presence of his daughters and granddaughters.” The Californios were not pleased by this. Nor were they happy to be shot at, taken prisoner, or stripped of much of their land. We don’t think of them as impolite for not welcoming the invaders.

San Francisco got its name a few years later, as the sleepy hamlet of Yerba Buena exploded into the capital of the west and the gold rush. Hordes poured in, and it was those gold-seekers spreading into the hitherto-unviolated homelands of the foothill and Sierra tribes of California who committed, by sheer brutality and by numbers, and by ecological devastation, and by plan, the worst genocide in our state’s history. It’s in that decade, more than any other, that the rich, diverse native nations were devastated.

Shaw points out the Chinese weren’t welcomed. My friend Philip Fradkin, in his magesterial history of the 1906 earthquake, writes of how the epidemic of bubonic plague a few years before was used by Mayor Phelan as an excuse to call “for the razing of Chinatown and the removal of its inhabitants to detention centers on either remote Mission Rock or Angel Island in the middle of the bay.” But there were still Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans in the neighborhood when the 1906 earthquake happened, and some of the city fathers used it as an excuse to try to eliminate Chinatown all over again.

It wasn’t about newcomers and oldtimers as it was about the powerful versus the vulnerable—though the powerful wanted to get rid of the oldtimers to move newcomers, as residents or businesses, into that prime real estate in downtown San Francisco. But the intended victims weren’t helpless: the Chinese government and various other forces helped them fight back. Chinatown still stands where it always has.

South of Market and the Fillmore don’t, however:  Both buildings and inhabitants were eliminated in a furious project of “urban renewal,” the official name for a kind of 1950s-1970s urban cleansing that drove poor people and people of color out of their neighborhoods nationwide and rebuilt them according to the lights and at the service of the powers that be. This wave of erasure preceded gentrification—and like gentrification was often hailed at the time as an improvement on the old neighborhood.

But it didn’t improve it for the old neighbors; they were thrown out like trash in many cases, and new populations were brought in, or new regimented developments replaced the old independent space. I remember when the Fillmore’s vacant lots were finally filled in in the 1980s, decades after the beautiful, shabby Victorians there were razed. In between: vacant lots. With cyclone fences around them. In what had been the Harlem of the West.

Just this month, residents of  the Fillmore Center’s high-rise towers, completed in 1991, were saved from having their homes turned into condominiums and sold out from under them. You could call this a way of not welcoming the newcomers who would have undoubtedly snapped up those condominiums as they have thousands of apartments from which tenants have been unwillingly removed, but you probably wouldn’t.

The old South of Market that had been safe harbor for generations of the poor, and was, even into the 1970s, a haven for old waterfront workers living in the neighborhood’s numerous residential hotels on small pensions and Social Security, was destroyed to make the shiny, amnesiac, upscale commercial-and-cultural place you probably know. Those old men, union men, organizers, survivors of the 1934 General Strike, knew how to fight, and fought a fierce, protracted battle. The monuments to their wills are the nonprofit highrise housing for seniors still in the neighborhood, among the parking garages and museums and mall-like complexes. But San Francisco became a harder place in which to be a poor person.

Newcomers—refugees from conservatism, from homophobia, from small-town intolerance, from the dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s and the Jim Crow south of the 1940s and 1950s, seekers of education, liberation, social experiments, and cultural possibilities—have arrived here mostly as trickles, not floods. They’ve become part of the city, often its heart — its muralists and its Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, its poets and professors and doctors and dreamers. But that’s not the only history of San Francisco. As Shaw well knows, there is another history, the history I’ve been relating, of invasion and eviction and evisceration. It didn’t stop with the Ohlone or the Californios or urban renewal.

You welcome guests into your home. But when people are trying to push you out of your home, they don’t exactly count as guests. So although many individuals in the new tech population are undoubtedly lovely — the ones who aren’t putting out screeds against the homelessmisogynist rants, paranoiac comparisons of  San Franciscans and tech critics to Nazis, or pushing their Google glasses in your face — this huge and hugely well-paid population is displacing a lot of us. Or rather, they are giving landlords and speculators and lawyers a reason to evict, by Ellis Act, by threat and intimidation, by other means, many longtime residents, by being very willing to take their housing and pay exorbitantly for it (and occasionally doing their own owner move-in evictions).

The evicted include vulnerable residents—the ill, the elderly, the economically fragile. And important contributors to San Francisco’s culture—poets, teachers, human rights activists. The epidemic of evictions threatens to change the culture of San Francisco or just evict it, as downtown galleries,  social organizations, longtime neighborhood bars, affordable housing, and the vision of a city where you can live for something more and other than working 60 hours a week for a megacorporation, are all driven out.

So the incoming tech population, as we all already know, is contributing to making life really hard for a lot of San Franciscans—those who have been evicted, who fear eviction, or who just see a lot of what they love being thinned out and dying off and maybe even looking doomed. This is what’s not being welcomed.

And Randy Shaw knows it. It’s thanks to his work in earlier decades, and that of other activists, that so much of the Tenderloin is protected as nonprofit housing. People aren’t being driven out there—though a crazy tech flophouse called the Negev is nearby, renting beds in dorms for $1,000 apiece.

Here’s what I’m not welcoming to San Francisco. The eviction of a friend’s mom who stood out in the rain at a demonstration a week or so ago, holding a sign that said, “I am a senior evicted from my home of 36 years.” The eviction of Rene Yanez ,who did more than anyone to make the Mission the rich Latino cultural center it’s been for forty years—evicted he and his wife both had cancer. The eviction of my friend Aaron Shurin, the great poet of gay life here and a witness to it since the mid-1960s. The pricing-out of Esta Noche, the Latino drag queen bar, so that San Francisco can have yet another cocktail lounge for straight white people who already own most of the turf in this country and don’t really need a few hundred square feet more.The driving out of a host of nonprofits serving human rights, the environment, education, and more.

The eviction of the vehicularly housed from 61 new locations, announced just this week—and what does it mean that we are a city that has allowed corporate buses to crowd our public bus stops without payment or permission but won’t let the poor park their homes? Because this city is becoming a place that serves the affluent and does disservice to the rest of us.

When hordes of prosperous young white men piss all over Dolores Park, the city plans to build special urinals for them — while continuing to arrest homeless people even for sitting or lying in public, let alone urinating. (Even muralist Megan Wilson, who has given so much to this city over the past couple of decades, was threatened with arrest when she sat down to rest while painting a mural on Clarion Alley.) Because the welcoming city Shaw speaks of is itself being evicted. And being replaced by some form of gated community. We’re going from inclusive to exclusive.

This city’s history begins with weepers. Maybe it’s ending that way too, or at least an era is. But the real issue is why Randy Shaw is telling people how to feel rather than addressing why they feel that way. And why he’s portraying as the victims in this confrontation the powerful newcomers who are displacing longtime and often more vulnerable and diverse (in age, race, class, vocation, and income) residents.

Diane DiPrima, who was a newcomer to this city forty years ago and who is counted as one of the great poets of her generation, wrote a very short poem a long time ago. It goes like this: “Get your cut throat off my knife.” It’s spoken in the voice of the attacker, and it’s the very essence of blaming the victim, of mixing up what’s happening, of denying who has the power. Which is why it’s called “Nightmare 6.” I hope San Francisco will live to harbor more generations of great poets, but right now things aren’t looking bright in that respect.

And there isn’t an app that’s going to fix it. Welcome to Nightmare 2014.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Another white person complaining about the Asian and Latino newcomers. So blind to her own privilege and racism.

  2. If the white men are pissing in the park, we can say the white men are pissing in the park. I’m very sorry your delicate superiority has been threatened, but the reality is this is happening.

  3. Don’t know who first said that geography is destiny. SF’s unique physical placement is a formative factor here: surrounded on three sides by water, and unable to build vertically due to earthquake danger. Is there another major metropolitan area in the country in the same situation? Sure, it means sprawl is avoided (in the city limits), but it also creates a shortage, which drives up the price of housing and creates competition and resentment in the population.

    Seems like SF’s loss of a solid middle class base echoes a larger problem which is happening throughout the country, where the middle class continues to lose ground. Where is the middle ground? SF’s full of great coffeehouses and parks; wonder if any of you former hippies and present techies ever thought of getting together and talking over your problems face to face. I’ll bet you’ll find a lot in common.

  4. Curious as to why the xenophobia and ire of the author is directed towards techies only? They represent only ~10% of the SF population and although many are rich, many are not and all are facing high housing prices which can’t solely be caused by their arrival. Where are the screeds vilifying bankers, lawyers, real estate agents rich art dealers, restauranteurs or any other non-tech worker also necessarily involved in rising house prices?

    What of the many tech workers who are aren’t at all alike the handful of very public ignoramuses endlessly held up as exemplars of the evil invading hordes? Do they deserve the blind vilification going on in Ms. Solnit and others’ diaries? Have you spoken at length to any techies about these issues? Can you imagine that many of them are sympathetic to the problems of the city?

    Ms. Solnit regarding your real-estate transaction, regardless of the neighbourhood or type of building sold or whether it was 2 years ago it is still hypocritical to bemoan escalating rental prices while contributing to and profiting from the same. How are you any different than any speculating landlord in this case?

  5. Hi David, the comments are initially automatically scanned for SPAM before they’re sent for approval. We had to setup some filters because we were getting 1000’s of SPAM comments a week. Every now and then some comments will get sorted into SPAM, but we’re trying to improve the system.

  6. Does anyone here think that the social philosophy articulated by Henry George in San Francisco in 1879 has any relevancy to these momentous times?

  7. Interesting. I referred to a free walking tour taking up SF real estate in a previous comment to this article. And referred to socializing land rents. And my comment was excised. I’d appreciate hearing from 48 Hills whether it was these points or something else that occasioned the removal.

  8. Sure, but Asian men for the most part do not live in SF and commute to the south bay because they’re not obsessed with city life enough to make the painful commute. It’s predominantly whites who are willing to spend two hours on the reverse commute.

    Anyway, I completely understand the author’s thesis. It’s the same feeling as I get when I talk to my parents in Arizona when they’re happy about all of the laws they have strengthening their borders. They do not want their culture to be diluted by intruders, aliens with a different culture–they want things to stay the same, they like the place that they retired to to look, feel, and sound the same as when they chose it.

    Congratulations SF–You’ve become a bunch of old conservatives.

  9. The various people who sold their places in Eureka Valley in the ’60s and ’70s were glad to take the money and run. The homogenous Castro would not exist otherwise. And the population density then was a mere fraction of what it is now (same for car density).
    Today it is a different thing. Getting Ellised out of a rent-controlled apartment, seeing it condo’d, then flipped two or three times, and taken for more than you could earn in your whole life, or two or three lives: no way to see that as a sustainable system, just because there is money for it today.
    There’s only so much water we can steal from the Sierras, no matter how many low flow toilets we subsidize. It isn’t going to get better with any technology. Maximum density is insanity, even on bicycle seats.

  10. Good perspective. Loved the historical context. But PLEASE refrain from unnecessary “white men” bashing. It’s offensive, even if you choose not recognize it.

    “When hordes of prosperous young white men piss all over Dolores Park.”

    Newspapers and media publications avoid using race unless it’s pertinent. I don’t think it’s pertinent to your point. Further, I live in the Mission and have gone to Dolores Park for years. Yes, I’ve seen white men piss near the Muni tracks. But I’ve also seen women do it. I’ve seen people of multiple ethnicities do it. Really, the overriding similarity of the public urinators was age. They were mostly in their 20s or 30s.

    So, please, enough with the unnecessary “white men” bashing. It’s offensive.

    I doubt I’ll change your perspective on this, as you’re probably already rolling your eyes and wanting to remind me of how privileged white men are, but here’s my final point: It’s not germane to your overarching point. Your post seems to be about placing the tech incursion into a greater context. But prosperous white males, while undoubtedly a significant makeup of the tech incursion, do not appear to be its leading ethnic group. So your unnecessary “white men” reference, in current day, also comes across as poor research: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22094415/asian-workers-now-dominate-silicon-valley-tech-jobs

  11. San Francisco’s tech-driven housing crisis is happening because the South Bay was industrialized with no regional planning for population growth beyond building freeways and assuming that the marketplace would provide housing. It’s short-sighted to make this into a chapter of the history of discrimination in San Francisco. San Francisco developed and retained its unique character during a period when its housing stock was underused and undervalued. That the city used rent control and its planning process to maintain this character made it inevitable that when the regional tech-driven boom in demand for housing reached San Francisco, the supply of housing would not be able to grow fast enough to accommodate new neighbors without pricing residents out.

  12. I’m so weary of tech invasion defenders always equating the current influx with previous migrations into the City, as though it’s just another wave of newcomers. Hippies and gays, for instance, didn’t move here to participate in a corporate culture that created an instant dominant economic class. When you’re a member of said elite class, your choices and actions have profound (and usually, profoundly negative) impacts on those of us who aren’t, nor want to be, you.

  13. 4th Generation San Franciscan on both sides here, and might we revel in the boom whilst it lasts? The bust, as always, lurks around the corner. So strap yourselves in, free clinics and soup kitchens are perched and ready to pounce.
    PS: Doesn’t Google owe us all a concert hall? Or something??

  14. Yet it’s Solnit’s shabby skills that torpedo her argument, here.

    Look how she scours history for historical moments with the proper progressive mix of brown underdog and white scourge. She unrestrainedly waxes writerly as the underserved Other is repeatedly harried.

    That’s all well and good, but today’s newcomers get none of that novelist’s acuity. Instead a 82-year old oligarch’s tone-deaf “kristallnacht” remark is a token of the 29 year old Google Bus rider’s ostensible disdain. As for the social media attention seeker brandishing her Glass, the tech community excoriated her behavior immediately and on every level. The myriad reasons people are flocking to SF are thusly and so sloppily damned. And it continues to be baffling that Solnit never addresses housing supply.

    In the end, I’m just disappointed that literary perception is being whored out to invective.

    I don’t think you can lecture your readers about skills until you start taking seriously your own, Rebecca.

  15. It is interesting how people misread Rebecca’s beautifully written article to construct their own meanings. For me the issues are race and class, gender and tolerance, exploitation and contribution. So basically I am in sympathy with the views expressed. One little detail, however. Rebecca quotes Adriana Camarena that “Portola” was the first European who saw San Francisco from a mountain top…well, actually it was the chief scout, Sgt. Juan Francisco Ortega, my ancestor, who saw the Bay…and mountain top is a bit of a stretch…more like a big hill up around San Bruno. Oretga was born in New Spain, now called Mexico, and it is not impossible he had indigenous blood. We don’t know how long his ancestors had been there. It was over 200 years since the Spanish conquered Central America. But even though Ortega wasn’t the first European to see the bay, as he wasn’t a European really, others in his scouting group (other working class men) were probably Europeans since many in the expedition were Catalan Volunteers who had come straight from Iberia to California, including another of my ancestors, Jose Butron, who married an Ohlone woman a few years later. Anyway, if one is to construct morality tales out of California history, it helps to get the details right. The Californianos who came in 1769 were mainly peasant and working class, were certainly colonized in their own right (Catalans, Meztios) and in many cases were part indigenous. And do you know that the majority of the “Europeans” who found Los Angeles were part African? California is a story of mixing, of creating, of horrific crimes and of resistance, even transcendence. We can only move forward, but I hope our path is illuminated by the best of our past. — crystal

  16. In addition, the very fact that the vast majority of techies and tech companies recognize they harm they are doing to others in terms of passive-aggressive racism, gentrification, class warefare…etc, and do nothing about it says alot in terms of their social-political ideas that they espouse. To put it bluntly, their lack of action, and empathy IS an endorsement of gentrification, racism, class warefare…etc.

    Plus, there are a lot of things to be exposed about these companies, their hiring practices in terms of WHO they hire (race and socio-economic class).

  17. Really loved the article! I’ve experienced this too while I was living up in the Bay but now have to commute from the Central Valley since I still work in SF.

    I hope more and more information is put out to expose the empty words of tech companies and techies when they say they are “creative”, “innovative”, or let alone call themselves “smart” or “intelligent” for an overly specialized person who only know a small sector of knowledge.
    Rebecca, don’t be let down by these techies who comment on here to legitimize gentrification, passive-aggressive raciscm, class warefare, and bourgeois sensibilities (the latter I find extremely disgusting and on the same level as the aforementioned). They are merely playing an old tactic taken from the Neo-Con playbook of the “underdog” who so happens to be the rich economic terrorists that they are.

  18. Eloquent soliloquy, Rebbecca, consistent with most of what I’ve read of yours, and what was in the beautiful atlas. But I’m still kind of left wondering what can be done about the situation. I realize that you were mainly addressing Randy’s sort of broad lumping of any resistance to change, but I’m actually trying to find some equanimity in all of this and I haven’t seen many suggestions from anyone about how to do so. As a lifelong SF renter (and I think at least a teenie weenie contributor to SF culture) I’m on the verge of getting priced out even though currently in a rent controlled unit. I’m not averse to a whole new economic system that values externalities like maybe the average quality of life, but I’m not holding my breath. And though it would be absurd for artists and non techie creatives to compare there plight to that of the Ohlone, maybe there is a slight similarity in terms of considering the latest changes almost an act of nature. Maybe it’s time for the creatives to pack up, get out of Dodge, beautiful as it is, and find a new place to create a culture. But that seems like it would take more letting go and forward thinking than those who, rightly, decry the current state of affairs.

  19. A lot of wonderful people were pushed around and pushed out when other groups of people moved here en mass (hippies, gays, etc.). This has been and is a major problem that needs real solutions– whether that is strengthening rent control, fixing the Ellis Act, building more low-income housing, etc.

    It is true that most tech workers aren’t really “victims” in any strong sense of the nativism Randy Shaw describes– at least not nearly as much as those being pushed out of the city are victims. But this is our home, too, and most of us want to help fix it. Focusing on the identities of the incoming people, casting us as the Techie Other, like the Hippie Other was written about in the past, is counterproductive. Putting up divisions between neighbors based on what industry they work in, how long they have been here, or whether or not you approve of their culture is not going to lower anyone’s rent. Blaming individuals for problems that have institutional and structural causes isn’t going to stop any evictions. All of this just serves to further divide the city into factions that spend their energy yelling at each other rather than actually addressing problems.

  20. Oh people, polish your reading and research skills before you speak. It was neither a condo nor a place located in the Mission that I sold in mid-2011, before the current situation had come into focus, to a Google engineer (who seemed best equipped to cope with the building’s co-owners). And I don’t compare myself anywhere to the Ohlone or the Chinese; I’m not an embattled tenant, and and I’m not talking about myself, just watching a lot of wonderful people get pushed around and pushed out. I do, however, support the return of some of San Francisco to the Rumsen Ohlone.

  21. A very useful antidote to the insidiously seductive arguments on behalf of the hi-tech infestation of the Tenderloin and south of market neighborhoods being promoted by Randy Shaw, whose non-profit agency stands to profit greatly from the “newcomers.”

  22. Solnit makes her point beautifully. However, as a Mission resident, I find it hard to overlook the fact that she sold her Mission condo to the highest bidder: a Google employee. Her actions enabled the colonization that her words ask others to fight against.

  23. I sympathize with Rebecca Solnit’s ideas about high-tech newcomers to San Francisco making the city too expensive. I grew up on the same block in SF as my grandparents. I now live around the corner from my parents. Rents and housing prices are so high, the chances of my children living in SF are low. They might have to live elsewhere when they grow up.

    It saddens my that SF has become so expensive, but nevertheless I find it kind of disingenuous how Solnit likens herself to the Ohlones, Californianos and 19th Century Chinese who were oppressed and persecuted by white Americans. Solnit is herself a white American from Marin County no less. She is not being oppressed or persecuted by the techies. The techies with their wealth and skills suited to today’s economy are doing what she and her generation did to the blue-collar San Franciscans who lived in the City in large numbers prior to 1965 or so. The techies are displacing her. As surely has she displaced a black family or black renter when she moved into the Fillmore, she is being displaced. She doesn’t have anything in common with the Ohlones and 19th Century Chinese.

    It’s kind of amusing to imagine what kind of defense blue collar San Franciscans of the 1960s would have made against incoming hippies if they had blogs like this one in which to air their complaints. Solnit complains about “hordes of prosperous young white men piss(ing) all over Dolores Park.” Hordes of middle-class hippies pissed all over Golden Gate Park in the years 1966-1974, and now, 40 years later, Solnit lauds those those same hippies as “seekers of education, liberation, social experiments, and cultural possibilities.”

    Who’s to say whether the techies aren’t seekers of liberation and cultural possibilities? Some of them are, certainly, or they wouldn’t choose to live in SF. The techies might create something good and new.

    Owing to its Catholic (not puritan Protestant) heritage and position on the far frontier of the United States, San Francisco has always been a wide-open town open to newcomers and new ideas. I would like it to remain that way. Solnit’s ideas about techie newcomers are self-serving is and mean-spirited.

  24. Amen to that , Rebecca! Thank you for your eloquent distillation of the very real cultural cleansing that is happening in this beautiful city and why this matters.

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