David Talbot talks about different world visions for young educated workers from The Farm.

From Ken Kesey to class warfare: A strange trip between SF and Palo Alto
From Ken Kesey to class warfare: A strange trip between SF and Palo Alto

JANUARY 26, 2015 — Editor’s note: Early Sunday morning, I made my way down to the second block of Townsend Street to join in a 24-hour event put on by Pando Daily called “don’t be awful.” The webcast was set up in the Braintree office, a classic wood-and-stone Soma tech nest with open spaces, a big kitchen, lots of takeout food, and a keg of beer.

I talked about community, about what it means for a bunch of better-paid people to move into a place where low-income people already live – and why it’s not okay for the newcomers to force out the longtime residents.

And then I laid out some of my rules for Not Being Awful, starting with: Don’t ever move into an apartment, TIC, condo, or house that has been cleared by an eviction. Don’t assume that because you have more money that you have to right to take someone else’s home away. Don’t treat an existing community like your personal playground.

Afterward, one of the event organizers thanked me for coming, even though, she said, “I disagree with almost everything you said.” Seriously? So it’s okay to evict poor people to make room for new rich people? Is that what the SF Chron talked about today with a story called “psychology studies suggest rising wealth means more jerks in SF?

Then I got an email from David Talbot, the founder of Salon, the author of Season of the Witch, a longtime SF writer and activist, with a copy of a speech he just delivered at Stanford. It sums thing up pretty nicely. I’ve posted the entire thing below (Tim Redmond)

By David Talbot

I would like to come here today with wondrous tales of San Francisco’s future. I would like to tell you that the liberation battles of the 1960s and ‘70s that made San Francisco the soaring capital of the human spirit were not only won – as I wrote about in “Season of the Witch” – but continue to triumph. But, instead, I come not to praise this heroic past, but to bury it. And to bring you grim tidings of the future from the City of Love.

This is not simply a San Francisco story, of course, because the Bay Area is one urban/suburban organism. For good or ill, Stanford and San Francisco have always been closely entwined. There’s “The City” – for that’s what we still call San Francisco around these parts, because it’s the only metropolis in northern California deserving of such a grand title. And there’s “The Farm” – that bucolic sanctuary of higher learning started by Leland Stanford, one of the Golden State’s legendary robber barons. A big pipeline of intellectual and financial capital flows up and down the Peninsula between City and Farm.

For many years, Stanford was the country-club university where millionaires of the West sent their children – the bright and the not-so-bright offspring of privilege. But in the 1930s and ‘40s. things began to change around here. Stanford grads William Hewlett and David Packard began tinkering in their legendary garage. And, after World War II, William Shockley moved west to work on his transistors. Pumped full of Pentagon money, this sun-dappled campus and the green fields and orchards surrounding it suddenly blossomed into Silicon Valley. Engineers and entrepreneurs were the new gods – not farm owners and railroad barons.

Much of the wealth in this new boom was blood money. The shiny new instruments of technology that bloomed here sprang from the Defense Department’s need to identify the enemy, track the enemy and destroy as many of them as possible. Even vaporize entire civilian populations if necessary. It was the Cold War. We were told that we were locked in a fight to the finish with a ruthless foe. There was little moral reflection in the research labs of Silicon Valley or Stanford in those days. As Dylan sang, “We learned to accept it, accept it with pride – for you don’t count the dead, when God’s on your side.”

Back then, you didn’t want to examine too closely the political views of these new gods — these masters of innovation and progress. Highlighting the symbiotic connection between Silicon Valley and the war machine, David Packard would become Secretary of Defense for President Nixon, helping to manage the genocidal war in Vietnam. And Shockley would feel free to vent his master-race views on eugenics and call for the voluntary sterilization of inferior peoples.

From Shockley’s fascist eccentricity to the selfish libertarianism of today’s baby tech moguls, the lords of Silicon Valley have long felt it was their right and duty to impose their views on the rest of us, no matter how noxious they are. And although their greed-based politics don’t usually play well with the voting public – since their ideas are born in the tech bubbles that only they inhabit – these supremely self-confident men and women keep running for high office. Considering the untold wealth at its disposal, sooner of later Silicon Valley will elect one of its own to the executive mansions in Sacramento and to Washington. And resistance will be futile.

When this day comes, it will mark the complete triumph of techno-capitalism – the machine mentality that all social problems can be engineered away. And if your problems don’t fit into this equation, tough luck. You don’t compute. You have no option but to disappear. It’s the law of Darwin. It’s the law of Schumpeter. There is no progress without creative destruction – and, poof! you’re about to be extinct.

For those of us who live in San Francisco, and have called it home for many years and have raised our families there, this is not simply a dystopian nightmare of the future. It’s our daily reality. To paraphrase David Byrne, every day we look around our city, we think, “This is not our beautiful home, this is not our beautiful life.” Every day brings new evictions – the carpenters, shoe repairmen, truck drivers, bookstore owners, grocers, nurses, teachers, firefighters, social workers, chefs and waiters, writers, artists. All the people who make up a living, breathing, multidimensional city – all gone or going. Replaced by the new class — those lucky code-crunchers and marketers who just exercised their stock options and can afford to pay cash and pay above the asking price for a home once lived in by a school librarian and her taxi-driving, poetry-writing husband who was just Ubered out of his job. The irony, of course, is that the young techies now flooding into San Francisco were attracted by the very urban qualities – the colorful social mix, the creative vibe, the city’s progressive and compassionate soul – that are now being rapidly driven out by the rule of money.

Money buys everything in San Francisco these days. It buys entire downtown city blocks, where armies of Oracle workers and other corporate empires are allowed to occupy the streets and throw parties to themselves. These 1% Occupiers are not beaten and teargassed by the police. They are coddled and protected by the city. While the rest of us can only wail to heaven about the massive traffic jams and the blocked routes to work, these corporate occupiers of San Francisco gate off public streets for their own private festivals — listening to world-famous bands and gorging on the cuisine of four-star chefs imported for their exclusive pleasure.

Meanwhile, blocks away in the Mission – the district that is being rapidly depopulated of its Latino and working-class families – kids who show up for soccer practice at their neighborhood park, like they have done their whole lives, suddenly find that the playground has been rented by smugly entitled employees of Dropbox and Airbnb – one of the companies driving the wave of evictions in the city. Sorry kids — in San Francisco these days, it’s pay or don’t play.

Tech money has even bought City Hall. Mayor Ed Lee could have been the leader San Francisco needed. Lee’s father was an overworked short-order cook in a Chinese restaurant. Lee himself was once a crusading housing activist, fighting greedy landlords in Chinatown. He makes all the right noises and gestures about saving San Francisco’s gloriously unique identity. But that’s all they really are – gestures.

In truth, Lee is owned by avatars of the tech future like start-up investor Ron Conway. And most depressing of all, nobody with a more inspiring vision of San Francisco has emerged to challenge Lee for mayor this year. With each passing day, his disastrous, tech-sponsored reign seems like it will go unchallenged for another four years. All the one-dimensional banality of the current digital era is written all over Lee’s bland, bureaucratic administration. He’s a mustache in search of a man.

Here’s the cold reality today. There is a raging war in San Francisco between long-time residents of the city and the new elites. A younger Ed Lee, when he was a Chinatown activist, would have called this a “Class War” – because that’s what it is. A war between the 1% and the 99% over the future of San Francisco’s precious turf.

My own neighborhood – Bernal Heights — has become a frontline in this class war. Not long ago, Bernal Heights was a funky mix of blue-collar workers, lesbian starter-families, counterculture artists, community organizers and Latina grandmothers. But Bernal Heights had the misfortune of being blessed with affordable housing, verdant backyards and parks – and being conveniently located next to the hipster-infused Mission, and even worse, to Highway 101 – the Google bus route to Silicon Valley. Suddenly, this unusually mixed San Francisco neighborhood was transformed into what one real estate web site recently crowned the hottest zip code in the country.  Now, if you stand at the corner of Precita and Alabama – the main checkpoint for the neighborhood — instead of seeing battered Subaru Outbacks and Hondas, you see a steady stream of new-model Teslas, BMWs and Uber limousines. A rapid, seamless flow of gleaming, luxurious metal that never slows down – not even for the children and dogs who come spilling into the street from the nearby park. These Silicon Valley movers and shakers can’t afford to slow down – time is money.

In the old days, the neighborhood’s celebrities were people like Terry Zwigoff — the independent filmmaker who made “Ghost World” and ”Bad Santa” — and underground cartoonists like Robert Crumb and Spain Rodriguez, creators of the most cutting-edge comics in America. These luminaries often retouched the neighborhood in their own inimitable style, building new turrets on their odd castles or painting murals of busty action heroes on their walls. But they didn’t tear down the whole place and start over. The new hot-shots are different, however. They’re knocking down the neighborhood’s ramshackle houses right and left  — and replacing them with cold, futuristic mega-mansions. With every new slate-gray exterior that pops up, there goes the warm and oddball neighborhood.

Last year, a young, Latino man named Alex Nieto was shot 14 times and killed by police near my house, on top of Bernal Hill, a scenic area where people like to stroll and walk their dogs. Someone had reported that Nieto, a 28-year-old security guard who grew up in the neighborhood, didn’t look right. These days, fewer and fewer of us long- time residents look right, look like we still belong in our own homes. Sooner or later, if we’re not removed by force, we’ll be moved by the invisible hand of the market.

The strange thing about the new digital rich is that they don’t want to live among their own tax bracket – in traditional enclaves of wealth like Pacific Heights or  Hillsborough. No, they want to live among the people — the ones they’re displacing — in Noe Valley, the Castro and the Mission. Take Mark Zuckerberg, please. For the past two years, the Facebook zillionaire and his wife have upended a once-quiet, middle-class neighborhood overlooking Dolores Park, as Pharaoh-like construction teams erect a massive $10-million, six-bedroom palace to house the royal couple. Zuckerberg is dying to live in the heart of the city, even though he apparently despises its San Francisco values. His corporate lobby, fwd.us, has championed a laundry list of conservative issues – from anti-labor legislation to the Keystone pipeline – that would make Harvey Milk and George Moscone spin in their graves.

So…where does Stanford fit into this tale of bitter urban struggle? As a breeding ground for the new elite, the Farm is seen by many in San Francisco as the enemy camp, as part of the problem.

My sons — who are 19,  20 and 24 and who grew up in San Francisco – have a name for the new wave of people moving in. The ones who proudly wear their Ivy League hoodies as they jog and hydrate around Precita Park or line up for artisanal chocolate tastings on Valencia Street, forking over enough cash to feed an entire family in the Mission for two or three days.  “Stanford dicks.” That’s what my sons call them. Or Stanford douchebags, or Stanford tools. The term “Stanford assholes” has even made it into “Looking,” the HBO show set in gay San Francisco – and it’s not meant to be flattering.

Of course, it wasn’t always this way. Stanford has not always been synonymous with douchiness. After all, Stanford gave San Francisco Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters – and all the creative visionaries who hung out with them in the hills above Palo Alto, like the great novelist Robert Stone (who recently died) and Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand, who was one of the main links between the countercultural ‘60s and the digital revolution.

“It was just incredible to come here from New York to the Peninsula, the Stanford area, the way it was in 1962,” Stone once recalled in an interview with The Chronicle. “It was like a Garden of Eden with no snakes. It was the most beautiful, most mellow — all those kind of dopey California words come true. You could get some little bungalow up a canyon for 60 bucks a month next to a creek and live oaks. It was easy living. Getting the fellowship, meeting the people I met, it was just such an extremely lucky thing for me.”

It was in Palo Alto where Phil Lesh hooked up with Jerry Garcia and started the band that would become the Grateful Dead – the house band for San Francisco’s cultural revolution. In 1965, Lesh saw Garcia playing banjo at Kepler’s bookstore – that essential oasis of the open mind in Palo Alto – and the rest is history. There is no way to imagine the long, strange trip that San Francisco took in the 1960s and ‘70s – soon followed by the rest of the country and the world – without the musical accompaniment of the Dead. They were more than just a band, they were an ongoing cultural and social experiment, one that involved the latest drugs and the latest technologies. The Grateful Dead were living proof that human ingenuity and human liberation could walk hand in hand through Golden Gate Park, after dropping acid together.

Steve Jobs was a creation of this psychedelic world, long before he became a capitalist cover boy. “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life,” Jobs once said. “It reinforced my sense of what was important – creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and human consciousness as much as I could.”

In 1984, Jobs declared war on the oppressive mentality behind the top-down information system with his iconic TV ad for the first MacIntosh computer. If ever a TV commercial could stir dreams of personal liberation, that one did – with its sexy, athletic rebel leader hurling her heavy hammer at Big Brother’s looming video image and shattering it forever.

Many people did in fact use Apple tools to launch their assaults on the old order – including alternative journalists, filmmakers, artists, educators and activists. I’ll always remember the sea of candy-colored Macs in the newsroom at Salon, the pioneering web publication I started back in the 1990s. In fact, I felt a strong bond between the San Francisco-style progressive journalism that we were practicing at Salon – defying the East Coast media’s corporate group-think – and the risk-taking spirit of Silicon Valley. The creative young engineers at Salon were always coming up with new ways for us to build our audience and to engage more deeply with them. Forging these digital, two-way bonds with our readers was the only way Salon managed to survive, when we antagonized powerful political enemies and became the target of advertising boycotts, media industry scorn and even bomb threats. So believe me when I say that I’m no neo-Luddite. As a journalist and media entrepreneur, I’ve benefited enormously from the wonders of the digital revolution.

But revolutions can grow old and corrupt. Before he died, Steve Jobs became his own kind of big brother, running sweatshops in China and hiding his loot in overseas shelters to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. It seems that most of the young inventors and entrepreneurs who are so eager to follow in Jobs’s footsteps care less about transforming human consciousness than about making mountains of tax-sheltered wealth.

Every new social wave to roll through San Francisco during its brief history has brought major disruption. Chinese immigrants were the targets of savage riots and official persecution. The hippies and gays of the 1960s and ‘70s sparked police crackdowns, street murders and assassinations. As I write in “Season of the Witch,” what we now call San Francisco values were not born with flowers in their hair, but howling, in blood and strife. But these new waves of human energy that poured into the city in the past not only triumphed, they made the city a more enchanted place. They breathed new life into a city whose foggy mystery and shimmering light demands such everyday magic. They made the food better, the nightlife more fabulous, the music more ecstatic, and the politics more epic. In the end, what will we be able to say about the tech invaders after they’ve had their way with San Francisco?

San Francisco’s new tech masters feel no need to justify themselves. They are absolutely certain that everything they touch turns to gold. They are, by definition, the future. But machines are not destiny, they’re just machines. Some bring social benefits, along with sky-high IPOs – and some don’t. As Leon Wieseltier recently wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “The processing of information is not the highest aim to which the human spirit can aspire…The character of our society cannot be determined by engineers.”

And yet the spirit of engineering is ascendant, and no place more so than Stanford and its urban outpost, San Francisco. On campuses like this one, the humanities departments are increasingly diminished by the reign of engineering and computer science. In a world such as this, rife with technologies and ideas “that flatten and shrink and chill the human subject,” Wieseltier observed, “the humanist is the dissenter.”

The humanities – the study and critical appreciation of the human enterprise – do not require a dose of the hard sciences to become more relevant, as the prophets of techno supremacy like to preach. It’s the other way around. Technology needs to be humanized. It’s not enough to create a cool app – you have to ask what it’s for, and whose needs it serves.

Are you going to create a software tool that lays off an entire industry, and replaces human interaction with bots? Or are you going to find ways to save the planet? And help liberate the human spirit?

Are you going to join America’s perpetual war machine and go to work for the CIA or NSA and spy on your fellow citizens? Or sign up with a Silicon Valley company that feeds private information to the government? Or — in the brave spirit of Edward Snowden — are you going to challenge that Orwellian system of thought control? You know, Snowden is the real-life version of Steve Job’s brave, young rebel – the one who threw that hammer through the Big Brother video screen.

This is what it comes down to…Are you interested in going public, or in serving the public – that’s the fundamental question a Stanford student has to ask these days. When I was in college, we had a saying – “You’re either part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.” Which one are you? A Stanford dick? Or are you different?

True change, the most fundamental change, is always made by freaks and outcasts. These are the people who put San Francisco on the map in the 1960s and ‘70s. For a brief and shining moment, they turned the most beautiful city in the world into a wonderland of human imagination — or as Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane put it:  “49 square miles surrounded by reality.” These seekers of glory, as Allen Ginsberg called them, blew the city’s mind – and then they did the same for the world. Sexual freedom, gay marriage, green cities, livable wage, universal health care, local organic food, medical marijuana, free music in the parks – all of these ideas blossomed first in San Francisco before their seeds spread on the wind.

But that was then. Now we face challenges even more daunting: planetary survival, the growing gap between rich and poor, the steady destruction of democracy by war and oligarchy. You can be part of the next wave of change. You can make history, if you make brave choices.

Back in the days of the Merry Pranksters, they rode a bus to the future. The bus in which Kesey and his merry band rode — setting off from La Honda in 1964 on their magical journey — was christened “Further.” It was a dilapidated, old school bus, spray-painted in electric kool-aid colors, and it was driven — in a NOT particularly professional manner — by a speed-rapping, hot-wired Neal Cassady. It was NOT a sleek, air-conditioned, WiFi-equipped Google bus. But it did indeed go FURTHER than any Google bus ever will.

You’re either on the bus, or off the bus – that’s what the freaks used to say back then.

Make sure that YOU get on the right one…Thank you.


  • The finest piece I have read in a long time. Thank you.

    • Facts

      Serial felon Alex Nieto is your example of “good but poor people” techies are replacing?

      Alex Nieto was a deranged psychopath with a history of attacking people.

      If you researched your facts a little you might find out historical scumbags of San Francisco were adding little other than street crime and the aroma of urine.

      “Last year, a young, Latino man named Alex Nieto was shot 14 times and killed by police near my house, on top of Bernal Hill, a scenic area where people like to stroll and walk their dogs. Someone had reported that Nieto, a 28-year-old security guard who grew up in the neighborhood, didn’t look right.”

      • And he deserved to be extra-judicially murdered…why? Go fuck yourself, asshole. YOU’RE the problem with San Francisco.

        • I’m with Ed and Sam! Happy to read this as a long time resident of Bernal myself. Standford dicks are ruining SF and Alex Nieto should have been safe on the hill.

        • Facts

          He was a volunteer, not a victim and his own criminal actions (pulling a taser on a police officer) placed him in harm’s way.

          The world is a far better place without Alex Nieto in it and over time even his family will agree.

          • A classless asshole.
            I guess that’s redundant.
            You know he “pulled a taser” because?
            The police said so?
            Do you also believe in Santa Claus?

      • bessbessSFNative

        Alex Nieto was a community member who did not have even a misdemeanor. Felony? Check your facts. His attacks on people where his job- as an employed security guard with a license to carry a taser. He was scheduled for work the night of his murder.

        • Facts

          Your facts are in error…

          “In the court document requesting the restraining order, the man said he had been attacked by Nieto in front of his 3-year-old son and that he feared for his wife and his three young children.

          Nieto previously had a restraining order against the man, who described their deteriorated friendship as “bad blood” and in other court filings claimed Nieto had fired his Taser at him at least four times.”

    • Otto

      Sorry but this is no more and no less than the common rant. Ranting is always done by those who seem to not understand certain immutable facts of life such as that people are always and forever being displaced by changing times and forces beyond their control. Sure, you can do the displacing with a certain panache’ and without excessive amounts of douchebaggery but it will continue to occur. As such, and ironically for what I perceive are the speechmaker’s politics here, it is strangely reactionary. NOT revolutionary.

      • doug

        No, calling such thoughtful speech “common” or “a rant,” is the typical response of a boring mind, one finding himself confronted with an awful truth that conflicts with his own self justifying delusional world view. If you don’t “get” this speech, you don’t belong in San Francisco. Period. Which is fine with us. As long as you don’t move here and attempt to wreck what is left of it.

        • Eaglebeak

          He just might well be part of the new SF!

      • G

        Otto is right. This rant is patronizing, sensationalist, and does a disservice to a real issue that we all care about.

    • I was wondering what kind of pinko faggot this (since we’re throwing around “dick” and “dbag”) Talbot might be, then I see he’s with Salon.com. ‘Nuff said.

      • Talbot is the FOUNDER of Salon.com and a respected writer, editor and author.

    • doug

      Pretty much sums up how San Franciscan feel about the entitlement tsunami washing away sixty years of historical progress.

  • David Carlos Salaverry

    Beautiful! Thanks to Redmond for posting this. And those who haven’t read Season of the Witch by David Talbot, really ought to… especially those intent on transforming from a Stanford dick into a San Franciscan.

    • I used to be ambivalent about gentrification, but with all these moaning hippie faggits weeping their pussy pinkos tears, banging their nasty alms bowl against my windows with their leprous appendages, I’m doing all i can to accelerate the process.

      I’ve read about all that needs to be read by pederast homosexuals and leftist cretins like Talbot. Looking forward to seeing them continue to eat turd and suffocate on it.

      • The only dicks in the Bay Area are the resident hipsters and homosexuals who feel entitled to something because they were here x years ago.

        Grow a pair and move on already. Do you think anyone who matters gives a rat’s ass about what is issuing from your billowing pie holes?

        • Can’t imagine why the fuck you’d care about SF unless you were accepting of us queers. If you actually live here, you should really fucking move.

          • I’m fine with fags. It’s the bit chin from queens like talbot here that’s getting old.

      • Obvious troll is obvious.

      • Linda

        Really? And all your cliched paranoid name calling is supposed to make up for the puny size of yours? Move away if you’re so disturbed. You won’t be missed. I promise.

        • Linda

          PS: As a lifelong SF native (six-plus decades) I say YOU & folks like you are as much part of the problem.

      • Please tell me you’re doing performance art and no human being is actually as deranged as you appear to be in 2015. pussy pinko tears? hippy faggits? No one talks like this any more right? Are you sure you’re not Strom Thurmond risen from the grave?

        • Actually he writes and thinks like a pimply-faced 14-year-old with self-esteem problems.

  • Steve Vender

    I decided to take a break from packing, because my wife and I are being evicted from our home of twenty years by a young tech couple, and I opened your email with David Talbot’s speech. What a speech! Everything that needed to be said about the changes that have come to the City was said in this speech. Thank you for posting it.

    • You should hide a copy of it somewhere so they can find it six months from now.

    • John

      You are not being evicted by a young tech couple. You are being evicted by your landlord because you didn’t pay your rent.

      • Did it ever occur to you that the tech couple bought the place and are moving in? Wow you assume a lot. Why not ask rather than assume you know the answer.

    • Fapcity

      Good riddance. I hear there’s lots of cheap housing in Detroit.

  • pilastr

    An engineer might wonder about the odds of someone who’s making six figures in their twenties reading a history of the city they’ve landed in, or any of its poets and authors, freely available at their public library.

    • Dogg

      Because historically, young people love nothing more than listening old people reminisce!

      • Because young people know it all, and nothing that happened before they turned 13 really matters, does it?

  • Talbot’s tears are soooo sweet!

  • Runforthehills

    Millionaires complaining about millionaires…

    • Sam

      Agreed. Anyone who can support a family of five in the city is very comfortable and affluent.

      • sister_h

        That’s not universally true. I know people who have lived there a long time in rent-controlled flats. These are the people who are being evicted right and left.

        • Sam

          Sister, are you saying these people lack the professional skills and fiscal strength to be able to afford to live in one of the most desirable and expensive places in the world?

          Would they expect to be able to afford Aspen or Monaco?

          • If they were born and raised there, yes. Why is it so hard to conceive of the idea that time sunk into a place might on some level equal or even exceed however much stock or paper with presidents on it you can shovel out?

          • Sam

            Sounds like you are a big supporter of Prop 13 and the yawning gap in social security entitlements – both of which favor older established folks over those aspiring to mobility and progress.

    • Linda

      Simple-minded response by a simple mind.

      • Fapcity

        Fuck off Linda

        • Linda Jue

          Like I said….

  • Mark

    Yes. Exactly.

    (It’s “Stanfurd”. Go Bears!)

    • Daniel

      Thanks for adding to the conversation.

    • Fapcity

      Inferiority complexes… This is why Stanford hates Berkeley grads, not because of a rivalry, but because of shit like this.

  • 4th gen SF’er

    “Back in the days of the Merry Pranksters, they rode a bus to the future. ” So it was ok for the wealthy trustfund hippies to push the poorer immigrant Irish, Italians, Greeks & Swedes out of SF. Got it. But it’s not ok now. Ok, just wanted to be sure I understood what you’re saying, or the 80’s gays pushing AA’s out of the Lower Haight & the Fillmore area, as well as around the upper Haight & around USF. I saw it all happen. Yes it was frightening if you were around at that time when the gentrifiers came in, but ultimately most of us survived it. Or conversely when the Chinese came in and displaced the Irish in the Sunset district/Richmond too. It’s always going to be painful, always, but you can survive and move and even get ahead, somehow. You can make it. And it might hurt but you can. Groups of people come into areas of SF, they make it their own, but it’s always temporary. And may I remind you how SF was actually a conservative city till 1968 & the left decided to move here en masse and displaced a whole lot of the working classes? SF is always going to change, it is the nature of cities. It hurts but that is the nature of a city, any city in America. Even Detroit where a bunch of hipsters are moving in, some are providing jobs, opportunities, small businesses, etc. The nature of cities.

    • GarySFBCN

      But, the migration, displacement and movement of groups of people by other groups of people within the same economic class is MUCH different than all of the poor and middle classes being shoved out by the wealthy.

      And then there is the fact that when groups of middle class people populate a ‘new’ (to them) community, they want to live there and be part of San Francisco. What we have now are groups of still-wet-from-the-frat-house kids who are just being kids (I don’t blame them at all) but most of them will never be long-term residents of San Francisco. So we have created ultra-small housing units for them that benefit the landlords and the tech companies, but at a high cost to the city’s character.

      I walked on Valencia a few weeks back. I was struck at how much it had changed and, culturally, it seemed to have all of the vulgarity normally associated with the Marina District and none of the fine amenities and characteristics of the Marina District.

      And that is what we are seeing – the transformation of all of San Francisco’s charming neighborhoods into one gigantic, soulless Marina District. And this transformation is being allowed because it continues to make a handful of wealthy people more wealthy, but at a very high cost.

      • Sam

        That’s odd because I was on Valencia Street on Saturday, and it was busy, vibrant and eclectic. It wasn’t as gritty as other parts of the Mission, perhaps, but then it has less crime as well. But it was also nothing like the Marina, which I have little use for.

        I’ve been in SF, and the Mission district, for 20 years now. It is a far better, safer and cleaner place now than back then. And has a world-class collection of restaurants, strores and bars.

        We are progressing.

        • GarySFBCN

          Of course you like the Mission district now – it has more white people.

          • Sam

            Whites are a minority in the Mission. Half of all Mission residents are Hispanic.

          • GarySFBCN

            @Sam, there are MORE white people now than 20 years ago and you like that.

          • Sam

            Gary, I have no view, as I am post-racial and color-blind. Perhaps you are projecting.

          • Poor Sam. color blind and post racial (a claim often made, by white ppl), yet so quick to cite the racial mix of a neighborhood.

            Maybe you are some sort of Artificial Intelligence FoilBot, designed to provoke commentary and increase site traffic?
            Maybe you are a figment if Tim’s imagination.

        • Mapuchon

          Sam, the Mission Hipster. Was that you I saw in the black Audi, parked in the bike lane, listening to Kenny G?

          • Sam

            A vehicle double-parked on the Valencia bike lane is hardly unusual. The design of that street means that the only way a vehicle can pick up or drop off passengers is to stop in the bike lane.

        • Mark

          Who says it’s progress? By what definition? From who’s perspective? At who’s cost?

          Sam, your idea of progress not only results in the displacement of very many people from their homes, economically and physically, but it also obliterates the Mission as a distictive neighborhood in a distinctive San Francisco. And, no, most of the new establishments aren’t world class; they just represent a change in who the business community caters to.

          Good government seeks to protect and bolster its constituents, not replace them with a new constituency. Change may sometimes be good and is inevitable, but it should not be conceived as a race; it is a social ecology.

          • Sam

            Mark, you are arguing to change nothing to preserve the lifestyle of a few incumbents whose only virtue might be the coincidence that they just happen to be here already.

            Why? What is the added value to me of having you stay in the mission rather than move to Oakland? Convince me that you are worth subsidizing? Why are you better than the person who would replace you?

        • doug

          Having been in the Mission since the mid 80’s, our beloved Valencia St has become a depressing disgrace. There is a huge number of “no go” places on the ever growing boycott list. And my neighborhood stretch has taken the worst hit. The two blocks between 18th and 20th are mind bogglingly douchey now. It’s like aliens have landed and attempted to “blend in,” while San Franciscans watched in frozen disbelief. Yes, the people I moved here to get away from, are moving in all around me. Never, ever, thought that would happen in the heart of our former utopia. (And the last best hope for a sustainable model of a genuinely “mixed” urban American neighborhood now slips away). Give me back the “crime and grime” any day over another designer eye wear store, or “artisan” (yeah, right) chocolatier. Please, if you didn’t come here to be part of the post war San Francisco revolution, go back where you came from.

          • Guest

            Given how many different kinds of people live in the Mission from so many different places and walks of life and economic levels, and given how densely we are packed, we all got along pretty well without killing and hurting one another.

            The Chameleon => Amnesia really says it all.

            Now they’re bringing on the monoculture.

          • They used to say that to the negros who went north looking for work. Keep it classy!

          • Fapcity

            I find it hard to believe that techie types (or anyone else, for that matter) would want to live in San Francisco if people like you have filled its streets for the last few decades. Views like these illustrate the snobbish, uppity mindset that residents of SF have ALWAYS had, forget the tech boom. So you’re annoyed because people who aren’t similar to you are moving into your city? Come on.This is the same ridiculous reasoning that hillbillies in Arizona talk about regarding Mexican immigrants “changing their communities.”

            If it’s that big of a problem just move to Portland. I believe you’ll find it’s weird enough for your taste.

        • Eclectic? Really? Valencia has a bunch of clones staring at phones wandering up and down it as I pass through it twice a day. My family lives right there and it’s not better for all the bougie shops my family and I can’t even afford to shop in. Who needs a lip balm store? Is that eclectic? Seriously?

          And it’s being positively ruined — the actual street and pavement — by those segregated buses known as tech shuttles. I hope Valencia is liberated from Stanford assholes and the entire entitled tech onslaught.

      • marcos

        I wish that Valencia and the East Side was turning into just The Marina. What I’m seeing is the transplanting of upscale sunbelt suburbanism into the east side of the City fueled by capital rolling in on a previously unimaginable scale.

        • Sam

          You really need to get out of town more. Even the most gentrified part of SF (the Marina, let’s say) is nothing like Walnut Creek or Pleasanton.

          It’s not a black and white situation i.e. either it’s a ghetto/slum or it’s suburban. There is a whole range of possibilities in-between.

          And that diversity means that there is always a neighborhood for you. If the Mission is too successful and vibrant for you, then maybe Bayview or Excelsior will suit you better?

          • doug

            The “new” Mission “too successful???” Has to be the poster boy caption of the cluelessly entitled douchebaggery class now wrecking the City (and specifically my neighborhood, the Mission) that this speech is aimed at. Hilarious! Send in your pic and we’ll post it along Valencia!

        • 4th Gen SFer

          There’s still no Fry’s in SF, yet. And I wish there was. Come on Marcos, you probably love Fry’s. It is awesome, and if you haven’t been there, you should go there at some point. Also go to the awesome Korean BBQ place there with the bbq right in your table. Because Central Computer doesn’t cut it.

          • Guest

            Used to work down on the Peninsula back in the day. It costs more to drive to Fry’s now than I save and there is no insulting post-purchase body cavity search at Central. I bought a travel tripod there last year before a trip and the first time I set up for a night shot in Venice the thing disintegrated irreparably fresh out of the box.

          • 4th gen SF’er

            Then go to the Fry’s in the E Bay. I think WC (Walnut Creek/Concord), there’s no body searching cavity thing going on there. I miss that computer store in SF that was bought by Carlos Slim who then made it go completely out of biz. Central Computer or Best Buy are poor substitutes for Fry’s. And I know what you mean about poor quality goods from Central Computer & their 20% or 25% re-stocking fee too. Now Fry’s is a dream come true, just wish there were MORE of them. I can’t tell you how far it is from BART, but I think it might be worth your while.

      • Runforthehills

        “And that is what we are seeing – the transformation of all of San Francisco’s charming neighborhoods into one gigantic, soulless Marina District. ”
        Wow. This statement just doesn’t have any truth to it at all.

        • Mapuchon

          Really? Where do you live and when did you get there?

          • Runforthehills

            Oh, are we to have a pissing contest now? I live in the Mission and have been here for many years.

        • Fishchum

          Gary is, as usual, full of hyperbole.

        • i agree. i live in mission and have some lovely friends in the marina. hate on haters

      • Dogg

        I get it! Even though previous migrations did exactly the same thing…they were different because the newcomers were somehow more pure. Makes sense.

        • Guest

          Previous migrations did not rely on eviction and displacement due to economic overpowering. There were vacancies and people moved into them in the past. Newcomers did not demand that the neighborhood change to cater to them in their first six months.

          • Dogg

            You’re just throwing around a bunch of opinions as facts. Evictions? Even the reviled Ellis Act only results in a couple hundred evictions per year (most of which are actually negotiated between the parties), despite all the handwaving. This is in a market of hundreds of thousands of rental units.

            “Economic overpowering” just a vague, meaningless agitprop phrase.

            And “newcomers demanding neighborhoods change” is just made up nonsense that reveals more about your personal prejudices than about the rental market in San Francisco.

            Here’s the thing: I’m not even disagreeing that there’s a problem with affordable housing in San Francisco. But real solutions won’t come from vilifying people.

        • and this talbot guy made millions on the seeds of the current tech boom a la salon.com

    • Sam

      Exactly. Every generation wants to freeze the city in time and preserve it as a testament to their lost youth. And yet it is change and progress that drives this city, and not smug self-satisfaction.

      I read this piece as little more than an ageing privileged boomer ex-hippie lamenting the changes he has seen, and being nostalgic for the past. Backwards-looking, self-indulgent and maudlin.

      Embrace change; do not feat it. Adapt, do not whine.

      • matthew

        How do you adapt to being evicted from your apartment and priced out of your city?

        The change or “disruption” which Silicon Valley so idealizes, is not inherently better, and oftentimes the disruption plays out like destruction. Destroying an old way of life for a new way of life, only looks like progress from one side. And I know which side has demonstrated very little compassion.

        • Sam

          you mean the 100 or so Ellis evictions a year? That’s a footnote given the vastly higher number of people who move because of a at-fault eviction or whose idea of being socially mobile isn’t hoarding a rent-controlled apartment for decades.

          A natural rate of turnover of residents is good for a city. And it serves nobody for a class of people to believe that they can have what they cannot afford.

          You have a rare and amazing opportunity by being in the global center of the knowledge, sharing and social media economies. What are you waiting for?

          • erika

            “And it serves nobody for a class of people to believe that they can have what they cannot afford”
            wow, totally missed the point huh ? nice morals.

          • Sam

            Erika, I not only got the point but went beyond it. On what rational and ethical basis should people who cannot afford to live in affluent places be subsidized to do so?

            How can this city remain vibrant and dynamic if we punish all our winners and reward all our losers.

            And what is “moral” about denigrating success?

          • “hoarding”. Libertarian alert.

          • If I finally get pushed out of the Mission, the silver lining is that I’ll be far, far away from techie dicks like you who are making it so unbearable now. But I’ll keep holding on, regardless of what you say. Why continue living in a place I can’t afford to keep living in, you might ask? Because fuck you, that’s why.

          • 4th gen SF’er

            Ed – good luck with that. No one cares if you “hang on” really, no one cares. Hanging on means tons of roommates so, good luck with that too. BTDT and it’s not fun.

            But again, you don’t have to live with tech in the Mission. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s the Outer Mission, OMI, Little Hollywood, 3rd Street / HP/Crocker Amazon, etc. So GL.

      • Max Weber

        LOL embrace change, and your landlord as he tries to evict you! Give in and get out. Don’t like it? Go to Stanford! Better get that degree soon though, might not be so rosy in 3 years.

        • Sam

          Max, in a very real sense, we are all responsible for making good life decisions that enable us to afford the best that life has to offer, like living in a very desirable town.

          • Sam you are a troll. You cannot be for real.

          • Mark

            And we are all collectively responsible for creating and maintaining this city as a desirable place to live. I understand, Sam, that you believe that wealth is a full and complete measure of merit, but some of us believe in supporting our neighbors, and the communities that helped to make San Francisco a desirable place to live.

          • Guest

            This really is a battle between San Franciscans and Wall Street.

      • doug

        Somebody is whining, but it’s not the people politely asking folks like you to leave the City, and go some place where you will do less damage.

    • There’s a big difference between the gentrification of the past and what’s happening today. In the past there were other parts of San Francisco you could relocate to. Other neighborhoods and other apartments. If you’re evicted now there is no way to rent a new apartment if you’re basically working poor or even lower middle class. You have to go to a rough part of Oakland or relocate even further away.

      • Sam

        David, Oakland RE runs at 50% per square foot of the values and rents in SF, and it is only a few minutes away.

        Wouldn’t that be a good start for you?

    • Doc Anchovy

      My Great Grandfather came to San Francisco around 1900-1903 or so. Straight from Bavaria. Master Woodcarver, Plaster Sculptor, Carpenter, Doer Of Anything He Set His Mind To. Never spoke much English. The thing that made him move his Family out of The City was having a building fall on him in ’06.

      I was a Little Nipper in the Outer Sunset, 46th and Vicente. I used to know everybody that lived on that block and the next three around me. The only name I still recognize is the daughter of the people that owned and operated the Ocean Park Motel, the only place I’ll EVER stay when I’m in The City. Something about waking up to the sound of Howler Monkeys and smelling the Pacific, setting one’s watch to the coming and going of fog, I suppose. I learned to swim at Fleishhacker Pool and the Zoo was free. Playland was still there. The doors on my block that were rarely locked are now security gated and there are bars on the windows.

      I will never live in San Francisco again in my life. (a): I can’t afford to and (b): I can’t stand it when everything is going 80mph. I live in Humboldt County now. Before that, Mendocino County. 17 years on The Lost Coast. I’ve lived allot of places. Navy Brat. I’ll probably end up somewhere between here and Alaska before I die. I’m 60 years old. I won’t have to wait all that long.

      Goodbye, San Francisco. We’ll all miss ya’. Those of us that were lucky enough to live there when it was affordable and cool, anyway.

      • Doc, I hear you. My great grandfather moved to SF in 1899 after working his way there with the Union Pacific as a surveyor. He came to the U.S. through Ellis Island from Karlsruhe. My grandfather was born in Stockton and my father in San Mateo. All of them lived in SF, on and off, and I lived at 16th and Guerrero for 9 years in the early 80s. I left that beautiful, fascinating, permissive, multi-generational city in 1988 because I couldn’t tolerate the waves of scrubbed, middling, bland blonde people moving in from the Mid-West who came to work in some Financial District cubicle farm, listen to Smooth “Jazz”, and get drunk in the Marina on the weekends. I guess we all came to SF for one reason and we all leave for another. The Stanford Douchebags will eventually leave for their reasons too, leaving behind the empty partied-out shells of their sad Dwell lives to be inhabited by another wave of urban swells.

        • 4th gen SF’er

          Well that’s just it, the waves of people come in and go out. I dislike the resentment of the “new people” “just because”. Those of us with family here for generations know that it comes and goes, replaced by new people who come and go. That is the nature of SF.

      • 4th gen SF’er

        It hasn’t been affordable since the 60s. And you were living in Mendocino? That IS almost as expensive as SF. And LBH, a whole lot of people in that neighborhood you grew up in came and went a lot. It is the nature of SF.

  • EM2016

    Two Thoughts:

    1. For being the most progressive City in the US, we hate change.

    2. When we start demonizing the new “others” who are moving in to our City, we collectively become the “hardened” and intolerant mob that we claim to despise.

    • Sam

      Yes, the demonizing of others has been a standard tactic of the left since all the way back to Marx, who essentially invented the tactic of stereotyping people for the purpose of hating on them.

      • GarySFBCN

        Marx? Red-baiting again Sam. And the Catholic church did this to Jews in Europe several centuries before Marx was born.

      • W.C. Whiner

        Criticizing ad hominem demonization with the use of ad hominem demonization? No political stripe has a monopoly on that approach.

        • Sam

          But only the left cannot function without first establishing a class of people who are to be deemed evil. Once that designation is assured, it rationalizes practicing hate on that class of people.

          A moderate or right-winger doesn’t have to invoke schisms in society in order to make a cogent argument. All peole can be regarded as the same. That isn’t true for the elft, who must first demonize bankers, landlords, tech workers, cops, Christians, white people, the successful, and so on.

          • W.C. Whiner

            Let’s play nice, please.

            Off topic, but when I read your description I thought of Griffin’s definition of generic fascism.

            Really, no political side has a monopoly.

          • GarySFBCN

            Says the man who sees communism in a bowl of cereal.

          • The Others in the out-group have cooties and only those of us in the in-group are above the fray, can’t you tell?

          • Sam

            Guest, SF has always been tribal. The self-styled classes wage war on each other while talking cutely about how great diversity is.

            But the new venom being spat at people for no reason other than that they are successful is a new low. Envy writ large.

          • So you admit that you are a member of a tribe that hates other tribes, that you are as much part of the problem as anyone else, thanks.

          • Sam

            Guest, we all classify to some extent. But I use categories only to explain and describe, and not to promote hate.

          • So it is only wrong when others do it.

          • GarySFBCN

            “A moderate or right-winger doesn’t have to invoke schisms in society in order to make a cogent argument. ”

            Yes, all of the LGBTs is the US feel the love from ‘moderate right-wingers’, especially when compared to pedophiles, haters of God, destroyers of marriage and the United States, etc.

          • Sam

            Gary, what does being gay have to do with anything here? Why do you so love your identity politics?

          • Max Weber

            You’re wrong Sam, I don’t dislike tech people because they are successful. I don’t like them because they are bland annoying jerks. I congratulate them on their hardworking mentality.

          • Sam

            Max, how valid are gross generalizations and stereotypes?

            Are all blacks criminals just because some of them are?

          • noevalleyjim

            Do Not Feed The Trolls.

          • You continue to amaze Sam. Are you actually bemoaning binary generalization as a tool of division used primarily by the left? You literally just referred to all of the people involved in the housing crisis of SF as “winners” and “losers.” You just “established a class of people who are to be deemed evil.”

          • Sam

            Max, there is a big difference between merely noting different classes of people by nature or behavior, and seeking to predicate public policy on such arbitrary divisions.

            The ability to classify is an important cognitive function. It is what we do based on such stereotyping that informs about our true character.

            It seems to me that the left needs polarizing categorizations a lot more than, say, a libertarian who merely thinks that people should be left alone. And that goes all the way back to Marx.

          • Guest

            noevalleyjim is the paramount tribal troll.

      • This clearly is on-topic and part of a continuing project of ‘honest discourse’ on the part of “Sam,” in this case offering valuable insight on Stanford assholism, “insight” that merely confirms the assertions of the original cited piece.

        • Sam

          I didn’t attend Stanford and have no view on them, although I am sceptical of any gross stereotype such as being presented here.

          People from all colleges and backgrounds can flourish here, even those from overseas for whom English is a second language, and that is to be commended

        • W.C. Whiner

          After you call someone an asshole, don’t expect flowers.

          • Guest

            A rosebud is a flower.

        • No, please channel the Stanford asshole more for us, you do it so well even if you are not actually one.

          • Sam

            Guest, SF’s famed tolerance and respect for diversity requires that we accept all as they are, and do not wage class war.

          • You will accept and legitimate your asshole overlords and you will like it. The poor, unwashed, non compos mentis, on the other hand, are disposable chattel.

          • Sam

            I make no decisions on behalf of others, and only ask that they extend the same courtesy to me. Freedom is a cherished quality.

          • Either you do what I say or you are a jealous, envious loser.

          • Sam

            No, Guest, the difference is that I do not require any specific behavior on your part. You can do whatever you want.

            But you do seek to change my behavior options.

          • You are free to be what I view as an asshole and I am free to illustrate exactly how your conduct leads me to view you as an asshole.

          • Sam

            The right to free speech is yours. But evidently it is not stopping the gentrification of our town.

            You are losing.

    • I don’t know about you but whoever is causing me to lose my home is not someone I need to tolerate. There’s a big difference between embracing people that have come to share the city with us and those that have come to take it away.

      • Sam

        David, why do you think you are entitled to have things that you cannot afford? Did your parents teach you that or have you developed that sense of entitlement all by yourself?

        Can you explain to me, a SF voter, why I should vote for your ability to live in SF should be subsidized by the rest of us? What is your special contribution that would make that worthwhile?

      • 4th Gen SFer

        David, so sorry about you being evicted. Are you actively looking for a new place to live and negotiating a settlement with the LL?

      • Did you pay for the house? If not, it’s not yours. It’s really not that complicated.

  • OutBoundDelay

    Yeah, techies, don’t be a jerk. And one more thing, vote!

    Get politically involved. Find out what politicians have decided to make you the problem, who are trying to gain a political advantage by stereotyping and scapegoating you, who vilify and call you names in articles like this, as if “this time the bigotry is justified”, who mistake nostalgia for their youth for a better world, who think that cities should be a repository of society’s dropouts, like the good old days of suburbanization, before global warming and before saturated freeways, who are pissed off that you’re screwing up the curve and not slacking off.

    And then figure out which politicians want to solve bigger problems, who value smart, motivated people, who realize shits gotta get paid for.

    Vote accordingly.

  • Mike

    Great article. What has happened to San Francisco these last few years is very sad. It’s become a playground for the rich, like Manhattan, but worse.

    • W.C. Whiner

      Tecumseh Sherman said something like that in the 19th century.

      • Max Weber

        Sherman would want to do what he did to Atlanta if he saw this mess today!

        • W.C. Whiner

          I was making a little joke. What Sherman is supposed to have said, later in life, was, ‘I can handle a hundred thousand men in battle, and take the City of the Sun, but am afraid to manage a lot in the swamp of San Francisco.’

          Having read a little about that period, I think Sherman would prefer the city as it is today, but who knows, maybe not.

  • KnowsBetter

    I just can’t get enough of old, wealthy San Franciscans in their million dollar homes looking down their noses at new, up-and-coming San Franciscans trying to get their own million dollar home. Ohhhhhh, how gauche of them. Really now.

    • @KnowsBetter Mr Talbot, having lived in Bernal for several decade likely paid very little for his home, even by the standards of the day. He made his own money by creating Salon, writing books, and essentially summoning something from nothing but the sweat of his brow. To then tar him with the same brush as those sucking on the tit of corporate america (even it’s new silicon valley derivative) is laughable. Even more so, misses the point he is making. He created useful things, such as a forum for needed information and commentary,and an entertaining yet lucid history of San Francisco’s shared experience. To compare that to someone working at a shopping app startup is childish, and betrays a total lack of a coherent analysis of whats occuring here, and what the moving parts are.

      • Sam

        Nonsense, BoBo, Talbot was engaged in capitalism just like those today who develop took it all and now they don’t want anyone else to new products, services and businesses, and are well paid to do so.

        I see no difference between the two. Talbot is a privileged boomer who made a few bets that paid off/ Good for him. But that doesn’t give him the right to piss on people seeking to emulate his success.

        White male boomers have lived the high life on the dime of subsequent generations, and now have the audacity to complain when they wish to better themselves.

        Screw Talbot and his whiney, self-absorbed, maudlin reminisces and NIMBYism.

        • Sam

          First para should read:

          “Nonsense, BoBo, Talbot was engaged in capitalism just like those today who develop new products, services and businesses as part of the new economy. and are well paid to do so, because we value those innovations”

      • KnowsBetter

        Indeed, how dare someone working on something as prosaic as computer code dare to enjoy the rare privilege of owning a relatively modest San Francisco home to raise a family in. Who do these engineers think they are? Who are they to think that engineering ever contributes anything to society? Truly, those of such a lowly profession could never conceivably understand community, nor could they ever create anything as culturally significant as Salon.com in their lifetime.

        How gauche.

        • Sam

          Yes, and in fact engineers produce real things, as opposed to a “writer” who opines all day. I think we should support doers over talkers. Talbot is an utter hypocrite.

          • Max Weber

            Hahaha most the crap techies make is garbage nobody needs, they just wrap it in some shiny design and a ridiculous name, and hope its inherent newness will pave the path to riches.

          • Sam

            Max, many find those devices to be useful. But if they are really not useful, then those making them are even cleverer because they make serious scratch from successfully selling something that has little utility.

            Either way, winners.

          • KnowsBetter

            “Hahaha most the crap techies make is garbage nobody needs”

            Even assuming the truth of this, lots of art is also garbage. Lots of music is garbage. Lots of writing is garbage. What makes the creators of bad culture more inherently “worthy”?

          • @max weber: if a lot of people werent buying all this “garbage” you wouldn’t be here complain about techies, would you? Some bodies lyin’!

        • I tire of your flaming trollism @Sam and @Knowsbetter, You readily show an avid intelligence, but no thought. Sort of like lots of ram, but no data. So begone underlings of the Koch Brothers mentality.

      • If Salon has ever made money, I’d be surprised.

        And Mr. Talbot, according to Wikipedia “is from a prominent media and entertainment family. He’s the son of longtime character actor and founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, Lyle Talbot. He is also the brother of documentary producer and former child actor Stephen Talbot, doctor Cynthia Talbot of Portland, Oregon, and journalist Margaret Talbot, a staff writer at The New Yorker.” He attended Harvard Boys School, now Harvard Westlake, one of the top private schools in the nation.

        Sorry, but this is not a rags to riches tale. But it is the tale of an early, baby boomer gentrifier not liking a new batch of gentrifiers invading his turf.

        • 4th Gen SFer

          Yep. I think he’s spoken here at 48 before and I found that out as well. He’s from wealth. He has $. But in a typical fashion he doesn’t want anyone else to have money.

      • So this pinko faggit Talbot made his money “the right way” and an Android developer or project manager is doing it “the wrong way.”

        Why kind of high-functioning retardate are you?

  • SF ’55

    1: Excellent article. It is remarkable that the locus of assholes is no longer Hoover Tower but the business and engineering schools.
    2: 4th gen, what a load. Hippies and gays didn’t cause the displacement of anybody back then, they filled the holes, and cheap holes they were, left by flight to the suburbs where there were garages and lawns and room for 3 + children, and even job growth rather than collapse; the city policy was discourage industry and favor offices. Primogeniture is another factor: you own a single-family house but have multiple children; they can’t all stay.
    3: Regarding the changes on Valencia, note that after the service businesses left, now even retail stores are being replaced by yet more foodies. If my vet didn’t own their building they’d be gone too (or perhaps a cat/dog charcuterie).

    • Sam

      Gays absolutely caused displacement. The gay realtor firm Zephyr explicitly encourage gentrifcation via TIC formations, condo conversions and upgrading of the housing stock One of their realtors is on the top ten alleged abusers of the Ellis Act.

      In fact a god way to know an area is about to be gentrified is when gay DINKY’s start buying up homes.

      Not that I think gentrification is wrong at all. But don’t go claiming gays are not a powerful agent of gentrification in 94114 and elsewhere.

      Valencia may be more high-end stores, but there are plenty of 99 cent type stores on Mission and 24th St. It’s good to have diversity like that.

      • More concern trolling. The gay influx of the 1970s and 80s was long before Zephyr encouraged TIC formation.

        • Sam

          Yes, but the Zephyr-fueled gentrification movement only became significant as those gays who had arrived here earlier started making good money, and decided to gentrify neighborhoods with their new-found affluence.

          Gays have been a significant factor driving gentrification in SF.

      • 4th Gen SFer

        Nonsense, I was living in the Lower Haight when it was almost 100% AA and Gays were buying a lot of the homes up and displacing and evicting TONS of AA’s. In fact, in DC the same thing is happening right now. And AA’s were COMPLAINING and seriously angry about it. This is to SF’55

    • Faggits = good
      Techies = bad

  • Ben

    I wish every boomer bitching about the kids moving in today had to reveal their Prop 13/rent control basis and whether they’ve supported or hindered efforts at making room for the next generation of San Franciscans over the past 3 decades. Reap what you sow.

    • Sam

      The list of NIMBY hypocrites is long. Talbot is just the latest to be exposed. There is Hestor and Welch, of course. Daly profited from foreclosures. Our very own marcos bought a condo and then claimed that other white male tech workers like him should not buy condos. Redmond pays only half the property tax that his building would sans Prop 13.

      Having got theirs, they want to stop others having theirs. And how better to try and achieve that than by demonizing people as tech workers, stanford assholes or (always my favorite) white people (the horror).

      • Runforthehills

        Don’t forget the clumsy Rebecca Solnit who sold her condo to a Googler…

        • 4th Gen SFer

          RFTH – Solnit sold her place & didn’t she buy a bigger one in SF? Also IDK if you’ve ever read her writings or her facebook page but it’s hysterically funny. She talks about what is trending on Twitter as proof of her theories. I read it because it’s hysterical. And I’m wondering about how her brother the activist David Solnit lives in SF or Brooklyn or both, I’m not sure but I think both of them might be trustfunders still living on their parents money even though both are in their 50’s.

          Also I can remember the letter in Love & Rockets indiezine, where a woman named Petra from Germany trashed David Solnit because he cheated on her and treated all women really badly. She said he was only in the “movement” so he could sleep with tons of women and even after that was published he had no shame and continued to use women.

          • Runforthehills

            Ha..I didn’t know that about her brother. I’ll have to check out her FB page for giggles…

          • 4th gen SF’er

            Definitely check out her fb pages. I am LOL’g whenever she says X is TRENDING ON TWITTER like anyone cares what is trending on twitter! lol’g. And this is coming from someone (me) who likes/loves tech. No one cares what is “trending on twitter”.

          • 4th gen SF’er

            OMG, Rebecca Solnit linked this article and told people that she LIVES in SF & told people that “sour people” need to leave her fb page. LOL. the sour ones were the cynical people about SF. I am wondering what neighborhood she lives in now. Pretty sure she UPGRADED her place to something even more spectacular.

      • 4th Gen SFer

        Sam you’re talking about Talbot who founded Salon, I think you said. Can you explain what he’s been saying?

        • 4th Gen SFer

          Answering myself – SORRY, forgot that Talbot WROTE the article!

    • W.C. Whiner

      Prop 13, like rent control, is the law. It’s a terrible law, but rather than trying to shame Talbot or anyone else, maybe we could put some energy into repealing Prop 13.

      You’d have my vote.

      • Sam

        WC, the problem is not Prop 13 so such as the beneficiaries of Prop 13 trying to lecture younger people about trying to work hard and success while they sit fat and happy with their subsidies.

        Having some kind of limit on how much a municipality can jack up your property tax is sound policy. Not realizing how that policy favors the old over the young, and the old then pissing on the young for their aspirations, smacks of hypocrisy and insensitivity.

        • W.C. Whiner

          Funny; no expert on taxation, I thought it was a stylized fact in the field that real property taxes are the least distorting.

          What policy purpose do limits on real property taxes serve?

          • Sam

            WC, opinions vary on the fairness of property taxes. Unlike almost all other taxes, which are attached to transactions where actual money changes hands, property tax is essentially a form of wealth tax. It taxes not a transaction but the perception that there is some wealth out there.

            Yet it applies even if you have negative equity in your home. Or even if you own a hme but have no significant income, like many older home-owners.

            Anyone who was in CA in the 1970’s (I was not but have read about it) had to face property taxes doubling year-on-year. Prop 13 was the appropriate and inevitable result of that extortion – a popular peoples’ outrage that put sensible limits on the extortion.

          • W.C. Whiner

            I was here. Even a child remembers, that’s how the law was sold. It didn’t help that Jerry Brown let the state run a surplus right around then, good macroeconomic policy but very bad politics.

            When it comes to the ‘fairness’ taxes you lose me. In my view taxation policy should be entirely technocratic.

            Why should it matter if you have negative equity? You can always sell and rent instead if you don’t like paying the tax. Why should it matter if you have no significant income? You can not only sell and rent instead, you can borrow against your home and pay tax that way.

            Calling taxes extortion doesn’t help you analyze them, though it does help you sell bad laws.

          • Sam

            The word “extortion” seems valid when a tax authority doubles its tax take year-on-year, as was happening prior to Prop 13.

            Telling a 70 year old homeowner that they have to sell their home of fifty years to pay an egregious tax demand doesn’t strike many people as fair.

            Prop 13 was an apt response to bad behavior by givernment. The government is supposed to protect us, but who will protect us from the government?

          • They want to walk down both sides of the street, railing at high taxes and railing at people who benefit from low taxes who have other political values.

          • W.C. Whiner

            Extortion is ‘the crime of getting money from someone by the use of force or threats.’ I could see a confiscatory tax be described that way, property taxes in California were never confiscatory. Property tax revenue as percentage of income in California declined from 1968-1978.

            If we want to subsidize elder housing, let’s! Just let’s subsidize everyone, not just Aunt Millie. What’s unfair is to subsidize some at the expense of others, and that’s what Prop 13 does.

          • Sam

            WC, you advance a cogent argument against rent control.

          • W.C. Whiner

            It’s an argument against rent control without building more housing. The best rent control is abundance.

          • The issue in the 1970s from what I understand is that valuations were set by ordinance as well as tax rates. If the government could declare that your house was worth 15% more and kept rates at the same percentage then that was perceived as twice the problem. That is my historical understanding not my personal opinion of how things were or how they should be.

          • Sam

            Guest, I believe the problem was two-fold. Cities were ratcheting up the valuations but there was also no control over the increases in the ad valorem rate.

            So a city could double the amount you have to pay year-on-year and there was nothing you could do about it.

            Until the people fought back.

            But even with Prop 13, property tax revenues have increased by about 7% a year i.e. doubling every ten years. It’s really not a problem at all.

    • KnowsBetter


      Renters angry at being displaced … well, I disagree with them on some policy, but I can appreciate the frustration. Older SF homeowners complaining about gentrification, on the other hand, need to STFU and stop blaming others for the fires they’ve been slowly pouring gas on for decades.

  • W.C. Whiner

    ..and so we can all have a discussion grounded in fact, I ran a few numbers on the Fed’s invaluable FRED2 site. Here are annual housing permits for the SF-Oakland-Fremont MSA versus annual population change for SF and Alameda counties:

    Our intrepid host, Mr. Talbot and all the techie-punching in the world aren’t going to change the effect of increasing population without increasing housing stock.

    Any statement of housing policy that does not begin with ‘build more’ is incoherent.

    • Ben

      If you don’t mind wrangling some more numbers, could you compare growth in housing stock over the past 30 years for SF vs. the national average?

      • W.C. Whiner

        Census housing unit estimates aren’t quite as effortless. Let’s do 1990, a good census year for a base, to 2013, the last available ACS year.

        SF +15%, 329k to 378k
        US +30%, 102m to 133m

        • Mark

          A better comparison would be made between affordable housing in San Francisco and the core of landlocked and built-out major cities, adjusted for boom and bust in other sectors. If San Francisco is doing as half as well as newer metropolitan areas surrounded by farm lands, it’s doing well. From what I’ve read, San Francisco is the densest city in the U.S., except for New York, and New York has an advantage on us in that it has a subway that can deliver people into Manhattan from far-flung boroughs in little time.

          In any event, however San Francisco may be doing by comparison with other cities, the comparisons look to the past and disregards the current situation.

  • Dina

    I’m pretty certain that the reason that certain organizer disagreed with what you had to say is because she OMI’d a tenant to move into her Mission condo.

    • Sam

      Dina, if the dwelling in question was a condo then rent control wouldn’t apply to it anyway.

      • W.C. Whiner

        Rent control does not, but just-cause eviction rules and no-fault relocation payments certainly apply. As a result, I suspect my lawyer would recommend never raising the rent of a condo above fair market value, lest you be hit with a wrongful eviction suit.

        This is not, I hasten to add, legal advice and I am not a lawyer.

        • Sam

          You are quite correct, WC. But the real effect is that a landlord who has a tenant paying market rent AND market rent increases has zero incentive to evict anyway.

          In practice, any condo owner who wants his place back can get it back. But nirvana is owning a portfolio of SF rental units that are condos.

          • W.C. Whiner

            The story Dina relayed was an OMI. If you want to live in the place, and the tenant doesn’t want to take a settlement check, you have to evict.

            I’m not sure I agree. A market portfolio will be riskier, even in San Francisco. After the previous tech bubble burst in 2000, market rents dropped or were flat in real terms for the next five years. Meanwhile, income from a rent-controlled portfolio calmly marched north at the Rent Board’s annual allowable rate, with the occasional unit jumping to market rent with tenant turnover. There is a right price for both, and if the portfolio of condos costs too much, it’s not nirvana.

          • Sam

            WC, what you are describing is really the observation that the returns from uncontrolled rentals is more volatile than from controlled rentals.

            True enough, and I could also argue that controlled rentals have more upside if you can finesse the incumbents out of there.

            But even so, many landlords would prefer having the ability to choose their own rent increases and to choose who lives in their property.

            I make these points as someone who has been a landlord of both controlled and uncontrolled properties.

  • MJ

    Myopic San Franciscans built themselves into legends in their own minds but none of the “displacers” are coming just to live among the artists or to relive the glory of the Merry Pranksters. The days of “Who Needs the Peace Corps?” are over. Dropping out was the ultimate in white privilege.

    Google has transformed far more lives for the better than LSD ever did, but many have a hard time looking beyond their San Franciscan (or American) experience. The counterpoint to freeing your mind through drugs are on display all over the streets of the Tenderloin and inner Mission. Yes, the Grateful Dead were a spectacular experiment in the music business, but what happened when the axle of the operation (Jerry) died? The surviving members quickly found each other tolerable enough to be around only when the money was right, and often not even then. The joys of free love were eventually balanced by the unexpected responsibilities of the AIDs epidemic. Has locavore dining has done as much to address world hunger as, say, the Gates Foundation?

    People come here for economic access, location, and weather. The planet is more crowded, more mobile, more competitive, and better informed than the 20th century. The trend will only continue as better information translates into fewer inefficiencies. The globalization of nearly everything (and simultaneous trend away from organized religion) means that your ethics and ideals are less likely than ever to be shared by your neighbor. Humanists would do best to learn to harness technological changes to win hearts and minds rather than merely throw wrenches into machines that will inevitably be made more efficient.

    • JohnnyFoy

      This is exactly the kind of worldview that I fear, and one that exemplifies perfectly what Talbot is diagnosing. I’m not sure what your age is MJ, but I’m 29, and I’m worried that your outlook is shared by many people my age and younger than I am, mainly those who came of age post 9/11, an epoch-making event that many elites in our country exploited in order to crack down on internal dissent and cement the victorious ascendance of global capitalism: compete compete compete, resources are limited, grab your own narrow foothold among the upper middle class before somebody else takes it, etc. I was on CalTrain the other day (I commute to Stanford where I am a grad student in a humanities dept.) and overheard a young guy, younger than me, talking to the woman sitting next to him, with no attempt to speak in a register that only she could hear, about how much he earned now and how he never dreamed he’d be close to making six figures but that it seemed to be completely within reach in the forseeable future. If this is the casual conversation that twentysomethings make, I honestly think we’re doomed, at least for a generation or two, which is more than enough time to cement the destruction of the environment and incite even more wars in defense of global capital, possibly leading to nuclear warfare. I really do think that the digital economy is one of the worst things that’s ever happened to human society – the Wieselteir essay cited by Talbot sets out the consequences very clearly. It’s essentially the economics of anti-humanism: an utter contempt for human life, human presence, human values, and human potential; an ideology that sees the only solutions forthcoming from machines. Hopefully, MJ, if you’re young and you have kids or plan on having them, your children will completely reject your value system and come at you and your ilk with knives.

      • MJ

        Though I hesitate to engage with someone would just as soon see me dead, I’ll take the bait. I’m a 38 year old DINK homeowner who lives monogamously with my partner; works for a living as a chemist; enjoys bookbinding, brewing, playing the guitar, and being outdoors as hobbies, volunteers time at the Food Bank; and has lived in SF for the last two decades. I’m lucky to have a broad circle of friends in the Bay Area and even more lucky to have a sibling that lives in the city so that I can enjoy playing with my nephews on a regular basis. My world-view has been largely unshifted by the events of 9/11/2001, which happened after a good chunk of my coming of age, and which I’ve always felt was a predictable response to American misadventures in the Persian Gulf and east Asia. The American counter-response was also highly predictable and yes, those responses have made life in America less pleasant overall.

        My opinion is that you take any unnecessarily pessimistic view of the role of technology in human life. Technology frees humans from performing mundane tasks all the time, and I’m not talking about hailing a car or getting a task rabbit for your dry-cleaning. I write that Google has improved more lives than LSD because internet search has provided avenues of learning to billions of people at low cost, and not just cosmic revelations that become difficult to articulate 24 hours later. People now have the opportunity to learn more than ever before from classical and modern masters of their crafts.

        However, there are caveats. As the world becomes more educated, more people want their slice of opportunity, which I think is simply human nature (along with the old resenting the young and vice-versa). This is why I point out that the Bay Area’s population explosion has more to do with economic access than the desire to live with the bohemians of the ’90’s and ’00’s, though we had plenty of good times back then that were surely attractive to many. One of the many hopes of technology is to increase the resources available to the planet, either through increased efficiencies.

        It’s not a matter of “grab your own narrow foothold among the upper middle class before somebody else takes it” but rather the realization that “nothing lasts” (we can thank the Merry Pranksters for that nugget), so be thankful for what you have when times are good and try to prepare for navigating less-good times in the future. It might mean learning a thing or two about money so that you don’t become prey to shysters. One’s job might be rendered obsolete by technology and require one to re-train themselves to do something that society still finds useful. Surely a humanist would think that we all have the potential to learn something new and not just do rote work for a lifetime? Retraining might even require relocation. But if you’re not committed to lifelong learning and self-improvement, then yes, you’ll likely be at risk for displacement by someone younger and hungrier, and who’s to say they’re less “deserving?”

        Which brings us to your jerk on Caltrain. Why hate a guy on the train who’s fulfilling his career goals? Sure, excitement about money is a little gauche, but how much do you really know about them? Maybe that person grew up in less-than-idyllic circumstances and can now help out their loved ones. Why so quick to judge?

        Anyways, best of luck with your studies. Maybe do a j and dial back the dreams of violence, though.

        • MJ

          Two oops – “west Asia” in p1, and “either increased efficiencies or discovery or synthesis of new resources.” in p3.

        • Mark

          Your posts seem to me to be sincere and authentic, but I utterly disagree with your (implied) conclusions.

          Talbot and JohhnyFoy employ hyperbole and excise anger, but hey have the jist of it. I agree, the Google the internet, and hi-tech business (and especially Wikipedia, Twitter, and Genentech) have benefited the planet in ways that we have only now begun to see unfold. But these institutions will survive.
          The question posed here and now is whether we should allow the business of technology to obliterate the community that created it and allowed it to grow. As the founder of Salon, Talbot is a fitting representative and spokesperson for that community.

          What good would Wikipedia, Twitter, and Genentech serve if they did not empower people to protect their neighbors, and did not empower local government to protect its constituents?

          • What good would Wikipedia, Twitter, and Genentech serve if they did not empower people to protect their neighbors, and did not empower local government to protect its constituents?

            Yes, “protect constituents”. Protect “real ‘murkins!” Not tech workers, those scabs, but ghetto hellions and other cretins suckling on their rent control teat after decades of… what exactly? “Keepin’ it Real?”

            Thanks for your contribution, Hippie Dippie, now off to Modesto with you!

      • 4th Gen SFer

        MJ is 100% correct but Johnny Foy, you’re commuting from SF to Stanford to get a humanities degree? Seriously? Talk about a wasted opportunity. Do you actually believe that once you’ll ever be able to move out of your childhood bedroom in SF? Because there’s almost no way you’ll really make a living from “humanities” unless you have wealthy parents. Maybe you do, IDK.

        • 4th Gen SFer

          Once you graduate. (sorry, that got lost there)

        • Runforthehills

          I find it strange that someone getting a degree in humanities is advocating “coming at (people) with knives.” Very strange indeed.

          • Not strange at all, rather typical of passive aggressive leftists whose testicles never descended fully enough to actually do anything more violent than moan like an over-employed prostitute.

  • For example;
    “The REAL Artificial Turf Burn of San Francisco”

  • Sam

    I’ve never looked at Salon before today but, given the context, I just took a quick look. Guess what I saw? An article eulogizing the now defunct Bay Guardian!

    Is this a coincidence? Redmond pumps a fluff piece by the Salon editor and Salon posts an apologist rant about SFBG?

    Circle jerk, anyone?

  • David Talbot

    Just for clarification — I never got rich off Salon.I was forced to sell it off to investors to keep it alive. I have nothing to do with the current product. My wife and I did indeed buy our Bernal house back in the ’90s, when I was toiling for the old San Francisco Examiner. Those were the days — during a rare slump in the real estate market — when someone on a newspaper salary could actually afford to do so. Today, my wife and I — who is also an author and editor — barely manage to keep our heads above water and hold onto our house — which is stuffed with sons and their friends who can’t afford to live anywhere else while they go to school, pursue careers as filmmakers etc. The idea that I’m some rich fat cat — swimming in assets from the previous SF dotcom boom — always gets a big laugh in my family. “Where did you stash the cash?” my wife asks me, as we struggle to make our mortgage each month.

    • KnowsBetter

      “The idea that I’m some rich fat cat — swimming in assets from the previous SF dotcom boom”

      You mean other than your seven-figure house in Bernal Heights?

      Most renters facing financial trouble don’t get to sell off their home at an insane profit – in part thanks to the decades of policies that kept the supply of them so low for so long – while waxing sanctimonious about these horrible new people funding their retirement.

      • Sam

        Yes, anyone who has a million dollar home that has appreciated massively because of the negative effect that NIMBYism has had on the supply of new homes is not in a really strong position to criticize others whose need to generate wealth is due partly to the lack of housing that such NIMBYism has directly caused, and the high housing costs that they make inevitable.

        Talbot can sell up and live like a king, which is more than can be said by those whom he evidently despises who aspire to be in his privileged position.

      • Mark

        KnowsBetter, I understand your frustration but the “supply of them” was kept low by the (relative) lack demand and interest rates. (And, no, Sam, it was not kept low by NIMBYism). Do you understand why construction is driven by interest rates?

      • He’s calling “dicks” and “dbags” better educated, more ambitious people who are, get ready for this, it’s crazy… _meeting the demands of the marketplace_ rather than bitchin’ that their circle jerk on salon is not paying the bills.

        zero fucking sympathy for these kinds of assholes. You want your market economy when it comes to the shit you buy, but then you expect to be subsidized because people are not interested in buying the crap you’re selling (Marxist re-treads).

        You want to make a point? Stop buying iPhones. Stop surfing the web. All these people you despite will be out of work tomorrow. No, you expect them to service you at a rate you approve of, markets be damned, while you perambulate among the ghetto hellions for your “culture.”


    • GarySFBCN

      First, thank you for your great article. It is truly inspiring and it is making the rounds on Facebook.

      And please ignore the trolls Sam, KnowsBetter and others. They are here to provoke and Tim is actively working on getting a registration system in order to control the rampant trolling by just a few.

      All to say – you need not justify anything to them, because they will twist whatever you write into something that fits their agenda. The rest of us know what type of person you are.

      Again, thanks!

      • Sam

        Anyone who disagrees with Gary is a troll. How convenient.

        Who made you advisor to third parties here?

        • Runforthehills

          Demonizing dissent…a perverse tool of the extreme left and right. http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2015/01/27/the-lefts-intensifying-war-on-liberalism/

          • GarySFBCN

            Please tell us how in your world, someone who post 45 comments on this thread isn’t a troll.

            As for Andrew Sullivan, he has no standing to talk.

            This is what he said about those who disagreed with the Iraq war:

            “The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead — and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.”

          • Runforthehills
          • Runforthehills

            I think the content of the posts, not the frequency, makes for a troll. And I’ve never seen anything ‘trollish’ in Sam’s posts. Read huffpost for rightwing trolls. Some real vile stuff there. Sam always seems to give a measured, thought out response (whether you agree with him or not.)

      • Bill Murphy

        Hear Hear!!

      • Dogg

        If anything, Sam seems to have a talent for whipping hypocrites into an embarrassing frenzy.

    • Dogg

      …but the point is: you tried to get rich off Salon. Certainly that was your intent back in the day.

      How do you feel about all the tradesman jobs (typesetters, printers, distribution drivers etc.) that have evaporated because of your work in the pioneering dot-com era?

    • KH

      I feel like this is the old adage, “Don’t blame the child for the sins of their father.” The “newbies” were born into this system, they did not create it.

      In fact, it was the failure of the counter-culture that has created this situation. The left let the right defund the government and lower taxes. The left let the goals of second wave feminism such as universal child care and equal pay for equal work be pushed into commercial venues of Oprah and Cheryl Sandberg. The left has not repealed Prop. 13. The left has watched as the right has actively defunded the public sphere so now there is a huge divide between the rich and the poor and most of us have to live in the day-to-day harshness of income inequality with its shabby public institutions.

      To be truthful, the boomers have benefited from the whole cycle. They benefited from the progressive tax structure of the 1950s and 1960s. They received first-class educations for practically free. They had a strong infrastructure to build assets. They had good government and union jobs. Then they got the benefit of lower taxes. From the Reagan revolution through the Bush-Cheney tax code, the boomers have reaped the benefits. In addition, they got the benefit of Prop. 13 so now they sit in houses with 1978 property taxes.

      If we want to address this situation we need to create solutions. It’s not the problem of the individual but a system problem of the whole.

      If we had our progressive tax code of the 1950s and 1960s, we wouldn’t even be having this debate. The rich would grow rich more slowly and the public sphere would be funded in step with the private. Income inequality would not exist because the progressive taxes cause too much friction on the income of the top earners and therefore slow their quick accumulation of wealth.

      It’s a lot easier to live in an expensive city if there are abundant public resources. Three-thousand dollars per month in rent is tolerable for middle class workers if there is subsidized child care, great public schools (pre-k through college), clean parks, excellent public transit, and access to the arts. If you have to pay prohibitive housing costs and also pay for child-care, private school, private transportation, and private recreation, then the city becomes inaccessible for people along the economic spectrum.

      Apple just announced an 18 billion profit for 1 quarter. Apple also has been off-shoring its tremendous cash reserver (at one point during the recession, they had more cash than the government) so it does not have to pay taxes. If we had a government which would enforce proper taxation, then we would also be able to provide more for our lower and middle income citizens. Apple is a California based corporation which enjoys the benefit of our patent laws, our roads, our clean water, our stable society, our judicial system, and innumerable benefits which make businesses want to locate themselves in California versus many other places in the world.

      Shouldn’t we be asking them, not Standford graduates not to be dicks?

      Recently there have been many articles on how Yahoo will avoid billions of taxes on their Alibaba spinoff.
      Shouldn’t we be asking Yahoo not to be an A-hole?

      Shouldn’t we be boycotting Apple until it pays its taxes? Shouldn’t we ask the workers of these companies to ask that their corporate leaders enact policies that create economic stability and sustainability?

      Shouldn’t we be asking the larger stakeholders to behave appropriately rather than individual workers? Shouldn’t we be asking Twitter, Uber, AirBnB, and other monied corporate enterprises to behave responsibly and to actively contribute to the public sphere so our homeless people can be sheltered, our schools can be funded, our parks well groomed, our streets smooth, our artists funded? Shouldn’t we be asking Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and other large corporations who have many employees who live in San Francisco to pay a municipality fee to the City of San Francisco for each employee who lives in San Francisco and uses our municipal services? The City receives no payroll tax for employees working outside of the city. The City also receives no property tax from employees who rent because the landlord is paying property tax equivalent to the price of when they purchased the building. Shouldn’t we be asking for more from the lords and ladies of the new aristocracy rather than the serfs plowing the digital fields?

  • pilastr

    Much more here on Stanford’s and Google’s relationship to the CIA and NSA… yeah, where did all that seed money and all those government contracts come from in the first place?

    [Google’s founder] “Sergey Brin himself in his own paper acknowledges funding from the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, which was an intelligence community program set up by the CIA and NSA. I also have it on record, as noted in the piece, from Prof. Thuraisingham of University of Texas that she managed the MDDS program on behalf of the US intelligence community, and that her and the CIA’s Rick Steinheiser met Brin every three months or so for two years to be briefed on his progress developing Google and PageRank.”

    • Then stop using Google and you’re good.

  • Jean

    PLEASE, TIM! Take back your blog from the snarky trolls who post after every other post which doesn’t agree with them. We’re sick of it.

    • Sam

      Jean, I prefer that to people who only post to criticize others, like you.

      • O you “Sam”. I have seen your posts on other forums as well. How are you not a troll? How do you even have the time?

        • Sam

          Doubtful. Which other forums are you claiming to have read my truth?

    • GarySFBCN

      Tim is working on this, getting some type of registration system.

      Last week it got so bad that ALL of Sam’s posts on one article were deleted. Of course a few days later he was there on that same thread, commenting again.

      Sam referred to non-whites as ‘colored people’ on this blog. He frequently red-baits, comparing what a commenter may write to communism, Marx, Stalin, etc.

      When he is losing an argument, he feigns being obtuse. He is a despicable human being.

      • Sam

        Gary, why so bitter? Just because you routinely lose debates to me is no reason to come over all personal and aggressive. Tim has made it very clear he values free speech and civility. You should respect that.

        And the real target of Tim last week was marcos, who was imp’ing other people and who had many posts removed. Insofar as I had any posts removed (I do not recall any), I believe they were hanging posts and went as part of Tim’s war on imping.

        • GarySFBCN

          100% of your posts were deleted, not just those involving Marcos. If you don’t recall any, you either are a liar or have serious mental issues.

          And I’ve never lost any argument to you. Never. I choose to stop because, just as you insist upon taking-over every comment section with your nonsense, you also insist upon having the ‘last word.’

          I’m not playing your game, despicable man.

          • Sam

            Gary, you must be talking about a different website than me. do you have any evidence for your claims? This should be good.

            You need treatment for your anger problem.

          • Guest

            At a certain point, Sam gets off on the attention. We must make the choice as to whether to validate his self worth by responding to him or to allow his bullshit to stand uncontested.

          • Sam

            Wrong, Guest, I would much prefer that people left personalities out of it and debate only the issues. That is why I come here, and not to participate in the cat fights that some on the left appear to prefer to serious discussion.

            So, please, try contributing to the topic here instead.

  • There are two separate arguments in this piece:
    1) “Stanford assholes”/”techies” are destroying the progressive values they seemingly espouse, and are directly contributing to the misery of many people around the planet.
    2) The particular brand of counterculture which flourished in 1960s SF is a precious heritage whose eclipse from competing trends or demographics is a tragedy.

    I wholeheartedly endorse your warning to Stanford grads to take their massive influence and privilege seriously. I don’t want “privilege” to set off alarm bells – I simply mean that they have tremendous resources at their disposal, and while some young people are treating the world as their oyster (Zuckerman, et al), many of the resentments against “techies” derive from young people who don’t understand that their work concretely contributes to the misery of their neighbors. Just like any other human beings, tech employees need to take responsibility for the products they develop. This isn’t restricted to the tech industry, obviously – that sense of personal responsibility applies to every employee in every industry. Wall Street bankers should feel bad when they produce financial products which undermine the economy and prey on the weak. Lawyers should feel bad when they fight against the disenfranchised or deny justice to the wronged. Taxi drivers should feel bad when they’re assholes to well-meaning passengers. At every level of a society, workers need to take responsibility for their contributions and make sure that what they do is moving society towards the world that they want. Right now, and right here, it so happens that the tech industry is the most powerful, influential force around. Like the old Spiderman saw, “with great privilege comes great responsibility.” If you work at Google or Facebook, you have tremendous power and influence around the world. Take that seriously! Take your work seriously! Think about what you do. Do not pretend that you are an average workerbee, even if it feels like the higher-ups treat you that way. Consider the fact that the tech industry is an echo chamber, and if you are only receiving feedback on your ideas from other people within your industry, that doesn’t mean it’s the right plan – it just means you haven’t asked anybody else.

    A lot of tech workers hear descriptions of young, rich assholes who are just here to make money and eat locally grown cuisine, and they don’t recognize themselves, they don’t identify with that stereotype. What you’re asking is that those tech workers take a moment and realize the degree to which their work and lifestyle DOES perpetuate that shitty future San Francisco, even if that’s not something they necessarily want.

    The other half of your essay, which mythologizes the counterculture of the 1960s, is some half-baked nostalgic post-Boomer bullshit. So much for “don’t trust anybody over 30” eh? There is nothing about the hippie movement of the 1960s which is somehow infinitely more precious and intrinsic to San Francisco’s identity than, say, the immigration of Chinese workers in the 1870s. There is no difference between the cyclical economic and cultural forces which allowed the yuppies to push out Latino families and the forces which allowed rich, childless gay couples to push out the Irish and black populations of the Castro. The story of the 1960s and the gay liberation movement are chapters of San Francisco history, but they are not dramatically more important or precious than the chapters which precede them, and their passage is not an automatic death knell for the cultural life of the city.

    • ephman

      well said.

  • SciLaw

    So all those Genentech and Gilead scientists who are trying to cure AIDs and cancer are also “bad” guys because they can afford to buy nice houses with their stock options?

    All those Stanford professors making six figures and enhanced royalties on their patents paid for by federal government dollars are also “bad” guys for their inventions that corporations want?

    This nasty screed against technology seems to be directed at Web 2.0 but fails to address all those other people who have done well in the past decade. Why limit your venom in such a way to just high-tech? Because it’s not as good an argument when you start attacking biotech?

    That’s all this argument is– Class warfare against people who have worked and competed hard to get their JDs, MBAs, PhDs (heck even BSs) from some of finest academic institutions in the world. Somehow people with higher educations don’t know how to produce music or art? Give me a fucking break. My extended family all have graduate degrees and we all play music publicly. We’re less worthy of buying a house in the city because someone was here first?

    I’m sure the right wing is salivating using this “logic” to prevent immigration into this country. Dibs for people who got here earlier…..

    • Web 2.0? How 2005! Can I make a telephone call to you on your land line, do you have an answering machine?

      We should put our house in order, clean up and put out fires before inviting guests over.

      • SciLaw

        I apologize if you think google and facebook don’t have an impact on housing prices in the Bay Area. Otherwise, Maybe you brush up on your techie definitions….

        • marcos

          Nobody could have predicted the rise of google, facebook, genentech, apple and salesforce to the sustainable profitable firms they are today and identified the capital beforehand to have built preemptively to accommodate demand to house their workers.

          Run ghostery on your web browser some time and see the trackers that have long since blown past web 2.0 to create an information gathering and monetizing economy.

          Efforts to make San Francisco and the Mission a boring tech monoculture will face resistance and rightly so. Tech is fine, boring tech monocultures filled with those who make demands on neighborhoods and contribute nothing in return outside of economic transactions are the problem.

          • Runforthehills

            Like yourself?

  • Merry Crankster

    The citation of Ken Kesey as an example of a Stanford non-asshole is interesting. Plenty of folks thought Kesey was a jerk, Wallace Stegner’s thinly veiled caricature of Kesey as a freeloader and chiseler in All the Little Live Things being a prime example. One also wonders what Kesey himself would think of all of this — the Stamper Family of Sometimes A Great Notion would seem to place Kesey’s sympathy with the individual trying to improve its own lot vs. the community that looks out only for its established interests.

  • StopYourBitchiin’

    Without me having to ask, my Lyft driver the other day decided to go on a psuedo rant about SF techies, and how they are driving up the cost of living in “his” city. He shared with me that he is a long time resident of the inner Sunset, and is driving for Lyft as it allows him to make his own schedule, and helps him subsidize his income as he pursues photography.

    I found it interesting that the same person who is benefiting from a peer to peer sharing app is complaining about “techies” , aka the same bucket of people who created these kinds of apps and many other services that we use daily.

    Personally, I find that this “we-hate-change-and-techies” mentality old. Why stop the blame game at people who work in technology for all the changes going on to this ever changing city? Why not blame investors for pumping money into our city to build these high rise monstrosities that encourages housing for these techies? And let’s not forget the construction workers who are actually building these things and getting paid for it. While we’re at it, let’s point fingers at our city politicians for making it easier to get construction permits and encouraging businesses to have offices here. And the voters who voted for these politicians. And anyone who’s ever bought anything online, booked travels online, managed bills online, read a book online, blogged, posted, shared, tweet, …because by doing so, these people are validating the work that these techies are paid to do and creating demands for them. Humph!

  • Sam

    Excellent Talbot smackdowns here from amativusDiana, SciLaw, Merry Crankster and StopYour bitchin’.

    Nice to see some new truth tellers here. Welcome, guys, and stick around. We skewer pretensions and ideologues here for fun.

  • Angelo Presicci

    Some comments are sound bites and serial reacting.

    David Talbot’s essay is a remarkable expression of what is clearly in our faces. We are an oligarchy. It took a couple of generations to legitimize Reagan’s greed is good, but we have arrived.

    If you compare the Republic of United States with comparable economic and democratic nations, we are by far the most selfish, consumer crazy, uninformed and ignorant. Some of those people vote against their own interest; others refrain from voting thereby acting against their own interest.

    I’ve been in the city 40 years, and with luck have landed in good rent conditions. But my partner, a retired SFUSD teacher, and I are not going to be able to grow old here.

  • Shawtay

    I love that this website has links asking for donation via Paypal, and to be followed on Twitter and Facebook, where it will surely be read on iPhones.

    Errr, I mean, down with the techies!!! Evil 1% scum!

    • Guest

      Clueless much? The issue isn’t a hatred against technology. The issue is that dozens of huge companies have located to the Bay Area and their workers are driving people out of their homes and causing others to pay a large portion of their income for rent or a mortgage payment. The technology is fine, but we need to find a way to get the companies to move their operations far away from the Bay Area and California since their employees are destroying families by evicting them from their homes, and the companies are creating sprawl and over-development in a once-beautiful state with some of the highest biodiversity on the entire planet.

      • Dogg

        Exactly! It isn’t about hatred against technology! It’s about hatred of the _people_ who made the technology.

        • Sam

          Because everyone on the same job is exactly the same, right?

          Stereotypes rule.

          • Dogg

            …and lead Guest to make statements like:

            “…but we need to find a way to get the companies to move their operations far away from the Bay Area and California since their employees are destroying families.”

            Only in backwards-land would someone say that with a straight face. Employment destroys families!

      • Runforthehills

        Yeah! We don’t need no stinkig jobs! Who will pay for your sociaiist utopia if all of the cash leaves?

      • Yes, tech companies should be forced to move to Toledo. Their employs should wear something at all times so we know when they leave the ghetto to send them back (maybe a yellow star?).

        SF should be the sole dominion of homosexuals and ghetto dwellers who “keep it real.”

  • As a Bay Area resident of over 40 years and an evictee from the first tech boom (I have been in Oakland since 97) I understand what David says, it’s more than “you techie punks” are ruining it all, it is more “be mindful” and try to help the neighborhood you move into not make it unattainable for everybody else. If you are 24 and have more money than your parents ever had don’t overbid on that house, don’t fall for Realtor’s obscene rental prices, take public transport, be a true San Franciscan and give to the city you say you love. And above all I think David would love to see all this wonderful youthful intelligence that spends most if it’s time making phone apps and future military software to do something to benefit humankind not just make a load of cash and forget about our plight on this planet.

    • I agree Wally and like how you articulated it as “be mindful”. No one could ague against the need to make a profit. There is nothing inherently wrong with material things. However, when underemployed folk such as teachers for example can’t afford to rent in the city they work in then there may be a problem. The building that I rent in sees the landlord (a self described investor) shaking the tree as often and as cleverly as he can(via private investigators,passthroughs, etc.) to see which vulnerable apples are ready to fall off. These are unfortunately the people with unsound health, elderly and the (for a myriad reasons) underemployed . Who are they UNIVERSALLY replaced with? They are replaced ( I admit it is a bit galling) with highly educated, well paid twenty somethings. All the same class of people. They pay three times the rent from only five years ago. If profit is being made THE QUESTION IS must it be as much as possible and as fast as possible. Profit can be acquired with thoughtfulness. How is it affecting individuals and the community. This is a more spiritual way of making decisions. This collectively engaged approach is different from the purely material, competitive and I think destructive way that has come to be seen as the norm and rightful form of conduct.

      • ephman

        well said!

    • I know you think your collage is doing something for humanity, but I’ll let the market decide that one.

  • Runforthehills

    The police weren’t called on Nieto because he didn’t “look right”, David. They were called because he had what people thought was a gun. I’m surprised at you for this one.

  • greg

    You are am incredible winer.

  • David Podger

    I think SyB above hits the nail on the head with his observation about “we-hate-change-and-techies” screes. For C-and-T you can substitute any number of descriptions of people who came to San Francisco in the last couple of generations that made the city look, in every sense of the world, different to what it had been up until that point.
    Not saying we shouldn’t be sensitive to the impact that change occasionally wreaks, but let’s not close our minds to what positive effects might result also.

  • Guest

    Tim, the past is the past what was is no longer.

  • noevalleyjim

    If you don’t want new people to displace the people already here, then support building new housing, so that both the current residents and the newcomers can both live here. I don’t understand why this isn’t self-evident.

    • noevalleyjim, You really are an asshole on streetsblog, so easy to do, attacking Erick Arguello from behind a false name

      Building new luxury housing in working class neighborhoods drives up housing prices in adjacent existing housing and spurs gentrification. There are no public policies that could have girded the City for the triple whammy of 1) profitable tech firms, Google, Facebook, Genentech, Salesforce and Apple in the region, 2) the tsunami of foreign capital seeking investment opportunities and 3) the $11b, most in the nation, of speculative venture capital issued to firms in SF. The capital was not available in the past to build to accommodate that demand and it is not available now. The infrastructure is simply not present nor is it on the planning horizon, to support such numbers. Pro-cyclical municipal policies only exacerbate those challenges and seek to balance the profits of the elites on the backs of San Francisco taxpayers.

      None of this “TOD” upzoned residential is transit oriented. The transit network is just too weak to support that. And there is nothing on the planning horizon that is going to change that. Therefore they are maxing out on parking, occasionally seeking CU for higher parking, and this is all adjacent to transit lines and freeways. By our home, we’re seeing hundreds of new parking spaces for the hundreds of new luxury residential units.

      Why don’t you not pick on poorer working class neighborhoods predominantly of color for your TOD fantasies and do the heavy political lift to upzone in areas not subject to gentrification? Are you racist and like to beat on Latinos, are you classist and don’t like poorer people, or are you just politically incapable of rising to the challenge when there are actual, real powerful opponents on the other side?

      Because as it stands, you all are siding with the elites and their get-rich-quick-schemes against existing San Franciscans and are picking fights with our neighbors.

      • Sam

        Jym is from Streetsblog?

        Nuff said.

        • Jim is not Jym. Jym is pleasant and reasonable.

          • Sam

            Hard to tell. Could be sock puppets.

      • Runforthehills

        Develop 16th and Mission. Transit oriented.

      • NoeValleyJim

        How hypocritical of you to complain about people attacking someone from “behind a fake name” using anonymous as your name. You can’t even be bothered to use a pseudonym.

        You are 100% incorrect that building new market rate housing causes the rental price of surrounding housing to go up. There is no evidence whatsoever so support this absurd claim.

  • this article was on fire. and i hope you all do something to curb these guys’ nasty comments. they take over everything you all write and are ungrateful winners, for this city is turning into something they love. but mission local changed comment policy and looks like sam and the rest spend more of their bitter time here.

    be careful because they kill conversation. this is a great article and a lot of new yorkers are loving it now, too. but you wouldn’t know by the comments here. the comments have become bitter, creepy cesspools to avoid, but i just HAD to blur my eyes past the caustic “sams” writing here and say this was the best thing i’ve heard on what’s happening to san francisco. and all in one place.

    thanks for posting it. it opened up an even deeper dread that i’d been avoiding because no one in the city wants to talk about what’s happening to them while they’re out and about.

    thank you.

    erika lopez

    • Runforthehills

      God forbid you read an opposing pov, Erika.

    • 🙂

  • …and as for Nieto getting shot for looking wrong, i’ve also lived here 21 years now, and the cops now routinely get called on me for dancing in the park. in parks like dolores, where people used to suntan in skivvies and make out on the grass. now i also no longer “look right” to the new people here and they don’t live and let live.

    they eradicate.

    and these new folks hate to wait at stop signs. one girl in a lexus passed in front of my car at a stop sign here on 24th street, because yeah, “time is money!” and she didn’t like waiting for the kids and the lady pushing her laundry cart across the crosswalk, and nearly hit ’em.

    but i’m puerto rican and originally born in nyc so i got enraged and chased her down and cut her off and challenged her to a fight. she got squirrelly and sped off.

    she’s like sam and the “run for the hills” people. they’ve got nothing but a lot of scared spittle to back ’em up behind screens. they are afraid of actual people.


    • Fishchum

      Someone called 911 on Nieto because he was pointing what looked like a gun (a taser) at people, not because he “didn’t look right”.

      So someone cut you off and you chased them down, cut THEM off, and then challenged them to a fight? I think you might be the one with issues.

      • Sam

        Lopez evidently has a little Nieto in her.

    • Runforthehills

      …”chased her down and cut her off and challenged her to a fight.
      “You sound like a lovely person.

    • 4th gen SF’er

      Is this the same Erica Lopez that’s a TEACHER that is getting evicted? RUFKM? Seriously, you act like that and you teach children?! BTW, you’re from NYC, so, go back there, I mean you don’t want new people in here, and frankly we Californians can’t stand NYers, so go back home. Does that make you feel good when I say that? Well think before you say things about the “new people” then.

    • 🙂

  • Suburban

    San Francisco really hasn’t been the same since the 49ers, coming in with all their denim and gold. And don’t get me started on the missionaries! Sorry, hippies, your time has come and gone.

  • huscarl91


    Clearly you embody everything meant in the term “Stanford dick”. Tech workers make money, restaurant workers and artists don’t, one is worthy, and and the other has to move out of the houses they’ve lived in for a couple of decades because they are unworthy. Dick.

    • Sam

      Why is it dickish to expect people to pay their own way?

  • Theresa Lamb

    Brilliant article. I cried reading it. I’ve lived here for nearly 25yrs. I raised my kids in the Sunset and Richmond. I moved away for 2 yrs – came back for health care reasons and couldn’t find affordable housing anywhere. By ‘luck’, I found a 1 br apt in the Mission for $2700. So, I live here. For now. Using up all the money I got when my dad died, just to pay rent and utilities and medical bills. I’m barely surviving here, living in a sea of wealth, observing pods of selfish little pricks who run around and NEVER bother to connect to their community. They walk right by people sleeping on the streets, they ignore all the struggle and poverty, because it doesn’t mean anything to them.

    I’m an old hippie and SF has always been like an old friend, someone to hug and hold and have deep, boisterous conversations w/. I could trust SF before. I knew she’d be there for me. For all our differences as humans, I believed SF was there for all of us, no matter.
    Not anymore – it’s become such a divisive place to live. I feel such anger & disappointment.
    The gap between the ‘have and have not’, grows.
    Most friends have moved away. Most have left California.
    Of those who remain, many of them are home owners who make >$300,000. They are well established. They shake their heads, say they are upset….but they’re not in the midst of a deep, raw struggle to survive. They remain in the comfort of the money basket. They are still rocked by the lull of money and the ability to remain in SF. For me, I represent a growing percentage of folks who barely make ends meet. We are renters, living day to day w/ just enough funds to pay rent.

    Sorry this is so long….but this cuts deep to my soul. I’m a nurse, I’m disabled, an elder. I’ve been twice on disability here in SF. Now I work from home, and listen to the sounds of destruction and reconstruction of one of the most beloved neighborhoods of SF – the Mission.
    I’d always wanted to live here, so at first I thought ‘wow, this is amazing, I finally get to live in the Mission’ – then I witnessed the sea of predominantly white young faces, running around like kids in a candy store, and my heart sank. For true San Franciscans the Mission is deeply loved and respected for it’s raw, sensual, beautiful, strong, passionate, vocal threads of humanity. Latin culture is being pushed out, working class of all ethnicities, has greatly diminished. I’m enraged when I walk around my community and see the rich techies and hipsters floating past the true grit community of residents who have lived here for decades. It’s heart breaking. These newcomers aren’t interested in blending in, accepting and embracing what already is here. They simply don’t care.

    Peace, justice and social issues used to be one of the biggest pieces of the heart of SF.
    Now it’s been buried by money. Corporate greed. By those who value moving ‘further’ by how much money they can make.
    Entitled people don’t have vision for truth, enlightenment, compassion, struggle, equality. They might talk the talk, but they don’t walk it.
    My ‘further’ is on that damn hippie bus, loving every moment of it. Keep on truckin’.

    • 4th Gen SFer

      If you’re living on disability and/or your fairly large inheritance, I don’t understand why you want to rent, for $2700 a month when you could move & pay a lot less. I really don’t understand why you insist that you need to stay when it’s so expensive, and your friends have moved out. It’s also your decision, but for what you’re paying for a one-bedroom in SF you could live in an actual house, that you own, somewhere else. That city you “loved” is never coming back btw. And as I’ve stated before, SF is constantly changing, the hippies and the gays displaced a whole lot of people – ie the French, the Scandinavians & the Italians, the Irish and the AA’s that lived here. In fact, that wasn’t tech displacing AA’s, it was progressives. I remember when SF was 12% or even 15%+ AA and now it’s down to 6% or even less – shrinking. The people that did that were not techies, that was the progressive left that did that. I watched that one happening.

      • Sam

        Part of me feels sorry for Theresa. But her comment about being upset by seeing more “white faces” is deeply disturbing and prima facie racist. Imagine the outcry if someone complained about seeing too many “black faces”!

        And this in a neighborhood that is 50% Hispanic!

        There is a silver lining for Theresa though. The places with far fewer white faces are also typically cheaper. She can kill two birds with one stone by moving to cheaper and less-white neighborhood or city.

        • 4th gen SF’er

          Excelsior, Hunter’s Point, Little Hollywood are not dominated by white faces and are MUCH cheaper than the $2700 a month she’s paying. I’m not sure if Little Hollywood still has that awesome bakery on it’s main street anymore but it’s an amazing bakery. Also, again as I haven’t been out there in ages, but Excelsior had a LOT of great stores and restaurants, and, not sure but there was an Italian deli out there too that was amazing and had been there for probably 100 years. Might not be there anymore.

    • Runforthehills

      Yes, every new comer is exactly the same. This type of thinking is what the hippies dealt with when thet got here, don’t forget.

    • 🙂

  • Mark

    Calling people assholes and douchebags is a sure-fire way to bring out the reactionaries and get attention. Talbot is a writer, and sometimes we need writers to say out loud what most of us won’t say – or shouldn’t say. And this short piece certainly lacked the brilliance of Season of the Witch, which was wholly un-nostalgic. But did he say that all Tech was bad? No. Did he say all wealth was bad? No. Did he say cultural change is bad? No. Did he say that engineers are worthless? Quite the opposite. If I moved to a working class neighborhood in LA, willfully displaced working class families in a multi-unit building and remodeled it into a single family mansion, and consistently took up 2 parking spaces with my Tesla so that it never gets scratched, am I within my legal rights? Absolutely. Am I complete douchebag-asshole? Most definitely. This is what I see everyday in the city I grew up in, and somehow, I’m lucky to still live in. Calling them douchebags won’t change anything for the better. But yeah, it’s something I think every now and then. And to the raspy-voiced apologists, economic displacement is not the same as cultural displacement. This is not the same as Chinese migration into the Sunset, or African-American migration into Ocean View. Hippies and Gays did not displace the working class of Eureka Valley and the Haight. This is involuntary displacement encouraged by greedy investors, shitty housing policy, and willfully unconscious transplants fulfilling a fantasy of “urban” dwelling. And if you think that moving to a new community doesn’t require responsibilities and sensitivities above and beyond those who already live in that community, then please, don’t move there (or here).

    • SciLaw

      That’s my point. It’s easy to point out at young white web techies and say they are the problem but it’s harder to point at Asian scientists and say they are also the problem. Talbot is choosing his “limited” target when the “alleged problem” would seem to be larger than that. But keeping on eating up his hyperbole and trying out your own. I don’t see that many Teslas in the Mission and I certainly haven’t seen them take up 2 parking spaces.

      • Mark

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see where Talbot mentions “young, white” web techies. Are you saying that’s what he (and I) intend to imply? Do you think I’m any less antagonistic toward scientists or artists or skateboarders who move into a place with a sense of entitlement and disregard for the people who live there? Was I saying that Teslas take up 2 spaces in the Mission (where I live)? Read again. Or don’t. It was an analogy based on a collection of experience. Perhaps you’ve experienced different. But you’ve done very little to entice me to listen to you (much as Talbot as done for you). I used to get rocks thrown at me while skateboarding to work in Hunter’s Point in ’94. Were they assholes? Yes. But I wasn’t surprised. In fact, I totally understood it. And that’s what’s lacking – there is no emotional intelligence on the part of some of those effecting these changes. Most are ignorant/too busy/oblivious, many are well-meaning but feel helpless, and some are outright disdainful, arrogant and opportunistic. Thankfully, they’re the minority, although they’re loud – especially online and at parties. I’ve had many people from the tech industry (of which I’m employed) ask me how these changes feel, as an SF native. That’s all it f*cking takes. Ask people how they feel. Be interested.

        • 4th Gen SFer

          So you’re in tech and yet post vitriol against tech people. Well it takes all kinds.

          • By this measure, white people cannot fight racism, men cannot fight sexism and hets cannot fight homophobia and Germans could not have stopped Hitler. Isn’t that convenient!

    • Dogg

      No, calling people assholes and douchebags is a sure-fire way to BE a reactionary.

  • Adam Smith

    “I used to be the only rich family from a rich family in Bernal Heights. Now there are too many rich people, especially those pesky tech people who may not have been born rich like me.” These people are the worst.

    • Sam

      Yeah, Talbot could have his self-absorbed fluff piece a lot shorter without losing any meaning.

    • 4th gen SF’er

      I am willing to bet he didn’t send his kids to the public elementary school in Bernal, nor to any public schools in SF. How’s that for racism from progressives? Almost NONE of them send their kids to their local diverse schools (read black dominated or latin dominated). They will send their kids to Asian schools, but not to those pesky “brown people” schools because they’re “bad”. Code words…code words.

  • Isaac

    really dislike this article. The author spends all this time bashing the new generation of people who want to move to the bay area. And he admires and praises his generation for the like of Ken Kesey and the hippy movement. Completely overlooking the fact that the bay area had just as many problems with the Hippy movement changing the face of San Francisco as this guy does with the Tech industry. Talbot seems to want to freeze the Bay in this ‘golden age’ where free spirits willingly threw away their social obligations to do vast quantities of drugs and fuck (which is really all the hippy movement accomplished), but doesn’t mention the problems SF had with the hippies squatting in houses, how many of them became drifters who still are drifting about the bay without any guidance, and how many of them now are wealthy land owners living in the surrounding area. Even Ken Kesey, his favorite man in the world, started off as a very successful writer and was able to buy a house in La Honda, support a large group of people at his property, and pull off the whole merry prankster affair because of the mountain of cash that rolled in from ‘One flew over a cuckoo’s nest’ and the film of the same name.
    I agree that there is a problem in the SF with all the tech employees moving up there with their 6 figure salaries, with the sky rocketing price of living, and the immense overcrowding of the bay area as a whole. But what does he expect. SF has been the place to live on the West Coast since the 1940s and 50s with the beat generation, followed closely by the hippy movement. Since then every young and liberal individual has wanted to be apart of the experience. Lumping all the blame onto these new college graduates is just not fair, if he has a problem with the social structure of the bay area he needs to look much higher than the heads of employees who really just want to make enough money to live the American dream. He should put the blame on his generation for not doing enough work to prepare the bay area for this amount of people, for refusing to allow major highway thoroughfares to be built allowing people to quickly pass through the city, for blocking sky rise apartments because they ‘destroy the look of the city’ despite their potential for low income housing for all the poor who are being kicked out.
    I further dislike his bashing of the engineers and scientists, making it seem that we are gonna roll into SF and whitewash the city into prison cell uniformity. “the humanities departments are increasingly diminished by the reign of engineering and computer science” he says, well no shit there are more engineers and CS students than humanities. Ask anyone who gets has gotten a degree in humanities, in the last few years, what their starting salary is, or if they got a job before graduating. The whole job market is stifled across the country, you want people to get back into humanities, literature, history, linguistics, well then go and convince congress to improve the benefits of public school teachers. Raise their salary out of the sub 40K class and give them the same salary and benefits as Google gives it’s employees. The US routinely cuts the education budget which screw it all over. And “The character of our society cannot be determined by engineers” what the fuck is this bullshit, so we should let the “character of society” be determined by free spirits and politicians? Sure the engineers making code for MCAfee are not doing much to improve the quality of the world, but neither is the drifter on market who decided to drop out of school after doing too many DMT hits. Or the scatter brained artist who can’t manage a decent income because their art isn’t sought after by the world. For better or for worse, the character of the Bay will be defined by the people living in it, and just like the baby boomers accepted the hippies, Talbot needs to accept the techies.
    The problems of SF are not ones that are going to be solved just because a bunch of techies all go counter culture. Being counter culture is now so common, it’s just normal. Talbot does one good thing at the end here “we face challenges even more daunting: planetary survival, the growing gap between rich and poor, the steady destruction of democracy by war and oligarchy.” These are not issues that will be solved because we abandon societal rules, these are not issues that a bus of full of acid heads could ever change. These are issues that can not be fixed by abandoning our social structure, by trying to be something new and different. To fix the government, the people need to become more involved, not less; to save the planet we need to actively adopt lifestyles that constantly think about being green which is not something easily done without money. Putting the blame for the problems of SF, the bay, California, the US on the techies is writing off all the issues Talbot’s generation caused and it writes off Talbot’s responsibility to helping make it better. It requires universal effort to fix it all.

    • Bill Murphy

      Wow. So much is flawed with what you’ve written…..”He should put the blame on his generation” – Isn’t that doing exactly what you accuse him of doing – to another group of people? “willingly threw away their social obligations to do vast quantities of drugs and fuck (which is really all the hippy movement accomplished” – think healthy and organic food, medical marijuana, a revolution in music, Earth Day, Environmentalism (Now called “Green”, women’s liberation, gay liberation and on and on. “The Hippies” and the values they embodied helped bring about all of these things and more. “These are not issues that will be solved because we abandon societal rules, these are not issues that a bus of full of acid heads could ever change.” WHAT? Look up the rules of debate. You haven’t engaged them. I really don’t think you’ve let Mr. Talbot’s words in at all. That’s why you’ve written such an uncalculated comment.

    • Bill Murphy

      Oh, and by the way – the Hippies are in the Baby Boomer generation. Look it up on the internets.

    • 4th gen SF’er

      Exactly correct Isaac.

      • mp


  • SciLaw

    Can’t reply on substance? How typical. I’d say you should clean up your house before you have guests over but maybe you’ve been recently displaced.

    • I believe that we should curtail immigration both into the US, CA and SF until we’ve figured out how to house those who have been here and are not housed. If we don’t take care of ourselves and our neighbors, then nobody else is going to do that for us.

  • i moved. to pacifica. eight minute drive to colma BART. 3-car parking in my driveway. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, skylights, ocean view, mountain view, no parking meters, no street cleaning, no noisy neighbors, no homeless people…it’s a no brainer folks, pacifica, daly city, south san francisco. c’mon down.

    • Sam

      Good for you, Amy. Americans have never been afraid to try a new location where the place they currently live is no longer appropriate. We don’t whine in the face of adversity; we go find a place better suited to our values.

  • Dogg

    Nothing is more traditionally San Francisco than wanting to slam the door shut behind you once you’ve gotten yours.

    I wonder if the author ever did the self-examination that he was the start of the problem when he first moved to Bernal Heights.

  • Oh and I love how he was the founder and CEO of a company that went public in the first boom and already from a somewhat well-heeled background . I went to Stanford, work in tech and bought a house in Bernal. My dad was an unemployed plumber. The death of the American dream is not from those sitting on tech shuttles to and from work. It is those who try to stop the success of others.

    • 4th Gen SFer

      “The death of the American dream is not from those sitting on tech shuttles to and from work. It is those who try to stop the success of others.” LOVE THIS & yes totally correct.

      • nomoreplebs

        I think it is impossible to stop progress. I don’t care that “people” are doing well, moving into all kinds of different neighborhoods. What I can’t stand is how much of an asshole you are. Yes you. Most of your types are SUCH ASSHOLES. The reason that this dialogue, this critique EXISTS…is because it’s true. So don’t go walking around like an entitled prick if ya can manage it. Because one day, I swear, you’re going to get punched in the face.

  • Gopal

    The problem in my view is the suburban bay area’s lack of foresight in enabling mass transit and higher density development 5 or 6 decades ago.

    Think of much different these laments would be if Bart ringed the entire bay, and ran 24 hours.

    • 4th Gen SFer

      Prop M stopped it, which seemed like a good idea at the time….in hindsight though….but also there is a problem with earthquakes, a big problem with them. I believe Tim was part of the anti-M movement.

  • sershe

    “very urban qualities – the colorful social mix, the creative vibe, the city’s progressive and compassionate soul” – this is a misconception. This is not what “urban” is (look it up!), and as a young techie I can tell you that most people who move to A city scarcely care about any of those. We care about walking, transit, apartments, bars, parks, placed to hang out or do things, and the sheer concentration of people to be friends with and do things. It’s not “creative vibe”, it’s “urban vibe”. Vancouver is a much better city than SF – not because it has “progressive and compassionate soul” or some such, with Latino grandmas and counterculture cartoonists, but because it’s better on most of these. LA has culture by the truck-load, but it’s a much worse city than SF because it’s bunch of Palo Altos connected by highways.
    If SF becomes a better city (like Vancouver), displacing all this color and soul and whatnot, it will be a gain, not a loss.

    • marcos

      It seems that you want other people to make it so that you can enjoy yourself instead of participating in an urban culture where you all make things for each other to enjoy.

      This pay-to-play diversion, my only fun is mediated via exchange of cash, is typical of so many monodimensional computer geeks who move to a community only for what they can get rather than what they can contribute and share.

      You all are here for the money and would go wherever the money was. This place is nothing special to you. San Francisco, The Mission, is someplace special to us.

      • 4th Gen SFer

        Marcos were you here before Tech was? Because you work in it. BTW, I suggest you go to a conference in Vancouver, you will see what a great city actually IS rather than SF. Because Vancouver is much much greater than SF. Bonus – the people are much friendlier than SF too.

        • I was invited to present a paper at a conference in Vancouver on internet library indexing back in the day when the WWW was young and did so. I’ll take SF hands down.

          Techies have been here since before forever. It is the influx of Wall Street speculative capital that supercharges tech work into an engine of gentrification.

      • sershe

        “It seems that you want other people to make it so that you can enjoy yourself instead of participating in an urban culture where you all make things for each other to enjoy.” No, I find people with whom we can share activities and enjoy ourselves, contributing to each others’ lifestyle. If I want to go rock climbing and my girlfriend wants to do yoga with her friends and my friend wants to do cooking classes, these “monodimensional” activities will all thrive. Who decides what’s monodimensional? If it just so happens that some disjoint group of people that enjoys different activities cannot afford to live somewhere, what am I to do? Should I not move where I want to live so they could preserve their lifestyle? That almost begs for T. Roosevelt quote 🙂
        That, also because these people have brought the high proces on themselves by their rampant NIMBYism from the 90ies to resisting Vancouver-ization 10~ years ago. You could have your lifestyle affordably between highrises but refused to do so… Now unless you want some dictatorship to decide who gets to live where, you don’t get to have your lifestyle at all. I have no pity.

        • sershe

          Er, 70ies

    • 4th Gen SFer

      Totally hear you about Vancouver. Was just there, LOVED it and it’s completely walkable and SAFE unlike SF. Even it’s bad areas are head and shoulders above SF.

  • Enraged with Techies



    You’re a soulless scumbag who see’s a rainbow city as black and white. “What’s in it for you?” Is the only difference between your black and white. You think the world is this ‘dog eat dog world, so if I eat more dogs I’ll bang a prettier wife with smarter kids’. And you know what, you will eat all the dogs. The dogs weren’t fighting you! The dogs didn’t eat other dogs, the dogs packed up and helped eachother feed the pups- YOU”RE THIS CRAZY FUCKING DOG TRYING TO EAT OTHER DOGS. The rest of us help and provide for each other cuz that’s what you need when you are poor, we depend on eachother and not our bank accounts- cuz it’s how we survive. Rent is HIGH cuz of you fucks. You know how many good friends, many of which were white and college educated (and all women, actually) went fucking homeless in 2014 cuz their minimum wage job couldn’t afford RENT? Most of the time homeless people are looked down on, so they lose their job and can’t even try to find a place in concord or something. Now you try and find a job as a homeless person, that is real struggle in this world.

    You don’t care that you’re not helping the world. You find rationals that don’t economically make shit for sense, but it calms your conscience, so you try not to think too much about it. You think you’re helping the world with an App but in reality you’re just eating dogs. Sweet dogs, who would have helped you if you got stuck with bad times.

    • KnowsBetter

      “You’re a soulless scumbag who see’s a rainbow city as black and white.”

      LOL, irony

    • 4th Gen SFer

      LOL, that has to be a hoax post. If it wasn’t SOMEONE forgot their chill meds. LOL. I am LOL’g at EWT, it can’t be a real post. Especially since he hates tech/techies but posted this….ON THE INTERNETS! LOL!! #DYING #DEAD #LOL

    • Woof!

  • David Talbot

    I get it why some people want to stereotype me and flatten what I’ve written — because they think I’m stereotyping all techies. But it’s not all technology that I’m against (as I clearly have stated)– it’s the way that our public leaders have failed to manage the social convulsions brought about by the tech boom. I’m a media entrepreneur for God’s sake, as well as a writer. I tend to like people who are bright and take risks — even more so when they create things of actual value to society, rather than simply stuffing themselves with stock options.

    And I’m not from Hollywood royalty — how many of you have even heard of my father, Lyle Talbot?He was a working actor, and that means — as anyone familiar with the profession knows — our lives were a roller coaster ride. Some good years, some bad ones. Yes, he helped form the Screen Actors Guild. God bless him. He was a union man. And he took any job that he had to support his family — including parts in Ed Wood movies!

    Yes — most years — my wife and I have made a decent living. Some good years, some very rough. That’s the life of a writer. It was our decision to pursue this profession while raising our kids — so we subjected them to the same ups and downs that I went through as the son of a working actor.(Salon too was a roller coaster ride — we were always on the brink of bankruptcy.) I could have gone the corporate digital media route. But the point is, not everyone can or should have to do that, in order to live in San Francisco. What kind of a one-dimensional city are we becoming if everyone around us is working for the Google Company Store?

    The only way we can counter this one-dimensionality is to FIGHT BACK. Build on the work already being done by housing activists, street artists, unions, community organizers etc. and elect leaders who care more about the needs of the public than the corporate elite. That’s how we did it back in the Season of the Witch days — we fought for our rights, and the fights were sometimes bloody.

    We all need to get that fire in the belly again. And we need to start by rallying around a strong challenger to Ed Lee. Even if it’s a long shot, even if we don’t win this time. I don’t respect the progressive leaders who’ve given Lee a pass this year. Where’s the courage? We all need to muster it.

    And btw, any movement for change in San Francisco MUST include the many young tech workers who are just as fed up with the Tech Gods as the rest of us are. They are tethered to their cubicles and those commuter buses. They want a more soul-satisfying life. They have nothing to lose but their digital chains.

    • 4th gen SF’er

      Pls answer if your children went to the LOCAL public school up there on that hill or they went to private school. I notice you avoided that question. And what school they went to for middle and hs since they’re out of school now. My sense is as I said before, they did not attend the LOCAL public schools. Pls answer WHICH schools they went to and then we shall see how much of a hypocrite you are, or not.

    • Get Bent

      May you reap what you sow.

    • Google had produced more value last year than your entire hippie cohort of the last 4 decades. No worries – Markets will take care of your doddering dribble.

      • John Robertson

        “Markets will take care of your doddering dribble” – wow that is such a sad thing to say 🙁

        And it actually makes no economic sense. Markets in themselves don’t erase dissent.

        I have a feeling that grin on your face in your pic is from the market ramming something up your rear end when you were too young to notice. Perhaps it’s time to take a look inside and remove it. You’re hosting a parasite and it’s eating you alive.

    • sershe

      But you have no rights you claim to have. There’s nothing to fight for. City is for the people, and not for the people who happened to be there first (unless you own a property and can afford the taxes). What do you want to do, build a wall? Perhaps you should secede from the Union and impose and H1B cap, or something. Yes, you housing activists sound THAT ridiculous.

      • kh

        It’s about sustaining the city. It’s about fighting for the public sphere. It’s about making an economic decision to fund public resources like parks, public schools, public transportation, maintained streets, well-paid teachers, the funding for non-profits, the funding for the arts. All these vital parts of the city actively being defunded because of our tax structure and prop. 13. This year – a boom year for the private sector – SF Rec. and Parks will cut $1,000,000 from its budget. It’s about demanding that the tech and finance companies located within San Francisco pay their taxes, pay their payroll taxes, and actively sustain our city. It’s about tech companies who have employees living in San Francisco but working at corporate campuses outside of San Francisco paying a municipal sustainability fee for each employee who lives in San Francisco. It’s about Apple – instead of sheltering its billions of dollars off-shore – bringing their money back into the United States and paying their taxes because they are based in California and enjoy all the protections of our legal system, the benefit of our roads, the drinking of our clean water, and the shelter of our shaking but hopefully still stable democracy. What we are fighting for is to restore the balance between the private sector and the public sphere which is greatly out of alignment. Income inequality and the displacement of many communities from the working class to artists to non-profits to teachers from San Francisco show this imbalance. In a city of great economic inequality, you need generously funded public institutions and services to help fill the economic gap. A generously funded public sphere can go a long way for working class and middle class workers. A great public school and fantastic park system and well-funded social services do a lot for the working class and middle class person. Artists can live in cities where there is generous arts funding even if there are lots of people earning in the 1%. Middle class families can stay in expensive cities if there is a great public school system. So yes, there is something to fight for if you want to live in a city that can sustain people working across the economic and professional spectrum.

        • sershe

          That’s a very different fight than the one for housing “rights”

        • sershe

          Although, I do have to say, I don’t know how art got lumped together with infrastructure. Totally agree about transit, education etc., but arts funding? Arts should be privately funded. Otherwise, why not also provide generous startup funding for those who fail to attract private one because their ideas or execution suck?

          • KH

            Art is a non-commercial enterprise. It takes endless amounts of time and energy to become proficient at playing the piano, singing an aria, or writing a novel. It’s not a short-term commitment; it is a life-commitment. Art is supposed to reflect our culture, be critical of our culture, and inspire intellectual activity. It needs to be subsidized so that it is kept alive as a practice and so it can be enjoyed by a large part of the populations. Imagine if there were $5 tickets available to SF residents for all live performances at the ballet, the symphony, the jazz center, museums, ACT, and other local venues. Artists need to be supported in a way that is different from commercial enterprises because if they turn into commercial enterprises, we lose their essential function which is to master a skill, critique society, and document our times in a way that reflects an individuals honest experience.

          • KH

            Also the arts generate money for cities. There have been numerous studies that show a strong arts communities bring in revenues for other businesses and cities. People like the arts. It might not be your cup of tea, but many people enjoy music, galleries, museums, theater, etc. I consider it to be a civic amenity like a park. The great thing about democracy is that sometimes you fund things you don’t directly use but you know improve the quality of life for others. I might not use a park on the west side of town but I am happy that my tax dollars are helping to support it because I know that it is of value to the people who use it and to my city.

        • Are you serious? I work for Rec and Park and am so tired of seeing us desperately underfunded while there is so much wealth in this town. Meanwhile we’re placing fees on the parks and rec centers to keep up. What the hell?

          I just had to move, in the neighborhood Talbot describes so well, and my rent is now so crushing that I have to work on the side of my 40hr a week, highly physical job.

          It’s the same for DPW. 6 gardeners and a city full of people crying about overgrown lots. Everything is funded through regressive bond measures and the work goes to the lowest bidders who change order the shit out of the city.

          You are entirely on point.

          Tax the rich until we get what we need.

    • Thank you, David Talbot. We’re neighbors (though we don’t know each other) and I appreciate your piece. I’m a public servant who’s entirely fed up and equally eager for a mayoral candidate to challenge Ed Lee. Thanks for calling it like it is and being willing to speak up.

    • 🙂

  • PPod

    Tim, as a war-weary San Franciscan, I am so glad to see so many people visiting your most excellent blog. Also relieved that “Sam” is still arouund–how would we know how to find the middle ground if it wasn’t for his extreme views? I love David Tablot and loved his book, “Season of the Witch,” a true love letter to San Francisco.

    • Dogg

      In what “war” did you serve? What branch of the service? Or are you a refugee from Bosnia?

  • 4th gen SF’er

    Outside of the first few commenters, Talbot is getting raked over the coals at SFGATE here

    And they’re saying he’s a carpetbagger from LA, that he displaced people in SF by moving into Bernal Heights, etc. Read the comments, JUICY!!

  • Talbot – typical pinko faggit fare of SF. I bet he still has his panties in a wad after The Guardian shut down. Let’s be honest – people who matter don’t give a shit about Talbot et al. Sure, their will be a lot of moaning that retardates like Talbot can’t make a living selling their collages but their ass will be on the curb in short order.

  • “about what it means for a bunch of better-paid people to move into a place where low-income people already live – and why it’s not okay for the newcomers to force out the longtime residents.”

    They used to say this about negroes moving into white neighborhoods. Keepin’ it classy, you simpering homosexuals!

  • Bob Evans

    Let me get this straight (so to speak). Self enabled people who come to San Francisco are to be demonized, but legions of washed up drug addicts who defecate in the streets and cost hundreds of millions of per annum while contributing nothing to the city, but disease and degradation, are to welcomed ? I declare David Talbot to be an unredeemable idiot and “progressivism” in SF to be dead and brainless.

  • Barbara

    So it’S “long-term residents” against “elites”? What about “non-elites” who happen not to be long-term residents? Why should incumbency, in an of itself, be the end-all priority of housing policy?

    • Clearly money is the end all housing policy priority. And as a non-elite who has spent her entire adult life here contributing to the city (public meetings, volunteerism, community building) I do think have a stronger claim to be here than someone who just got here. I’m invested. My family is here and I have decades worth of community ties but no security because I’m a blue collar worker and tenant. But yeah, I do think that folks like myself who have been here and contributed should be a higher priority than someone who’s been here a short amount of time. It’s a transient place and a lot of folks don’t stay long enough to do much more than take.

  • brah

    The old, crappy SF is going to get replaced with the new, shiny SF. Fuck the hippies.

  • This speech is equally as dumb and hypocritical as Spike Lee’s dumb gentrification rant:

    If you are a millionaire living in the place, you can’t complain that new millionaires are somehow worse than you. And you have don’t have a no moral high ground because you sympathize with blue color people (in theory) that you’d never associate with in real life.

  • Scott

    Questions: 1) Who did you displace when you moved here from LA? Or DC or wherever. 2) I moved to SF from the Midwest, then went to Stanford. Was I a d-bag when I moved here 11 years ago, or sometime after I started at Stanford? Or do I get a pass because I’m a “long time resident”? 3) Seems like you’ve done allright with your online magazine. Is that considered blood money too? You know–if not for Cold War fascists, there would be no internet. 4) Throughout its short history, people have come to SF mostly to make money. Brief interlude in the 60s and 70s when the immigration was more social in nature. 5) Displacement would be a non-issue if progressives would allow housing construction. Progs’ unrealistic expectation that they can sustain in some sort of fantasy land via semi-socialist housing policies demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of economics or history. The current “crisis” is a predictable outcome of flowers-and-rainbows, idealistic mismanagement principles. 6) people make individual decisions to move here. Similarly, people make individual decisions to stay here (facilitated by rent control). So someone gets a job here and decides to move in–so what? It’s not some tech industry conspiracy. 7) I don’t think it’s a tech thing or wealth thing that causes a lack of respect for a neighborhood. Mostly it’s a maturity thing.

    Disclaimer: I read the 1st 10 of so paragraphs and quit. I think I get the idea, having read Tim’s and sfgate’s summary as well. But I might have missed something.

  • Stanford graduate (possibly dick?) here. I’ve always been fascinated with this issue facing the city of SF and I wanted to ask a few questions and describe my situation and see what people have to say about it.

    I was born in SF and grew up in the north bay in what I would describe as middle/lower middle class white family. I got into Stanford and didn’t have to pay tuition because my parents’ combined income was under a certain level. There I ended up studying and double majoring in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, not because of the amount of money it would make me when I got out of school, because it was something I was genuinely interested in and loved doing. After graduating school I got a job as a software engineer and promptly moved up to San Francisco to live close to where my job was located. I’ve been living and working here for about a year now and don’t consider myself a dick or a bad person who is kicking people out of their housing. In my mind I grew up worked hard took advantage of every opportunity given to me and am wondering why it is a bad thing that I want to live and work in San Francisco. Do you think I qualify as a Stanford dick?

    Separate question, could someone explain to me how you are able to evict someone from their house while they are living there and if so, how is this the fault of someone like me and not the landlord deciding to evict the person. I know my existence creates opportunity for the landlord to make more money, but is it not more their actions, or the city for allowing these evictions than it is mine for existing as a Stanford graduate/tech worker?

    All thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated! Thank you

    • Upon further thought I was definitely middle class, not lower middle class.

    • KH

      While I agree with many points, the author makes and lament the loss of cultural diversity, affordable rents for teachers, artists, nurses, and other non-tech professionals, bookstores, and cinemas, I do not think it is fair to blame the widening income inequality and cultural changes on individuals.
      It is a political problem because we have poor legislation to deal with roller coaster economic cycles and we have poor legislation (Prop 13) when it comes to property taxes. If we had the fantastic progressive tax structure that we had in the 1950s and 1960s, there would not be sudden bursts of wealth and income inequality at the levels that we see today and our public infrastructure would not be defunded. If we had those progressive taxes, we would not be having this discussion.
      Unfortunately, the Bush-Cheney tax code went into effect during the start of the Iraq war which was the start of our now well-defined period of income inequality. You might notice that the .01% increased their wealth during the recession and that many of those people live in the Bay Area so we unfortunately live in a city where homeless people beg on the streets next to stores where you can buy $400 pairs of shoes and easily spend a couple of hundred dollars on dinner.
      Prop. 13, a piece of legislation enacted in 1978 which locks in property tax at the time of purchase, also has its impact in San Francisco. Prop 13’s original intent was to protect elderly homeowners from being unable to pay their property taxes in places where home values rise in a dramatic way. Traditionally, you are taxed annually at the appraised value of your home. Instead, Prop 13 ties your tax rate to the time in which you bought you building.
      This legislation was supposed to protect old people which seems fair and just. Instead, it also protect commercial landlords like people who own huge multi-unit buildings, strip malls, the Ferry Building, and the Transamerica building. Every building in downtown SF has Prop. 13 protection. And the benefit can be passed down from generation to generation. So you could inherit a building that was purchased in 1978 and get the same 1978 tax rate in 2015. Obviously, the cost of running schools, parks, public transit, and all other municipal services go up over time. Therefore, because of Prop. 13, many of our public services are radically underfunded which increases the harsh effects of income inequality. You might notice that I keep talking about the funding of the public sphere. I also believe we would not be talking about this if we had generously funded public institutions, programs, services, and schools. If you could walk out of your house and ride a fast, clean public bus and go to the symphony for free and know that San Francisco public schools were funded at the highest per capita rate in the nation (instead of one of the lowest), I really don’t think people would mind the tech capital. It’s the lack of devastating defunding of the public sphere that creates part of the friction.
      Prop. 13 has a unique impact in San Francisco because as rents rise, the city does not gain any increase in revenue. Therefore, when you pay high rent, the landlord is just increasing their profits. I believe that Prop. 13 also impacts the availability of housing stock in SF because people are encouraged to hold onto their properties instead of selling them because they have artificially low tax rates.
      I don’t think anyone would be complaining so much about the tech workers (they are just workers) if they were more involved in helping to solve some of the city’s key issues like funding social services, funding public schools, helping to house the homeless, contributing to public parks, and public institutions.
      If tech companies offered a way for their employees to donate to the city through their paychecks and would match the contributions (let’s say the employee donated $10 and the company donated $10), everyone would benefit. At the end of year the company and its employees could show that they contributed to the public sphere and were invested in the city.
      If tech companies, instead of asking for tax breaks, offered to pay more in taxes to help ease income inequality, that would also be a way to show a real investment in San Francisco.
      If tech companies located outside of San Francisco (like Google, Apple, Facebook) who do not pay any payroll tax to the city of San Francisco figured out how many of their employees lived in San Francisco and paid the city per employee for use of municipal services like roadways, parks, schools, water, electricity, museums, arts institutions, etc. that would be another way to acknowledge that the city needs active support from the people who enjoy its many assets. At this point the only people who receive any benefit from tech workers living in San Francisco are landlords. The city does not benefit. The long-time residents do not benefit. The arts do not benefit. So there needs to be an acknowledgement that there are some complex economic exchanges happening but like the current tax structure, only a few are receiving the benefit.
      So no, I do not think you or your coding peers are the problem. It’s a political and economic problem so if you want to get on the right bus – advocate for the public sphere, advocate for funding for the public sphere, ask your company to get on the bus to making San Francisco a better place for everyone.

    • mp

      You sound aware of your surroundings. Therefore I would not classify you as a dick.

    • nomoreplebs

      Taylor, from what you’ve written here, you don’t sound like a dick. But I bet you’re a dick.
      Guess what, you don’t have perspective. The fact that you are oblivious and having to even write this post shows you are blind to how douchey you probably are. So you don’t notice the all encompassing, blatant saturation of prick-like-behavior that has blanketed the city? Nothing? Not even a bit? If not, then YOU are a prick and probably with a big hefty serving of douchebagness.


  • TwentySomethingWhiteMaleTechie

    The thing that really gets to me about this article, and all the people who blindly cheer “Hazaaa!” in the comments, is that it’s just a rant. Sweeping generalisations. Pure hate mongering.

    Maybe provide a solution to the situation so we can work together to brighten the future of SF instead of just complaining and reminiscing?

  • Erica

    How sad to have such a captive audience of young, hard-working people and to waste it telling them what they should NOT be, rather than using your experience and wisdom to offer genuine, constructive solutions. Why not spend your time detailing how they might go about realizing a career in public service or creating more human-centered technology or making apps aimed at solving public issues?

    The majority of these kids aren’t the next Mark Zuckerbergs. Silicon Valley isn’t any less expensive these days. This is not a “Stanford” issue, it’s a regional issue. Also, you seem to think you are representing the perspective of the 99%, but you’ve conveniently skipped over the perspective of the very large percentage of people caught in the middle of “I’ve been here for 50 years” and “I have $50 billion dollars”. I’m not saying rent control is bad, or eviction is good. It’s just that having a constructive conversation about what to do about affordable housing and gentrification and transportation in the Bay Area is a really good thing, which you failed at pretty miserably with a bunch of anecdotes. Did you genuinely want to impact the opinions of your young audience? Or did you simply want to vent your frustration about what you and your friends are personally experiencing? Well done. Any member of that audience could probably do the same.

    Even if this speech is aimed only at the next Mark Zuckerberg, spending your time highlighting the questionable actions of a few tech millionaires doesn’t help to inspire a new generation. Implicitly grouping Stanford as “the enemy” only serves to create animosity, not foster amicable dialogue.

    I would hope you are teaching your kids that forming opinions about others based on group identifications such as place of education or attire is offensive.

    Also, what exactly is the intrusion being caused by yuppies going running through a neighborhood park? The desire to be active outside if offensive? It’s not like they are knocking down parks to build gyms. Running is cheaper than a gym membership.

    I must note that I am really sad to read this article. I enjoyed reading Season of the Witch. I also think that a sense of community and cultural cohesion (not “us vs them” resentment) is integral to implementing the type of redistributive and progressive policies needed to fix the issues raised.

    • Mark

      Thank you, Erica.

  • diane

    Well observed. Waiting for the ‘big one’ and see what the spoiled brats do.

  • Jon Schleker

    San Jose (not part of silicon valley) will never be dead to me, we are uncool, uncultured, and nobody cares where you work, how you get to work, or what you do at night (because there is nothing to do at night). Except Obon, Obon is Cool. All I got from this article is that everyone south of San Mateo is an asshole.

  • Jon Schleker

    Living in Santa Cruz for two years convinced me of one thing. Never live anywhere cool. Once you move there you find that everything you like about it is constantly under attack from enemies within and without. In a cool place everyone is an a$$hole pointing fingers at other a$$holes blaming them making a cool place uncool. Give me San Jose or Santa Clara any time. No body cares where you work, how you get to work, or what you look like. They can’t tale away anything cool because there no cool to take away. Plus we have Streetlight, the Rosicrucian, and couple of ok caffes. 408 por vida

  • Andrea lee

    I dare any of you to type: “silicon valley mysogyny” or “silicon valley assholes” in any non Google (who is controlled by in-q-tel) search engine and read the results. There is your description of how the problem is in-bred.

  • Jon Schleker

    4th Generation Santa Clara and Proud

  • Thank you David, for speaking truth to assholes. The city I came to 40 years ago, the one that awed me with its creativity, diversity and awesome, adventurous radicalism is being consumed by greed and techies. It pains me…

  • White Rabbit

    I was in the china-basin neighborhood. I went to order some coffee at this Philz, and I was intrigued by the beautiful, cool and hip clientele who consisted mainly of cool fashionable chinese people and tall handsome white men in tan suede boots, collared shirts and blazers. My concerns have less to do with high rent, gentrification or the tech industry, but I am concerned with what society or the culture values in this age of technology. To me the tech scene is no different than the money hustling Manhattanites, or the pretty young things of Hollywood. Beauty, power and money are the wages of desire and self importance in forging one’s identity. And when we lack, we lose our sense of worth. I suppose my concerns are more philosophical. If one is not a pretty asian girl in social media marketing nor a tall handsome white man who codes, then where does one fit in?

    It’s bizarre how image focused the world has become. Nearly a decade ago I remember walking into Yahoo and it had a semi professional vibe with hints of alternative geek culture and laid back attitude. But when I walked into Facebook, people did dress casually, but everyone was so hip. It felt like everyone all shopped at Hayes Valley or something. This desire to be cool is distressing me.

    • marcos

      The more one tries to look cool the more pathetic one ends up. Either you are cool and you get it or you are not.

      I divorced New York City a few years ago for similar reasons, because while in Manhattan, I noticed that all I saw below 125th Street was upscale whites and Asians there to make money. It was the upscale Asian woman in designer clothes with a designer small dog on a 50′ leash which she was allowing to run across the sidewalk on Central Park South, blocking almost pedestrians while totally involved in her phone convo and not giving a shit that pushed me over the edge. There are urban rules of the City that are second nature to those of us who’ve lived in cities our whole lives and are alien to suburbanites and transplants. That and sitting in Washington Square Park, feeling the sod, and asking “is this all of the nature there is here?”

    • Dogg

      So you just spent a couple paragraphs judging people based on how they looked and _they’re_ the shallow ones? Makes perfect sense.

  • If the choice is between Stanford “dbags” or Oakland “niggas”… well that’s a tough one but I’ll have to go with it the dbags

  • Bainbridge Whistlepig

    Both Tim and David make the all-too common mistake of reducing conflict in San Francisco to an unnuanced battle between good (“them”) and evil (“everyone else”).
    If I am desperately in search of housing in San Francisco, and I have found a place I can afford and that is available to rent, can I seriously be expected to remain homeless or pay a 25% premium on that rent in order to forgo a unit from which a previous tenant was evicted? Is that a reasonable solution to this problem?
    Tim’s calcified way of thinking is — as always — an historical anachronism that merely serves to fluff the outrage of a permanently angry vector of our community. There’s no interest in common solutions or compromise between adversarial entities, and there certainly isn’t an ounce of empathy between groups with conflicting interests, as typified by the juvenile, ad nauseum outcry against “landlord greed” and “[certain percentage of] profit is enough!”
    Taking advice or criticism from people who give the impression of being so completely ignorant of the mechanisms of real estate investment and management on how to manage and develop real estate in a market like San Francisco is unsound practice. More to the point, their inability to make a persuasive written argument about how to manage the conflicting interests of people who can no longer afford to live in San Francisco at market level rents and the people whose professional careers involve raising the value of real estate suggests that these people have no business participating in this discussion.

  • Emmi

    what a load of crap…Salon published this tyranny, linked below, and you cry out for revolution, wake up, this Salon article is sickening with asserting control of “the man” and forcing people to use pharmaceutical products against their will or have their children brainwashed to someone else’s belief system, you don’t know freedom from tyranny, revolution from reactionary control http://www.salon.com/2014/04/01/vaccine_truthers_scary_new_craze_exemptions_from_public_school_immunizations/

  • The “New Colossus” has become paved with gold and Stanford assholes. Forget San Francisco the former city of the “tempest-tost.” Those denizens are being tost out of the city in the gold rush II of the Silicornhole Valley Greed.

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    • Bainbridge Whistlepig

      That you think this is only the 2nd Gold Rush since ’49 speaks volumes about the “if it didn’t happen last year in San Francisco, it didn’t happen” mentality of this comment’s author.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    Thank you David, from a Stanford “Teaching Hospital” Cancer patient, whoops I meant insect tumor experiment – whose permanent IT Outsourced Medical “Records” are now likely shared with the Googleplex and littered with Stanford negligence, errors, out and out LIES and Sadistic “Social Worker” Cover Up – stuck on Medi Cal (as, sadistically, even on SSDI, Medicare does not kick in until the most expensive part of the Can$er Treatment$ are charged against everything the patient owned in life being given to their remaining loved ones, under Medi Cal), after being mowed over by the corrupt boyoz in the valley, ending up unemployed for attempting to stand for uncovering fraud and ill intent, and aquiring that cancer while living for decades within the historically poverty ridden (within a minute of Highway 101) hotspots of Stanford’s Grand Silicon Sand Box, in one of the nations largest Cancer Hotspots and, the largest toxic superfund site concentration in the nation.

    (Many are unaware that even when there are errors in their Med Records, they can’t be erased. The patient is ‘allowed’ to add commentary, and we can can all guess as to both: future Doctors even bothering reading patients contesting commentary; and, whether that commentary even ends up being readable (Unless the Patient was a Stanford Doctor themselves, and was accorded what they term the “Red Blanket Treatment,”), in those Written in Stone, Med IT Records.)

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    (And, for those Stanford Teaching Hospital ‘Insects’ (stuck on Medi Cal = stuck in a “Teaching Hospital” – Stunningly Overcrowded and Undertreated County, Government owned, or DOD owned (can we say, The Hoover Institute, in this example), Major ‘University’), applying for SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), the MAJOR form sent by California’s SSDI “Review Board,” which asks the treating doctors about the patient’s disabilities, is sent to Stanford’s Outsourced Medical Records Contractors, who totally ignore it. The Doctors, apparently, never even see it, they did not in my case (verifiable). I took matters into my own hands, if I had not, I would have ended up both cancer ridden, and homeless.)

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    (Of course, California Governor, Gerald [Formal Usage] the Jesuit, Brown – for some ‘mystical’ reason – downsized that, supposedly Federal, SSDI review board, in California, so horridly (as did that groper before him, etcetera), that even if those – Not even on the Totem Pole – Cali State SSDI Review Board employees are aware of that potential death dealing PROBLEM of vital FORM questions going unanswered, …there’s nothing those who care, on those State Review Boards, are able to do … other than classify those with cancer …as potential Lone Wolf Terrorists …in order to qualify cancer patients for the money those cancer patients were forced to invest in ‘their future’ ..and did so most willingly.)

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    And who wants to bet, that those State Review Board workers are only able to condone those disability payments when those algorithms show that those enabled to receive SSDI (i.e. those very close to retirement age, in which case, those workers will never ever be able to make livable wages after being categorized as a lone wolf terrorist with CANCER …. and, therefore will feel forced to attempt to stay on that disability payment), are going to find some way to survive on what is half of what would have been their full Social Security Retirement Pay (which would have amounted to almost double that SSDI ‘income’) just a teeny few years after their cancer, Lone Wolf Terrorist diagnosis.

  • KH

    When I read this, all I could think of was, “I liked my life before technology. I liked going to movies and the bookstore. I liked using pay-phones. I liked diners where old people drank okay coffee and read the newspaper.” I miss that world and I can’t say that 21st technology has brought me anything to replace these common joys. It’s just made my work day longer.

    • marcos

      I liked it when people made phone calls in telephone booths instead of obliviously in social situations.

  • Odd, perhaps, but I’ve always thought of them as the Stanford “Indians” — (although I admit I sometimes thought of the Stanford “Indians” as “douchbags” — go Bears!)

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    yep, that payphone, a last true bastion of whistle blowing. Yeah, the USPS was second to that, but that was nailed to the coffin with that FAKE Anthrax Scare (speaking of which, this seems interesting: 12/19/24 The 2001 Anthrax Deception. Have not read that referred to anthrax book. My thought was that USPS mail scare gave a huge excuse for corporate owned politicians to say that letter addressed to them looked suspicious (and, to shut down that United States PUBLICALLY OWNED Postal Service), and therefore they did not read it, and therefore, anyone who either: couldn’t afford to be ON LINE, or, knew they were being tracked On Line, was fucked)

    The point being, with that payphone and the USPS, prior to today’s insanity: both that pay phone, and the USPS were not tracking every single word …syllable .. and accent…written, …or uttered.
    yep, that payphone, a last true bastion of whistle blowing. Yeah, the USPS was second to that, but that was nailed to the coffin with that FAKE Anthrax Scare (speaking of which, this seems interesting: 12/19/24 The 2001 Anthrax Deception. Have not read that referred to anthrax book. My thought was that USPS mail scare gave a huge excuse for corporate owned politicians to say that letter addressed to them looked suspicious (and, to shut down that United States PUBLICALLY OWNED Postal Service), and therefore they did not read it, and therefore, anyone who either: couldn’t afford to be ON LINE, or, knew they were being tracked On Line, was fucked)

    The point being, with that payphone and the USPS, prior to today’s insanity: both that pay phone, and the USPS were not tracking every single word …syllable .. and accent…written, …or uttered.
    yep, that payphone, a last true bastion of whistle blowing. Yeah, the USPS was second to that, but that was nailed to the coffin with that FAKE Anthrax Scare (speaking of which, this seems interesting: 12/19/24 The 2001 Anthrax Deception. Have not read that referred to anthrax book. My thought was that USPS mail scare gave a huge excuse for corporate owned politicians to say that letter addressed to them looked suspicious (and, to shut down that United States PUBLICALLY OWNED Postal Service), and therefore they did not read it, and therefore, anyone who either: couldn’t afford to be ON LINE, or, knew they were being tracked On Line, was fucked)

    The point being, with that payphone and the USPS, prior to today’s insanity: both that pay phone, and the USPS were not tracking every single word …syllable .. and accent…written, …or uttered.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    erk, the following is actually what I intended as my above comment, apparently, I neglected to pull that cursor over all of the previous draft comment in posting my final thought, very sorry:

    yep, that payphone, a last true bastion of whistle blowing. Yeah, the USPS was second to that, but that was nailed to the coffin with that FAKE Anthrax Scare (speaking of which, this seems interesting: 12/19/24 The 2001 Anthrax Deception. Have not read that referred to anthrax book. My thought was that USPS mail scare gave a huge excuse for corporate owned politicians to say that letter addressed to them looked suspicious (and, to shut down that United States PUBLICALLY OWNED Postal Service), and therefore they did not read it, and therefore, anyone who either: couldn’t afford to be ON LINE, or, knew they were being tracked On Line, was fucked)

    The point being, with that payphone and the USPS, prior to today’s insanity: both that pay phone, and the USPS were not tracking every single word …syllable .. and accent…written, …or uttered.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    The point being, with that payphone and the USPS, prior to today’s insanity: both that pay phone, and the USPS were not tracking every single word …syllable .. and accent…written, …or uttered.

    Such “Tracking,” as in, immediately knowing who exactly whistle blew. Previously, the outrage may have been tracked …but those expressing it remained safe if they took well advised precautions regarding uncovering fraudulent and deadly scum, Now?

    • KH

      Yes. It’s amazing that the government needs to go through a legal process to tap a phone line or to open an individual’s mail but since we’ve started using commercial, digital lines of communication all of our communication is open to the corporations who own them. It’s an amazing shift from the protection of by privacy by the government for the average citizen to a complete lack of privacy by corporate America. I realize that since 9/11 the system has broken down, but in the 1960s if you told someone that all of their personal communication was being monitored by corporate America, they would have cried foul.
      No people say, “Google has all my data, I don’t care.” What a shift from just 20 years ago.

  • JT

    That was an amazing piece. Many of those points I’ve been thinking of for so long (ever since 2000, actually), but you verbalized them so eloquently. Thanks for this story. Good read.

  • c1ue

    Cheers for a great speech.
    The sad thing is – these techies are moving to SF because it isn’t the boring suburban Peninsula and South Bay.
    Yet their very presence and actions are visibly changing SF to exactly that boring South Bay/Peninsula.
    It is like they are vampires that have to suck the life out of a vibrant neighborhood in order to survive.

    • sershe

      I have to reiterate my above comment… we are moving from SV to SF because SF is more urban, not more interesting under your definition of interesting. SF will stay much more interesting than SF as far as I am concerned, it’s just your interesting that will be the collateral victim, which does not really concern me (and should not concern me, mind you). If it concerns other techies, it is probably out of general empathy and not because we value it to any extent when we move here. A minority of us (as far as I can tell) will miss artists and counterculture, and probably none will miss the SRO dwellers, the crime, crap on the sidewalk, etc.

      • I will miss SRO dwellers. They’re human beings and more than one of them is a friend of mine.

        Don’t assume you speak for anyone but yourself.

  • Rob

    I don’t understand why there is a need to conflate the problem of affordable housing and community displacement (which I am sympathetic to) with this idea that people who made money in tech must be ‘assholes’. I am old enough to remember what web searches were like before Google came along; they tended to require you to go through pages of links to find the information you wanted, were easily gamed, and filled with inappropriate content. Google (started by two Stanford ‘assholes’) solved these problems and by doing so made information more accessible to everyone across the world, for free. In what sense are the people who built this technology bad people? Why, instead of focusing on the fact that children born in poor countries can now get good educational materials, or the fact that academics can now search through the literature in their respective fields in hours rather than months, do you choose to focus on the fact that Google employees get to ride in a fancy bus?

    I don’t work in tech, and I don’t live in SF. But I do know a lot of people who fit both those categories. Some of them are greedy and self serving. But most of them are idealists who genuinely want to improve the world through harnessing technology. As far as I can tell, they are succeeding. Please, stop teaching your kids to make lazy, negative generalizations about a broad group of people. It makes you the asshole here, not the people you’re railing against.

    • perhaps you should try living there before deciding he’s making it all up. hes the local witness, no you.


    • nomoreplebs

      This comment is so ignorant and idiotic, you’re like one of those people who deserve wine thrown in your face.

      I WORKED IN TECH and live here. EVERYTHING he says is true. It made me sick to my stomach watching these tech douches wandering around town acting like the entitled pricks they are. ConverSations are EVERYWHERE in the city about how there are Stanford and tech assholes all over the place. If you don’t live here… WHY COMMENT? You must be some kind of idiot.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    Rob, ( http://48hills.org/2015/01/26/dont-stanford-asshole/#comment-50397 )

    Re your implied defense of Google, and, your phrase:

    most of them [young tech workers] are idealists who genuinely want to improve the world through harnessing technology.

    I’m interested as to your definition of the root word, “HARNESS” (as regards to that mystical word, “Technology”) versus, say, the words STAY EMPLOYED VIA, and, in worst case scenarios, the words: BLINDLY WORSHIP.

    My subjective thought is that those workers are most interested in staying employed and making money, and unfortunately fail to see – many times even fail to acknowledge and attempt to do something about – even when they do see, the devastating effects of their EMPLOYERS on their human neighbors.

    Silicon Valley, for instance, now has the nation’s record of unsheltered homeless people as a direct result of worshipping “ALGORITHMIC” CODING ONLY – as if the human mind is a wasteland; even though those ALGORITHMS are actually creations of human minds; and even though a megalomaniacal handful of humans (Brin and Page, for instance) are the ones who decide which of those Algorithms shall be transformed into the stunningly inhumane law of the land which is spreading like a deadly plague.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    Dear KH,

    I hear ya, and I still have my – electricity expense free – land line and realize that the wire tapping laws are likely far protective there (thank you, honey).

    Dear c1ue,

    I’m sorry, but you’re quite mistaken as to just who lives outside of San Francisco, in the “Bay Area.”

    For just one instance, why do you suppose there are such widespread Suburbanite [?] populations of Blacks (East Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, etcetera); Hispanics (all along Highway 101 in that VAST Santa Clara County); and single females, none of whom, for decades now, could/can generally afford to live in San Francisco.

    I moved to the Bay Area in 1977, and tried everything I could to find a liveable space and job in San Francisco. I don’t fault you (unless you’re old enough to know better), but try studying what happened to that once thriving black community in the gut of San Francisco, for just one reason why you’re wrong in your “suburbanite” contempt.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    And don’t get me started on those predominately white young ACADEMIA males who can bike to their employment, on that car owner HATRED. I take it they’ve never needed to drive their elderly parents to an emergency ward, sans that 2$k-3$K “public service” ambulance, …nor had to take on two to three jobs they can’t possibly make it to on time via bicycle in order to eat and keep their parents from having a tube stuck in their belly by a ghastly “nursing home” in order to extract that parent’s Social Security Income and Supplementary “Blue Cross” for an algorithmic eternity.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    Re that 1977 search for a liveable space in San Francisco:

    I had no parental money available, I searched for bare bones efficiency/studio apartments in San Francisco, and bare bones minimum wage jobs to afford such bare bones living spaces. I found Absolutely None.

    I suppose I could have sold my body, but fuck me that I didn’t? Fuck me that I found an assembly job in the valley which, while totally fucking me ( though, teasingly, at least allowed me to eat and have a roof over my head) makes me also a boring suburbanite?

    Words do hurt, sticks and stones, have nothing on human words.

  • Debashish Sinha

    Oh good god! Dear David, ever wonder about the people you ‘evicted’ when you and your kind showed up in SF? Are you suggesting that the cop who shot Alex Nieto was a Stanford Asshole? Do you seriously think everyone Air BnB marketing or tech worker is in the top 1% income bracket? Do you really believe your generalizations are any better than the guys who want to deport 11 million people because every brown person is a criminal?


  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    Debashish ( http://48hills.org/2015/01/26/dont-stanford-asshole/#comment-50408 ),

    If you were so concerned about brown skinned people, one might think you would have some commentary to share about how that ‘brown’ hispanic population, renting and owning homes in Silicon Valley (along with the black population, older population, and female population), has been decreasing in proportion to the national average, for at least the last decade.

    Care to share your thoughts on that?

    (I won’t even bother to extrapolate on the fact that you insanely attempted to imply that, shooters aren’t generally employed by white gloved assholes who never like to ‘dirty’ their gloves.)

  • no_I’m_sparticus

    I don’t have a problem hating ponzi scheme criminals and their tech bro underlings.

    Tech bros,fyi, getting hard to your jigglin-tit app is not going to save the world.

  • Mary Redmond

    The phenomenon of rich millenials displacing and crowding out the old guard is not just happening in San Francisco it is happening in many American cities.It is compounded by the fact that many wealthy investors all over the world who are flush with cash from the last decade of Federal Reserve induced cash pumping have been buying property in American cities.New York City is an example of what happens when you have to be a billionaire to live in a city. It becomes a dried up obnoxious crowded place where everyone looks and acts the same, like one of the science fiction horror movies of the 1970s.
    Sometimes the best thing to do in a situation like that becomes Get the Hell Out. Sell your house for ten million dollars to the likes of Mark Zuckerman and move to a nicer remote place in the country. Move to Canada where the minimum wage is $15.00 per hour and the currency is 20% lower than the American dollar and sell products online.Think about it: if the city has no one to serve Starbucks to the Google employees and no one to clean the floors at the hospital or pick up the trash the local government will be forced to do something about it.

  • Cultural issues aside, the cost of housing is a function of increasing demand and unresponsive supply. Long term (and it’ll take a generation to sort things out out) policies like these are necessary to make space for everyone: http://marketurbanism.com/2015/01/26/how-to-fix-san-franciscos-housing-market/

  • I work at Google but not as a Google employee I can tell you that this new crop of people that are flooding the Bay Area in the form of “techies ” are nothing like the people I knew growing up-this new breed lacks a sense of humor and more importantly a personality,we are literally creating a society of robot like people who have very poor social skills and even worse are often clueless and entitled Douche bags!!!

    • nomoreplebs

      Agreed 100%. The douche bags can’t see it though. They are blind to the fact that they are scum bags.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    For those young ones in the house, Silicon Valley, has, for over half a century, pertained to Santa Clara County, California (CERTAINLY INCLUDING SAN JOSE) – not to say its perpetrators did not concentrate outside of that valley’s most deadly and cancerous perimeters – that is why the MOST concentrated area of TOXIC AND DEADLY, STILL NOT CLEANED UP, SUPERFUND SITES IN THE PROCLAIMED “UNITED STATES” ARE LOCATED IN SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, WITHIN ONE MINUTE OF HIGHWAY 101.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    Teeny, Eeeny, as to square miles, San Francisco is a good forty to fifty minutes drive North of Santa Clara County.

    San Francisco, is historically LOADED WITH those Gold Rush Monied Folk “Philanthropists.”

    San Francisco never witnessed that hideous concentration of turning vast orchards into toxin ridden, assembly worker ridden slave factories … for that Financier owned “Department of Defense.” …

    San Francisco did not not have those vast orchards of food ….land “sprawl” ….which Santa Clara County had.

  • Anon Stanford Teaching Hospital Insect

    Though, certainly not to say that there wasn’t a significant population of Robber Barons – including some “Orchard Owners” – enjoying that sprawl of Santa Clara County before they fled further west from Highway 101, or into a norther (as opposed that deadly south, the northers are always benevolent! As are the westers! ) county, when they realized the hideous extent of the damage they had willfully partaken in.

  • KH

    I hope this long conversation helps us focus more clearly on the relationship between the private and public realms. I hope that there more advocacy for the funding of the public sphere to create more equity and balance between the public and the private. I hope that people who work in the public sphere advocate for their work and the services they provide. I hope that corporations will rise to the occasion and support the public infrastructure which made their success possible and be generous to future generations by paying their taxes to keep our rich entrepreneurial environment alive. Stop off-shoring their profits and pay their taxes.
    Let’s restore Prop. 13 to its original intent of protecting primary residences instead of corporate landlords and developers.
    The problems of San Francisco mirror the greater problems of economic inequality. If we focus on slowing economic inequality, we will be able to ease some of the tensions we feel in San Francisco. As the cliche, goes “Think globally, act locally.”

  • FurthUr

  • Xzy

    “David Packard would become Secretary of Defense for President Nixon”. Nope.

  • So you think that if you live here you OWN the neighborhood?! And the poor people can’t move here from overseas just because you were FIRST?! Or you slaughtered the ones who were TRULY FIRST. As one of the greatest liberal supreme court justices said about you:”Three generations of imbeciles is enough”!

  • 1854

    Well, it’s obvious that this comment forum is not a place where opinions and comments are posted to be read and allowed to be validated/invalidated souly by the reader at home. They have been attacked. Conversations, obfuscated or taken to insignificant subjects of focus/cherry-picked arguments, and participants repetitiously beaten and ganged-up on . . .
    what becomes obvious when you step back and view the pattern is that there is a fear to allow opinions to prevail and create natural conversations that are based on resident’s personal and valid experiences. Bloodthirsty control over the conversation is imperative by some here; intimidating and destructive, often character assassinating occupation of this forum is apparent. I didn’t say it, but I would weigh in on the either-or, on the side of A**hole.
    My father passed on a saying that seemed to work well and it may pose a lesson that certain people with disregard for others may find handy, he’d say, unless someone asks for advice or your opinion, it’s rude to share it. So when you address the opinion of others without respect for their experiences, well, it’s obvious you are using them as means to perform your A-ct.
    With roots in SF and growing up near Stanford, I was privileged to meet many people who were from around here, or immigrants, or transplants who had attended Stanford. Some were A**holes and went on to contribute to a divisive environment and weigh in on politics with a selfish attitude and benefit from and get hurt by the dishonesty and corruption of the many bubbles and to perpetuate that culture. That is why it is the way it is right now here in SF, perpetuation. Then, there were those who went to Stanford that married their hippie wives and had gay friends, and didn’t believe the lies of racist warmongers and TBTF Banks and their fanatically religious counterparts, even when they had half of their millions stolen from their worthy cancer-related drug development companies. That’s what people want, I think, a sort of paradise without people like these troll-wads controlling your thoughts and intimidating your neighborhoods with their confused Castroesque beards and Clark Kent frames.
    Since we are not discussing beards, an ancient Persian king once said . . . By the favor of Ahuramazda, I am of the sort which is friend to right, I am not friend to wrong. It is not my desire that the weak man should have wrong done to him by the mighty; nor is it my desire that the mighty man should have wrong done to him by the weak.
    When new money, with poor culture comes to our town…(yes, our town that many covet for it’s culture. Don’t other cities say, my town?) people like this author and a few of the heart felt commentators deserve respect for their experiences and a humanitarian response should be given, or internalized(even better). I for one, appreciate and try to fit in every day, so as to not be less than my own standard of Character. I often admire those people (keeping in mind, not everyone who went to Stanford was in this state before collige) who get an opportunity to come to a nice academic institution to learn stuff and then after some time give back and appreciate those and their communities that nurtured them and that have afforded their learning and traveling. It’s one way of life. Bringing a lack of humanity and consideration for this micro-culture, and squatting and occupying and displacing with utter disregard . . . animal-like. Sounds sort of like Palestine.
    Next time I may share my experiences on: unethical corporate practices; corporate buses that have nearly killed me because they don’t fit in the lanes on 101 (*then why can’t they stay in their lanes?), damaged my car; degrading sociability and unjustified fearful attitudes; increasing racism toward the other cultural minorities; Ed Lee’s mustache. Thx.

  • There’s only one way this will be solved, and it is a mechanism perfectly aligned with capitalist values and the laws of supply and demand.

    All of the “carpenters, shoe repairmen, truck drivers, bookstore owners, grocers, nurses, teachers, firefighters, social workers, chefs and waiters, writers, artists” need to double or triple their rates.

  • Jack

    The fact that some folks commenting here speak of “winners” and “losers” tells us all we need to know. They’ve got no sense of community. Take that to Brownbackistan or Scott Walker’s Wisconsin. This isn’t what the Bay Area is about.

    • nan

      Thanks for your perspective Jack. 20+ years in the Mission, 50+ years on the planet, friend and auntie to many. This devisive and angry talk isn’t productive. I hope it stops.

  • WampusKat

    I suppose I should have known what to expect from a Salon founder… the very same publication that allowed Glenn Greenwald to hold up a dried up old christian fundamentalist white supremacist right-wing Bircher as a ‘civil libertarian’: http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2007/11/ron-pauls-record-in-congress.html

    You had me right up until your Snowden hero worship… the man’s a tool for the very same far right Ron Paul white supremacist Libertarian douchebaggery ruining paradise lost. You’re just as much the problem as the Silicon Valley dicks… where do you think they get their ‘greed is good’ vulture mentality? From the Koch whores circling the corpse of Ron Paul.

    • Snowden is an American hero. he shined a light on the cockroaches.

    • CarbonaNotGlue

      Paranoid. The Koch brothers are cool, btw, they are anti-establishment and anti-government. They remember that the only difference between the USA at its founding and the rest of the world was treating a novel and radical concept called “individual sovereignty” seriously. The idea, for example, that the US government has no more right telling a citizen what they are allowed to say or believe or what arms to bear than it is telling such things to sovereign Mexico.

  • great speech. one note tho — the offshore money Jobs/Apple has overseas isnt them avoiding “paying their fair share”. apple is already one of the largest income taxpayers in america (unlike, say, GE, would famously paid nothing in 2010 but had a massive credit owed). no, the money overseas is money earned on goods manufactured and sold exclusively overseas. it’s not connected to the US thus neednt be imported & taxed at 33% like domestic earnings. the US govt would like for apple to repatriate these funds (import them) but apple doesnt see why they should if automatically giving up a third of it to Uncle Sam. it just doesnt make sense to do.

    big diff than hiding domestic earnings overseas to avoid taxation.

  • M1979

    Opportunity is not to be found in California cities. These days, it’s in the South and Midwest where you’ll find a better shot at a middle class lifestyle.

  • orlando fuentes

    I do get a little tired of hearing that the grateful dead were the soundtrack to our lives. never has been for this mission district/noe valley born and bred kid.

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