Acrobats and a GMuni Director Block Google Bus

 

Calmly, purposefully and with the spirit of political theater, acrobats led by an activist posing as a “GMuni Director” and wearing faux-Google Glasses, distributed GMuni passes to others who tried but failed to board the Google bus at 24th and Valencia streets.

“This is a pilot program to see if we can use our custom bus service to provide free rides to all the people of San Francisco,” said the activist dressed as the GMuni director who called herself Judy Card.

The action, organized by the collective Heart of the City, was the opening act on a day when the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will vote on the plan to allow the shuttles to use Muni stops for $1 a stop.

“This is a fun way to illustrate the problem of these private companies using public land for free, at the same time displacing and disrupting the community,” said Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee. “Some people get their free buses, meanwhile low-income people have to deal with Muni, with crowding and delays—where’s the equity in that?”

As the GMuni director spoke into a megaphone about the satirical shuttle program, protesters asked questions like, “Will there be yoga on the bus?” and “Is the coffee going to be gourmet or regular?” (Answers from the GMuni Director: “Not yet,” and “Of course, it’s all Blue Bottle”).

For organizers of the event, the recent philanthropic donations from Google of $6.8 million to the program Free Muni for Youth doesn’t do enough to close the gap of what they see as a widening disparity between public and private services.

“While we appreciate private philanthropy, it’s not the same as public investment,” said Amanda Ream, one of the protest’s organizers, who said she felt that Google and other companies should pay penalty fines for their unauthorized use of public bus stops. “We want strong public infrastructure… Muni is in debt and there’s going to be a fare hike because of it.”

While the tone of the action was meant to be light-hearted in the spirit of April Fool’s day, the morning’s event, which at one point included a stilt-walking, glittery surveillance droid- type character, was punctuated by moments of serious tension.

When several demonstrators tried to enter the bus holding up their fake GMuni cards shouting to be let on, the bus driver shouted back saying, “Get off this bus, it is a private shuttle, I cannot let you on.”

Robert Irminger, one of the demonstrators who attempted to get on the shuttle, said he was pushed off with an inappropriate amount of force. “I tried to enter the bus and the driver forceably pushed my me off… I work in transportation, and you can ask people to leave but you can’t do that.” Irminger said he attempted to file a complaint with a police officer on-scene but the officer left before he could do so.

Following police officers’ intervention to get demonstrators off the bus, Jonathan Bonato spoke into the microphone to bring up the recent shooting death of Alejandro Nieto and a growing neighborhood distrust of the police.

“This sargeant’s team killed my friend Alejandro Nieto,” Bonatl said. “Now they’re supporting Google.”

Prior to the protest, tech employees waited for their shuttles as rain and hail briefly fell from the sky. Although some waiting in line made it clear they had been told not to talk to the press, most of those employees approached spoke about the situation, but declined to give their names or where they worked. All but one visiting employee from Australia were aware that a protest would descend on one of the buses soon.

“I understand how they have become a symbol of the disparity but it’s a hard case to make that the buses aren’t good for the environment,” said one woman waiting for her ride to work. When asked if this was a topic of conversation at the office, she said simply: “we’re really very busy at work.”

Another employee at one of the stops, who spoke slowly and carefully, pausing between each thought said, “It is a very difficult issue, but in most places the buses would be looked on as a good thing.” He says he understood the housing issue. “San Francisco is a set size,” he said, “and so it is difficult to add enough housing.”

Several of the tech employees who talked to Mission Local said they could understand why the protesters were upset.

“Everyone on the buses has a huge amount of sympathy for what’s going on and there is a lot of frustration,” said one woman in reference to the housing prices and the tension this has created between tech and longterm residents. She said she has worked in Tokyo and London, where there was great public transportation and she misses that and wished San Francisco had the same. But now, that is not the case. “I don’t know how I would get to work without the buses,” she said.

Dozens of employees in the double-decker bus headed to Mountain View had to wait a little longer to get to work this morning. After 20 minutes of the carnivalesque demonstration, several police officers arrived on scene to herd protesters out of the street and onto the sidewalk.

As the buses pulled away from the curb and down 24th Street, one protester spoke into the microphone, hinting at additional action later today. “See you at City Hall,” she said.

The SFMTA will be voting on the pilot program for tech shuttles in Room 400 of City Hall at  1 p.m.

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115 Comments

  1. Bob

    Is GMuni a new app? If not, someone smart should commodify these protests next time. I’ve never seen such free publicity.

  2. Andy

    You know what blocks Muni even more than corporate shuttle buses?

    Concentric circles of protesters, news media, police, and crowds.

  3. John

    And why exactly would a city resident who doesn’t not work for Google want to take a bus to their suburban campus?

    I’m also not clear why the protesters would prefer to see the shuttles pay nothing than pay a buck?

  4. Old Mission Neighbor

    Who is that bozo in Part2?

  5. Pamela

    These people need to get a life, a job perhaps?!

    • John

      When your life’s work is trying to stop people getting to work on a bus, that is pretty damn sad.

      • Michael Andrade

        Their “life’s work”? Hyperbole much?

        • John

          For trust fund baby Erin it is, apparently.

          • nutrisystem

            John, do you wear a sequined gown and giant false eyelashes for your drama queen activities?

          • John

            So you’d be OK with someone preventing you from going wherever you are going?

            no problem at all, right?

          • nutrisystem

            Your tenants are prevented from going where they want to go because they have to work MANY HOURS to pay your obscene rents.

            It’s YOU who should be arrested for false imprisonment.

          • John

            nutrisystem, you appear to struggle with the distinction between what is legal and what is illegal.

            You think obstructing me is justified, even though my acts are 100% legal, simply because you personally have an ideological objection to them.

            By that argument, if I have an ideological objection to you then I am entitled to obstruct you going places.

            Seems only fair, right?

          • marcos

            Gotta admit that trust fundamentalists pimping for low income San Franciscans while ignoring most San Franciscans who are neither trust fundies, tech workers or very low income San Franciscans is a great way to winnow down support for an issue that could appeal beyond the progressive activist circle to the bare nub.

          • John

            marcos, a recent poll showed most city residents are sanguine about the shuttles and don’t see them as a bad thing at all.

            As such, it doesn’t matter what this fringe extremist minority do – they are not going to garner populist support for something as innocent as wanting to go to work on a bus.

          • marcos

            And so long as the poverty non profiteers continue to harp on issues that are important to them and do not resonate with the broader population, that will continue. There is a cogent case to be made about these commuter buses that does not center around stoking liberal white guilt for the most vulnerable that can change minds, but these activists are more concerned about meeting their own needs.

          • John

            You’re like a stopped clock on the non-profit issue. We understand that they outsmarted you back when you gave a crap, but that’s your problem and yours alone. Move on.

            I have seen no credible ot convincing arguments against people taking a bus to work.

          • marcos

            One could see why “John” would defend “opponents” who have given up the substantive fight, who direct attention to pure unwinnable reaction while taking money from the interests they pretend to “fight.”

          • John

            I’m not defending anyone. I’m just explaining to you that your endless obsessive “war on non-profits” detracts from any persuasiveness you might otherwise have.

            You fought them. They won and you lost. Move on.

          • marcos

            “John” likes the poverty nonprofits and their trust fundamentalist cohort because they put up no significant fight against policies “he” supports.

          • John

            I win either way so my views on this are focused more on how you take losing such struggles so personally and emotionally.

            And how that inhibits you from changing minds.

          • marcos

            “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

            –Upton SInclair

      • dhl

        What’s pretty damn sad is when one of the biggest, richest corporations on planet earth is allowed to use the city public infrastructure without paying their fair share of the cost. The solution is very simple, make the buses pay to support MUNI. They have the money.

        • ThatGuy

          Do we need to go over this again?

        • John

          But a fair price has been negotiated, Ten bucks a week.

          You don’t charge someone $100 for an apple just because he is a billionaire.

          • marcos

            But Apple does charge a premium for their product and they are a successful company. We should take a page from their book and charge them a premium as well. I’d put San Francisco’s name brand and style up against Apple’s any day.

          • MissionLoca

            Or, marcos, if you don’t like how much Apple items cost, why not stop buying them? SF is not a private corporation, and as a public entity, should represent EVERYONE who lives in San Francisco, not just a bunch of professional protestors, many of whom don’t even live in SF but BART in for “actions”, who show up for every liberal-cause protest without giving a thought to how they’re effecting the people around them, the community who actually lives here, the people who are just trying to get to work in the morning and can’t afford to lose their jobs any more than anyone else can. Sure, SF has a great “brand name”, but I’m not sure why Apple is the enemy to you? If these tech companies were doing poorly, they would be laying people off, which effects every aspect of our local economy, which means people would be leaving SF because they could no longer afford to live in a place where there are no jobs available. But when there ARE a lot of jobs available in tech, there is more money pouring into other aspects of our local economy, creating more jobs in the service and hospitality industries, more disposable cash going into funding non-profits, etc., which also translates into more jobs. Sure, the cost of living has gone up because we have had major restrictions on building new housing and our local politicians, led by hypocrites like Ed Lee, yap about wanting to help out those being displaced…but then when it comes down to it, they allow affluent building contractor companies to come in and build luxury condos/apts with very little in the way of affordable/low-income/senior/disabled housing attached to their projects. The Board of Sups would rather spend their time voting to ban the public’s access to local parks at night and banning public nudity than addressing REAL issues, like preventing those contractors from buying off their obligation to create affordable housing by paying a relatively small “fine” (bribe, really). The local politicians are the problem, because they are busy playing local politics with their friends, including the likes of Shrimp Boy and Rose Pak, looking after their own hides, planning for their own futures, not really doing much for you or I other than paying lipservice to the real issues facing this city. They are happy to use the tech buses as scapegoats for THEIR inept or downright anti-San Franciscan actions! I’d like these protestors to go down to the steps of City Hall every day. I’d like them to protest the offices of the real estate carpetbaggers who are making billions off building luxury high rises. But, as usual, these professional protestors don’t get the big picture, and focus on picking on the lowest hanging fruit, making them tools for blocking other people from trying to get to their jobs every day.

          • marcos

            I buy Apple products and pay a premium for them because they are superior. Similarly, people come to San Francisco and pay a premium to live here because the City is intrinsically superior. Apple charges a premium for this while San Francisco lowers the barriers to access for newcomers and corporations instead of leveraging scarcity on behalf of existing San Francisco residents.

            The nonprofits are not going to be protesting corruption any time soon because their meal tickets are predicated upon the racket continuing. Thus, they’ll shoehorn popular resentment over corruption into easily digestible forms like this CEQA appeal.

            It was the nonprofiteers who signed off on the luxury condo upzonings of Eastern Neighborhoods, Planning Commissioners and Supervisors allied with that wing of the corruption all voted for it.

            If it takes slowing down the commutes of that handful who see the Mission as a bedroom community to make a point about corruption that sucks resources from us all, then that’s a fair deal.

          • John

            marcos, the point is that the price paid should represent the actual measurable cost of using the stops.

            And not some inflated number based on an ideological desire to punish and mug an entity just because it is wealthy.

            When you go into a store to buy a pair of shoes, the clerk doesn’t ask you how much money you make before quoting the price.

          • marcos

            Why does “John” hate San Franciscans? Transit delay represents a cost to the City and Muni riders, yet that cost was intentionally not studied. This illegal conduct that rises from the baseline remains unaccounted and those costs are de facto shifted from the shuttle providers via the City onto the backs of hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans.

          • John

            marcos, it is because i love SF that I want to see people going to work by bus and not by car.

            Muni would be shower if there were 35,000 extra cars taking these same people to work.

            Therefore an EIR would support the shuttles.

            80% of the supervisors and 80% of the voters agree.

        • Ogopogo

          Then go ahead and protest the government. If you want them to pay more for public infrastructure, you need to get the Government to agree to charge them more. Your target is way off.

      • Lu

        And when *your* life’s works is apparently spending all day everyday writing reactionary comments on blogs, that’s different? At least these people are fighting for justice and equality, but we all know how you feel about those concepts…

        • John

          How convenient, “Lu”, that your views are about “justice” and “equality” while those who take a different view are “reactionary”.

          And how typical that you argue by categorizing your opponents rather than develop serious and substantial arguments to support your case.

        • marcos

          I support the appeal because government should not support some of the wealthiest corporations on the planet at the expense of everyone else. But these activists are fighting for a narrowing segment of San Franciscans and exhibiting unveiled contempt for most San Franciscans. To them, if you make more money than they do, you are “rich” and you probably deserve to be delayed on transit.

        • MissionLoca

          Um, how exactly are these people “fighting for justice and equality”? By blocking some other people from getting to work in the morning? That’s not going to fix the problem of high rents in San Francisco. Try protesting the offices of the big developers who are carpet-bagging into SF with their pricey luxury high-rise projects. Try protesting Ed Lee, who is too distracted by his allegiances to Rose Pak, Shrimp Boy, and Chinatown to pay attention to how these real estate developers are screwing over this city left and right. Or is it just much easier putting on circus costumes that you have left from your last trip to Burning Man and blocking someone else’s way to work?

          • marcos

            If the nonprofiteers who take city money protest the corruption at City Hall in any meaningful way, then they will quickly find themselves unfunded and out in the cold.

            Their meal ticket takes priority over the real plight of “the most vulnerable” and the rest of us who are rich because we earn more than they. Death spiral.

          • John

            Ultimately protests exist to express displeasure and not to effect change.

            Would you really want to live in a town where major public policy decisions get made by a few dozen clowns stopping traffic? Rather than by our duly elected representatives?

          • marcos

            I want to live in a City where the choices for public office were not compromised due to rampant civic corruption.

          • John

            I get that your guy didn’t win the election and so you are bitter.

            But the majority of SF voters get to decide these things, and I would not be so arrogant as to second guess their wisdom.

          • marcos

            So you’re okay with corruption resulting from candidates that attract the support of so few voters due to the rampant corruption, content to choose between a giant douche or a turd sandwich?

          • John

            If the choice is between a corrupt pro-business Lee and a corrupt pro-SEIU Avalos, then the voters get to choose which poison they take.

          • marcos

            Most voters voted with their feet and chose no poison at all.

  6. godzuki

    Funny. Love it. In the classic SF tradition of protest. If anyone is “offended” by 6 people in tights blocking their bus for 1.5 minutes, they’re clearly in the wrong city. LOL

    • John

      Interfering with someone’s ability to make a living isn’t a cute, amusing, trivial thing.

      A protest would be putting on this show off to the side. But when they obstruct people trying to get on with their lives, it crosses a line from being merely a protest to being an offensive, potentially and anti-social criminal act.

      • Michael Andrade

        …”an anti-social criminal act”. I smell a drama queen.

        • John

          OK Michael, so how about I find out where you live and stop you getting to work in the morning by blocking your driveway?

          Who’d be the drama queen then?

          • Michael Andrade

            You’d be doing me a favor, John. Not all of us are obedient clones who worship authority.

          • John

            Unemployed, huh?

            Then how about I stop you going on a protest?

          • marcos

            See John’s reptilian hindbrain in action!

          • John

            And yet nobody can refute? What does that say about the others? And you?

          • Michael Andrade

            John either labels those who protest or resist as trust fund babies or unemployed. Um…no. There are who groups of people who work from home and make their own schedules, or work swing or night shifts, or are artists, musicians etc. with flexible schedules, etc. Broaden your circles, John.

          • John

            No, Michael, my only assumption was that you sometimes want to go somewhere.

            And that, if somebody else then stopped you because they disagree with your politics, that you’d turn into a “drama queen”.

          • marcos

            It is a problem to me that Erin is new to the region, does not live in San Francisco and is “of means” as she organizes protests that impact the lives of others.

      • godzuki

        I don’t think a Google employee who makes 100K+ would be terminated over a man in a leotard dancing in front of his bus.

        • John

          Maybe not but the cost pf delaying 50 people who make a dollar a minute quickly mounts up.

          Why not just protest on the sidewalk? you can make your point without delaying and inconveniencing others.

          This, after all, a publicity stunt – nobody who thinks about it for more than a second actually blames the people on the bus.

          Should I block the entrance to HRC, SFTU, la raza and other groups that I don’t agree with? And stop staff from working.

          That’s the problem I have with this i.e. the double standard.

          • godzuki

            It’s your right to protest however you please.

          • John

            The right to protest is limited in law and excludes causing harm, delay and inconvenience to others.

            So when right-wingers want to protest outside an abortion clinic, they can do so but cannot prevent staff and patients from entering or leaving the facility.

            Likewise when unions picket a business.

            And so on.

          • BackToTheBurbs

            They have wireless on the bus, they should have been working. It’s the same as when the bus gets stuck in traffic, which must be notorious given our areas latest traffic congestion rankings and the long road tech bus riders have to bear just to get to work.

          • John

            B2TB, by that argument, they have wireless at home so don’t need to show up at the office at all.

            But if they are required to show up at the office, for meetings etc, then it’s a problem if they are delayed. You cannot inconvenience and delay people and then rationalize that by claiming that their time “doesn’t matter/”

        • ThatGuy

          Would your manager be happy if you were late for your Taco Bell shift?? Idiot.

          • godzuki

            Honey….please…..major corporations with high salaries generally do not ding employees for being 5 minutes late. Maybe your job does….

          • marcos

            Used to be that the software industry was lax on attendance but one lesson that the employers learned from the dot.com bubble bust was to establish a tougher work ethic as a corporate value.

            I turned down an interview last year when the employer stressed in the phone screen that they expected a 50 hour work week minimum for industry average (high to you) pay. Funny thing was that I got an email late one Friday afternoon back from them a month later asking where my code sample was. I replied querying whether they’d changed the work week terms. She responded that she was sorry, it was her error. I replied that she’s probably working too many hours in the week and that she should take Monday and Friday off and get out of town to relax for a moment as her on-the-job accuracy seemed to suffer for the worse for the extended work week.

    • marcos

      Finally an action that looks inviting. Now if the narrative could only appeal to everyone who does not qualify for employer supplied shuttles, who relies on a slowed down Muni, they’d start connecting beyond the activist circle.

      • John

        There is no evidence that Muni is slowed down at all by a private shuttle that uses a bus stop just ten times a week.

        That is presumably why that use was valued at ten bucks a week and not more.

        • marcos

          Exactly, the City did not perform as required under CEQA which is why the courts will sustain the appeal.

          • John

            CEQA would be much more interested in all the cars taken off the city’s streets by having more bus transit options.

          • marcos

            You sound like the SFBC when they claimed that the mere provision of bicycle facilities would take enough cars off of the road to mitigate any environmental impacts. The Court held that the City could not make such assumptions, that if a fair argument could be made that the City did not consider all environmental, impacts–in that case delay to transit–then the City had to go back and do the EIR. That EIR identified delay to transit and forced the City to mitigate any impacts.

          • John

            SFBC had no reasonable basis to assume that drivers would take a bike if there was a bike lane.

            but we already know that many of these shuttle riders would take a car otherwise, as there is really no alternative that takes the same time.

          • marcos

            You have no reasonable basis to assume that private buses parked in public bus stops will not delay public transit. Increasing congestion imperceptibly on the freeway is not really a CEQA concern while transit delay is specifically enumerated in the statute as an environmental impact.

          • marcos

            The SFBC pressured the City to blow through CEQA for the Bike Plan Update. Once the City was sued, the SFBC began to rant and rave against CEQA because CEQA deigned to put the interests of public transit riders above those of cyclists.

            Ed Lee pressured the MTA and MEA to blow through environmental consideration for this deal even though it will most likely be shown to delay transit. The cascading delays could easily impact tens if not hundreds of thousands.

          • John

            Nonsense, marcos. Shuttles buses do not “park” in the Muni bus stops – they merely pause there for a minute or two, ten times a week.

            The impact of that is so small I defy anyone to measure it as significant beyond any margin of error.

            There is far more impact to Muni stops from delivery trucks, cabs etc. but nobody thinks to measure those.

            And in fact, the shuttles taking all those cars off the streets will actually speed up Muni by easing congestion.

            This whole CEQA thing is just a pretext to try and stop the shuttles for reasons that have nothing to do with Muni or the environment, and everything to do with a half-assed attempt at class warfare.

          • marcos

            So we got some anonymous guy “John” on a chat board asserting one thing and appellants making counter claims, each making a fair argument. However do we resolve this, whatever recourse is there in CEQA? Hey, how about do we do the damn EIR to test the hypothesis instead of performing an experiment on Muni. I bet that we can track declines in Muni run times to the rise of the commuter shuttles.

          • John

            The supes we elected disagree with you, and feel a trial is the best way to assess the shuttles.

    • ThatGuy

      I’ll have a BigMac, medium fries and a diet coke please.

  7. Orddu

    God, I love my city. :-)

  8. nutrisystem

    Google is taking names. The ass-kicking will come later.

  9. Fcampos

    NON WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

  10. pete

    Life isn’t fair Sara, get over it.

  11. ThatGuy

    Bunch of bozos. Literally.

  12. ThatGuy

    When are we going to protest FedEx, UPS, and beer delivery trucks for blocking fire hydrants, bike lanes, MUNI BUSES, etc?

    • Laurie

      tights, not fights

    • Heather

      FedEx and UPS trucks get tickets for blocking fire hydrants and bike lanes. Those companies simply accept that as the cost of doing business and pay them. For some reason, the tech shuttles don’t get ticketed.

      • John

        Probably because a bus getting a ticket for being the “wrong kind of bus” at a bus stop isn’t seen as such a priority as trucks and other kinds of vehicles that aren’t buses.

      • ThatGuy

        I’ve yet to see them ever get a ticket in the Mission.

        How about the beer delivery trucks who block a full lane for 15 minutes at a time? Definitely disrupting bus routes.

        Or how about the people who constantly put their cars on the sidewalk for up to an hour while they wait for street cleaning to pass through? It creates a massive pedestrian safety issue.

        Again, zero outrage. Zero tickets.

  13. nutrisystem

    Ed Lee is wearing out his kneepads taking such good care of Big Tech.

    • John

      But Ed Lee ran for office on a very clear pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-business platform and got 50% more votes than the nearest rival.

      So you may not like his pro-business stance but you cannot reasonably argue that a majority share your view.

      • nutrisystem

        It’s really amazing how cheaply whore politicians can be bought…

        http://blog.sfgate.com/matierandross/2014/04/02/mayor-ed-lee-travels-large-thanks-to-donors/

        • John

          So you oppose political contributions and lobbying by SEIU?

          • nutrisystem

            I oppose all forms of political bribery.

            Legally sanctioned or cash-in-envelope… it’s all the same: corrosive to society.

          • nutrisystem

            SCOTUS is starting to smell like SCROTUM.

            Check out the 1500+ comments on today’s New York Times article about the latest Supreme Court decision to allow EVEN MORE legalized bribery…

            Almost every commenter is opposed to more legalized bribery.

            Yet the court sides with big money instead of public sentiment. What kind of democracy is this?

          • John

            That’s only because public comments cannot be trusted, because only the whiners see any point in making such comments. The majority who are happy have no need to.

            SCOTUS is appointed by those whom we elect, so if you don’t like SCOTUS then you don’t like democracy.

          • SF boy

            Which would make you an unhappy whiner, which is apparent to everyone who suffers through your barrage.

          • John

            SFBoy, I’m not the one whining about the shuttles, or rising rents, or Nieto getting shot.

            I am the anti-whiner here.

          • Sf boy

            Why don’t you stand behind your words that define yourself as an unhappy whiner?

            “That’s only because public comments cannot be trusted, because only the whiners see any point in making such comments. The majority who are happy have no need to.”

          • John

            I stand behind the fact that I do not whine about evictions, rents, shuttles and the like.

            You are whining about someone who opposes whining and whiners.

    • ThatGuy

      What do you propose, genius? Would $100/stop shut you up? You just whine for the sake of whining.

      • nutrisystem

        I propose NO SPECIAL PRIVILEGES for the surveillance/advertising industry.

        The bus stops should be either
        A) MUNI only
        or
        B) General purpose pickup and drop off point for ALL vehicles

  14. nutrisystem

    Compared to today’s puke-on-windshield bus protest in Oakland, these harlequin dancing girl protestors are making SF look soft.

  15. Artistgirl2007

    Political protesting is part of SF ~ Civil disobedience is part of SF ~ Anarchy is part of SF ~ if you don’t like the inconvenience of living in a city that values dissidence and multicultural, consciousness-raising conflict-resolution via political protest and political theater, if you find it inconveniencing, that’s fine ~ It’s great, actually. At least we’ve got you involved in the conversation and actively thinking of a solution that would include ALL residents, not just the privileged folk. If you don’t get this, about SF, that’s fine too ~ just know that if you’re trying to turn this city into another clone of the other sadly droned-out cities of this country (whose lack of spirit and community are MUCH SADDER than the protesters and artists who are trying to keep this city vibrant and thriving for everyone) ~ we’re not going down quietly. We are getting in your face, with our protest-loving heartful zeal, because we love you all too much to have you succumb to the lackluster plight of those already dead cities ~ We love SF’s character, and it’s blazing, anarchic, wild, creative, shaking-things-up spirit too much not to fight for it.

    • John

      One can certainly take the view that such protests are cute and harmless.

      What SF can never seem to muster is either a sustained protest or a protest populated by more than a few dozen people. The average SF protest is 100 or less, and you get to recognize the same people every time after a while.

      Occupy was your best shot, but still just a few hundred folks who crawled back to mom as soon as the rains arrived.

      Go to somewhere like Paris if you want to see real protests. Americans generally are too fat and lazy to bother.

      • Artistgirl2007

        Are you getting weary, John? You’ve switched gears from high-octane vitriol and wailing about the inconvenience of the protest to casually passing such protests off as cute and harmless. Good. That’s progress.

        I’ll point out that your response tries to offhandedly brush the protests off as unimportant, and yet you pulled up this website at 6:45am and actually composed a response to my comment — which indicates that the conversation was important enough for you to follow and that it warranted a 6:45am response. Or, maybe you simply have a compulsive need to whip out those High School Debate 101 skills and show off. And since you’re on semi-shaky ground with your position, perhaps you needed to use insults and brush-offs aimed at protestors’ character to push your argument at any cost?

        What your response doesn’t do, John – is intelligently address the point these protests are making – getting folks uncomfortable and inconvenienced enough to wake up and actively think of solutions that include ALL the residents of San Francisco – yourself and myself included – not just the privileged folks. We all live here. You’re part of the mix just by being here (though I realize you may not actually live here, you may just be trolling through cyberspace and writing these responses from NYC or Paris or Wyoming). If you actually live in SF though, you are part of the community, whether I like it or not. And we need to figure out how to live and share space, even if we aren’t each other’s favorite person.

        SF has never been a monoculture city. Diversity is celebrated here. Freedom to be who you are and what you are is celebrated here. And we want you, John, to enjoy your life in this city, just as much as the others do, even if we may disagree about what’s fun, even if it’s hard to engage someone who’s different, or “doesn’t get it,” even if it’s inconvenient to give another’s point of view a try. Human beings are valued here. Engagement in the community is valued here. Political activism is valued here.

        What’s the cost of a little inconvenience on a morning commute, if the inconvenience opens your eyes to a greater inconvenience and deeper injustice – that of an ordinary citizen being uprooted by force and pushed out of their home community after having lived a life and given their heart and love to the politics and the landscape of a place and a community? The landlords have every right to do what they are doing, based on current laws. The Googlebus has its privileges because some people in city hall said ok. Laws are written by humans; they are unwritten and re-written by humans. If no one speaks up, those laws become obsolete, dangerously outdated, and potentially destructive and exploited.

        You like to have the last word, it seems, so I’ll expect one. But I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you not to respond to this post for at least 24 hours — to put away your computer and your phone for one day. Walk down the street, or up the hill, and get to know someone in your neighborhood, someone local and brand-new to you. If that feels like too much engagement, simply be curious about the next human being you see – the next stranger – and instead of passing them by and passing them off, get curious about their story and who they are – open your heart for a minute. Maybe that’s what you’re so scared of – opening your heart. Because if you open your heart, you need to extend yourself and your position may shift yet again – you might just end up seeing the humanity in that other person – and your conscience might tell you to do something differently today than you did yesterday. Your worldview may shift. That’s intense. It’s pretty beautiful too. And it’s what it takes to live in a diverse and multicultural city that’s committed to diversity and humanity, everyday.

        If that doesn’t work for you, there’s a sweet gathering coming up on April 19th at Warm Water Cove Park. I feel like those of us on this conversation string know you, so you’ll be around folks you’ve bantered with online. One of the artist communities is celebrating a couple’s engagement and having an open-air picnic. I’m one of the guests and we’re inviting you to come on down and join the party. If you tell me what your favorite drink is, we’ll even have it on hand. It’s pot luck. so if you decide to come out, bring a dish to share for 8-10 people. You don’t need to announce yourself — just come out, have a good time, celebrate the engagement of a couple who are fun, raucous, successful, and who do performance art together. But don’t get me wrong – there won’t be any political protesting going on there. Just a celebratory ordinary picnic. And you are welcome to be your oppositional, radiant, argumentative, irritable self. We seriously want to get to know you, and find out how we can live together and respect one another and maybe come to some viable solutions together. Some folks there even work at city hall. Are you up for it? I hope so. 

  16. NFS

    Linking the shooting of Alejandro Nieto and Google buses?

    Talk about a one trick pony website.

    This is absurd.

    • John

      In the mind of a SF so-called “Progressive”, everything is a manifestation of the vast right-wing conspiracy that exists purely to punish them.

  17. Lydia

    Delusional selfish activists. Its all about ME ME ME, get out of my neighborhood you educated hard working individual. Stop taking a ride share to work. Subsidize my rent for the rest of my life. You must be a greedy landlord if you if you are not willing to subsidize my rent. Home ownership is evil and any one who works hard and earns a good amount money is evil. Its all about ME ME ME. I am a selfish activist!!

    • Artistgirl2007

      For someone so well-educated, your simplistic analysis is surprising. You can do better than that, Lydia! Much love to you.

  18. Sonia

    Envy is one of the seven deadly sins and it really shows here.

    • Gigi

      No dear, we are not envious. There is a beautiful, vibrant, richly diverse world outside the bubble of the tech industry. We just want to teach them to share the space, not take over like a cancerous tumor.

  19. Popcorn Libertarian not voting for corrupt Dems

    Love it. The left is truly pissing off tech. Stop voting for the corrupt D machine & if you read this and lean libertarian/right/independent come join us, we are pro-TECH and against Ds.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/californiastatepolitics/

    BTW, to Marcos, in many ways you make tons of sense, ie, about how corrupt the city is.

  20. Gloria

    A bunch of trust fund white chicks protesting with mommy and daddy’s money.
    Ms. McElroy is a trust fund kid from Rhode Island who has lived in the mission for 5 years.
    Who is she to tell people what to do with their property?

  21. The tech companies are trying to do the right thing. They have some employees that are choosing to live in the city – which is their right – they’re providing buses to get them to and from work so they don’t have to drive thus keeping their cars off the streets and being sensitive to the environment…they’re willing to pay for using bus stops and from what I’ve read are giving money to organizations in the city…many places wish they had a “problem” like this..Lots of people want to live in the city and there is only so much space..it was too expensive in the 70s…law of supply and demand…need lots more apartments….the market will force people to move to cheaper places…that’s what I did…now I enjoy visiting while living an affordable lifestyle. It is possible to live a good life outside of The City.

  22. Gigi

    We are not envious, dear Sonia. There is a vibrant, rich, diverse, and beautiful world outside the tech industry’s bubble. We just want to teach them to share space, instead of encroaching upon the neighborhoods like a cancerous tumor.

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