File photo by Jessica Lum.

Willie Brown, the power broker who may or may not control the city, offered a stern warning to techies in his Sunday Chronicle column: step it up.

Every day in every way, from rising rents to rising prices at restaurants to its private buses, the tech world is becoming an object of scorn. It’s only a matter of time before the techies’ youthful lustre fades, and they’re seen as just another extension of Wall Street.

And when that happens, tenant advocates, community activists, labor unions and Occupy types are going to start asking why we’re giving away the city to all these white-male-dominated businesses that don’t even hire locals.

Normally we wouldn’t pay attention to these comments, but this is Brown we are talking about. He uses his column to promote and punish people, so could we take this as a sign that there has been a shift in political winds?

Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare...

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14 Comments

  1. The man who was Mayor for like forever has the temerity to say that the techies need to step it up for Hunter’s Point and Chinatown after he did jack.

  2. Complete and utter rubbish. Has he gone completely senile? Doddering on about ‘white-male-dominated businesses’ not hiring ‘locals’–what the hell does that even mean? Plenty of people from here work for tech companies. Some work for another company down the road for a few years and then switch to a company in SF. Some move out of state for a while and come back. I’ve been in the area for 20 years and an SF resident for 13+. Am I a ‘local’??

    1. For what, Francesca?

      For articulating the politics of envy a little more eloquently than most?

      For being able to be totally hypocritical without seemingly even realizing it?

      For discounting the huge tax revenues these “white male” workers contribute?

      Or for feeding your convenient self-serving promotion of class warfare and loathing of success?

      For what exactly?

        1. No, Rick, I am not a techie at all. Just someone who, like the rest of us, indirectly benefits from having some world-leading enterprises in our city.

          You see, unlike you, I do not fear change, progress, success and prosperity. i like to see them right on my doorstep, which is why I don’t live in the suburbs, but in the heart of a place that is changing the world with it’s knowledge economy.

  3. I don’t think Willie Brown should be blaming “techies” for the current rising rents, rising prices, etc. Skilled people are just wisely taking advantage of an excellent opportunity. That said, San Francisco is becoming incredibly expensive. Minimum wage in SF needs to be at least $13/hour. Check out MIT’s living wage calculator for a sense of how expensive the City has become: http://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/06075

  4. Willie Brown has the tense wrong. It’s not “a matter of time”, it’s already happening. Even insiders are getting uncomfortable with these companies – for the damage they are doing to San Francisco, but also for thier ominous amassing of J Edgar Hoover-like powers, which when coupled with a growing appetite for profits can easily lead to a variety of dystopian scenarios.

    Private industrial-scale surveillance and personality analysis, as practiced by companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, is an entirely new phenomenon, and a collosally reckless experiment.

    These intelligence capabilities, though currently “only” used to better target advertising, enable a new flavor of totalitarianism, the scale of which the world has never seen.

    Petroleum and war-equipment companies have long been held in low esteem, and now surveillance/advertising companies with cutsie names are joining thier ranks.

  5. Chutzpah! Willie Brown certainly has nerve. Most of his campaign money came from wealthy whites; one of the biggest fundraisers was given by Republicans; live-work spaces were built under his watch; the list goes on…What a schmuck!

    1. When did using the word “white” to describe someone become a negative ascription, signifying that something is deeply wrong with that person?

      And don’t many Hispanics identify as “white” anyway?

      I must have missed that political correctness class at school.

    2. Yes, it is ironic that Willie Brown, mayor during the “Lawyer Loft” invasion of the 90’s, would say this.

      I’m finding this pretty funny actually… The destruction of San Francisco’s character by gentrification has gotten so bad that even somebody as venal as Willie Brown thinks it’s gone too far!

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