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Google bus protest
Lots of people are talking about yesterday’s demonstration in the Mission involving a Google bus and MUNI bus stop, particularly the part about the faux techie who fooled many (including this reporter) by appearing to disembark from the blocked bus and begin frothing at the mouth, yelling things at a protester like, “I’m just trying to get to work!” and “I can pay my rent, can you?”
To those of us reporters who were there, it sure seemed real enough. Fortunately the Mission Local editor was sufficiently skeptical and she was right: a couple hours later, protest organizer Leslie Dryer called Mission Local to emphasize that the provocateur (identified by several media outlets as Max Alper) had spontaneously joined the protest action and his outburst was not part of the plan.
Google did not respond to our requests for comment, but according to the Huffington Post, said in an emailed statement, “We certainly don’t want to cause any inconvenience to SF residents and we and others in our industry are working with the SFMTA to agree on a policy on shuttles in the city.”
In a phone interview yesterday, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told us a new pilot program allowing shuttles in “approved MUNI zones” goes to the SFMTA board in January. If approved, the program would be put into place next summer, Rose said. He did not give the impression that the agency would be taking a cue from the protesters by demanding the SF tech industry pay $1 billion in fines.
In an opinion piece for the New York Times last week, contributing writer Timothy Egan bemoans San Francisco’s lamentable public transportation and the city’s current socioeconomic situation. “In one recent comment about this tale of two cities, a reader here wrote: “Why is it a problem that underachievers are moving out?” Why? Let me count the ways. A city without its nurses, its teachers, its artists, its waiters, its bus drivers, its cops, its musicians and writers and grandmothers as residents is a monoculture — as sterile as a forest of a single commercial tree species.”
Exactly what many in the Mission have been stressing for the past few years.
Yesterday SF.Streets Blog.org provided a bit more information on Kurt Dalen, the 30-year-old Mission artist who was killed by a hit-and-run driver last week on Valencia Street. According to the post, Dalen was the 14th pedestrian to be hit and killed by a car in San Francisco this year alone; one of six to be killed or seriously injured in the past two weeks.