Supervisor David Campos (left) speaks to the Tech Works Against Displacement Happy Hour. Photo by Rigoberto Hernandez.

It was billed as a Happy Hour for Tech Workers Against Displacement, but Tuesday night at Virgil’s Sea Room wasn’t all happy. Part political rally, part tense meeting, the organizers and many of the more than 100 participants took the first step in getting tech workers involved in the efforts to fight displacement and stop evictions.

“Tonight is about bringing people together that have been falsely divided,” said Rolla Selbak, who works at Apple, but put together the event with labor organizer Gustave Feldman, independent of her employer. “We can come together collectively to figure out how to make this city affordable to everyone.”

During a presentation from Fred Sherburn-Zimmer about the work of the Housing Rights Committee, a tech employee frustrated at the one-sided nature of the event up to that point, interrupted the speech and blurted out: “I thought this was supposed to be a dialogue…I’m a representative of tech and this isn’t doing anything.”

An irritated crowd promptly quieted the tech worker and urged Sherburn-Zimmer to continue.

“Don’t get too offended when people are critiquing your boss,” Sherburn-Zimmer said in response. “If you want an end to displacement come do the work…You could help us with fundraising, you could come to rallies, or rebuild our website.”

In addition to the Housing Rights Committee, representatives from activist groups POWER, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Just Cause/Causa Justa, as well as Supervisor and State Assembly candidate David Campos all spoke.

The aim of these presentations was to demonstrate how those interested could get involved in organizing against displacement, with organizers asking for donations and attendance at rallies — including one at 24th Street BART Plaza today at noon. However, some in the crowded bar found the speeches counter-productive with their polarizing rhetoric.

During a presentation from Alicia Garza of POWER in which she called displacement “deliberate and dangerous” and suggested that the new Third Street Rail had unfavorable consequences for Bayview residents, Jaime Ross, a resident of Bernal Heights since the early 1980s, expressed audible disapproval. She said she thought the presentations were unnecessarily “preachy and lopsided.”

“It doesn’t open up anything,” Ross said before leaving midway through the night. “Things are happening in this city that [tech employees] can help with…All the hostility is getting in the way of things working.”

Like Engage SF’s inaugural dinner earlier this month, the effort hoped to get groups often viewed as polarized into conversation with each other. However, unlike the earlier event, this meeting had an overtly political agenda to address the issue of displacement and evictions.

Organizer Selbak met Feldman at the citywide tenants convention and organized the event in part because of her dismay that so few tech workers were in attendance.

“This city is no longer in the realm of affordability…We have a fundamental question of who we are as a city,” said Supervisor Campos to the crowd, underlying the significance of the evening. “That’s why it’s important to have this dialogue, it’s too easy to dehumanize each other.”

The significance of the conversation around tech and community was not lost on the press; journalists from at least five other Bay Area outlets wound their way through the crowd for quotes.

After the hour of organized speeches, of which Feldman admitted to the crowd that maybe they should have limited speakers’ time to five minutes as opposed to 10, the group was encouraged to come to the microphone to share their thoughts about solutions to bridge the gap between tech and the community and ways to address the housing crisis.

Speakers’ thoughts ranged in topics from gentrification, displacement, gang violence, and the effect of shuttle buses on the environment. A man who arrived to the Mission in the first tech boom in the 1990s shared a poem called “DotCom” criticizing the mechanization of our lives as wrought by Silicon Valley.

At least one housing activists stepped outside to Virgil’s back patio with a visibly upset attendant for a heated political discussion.

As the evening wore on, more tech workers stepped up to the microphone to share their feelings about the housing crisis. Brent Welch, Australian immigrant and CEO of the company SwitchCam, said he’s worried people aren’t thinking enough about long term solutions to the housing crisis.

“We need to figure out how to get enough long term housing for everyone,” Welch said. “There’s so much demand, we need to build more.”

In response to this, Campos stepped up to the microphone once more, saying: “It’s not just about building more, it’s about building more affordable housing.”

Several tech employees said that it was important that they weren’t immune to the threat of evictions either. Many had been priced out of longtime homes; others had been evicted. Some expressed shame and sadness about their industry’s effect on working-class neighborhoods.

Despite the sometimes emotional nature of the discussion, those in attendance seemed to feel the evening was a step in the right direction. Standing at the back of the room during the open comment section of the evening, Supervisor Campos expressed optimism about the night.

“I think just having a dialogue is important,” Campos said. “I think people are being really honest and constructive.”

After the hour or more of open comment officially closed and the microphone stowed away, organizers encouraged the crowd to stay and mingle. As Virgil’s bar staff got to work pouring drinks and R. Kelly’s “Remix to Ignition” blasted over the sound system, the majority of those in attendance were not deterred by the already long evening and stayed for the better part of an hour to continue the discussion.

“I thought it was fantastic. I saw fantastic dialogue between folks in tech and activists,” Selbak said. “All of us are concerned with this issue. We’re all San Franciscans.”

Others felt uncertain about the night’s effectiveness.

“The thing I’m noticing is how much potential there is to form alliances,” said Alicia Garza of POWER. “My concern is maybe we’re talking past each other. The real issue is not if tech workers feel isolated or unwelcome, communities of color have been feeling that forever… It’s important to really know each other and our roles in this to move forward.”

For one Google employee and Just Cause, the night formed an unlikely alliance — the employee carried a stuffed donation envelope for the nonprofit and was looking for the organization’s representatives as the crowd thinned.

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Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

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  1. ‘You could help us with fundraising, you could come to rallies, or rebuild our website.’

    None of this is going to do anything to stop displacement.

    1. It was just a cheap attempt at guilt-mongering.

      In any event, zero displacement is not a plausible goal, nor even a desirable one since zero turnover and mobility leads to a sclerotic neighborhood.

      Rather it is the rate of transition that needs to be managed..The New Mission should evolve gradually and naturally.

  2. If these tech haters hate tech so much, let them get rid of their Facebook pages! They all have them to get the riff raft riled up. And how hypocritical are they for trying to get money out of the tech companies when their whole reason for their existence is subsided, cheap rent. You pay your own way firs, you rent control cheap skates !

  3. I’m trying to think of a country, bent on world domination, maybe it begins with a ‘G’…
    (or maybe I’m thinking of a company…)

    And this country had many soldiers. Some who believed in their country’s agenda and pro-actively took part in this ruthless attempt at world domination at any cost, and some soldiers who weren’t sure but went along anyway, some who didn’t care one way or another but joined in because of the personal profits it rewarded them with, and still some others who did not believe this was a just cause but were afraid of the retribution their country would hammer down on them for any opposition. (or maybe it was employees, not soldiers…)

    In any case, it was a difficult choice to make for many of these soldiers. For many, the lines were blurry, they saw some good points and some bad points in their country’s motivations.

    For the ones who had misgivings about their country’s actions the penalties would be extremely harsh and painful (economically and socially at the very least) for speaking up. They were basically caught in the crossfire of a war they did not start (but they would, if won, ultimately benefit from).

    Hard choices to make. In the end, nearly all of the soldiers suffered with their country in defeat (unlike the fate of many of the country’s leaders and partners who actually profited and thrived). And many of the soldiers who would have liked to speak up against what their country was doing to the rest of the world–but did not–lived in shame and regret for the rest of their lives.

  4. Bob, you seem like the kind of guy who complains about the price of a five-dollar coffee, but doesn’t understand the economics underlying that price.

    1. Coming from someone who thinks undocumented workers were the ones funding this bailout, your comment is rich in irony.

  5. I wish these tech workers would throw off their misplaced guilt and recognize the huge contribution they make to the neighborhood. Tech workers are in fact artists, writers, programmers and other varieties of creative people who are also helping make the Mission a safer and more interesting place to live.

    They don’t need to explain themselves to jealous or unsuccessful people, or so-called “activists” who may or may not have lived here a bit longer, looking for a handout.

    1. Appeals to guilt do not work, have not worked for decades now. Creating points of unity for positive action is what we need to do. That will not be allowed to happen by the activists whose hatred of their own middle class and white roots trumps any political considerations of strategy.

  6. This is like some polar bears sitting together on an ice flow saying “we need to figure out how to end global warming”.

    1. If even a divisive fan of class warfare like Campos thought such a meeting was worthwhile, why do you oppose him?

      Could you sit in a meeting with successful people and have a civil discussion with them, listening as much as speaking, while maintaining an open mind?

      1. Campos is an astute politician. Regardless of whether this exercise accomplishes its ostensible purpose (it doesn’t) he benefits in terms of image-crafting.

        1. And what do you think the “purpose” of this meeting was? You have to know that to assess whether it worked or not.

          If you think the purpose was to shame tech into solving a problem it didn’t create, then it may have worked to some extent.

          If you think it was to develop sufficient empathy that tech wanted to invest in some of the ideas, then it probably would have worked better if it didn’t come across as a whinefest.

          1. nutrisystem, in all honesty what percentage of the american population do you think is more left-wing than you are?

            I’d put it at less than 1%.

          2. I wouldn’t even call myself “left wing”. I’m realistic, well informed, and not easily swayed by propaganda. My goal is maximum peace, prosperity and fulfillment for all .

            I support private ownership of capital under a rational and strictly enforced set of pro-society rules.

          3. Nobody likes labels but the fact is that very few Americans support the policies you advocate here. Even in Sf they are way to the left of any elected official we have.

            No problem with your views as long as you understand how extreme most people see them as. It must be very frustrating for you to watch election results.

        1. 1) Letting tech buses park at muni stops for $1 (it’s $271 if you or I do it)

          2) Twitter tax breaks (yes, the company which created 1,600 new millionaires when it went public last year)

          3) Allowing Larry Ellison to urinate all over the city. (Regatta cost city taxpayers $11 million).

          1. (1) and (2) are not billionaires.

            (3) is but the net cost to the city was as close to zero as makes no difference.

            Why do you hate success?

          2. The majority shareholders of the companies which use tech buses, as well as Twitter are billionaires or close to it.

            Giving special treatment to the people who need it LEAST does not sit well with me. And I think that’s a pretty normal response.

            Ed Lee is a sellout and it’s not well hidden.

            He’s gambled that kowtowing to the rich will get him farther in politics than serving the majority. He might be right, or might be wrong about that – but for sure it diminishes him as a human being.

          3. The people who ride those shuttles are not billionaires and probably not even millionaires.

            One of two of their bosses might be but I doubt that they use the shuttles. The shuttles are just a perk of the job. You’re really looking in the wrong place here.

  7. Sounds like it was a bit one sided. Brow beating the techies and then wanting handouts isn’t a great way to form relationships.

    1. Yes, Sherburn-Zimmer got off on the wrong foot by talking too much and not listening enough. It sounds like the meeting did not have a neutral moderator and, without that, it is easy for such a forum to turn into a rant and whine festival that simply alienates the very people who have to be convinced there is a problem here.

      Fred was lucky his audience was polite enough to sit through this. It’s always a problem when the people who most need to listen do nothing but talk.

      1. I agree. If Fred is going to bring the same record of success that she enjoyed at SEIU 1021 to the Housing Rights Committee, then at-risk residents need to be packing their bags and look for fall back housing options elsewhere.

        I can recall back in 2007 when I first met Fred, we’d been working under Olague’s leadership to oppose Donald Fisher’s parking land grab. SEIU decided to pursue Prop A and their white paid activist corps swooped in and knocked the legs out form under the community’s efforts. That ended up passing the legal abortion of Prop A which did little to pull the MTA out of its tailspin, granting Newsom $26m to shut out of the agency for political needs.

        Paid activists should be in service of the community, not acting on behalf of the community which has not granted them any legitimacy to do so. That they don’t will continue to deliver the poor outcomes that they can be counted on to deliver to earn their keep.

      1. Except that in this case the tornado isn’t a natural disaster but a man-made policy disaster.

        Build nothing, impose rent control and then scratch your head and wonder why nobody can find a home they can afford. Then look around for a scapegoat to blame.

        1. Man-made or natural disaster doesn’t matter…

          My point is that it takes some high-octane sleaziness to engage in this level of price gouging.

          1. Wait. First the city passes policies that deter supply and then, when valuations increase in response to that, it is somehow “greedy” to actually sell or rent at those prices?

            That really shows how twisted your argument is here. The price isn’t good or bad, high or low, it just is what it is. And it is was it is because SF doesn’t prioritize the supply of homes – it does the exact opposite.

            There is no way homes can be cheap if you don’t build them or encourage owners to make them available.

  8. I think these meetings are a very important step in addressing the tensions between techies and longer term residents. I think it’s unfair and misguided to directly blame newer tech residents for the eviction crisis.
    Real estate speculators seem to be doing the bulk of the damage. A non-existent city housing policy and over burdensom building approval processes have only have made this situation worse.
    I think if there is a united community. there is more political pressure on City Hall, Sacramento and other interests to enact some laws that could help alleviate some of these evictions.
    Hyper inflated rent and housing costs ultimately have a negative effect on everyone. Businesses are required to raise wages to keep and attract employees, newer renters are burdened with high rental costs and existing tenants live with the fear of losing their homes.
    I think having these meetings where a dialogue can begin is a very productive step.

    1. blaming so-called “speculators” makes no more sense than blaming techies. SF RE is inflated because of city policies like rent control and NIMBY land use rules. That constrains supply which drives up housing costs.

      Those who support such policies then look around for a scapegoat to blame, e.g. bankers, developers, investors or techies, when it is the city’s policies that are the real cause of the stresses.

      So yes, these people should be put in a room with the techies and told to play nice. They will soon learn that techies are real people just like them, and are not the anti-christ.

      1. SF RE is inflated because of a historic liquidity bail out to paper over the failed investments of the super-wealthy.

        Without QE2, your property would be worth half of what it is.

        Instead of blaming the victims of the policies that enable you to spend all day dispensing disinformation on the internet, you should be grateful that they saved your ass.

        1. “investments” should in quotes, because collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps are nothing more than gambling for the .01% — gambling with the added moral hazard that bad bets will be paid off 100% on the dollar at taxpayer expense (due to high unemployment, disengaged capital stock investment, slashed social services, and asset and commodity inflation).

        2. He thinks he became a tycoon because of his hard work and wisdom, when in fact he was in the right place at the right time.

          1. Being in the right place at the right time isn’t luck. It takes understanding, perception and judgment to anticipate economic conditions.

            I’m no tycoon but to suggest that everyone who is successful was just “lucky” is nonsense.

          2. It’s mostly luck. In the 80’s and early 90’s, nobody could have known that property hyperinflation would occur in SF.

          3. Wrong. In fact the late-1980’s and early 1990’s were a time of depressed RE values. SF RE values barely moved from 1989 to 1997, or so.

            It was clear to me that by 1997 RE was due for a boom, and so I bought two rental buildings.

            That wasn’t luck; it was judgment.

        3. There is no doubt that QE stabilized the markets and the financial system. I’m not normally a fan of Keynesian interventionist solutions proposed by folks like Krugman, Summers and Reich, but few would say that we aren’t better off than we were in the dark days of 2008.

          But the effects of QE were national, and there are plenty of places in the US where property values and rents are still in the basement. So we still have to ask the question why they responded one way and SF responded the other way.

          I’d identify the main difference as being the great imbalance between supply and demand, and supply is artificially suppressed in SF due to land use constraints and rent control – policies that are maintained by the city against the interests of it’s residents.

          1. Or it could be that rent control helps maintain a diverse and interesting population in San Francisco, which creates culture, which creates demand.

            If you want to see what a purely market-driven landscape looks like, pull off any interstate into a service plaza… same dozen businesses arranged around a parking lot.

          2. Your premise appears to be that the less rent someone pays, the more interesting they are. I’d be fascinated to see your reasoning behind that. The most interesting people I know are not dirt poor.

            But my point was economic. If you make rents too cheap, then nobody ever moves, suppressing the mobility that generates vacancies.

            Moreover, property owners decide not to rent out their units long-term, preferring either to Ellis or do short-term lets, further suppressing supply and driving up rents at the margin.

            Price controls were designed for wartime and times of natural disaster. They were never seen as successful long-term policies.

          3. QE2 is rightwing Friedmanite policy: give money to the extractive rich, and hope they trickle it down to the productive economy. It was one of the worst possible options, but the better options that would have revived the productive economy weren’t as profitable to the gamblers at the top. Funny how the chosen policy was exactly the one which gave the most money to the rich idiot gamblers who squandered America’s fortune, and they ran crying to the American taxpayer for help.

            Summers is one of the architects of the global derivatives bubble, and should be in jail for the rest of his life.

            Reich is a phony populist who pays lip service to inequality, but was an ardent promoter of the trade pacts which gutted the American middle class.

            Krugman is weak. He’s okay on basic fiscal stimulus, but the scope of his argument is severely limited and outdated, and he’s generally a firewall to prevent more serious critiques of capital from getting aired.

          4. Fiscal stimulus was dwarfed by monetary “stimulus,” and much of it consisted of…….tax breaks and give-aways to the rich!!

            Obama is the best friend the rich ever had, and an even bigger disaster for families working people than Bush or Reagan were.

          5. We can debate national financial policy all day and get nowhere. My point here is restricted to the notion that it is not “luck” if someone profits from QE.

            It’s not luck because QE as a policy was predictable by those who follow the markets closely, given the way the Fed and the Treasury have responded in the past to financial crises.

            I doubled down during the crisis because I predicted some implementation of the “Greenspan Put”. I do not consider that to be luck and I have nothing to be grateful for except me own prescience and judgment.

          6. I actually agree with you, John.

            it was very prudent of you to hitch your wagon to the plutocratic elites. The policies that enrich the few families at the top might devastate the rest of society, but considering that the big five banks run both parties, you have to figure the game is fixed for them.

            Just understand that by aligning your interests with the money at the top, you are complicit in the top-down class war being waged by the wealthy elites against people who actually work for a living.

          7. 2beers, my job is to feed my family and not anyone else’s. If I see a market opportunity I am going to take it. The nation will go in the direction it will go regardless of whether I seize an investment opportunity or reject it for the ideological reasons that you raise.

            Put another way, while I enjoy debating these issues and sincerely believe in the opinions that I venture forth here, my primary motivation is the same as everyone else – to survive and flourish. And I can only use the skills that I have.

            If I am going to make a bet, it is not going to be on the nation doing a 180 and suddenly embracing socialism. I’d rather make a fortune and then donate much of it to charity, than not make a fortune in the first place because I am paralyzed by ideology.

          8. False choice, false constraint, in keeping with your usual fallacious arguments.

            According to your Manichean worldview, the only options are an oligarchic kleptocracy or socialism. Either we give the .1% everything they want and continue to hollow out the economy for the middle class, or its socialism.

            What a simplistic mindset.

            The irony is that you don’t realize that an economy in which the middle class prospers is actually far more secure and beneficial to you and your family in the long run, and this boom and bust plutocratic sleigh ride we’re on will makes our security and saftey much more tenuous.

            But get that fast money, boy. Why care about the world’s problems? Why cares about ethics?

            Sociopaths think their gravy train will run forever, and they can’t see that that gravy train flourishes only by exploiting others, and that inevitably, that train goes off the rails..

            Enjoy the ride.

          9. Keynesianism is demand side stimulus.

            QE is supply side corporate welfare designed to goose corporate balance sheets in the face of bogus asserts and flagging demand..

            QE is not by any measure Keynesian.

          10. Wrong, marcos, QE is classical Keynes. You just hate it that your favorite gay limey economist is the rationale for bailing out the “wrong” group.

          11. Yep, false constraints are now the primary tool the billionaire class employs to manufacturing consent.

            For example, you get to endorse either:
            Wall Street boot-lick Obummer
            Wall Street whole-body-lick Romney

          12. “Selling out” is just code for compromise and, yes, given that compromise is the art of politics, I suspect you would struggle in that field.

            Idealism has it’s place but someone has to actually get things done.

          13. If politics were subject to the McCarran anti-trust Act, then both political parties could be put out of business as a RICO monopoly.

          14. Wrong, John.

            Keynes supported the use of monetary stimulus (i.e.. giving money to rich people) when liquidity was the only thing standing in the way of investment when there was insufficient capacity to meet demand.

            When capacity clearly exceeds demand, as in today, Keynes said that monetary stimulus would lead to speculative bubbles, and that if rich people wouldn’t invest in capital stock and human resources (and why would they, in a recession?), the government has to be the investor of last resort.

            Contrary to your bogus John Galt myth of superman entrepreneurs taking great risks. rich people simply put their money where they expect the greatest return. If the government is stupid enough to give rich people money, the rich people would be stupid NOT to use that money to gamble and create gigantic stock, housing, and derivatives bubbles that destroy the lives of working people and threaten to destroy the global economy.

            Sociopaths are the most predictable people on the planet.

            The current stock and housing bubbles conform to Keynesian theory, and were easily predicted by anyone who understands those theories..

            Nice ad hominem attack on him, though, John. Your rightwing bigotry and xenophobia is really shining through.

          15. Keynes advocated pumping money into the economy to mitigate a recession. Exactly whom you throw that money at depends on the nature of the crisis. But the simplest way of doing it is to increase the money supply and you can only realistically throw money at people who have the capacity to invest it.

            Since you claim you predicted this “bubble” then you could have profited from that and then used those proceeds to do good works. I’m baffled why you didn’t.

            The Feds are going to do what they are going to regardless of what you or I think. All we can do is seek to predict that and profit from that. If you can feed your family and give them financial security by anticipating the government than you should do that. Indeed, that is all a rational person can do.

            I deal with the world as it is and not as someone somewhere thinks it should be.

          16. You’re oversimplifying and twisting Keynes.

            He explicitly favored fiscal stimulus over monetary stimulus, but he allowed for some monetary stimulus .in a liquidity crisis.

            The collapse of ’07-’08 was not a liquidity crisis; it was a solvency crisis.

            They are very different. But go ahead and lie about Keynes.

            I’ve seen too many people get burned by the markets: I won’t play in the lair of sociopaths, where you are clearly at home.

          17. So people are either losers or sociopaths? It must be very comforting to you to subscribe to such a simplistic and convenient stereotype.

            Ultimately I don’t care whether QE is Keynesian or not. It was clearly necessary. Nobody would want to swap 2014 for 2008.

          18. Nice sick, simplistic, Manichean worldview you got there, perfect for a sociopath.

            In your view, people are either exploiters are exploited?

            How about the middle ground, people who do honest work for a living? I do honest work.I have thousands of satisfied customers. I’ve never had to abuse or exploit anyone else to make my living. I don’t have to hide what I do behind Horatio Alger fantasy bromides, social Darwinist pseudo-science, or Ayn Rand pseudo-philosophy to justify my livelihood.

          19. 2beers, without knowing what your job is, we cannot assess it’s worthiness. But I’m sure you charge the most you can and try and keep your costs down.

            That’s exactly what I do.

            Debates about which jobs are more worthy than others is futile because such notions are subjective. The only objective metric we have is the amount others are willing to pay you for the products and services that you provide.

          20. John, I’, responding to your statement that people are either sociopaths or losers.

            I don’t need you validation for what I do.

            But you’re one sick puppy if you think that people who do honest work — who make the decision not to exploit others — are therefore losers.

            Everything you say keeps reaffirming your sociopathy. It seems congenital — you just can’t help it.

          21. 2Beers, you were the one who claimed that those who are successful in this market are “sociopaths”.

            The clear implication there is that those who lose in this market are the only ones who are not sociopaths.

          22. So you believe people who won’t play with sociopaths are losers?

            You’re sick.

            Well, this is boring and repetitious, and I have honest work to do.

          23. No, you claimed that those who win in the markets are sociopaths. It follows that those who are not sociopaths must be those who lose in the markets.

          24. I have the feeling I’m talking to a child.

            Syllogistic logic for beginners:
            a) Some sociopaths are “winners”
            b) Not all “winners” are sociopaths

            Is that so hard to understand? You’re the ultimate Manichean.

            John, I call bullshit on your claim that you have a degree in logic.

            If you told me you had a degree from clown college, now that, I’d believe.

          25. 2Beers, you’re the one who claimed that market winners were sociopaths. If you don’t like where that leads you, I can’t help you.

          26. You’re the one being dishonest. You made an unfortunate connection and, rather than just leaving it alone, you dug yourself deeper and deeper.

            That’s your choice. My point was merely to note that market success is not indicative of sociopathy as you alleged.

          27. Keynes advocated demand side stimulus to fill the hole in demand in the form of government deficit spending. I am not aware that Keynes advocated central banks expanding the money supply to make negative interest rate loans available to ponzi scheme banks.

          28. The general idea was for a government to print money to solve economic problems and further political ideals.

            It’s entirely possible that Keynes never anticipated something like QE but then it is doubtful he would have anticipated sub-prime loans, credit derivatives and CMO’s either.

            QE is Keynesian in principle. And while I disapprove, as a sound money disciple of Hayek and Friedman, I have to admit that QE worked here.

    2. Real estate speculators are the only people who build housing in SF. Every building was and is built by a real estate speculators! EVERYONE ! Housing activist build nothing and only exist to steal housing from the rightful owners on the deed.

      1. Not one of those buildings gets built without taxpayer-subsidized highways, bridges, ports, sewers, courts, regulation, banks, currency, police, fire departments, public utilities, dams, airports, licensing bureaus, country clerks, recorders, assesssors, DMV, et f&cking al.

        And when there are losses on the loans, the taxpayer is there to bail out the banks.

        If you want to try building in a society without these oppressive communist trappings, I invite you to go build your f%cking houses in Somalia. Enjoy your libertarian nirvana.

        You think you’re Superman, but you’re just a penny-ante Mr Potter.

        1. No, developers pay impact fees to cover the alleged extra infrastructure loads of new housing. In fact, the extortion and extraction of those fees is a major political endeavor.

          Moreover developers also have fees and set-asides to build BMR homes. In fact, developers indirectly build far more affordable housing than the city or the non-profits do.

          Construction in SF is extremely risky because of the long lead times, the obstacles that get placed in the way, the cost of labor, and the various groups that have to be paid off. The risk is compounded by the cyclical nature of RE – by the time you come to market, we could be in a dire recession.

          If you want the government managing your home (how well does public housing work?) then you’re the one who should move – to somewhere like Cuba or Bulgaria.

          1. OK, go ahead and try building without a court system.
            OK, go ahead and try building without a police dept.
            OK, go ahead and try building without a fire dept
            OK, go ahead and try building without a port to receive raw materials, tols, and finished goods from abroad
            OK, go ahead and try building without a county clerk to establish chain of title
            OK, go ahead and try building without government regulation for building codes and worker safety.
            etc etc

            Yes, impact fees recover some immediate infrastructure costs.

            But without taxpayer paid highways, your excavators, cranes, materials, appliances, and workers and their tools DON’T GET TO YOUR F%CKING JOB SITE.

          2. We pay taxes for all those things. Those services are not specific to developers.

            The issue is the incremental cost to developers and that is the risk they take when trying to build a home for you.

          3. Except that most taxes are paid by a relatively small number of wealthy people. While half of all Americans pay little or no tax.

            I don’t despise workers at all. I find them very useful.

          4. Wrong again.

            You’re disingenuously conflating INCOME TAX with all tax. Nice of you to overlook payroll taxes there.

            Worker pay far higher percentages of income for ALL taxes: sales tax, use tax, registration fees, payroll taxes, etc.

            Of course you know this, but choose to spread rightwing propaganda instead.

          5. Wrong, payroll taxes are either not individual taxes (employers pay them) or else are insurance premia and not taxes.

            I did overlook sales taxes, it’s true, but the rich spend more and so pay more of that too.

            While CGT, estate tax, property tax etc. are all paid in much larger amounts by the rich.

            Our tax system is highly progressive, and the few support the many.

          6. John, if you’d ever worked an honest day in your life, you’d know what a W-2 form is.

            Workers pay a vastly higher percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthy do. The majority of taxes paid are paid for by working people.

            Yes, the average amount of tax a rich person pays is higher than a worker, but the percentage paid from total income is far lower (capital gains, etc) and the the total aggregate of taxes paid by workers is more than that paid the wealthy.

          7. 2Beers, the statistic I recall the last time I checked was that the top 2% of earners pays about half of all income taxes.

            The bottom 50% pay little or no income tax.

          8. Oh, and I worked on a W-2 basis for a number of years. Where do you think I got the credit rating to buy my first buildings?

            I still work, but for myself. No W-2 but plenty of 1099’s.

          9. John, you’re cherry-picking INCOME taxes!

            What about ALL taxes?

            How many rich people pay FICA taxes?

            How many people pay social security taxes on income over $100,000 (answer: 0).

            Why aren’t capital gains taxed at the same rate workers pay on their earned income?

            But keep cherry-picking statistics. Facts are your enemy.

          10. FICA isn’t a tax. It’s a payment for an insurance product that will pay out in the case of disability or retirement.

            That’s why FICA contributions are capped, of course.

            CGT is taxed as ordinary income in California, and by the Feds for holding positions of under one year. Even for long-term cap gains, the tax rate is higher for higher earners – Obama made that change for 2013.

          11. Of course people at the bottom pay hardly any income tax: THEY HAVE HARDLY ANY INCOME!

            What about that is hard to understand?

            But they pay a vastly higher percentage of their income in ALL taxes, because of sales taxes, withholding and other employment taxes. use taxes, fees, registration, social security taxes, etc.

            What about that is so hard to understand?

            Why do you have to denigrate poor people and glorify the rich? Maybe deep down you know that you owe the bottom 50% for whatever success you have had? Maybe there is human being inside that sociopath after all!

          12. My view is that everyone should pay something in taxes – otherwise they have no appreciation for the sacrifices that the rest of us make.

            The best taxes are very broadly-based so that the burden does not fall on a few.

          13. Capital gains and marginal rates are a fraction of what they were when we had a productive economy, instead of the destructive financialized extractive economy.we now have.

            Curious how inequality is low in a healthy, stable, and productive economies, and high in unstable boom-and bust- extractive economies, like we have now.

            Wonder why?

          14. “Beers, every nation I have looked at have a lower rate for CGT than for ordinary income.

            The reason is obvious – cap gains involve considerable risk and so a lower rate is needed to encourage that.