How Tech Became the Enemy

Portesters hold a sign in front of Apple bus at event on December 20. A bit more of a collaborative approach than in Oakland.

Interesting piece in the SF Chronicle today on the evolution of tech as the focus of protesters. Here’s a snippet:

Today’s activists want policy changes: eviction moratoriums, Ellis Act reform and increased relocation payments. Tech companies can’t control any of those things – though a string of recent donations and calls for greater civic mindfulness have tried to quell the outrage.

Daly said that in both booms, housing activists understood that the city’s real estate policy and industry were more the problem than tech. But with tech’s greater visibility, activists were wise to harness the zeitgeist.

“When we protest in front of Twitter, it’s more effective than in front of Vanguard Properties,” he said.

Those protests, however, have left tech workers feeling demonized. Protesters say they blame corporations, but individuals take the heat at community meetings and in “die techie scum” graffiti.

“In a war, why do you keep killing the infantry?” Daly said. “They happen to be the ones on the battle lines. Doesn’t mean the generals aren’t more responsible.”

Losing battle for workers

The infantry is also numerous. Thirty percent of new jobs in San Francisco since 2010 are in tech, according to city data. Many of these jobs are well-paying; the average Silicon Valley tech worker earned $108,603 last year, according to That gives them a competitive edge looking for housing in the Mission – where entrenched housing activists are most likely to protest their arrival. READ MORE

Seems to me it was  a complete abdication of duty by city officials. It doesn’t take a genius, for example,  to figure out that the routes used by the tech buses are ill-suited to certain streets, but it takes government officials to change those routes.  And transportation experts already had a sense of what should be done. Instead of changing them, the city sat back,  the tension built and  the workers standing outside waiting for their buses became easy targets.

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission

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  1. ThatGuy

    You know what blocks the street more than these private buses? MUNI. Delivery trucks. Idiot drivers. Taxi cabs.

    • Wrong, what really blocks the street are parents with kids, old people, the homeless and other street actors, bicyclists, and drunk techies. Get rid of all this and you will have what you want, a perfect suburb.

  2. John

    I think this piece is an attempt to resurrect the “war on tech” because it was fizzling out. Nobody has blocked a Google bus for over 2 months and the press has moved on.

    Except for SF Chronicle which of course wants to keep the focus on our city at any cost, and so is seen here seeking to re-awaken the stillborn “movement”.

    I recall the same thing with the far bigger but ill-fated Occupy thing. It really only lasted for a few weeks, but it was a good story so the newspapers tried to give it CPR even as it was in its death throes. Not because the press gave a crap about Occupy’s aims, whatever they were, but because they always like a good story.

    The whole idea of stereotyping people based on their jobs and then hating on them was misguided. It was always going to fizzle out. But as we know, nothing sells papers like the those two evil step-sisters: greed and envy.

    And ML is along for the ride, evidently.

    • two beers

      “Nobody has blocked a Google bus for over 2 months”

      Huzzah!, The class war is over! We (the aristocracy) have won! No more complaints about evictions caused by gentrification, because the serfs have acquiesced! Small plates all around!

      • John

        In a way, yes. It was always a half-assed thing with just a few dozen of the usual suspects, at best.

        The much bigger Occupy fizzled out in a few weeks, so it’s no shock this vaporized even quicker.

    • C. Russo

      Jesus, do you miss the point of everything? Occupy was driven off the streets by a brutal, violent, nationally coordinated police repression.

      But those protests brought class consciousness back into parlance, i.e., we now refer to the tech titans as One Percenters.

      • John

        Wrong, Russo. Occupy existed in dozens of cities and only in a handful did the police move them on.

        So Occupy was doomed regardless. Everyone left when the weather turned bad.

        So all you got out of it was a dumb phrase? And Occupy wasn’t even about tech but about banking.

        Another reason to dismiss it. The focus was vague and diffused.

  3. Mark

    It’s remarkable how similar today’s anti-tech mood and rhetoric is to what we experienced in the last boom. I just hope we build a lot more housing before the inevitable bust.

    • John

      One of the enduring myths of this rabble is that every period of economic growth and prosperity is nothing but a “bubble” which is destined to pop.

      But if you actually look at charts of different metrics of economic growth, such as GDP, stock markets, profits and so on, you do not see a sine wave oscillating around a straight horizontal line at all. What you see is an undulating upward-curving line.

      IOW, we do see real growth over time. That upward trend simply has a few bumps and dips along the way. But the secular trend remains up.

      That is why the stock market is ten times higher than it was 25 years ago, as are home prices. Despite all the bubbles and crashes.

      The misery merchants on the left want to tell you the lie that all prosperity and success is cyclical and that we are doomed. But America has been growing for centuries and will continue to.

      Don’t listen to the nattering nabobs of negativity.

      • economist

        Rabble, huh? You don’t have much respect for people, do you?

        Nor much of a grasp of economic concepts if you cite nominal stock market indexes and nominal GDP as evidence of positive economic developments for ordinary people. What about real median income? Labor force participation rates? Actual unemployment figures like U-6 (not the U-3 fiction sold by the BLS)? Number of people requiring food stamps? Percentage of people living in poverty in the US? Worldwide?

        Your claim that housing prices are 10 times higher than 25 years ago is laughable. Where? In specific affluent or gentrifying neighborhoods?

        Here is the actual inflation adjusted nationwide median housing price data interpolated from the linked website:

        1989: approx $180,000
        2013: approx $180,000

        Let’s deal with meaningful real (not nominal) statistics rather than biased name calling, like “rabble”, “misery merchants”, or “nabobs” (sic).

        • John

          This is a SF website so we’d be talking about SF home prices. And in fact ML featured a home a couple of weeks ago that just sold for 3.5 million that sold in 1998 for 340K. And that’s only 15 years ago.

          So tenfold RE inflation in 25 years is valid in any place where you’d actually want to live, and certainly here.

          As for your other stats, they do not measure wealth or growth so they don’t interest me nor refute my point.

          Oh, and “nabobs” was spelled correctly so lose the snide “(sic)” suffix

          • economist

            Median family net worth (1989)–$79,600.
            Median family net worth (2010)–$77,300


            Anyone can claim anything based on fantastic wishful thinking and by dismissing real world evidence. Kind of like trying to confim one’s fantasy of utility and influence by obsessively writing internet comments.

          • John

            Again, that data is irrelevant to the points I made.

            You appear to want to change the subject from the amount of wealth to the allocation and distribution of that wealth, and that isn’t a topic I regard as significant to growth figures.

            The DJIA was around 2,500 in 1989 and is now over 16,000 – over six times as high. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq have done even better.

        • mission resident

          Looking at wealth is the wrong way to look at things. How many people have a roof over their head, food in their bellies, cable tv, indoor plumbing, heat, air conditioning, cell phones??? Many people today are by U.S. standards “living in poverty” yet, they have all of the things I mentioned. Capitalism is like the tide, it raises all boats. Yes, there may be a larger gap between the rich and the poor, but is the poor person today better off now or 50 years ago? That’s all that should matter.

          • John

            That’s an entirely a different matter. I’m talking about the total household wealth in the US, which is much higher than it has ever been.

            How exactly that gets distributed is more a matter of how many people succeed or fail, and that depends on the distribution of skills, ability, disposition to work hard and take risks etc.

          • economist

            By the looks of things on the streets of this and every American city, more and more people don’t have a roof over their heads.

            The long lines at free food sharings and the sight of people fishing their meals from garbage cans show the increase in hunger in America.

            You might not like my statistics, but trends matter and they aren’t looking good except for the richest among us.

            500 years of capitalism, and the economic masters want to take away our pensions and social security and privatize every human need they can. Not much of a rising tide.

          • John

            One more time, “economist”, you’re obsessing about the distribution of wealth. I don’t care about that and was commenting only on the massive growth of wealth.

            Whether any individual has the smarts to get some of that for himself or not is an entirely different subject.

          • economist

            Of course you don’t. You are a completely indoctrinated person who takes credit for things he didn’t do and blames people for things beyond their control.

            Income inequality is growing unbelievably rapidly, and you would have us believe that is because the rich are getting much smarter while everybody else is getting dumber.

            I’m just sharing statistics and data. You are obsessively parroting the pathology disguised as punditry that the mouthpieces of the ruling elites try jamming down our throats.

            Only untrained or uncritical people would equate nominal stock market indexes and nominal total (not per capita) GDP with wealth. Thanks for playing. Why don’t you stick with interpreting the law? You appear equally authoritative and ill-equipped at that as well.

          • John

            “Economist”, you are like a stopped clock.

            Household wealth is at an all-time high. How that divides up is contingent on many factors and differentials, and is irrelevant to the point being made.

            Opportunity is clearly there. That doesn’t mean all will take the opportunity.

          • nutrisystem

            The average household wealth of Mark Zuckerberg and 5,000 garbage-can fed hobos is 1 million dollars per capita.

            Somebody from Mars might hear this $1M per capita figure and think things were pretty good on Earth.

            People like “John” can’t look past their own noses to see that 3/4 of the people in this country face declining prospects, despite productivity gains and despite working more hours than ever – because the billionaire class can never have enough.

            The reason for John’s myopia is simple: he needs to maintain the consistency of his Rush Limbaugh fantasy world in which his intelligence and hard work have got him rich. In fact, he just got lucky: buying SF real estate before it hyper-inflated.

          • John

            In a way, you are correct. The alleged “inequality” is little more than the fact that a few people are very successful.

            And that is a good thing.

          • economist

            Inequality isn’t “alleged”, it exists and continues to grow. And to think, you have the nerve to refer to other people as “garbage.”

            Elitism and simple-mindedness lead to fascism. You are the perfect example.

          • John

            Inequality is the byproduct of success. If we had no billionaires, then we would have less inequality, but we would also have less wealth, and that is worse for everyone.

            Envy is not a rational basis for public policy, and we have disparate outcomes because there are disparate performances and abilities.

            Household wealth is now over 80 trillion in the US. That is real wealth and the opportunity to share in it is there. You just have to be assed enough to make an effort to get some of it yourself.

            And right now SF is the best place in the nation to do exactly that.

  4. nutrisystem

    How Tech became the enemy?

    Google = J Edgar Hoover times 5 billion.

    Rents now = rents 20 years ago times 5.

    Deaths from device-distracted driving = 10,000 per year.

    Growth of prosperity outside the Tech bubble = zero.

    …stuff like that.

    • John

      So the fact that a fairly new industry is successful is to blame for everything that is wrong with your own life?

      That’s all ya got?

      • nutrisystem

        It’s not about me.

        History is happening. The bad kind.

        Candy-Coated Surveillance Tech is like tobacco: a fiesta of big money, big egos and big fun in the early period. But later it turns out to be an addictive carcinogen, pedaled by greedy sociopaths.

  5. pete

    Erin is a trust fund transplant from the east coast. She thinks she can swoop in with her megaphone and be the savior for the poor and downtrodden. Well, sweety, you’re a dime a dozen out here. What are you going to do when Mommy and Daddy stop paying your rent?

    • John

      It’s a recurring theme. Didn’t Daly and Gullicksen tread the same path?

      It’s as if they know that they could not survive anywhere else. Classic Peter Pan syndrome.

    • Are you saying that it is undignified and worthless to stand up for the less fortunate?

      Or are you saying that only the poor and downtrodden can stand up for themselves? Hmm, but they likely lack the free time, resources, and domain knowledge. So what you are really saying is that the poor and downtrodden just need to accept their fate.

      Sounds like you’re envious. At least her parents did something right: she’s not racing around town scaring citizens in a luxury car with vanity plates. Or marketing the next ad driven, private data collecting app with the aim of attaining the rank of mogul.

      • Or skilllessly making laughably easy money in an overheated real estate market and not giving a damn about community.

      • John

        Most activists are in it for themselves.

        How many activists do you know who have taken in a homeless person?

        Most don;t even give to charity or volunteer their time.

        No, instead they get up on a soapbox and tell others what they should do or not do.

        And achieve nothing. The ebst they aspire to is a job with a union, non-profit or the city.

        • nutrisystem

          But John, you love the famous activist Rush Limpbaugh…. and he doesn’t let hobos use his 37 bathrooms.

          Do you think he’s a BETTER kind of activist because his soapbox is a chain of corporate-owned radio stations, even though he’s a fat, lying drug addict ?

          • John

            But Rush doesn’t claim to care about the poor. so he’s not a hypocrite.

            The poverty activists and pimps do claim to care, but don’t actually do anything about it. Hypocrites.

          • two beers

            You have a twisted obsession with purity.

            A week or two ago, you said you missed the old Mission, while gloating about the ‘serious scratch’ you made here, implying you well understand how what enriched you changed the Mish. You tu quoque’d yourself, dumbass.

            You’re a fucking hypocrite!

            Tu quoquesucker!

          • John

            It’s entirely reasonable to miss some things about the Old Mission but still see the value and benefits of the New Mission.

            Maybe you need to develop a greater range of perception and understanding?

      • pete

        Envious? No, I would not want my parents to support me as an adult. That only feeds into the entitlement attitude that these misguided activists have. Why should Erin actually get a job when her Mommy and Daddy, and eventually the city, support her?

        • John

          I agree, Pete. The irony is that these activists and their supporters claim to hate inherited wealth, privilege, success and all that. And yet many of them come from that background and moreover that is what enables them to be so pure and idealistic.

          I see it as a form of self-hatred. And particularly when they preciously proselyte for non-whites while being lily-white themselves. Catharsis for their guilt and shame, perhaps?

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