Salon Founder Laments the New San Francisco
RUSH: Over the weekend I came across a piece -- a very, very long piece; I think it was in San Francisco magazine -- by a guy by the name of David Talbot who founded Salon.com. Now, this guy is unhappy. He's upset that all of the new wealth that the recent tech.... Well, we can't call it a "bubble," not yet. All the high-tech taking over of San Francisco is creating a bunch of brand-new, very young rich people who drive nice cars and don't give enough money to charity.
He's very upset about it. San Francisco's culture is changing, and he doesn't like it. I cut and pasted segments of this piece for the fun of it. If it ever comes up, I'm gonna share some of it with you, and I think I will just since Carlos was from San Francisco. 'Cause I've always loved the city. I know if I ever got spotted there now, I'd be run out of town -- if I got out alive, or without being put in jail -- but I've loved it. I've always thought it was one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
I was just out there in May for one quick overnight, but I didn't tell anybody in advance so I was able to get in and out of town. I played in a golf tournament at Olympic, and spent the night in the city. But I made sure I arrived at midnight so I wouldn't be seen. I ran into Johnny Miller in the lobby of the hotel, who is a great guy, and everybody in the hotel was great. It was the Ritz. They were great. It just reminded me how much I liked the city. But I want you to listen this paragraph, this lament by Dave Talbot, founder of Salon.
"I'm sitting at a table outside the new Precita Park cafe in Bernal Heights, a gourmet sandwich shop that's one sign of the changing times. When I moved to this neighborhood in 1993, just before the first dot-com boom, I avoided taking my two toddlers to the playground across the street from the cafe, because local gangs sometimes stashed their guns in the sand. And yet, despite gunfire from the old Army Street projects that often shattered the neighborhood's sleep, Bernal Heights in those years was a glorious urban mix of deeply rooted blue-collar families, underground artists, radical activists, and lesbian settlers.
"The neighborhood had a funky character as well as a history. ... But at some point ..." He's longing for the old days where the gangs were playing shoot 'em up across the street and couldn't take his kids there. Because it used to be a great place where the "lesbian settlers" came and the "underground artists" and the "radical activists" and the "deeply rooted blue-collar families." It was "a glorious urban mix," but you didn't dare go outside. He's longing for those days.
"But at some point the new tech boom began to make its presence felt in Bernal Heights, whose sunny hills are close to not only SoMa [South of Market] startups but also the Highway 101 shuttle line to Silicon Valley. Nowadays, you see Lexus SUVs parked in the driveways on Precita Avenue. Young masters of the universe in Ivy League sweatshirts buy yogurt and organic peaches at the corner stores where Cuervo flasks and cans of Colt 45 were once the most popular items."
He's longing for those days.
Yuppie types and their Lexises and Beamers drinking wine are just not as cool as the shoot-'em-ups with their Cuervo flasks and the cans of Colt 45. I just... I found this amusing. "'We cleaned up this neighborhood -- stopped the violence in the projects -- but now we can't afford to live here anymore,' says Buck Bagot who has been a Bernal Heights community organizer and housing activist since 1976. 'When I moved here, every house on my block had a different ethnicity.
"There were Latinos, blacks, American Indians, Samoans, Filipinos. They had good union jobs, and they could raise their families here. Now they're all gone.' These days Bagot fights to block home foreclosures as the cofounder of Occupy Bernal, engaged in a battle to preserve the neighborhood's diverse character that he admits often feels futile." Mr. Talbot, there are homes available in Detroit, Chicago and New York that have all of that stuff you miss. You want cans of Colt 45? I'll send you some pictures.
You want Cuervo flasks? You want gangs hiding guns in the sand across the street and playing shoot 'em up? I'll seen send you the body counts. I just... I don't know. It just amuses me. If you read the whole thing (it's very long), he's upset with all the success. All of the white, dot-com, 23-year-old millionaires just bug the heck of the guy. It's totally changing the culture of San Francisco. These people don't give to charity. They don't leave their buildings for lunch.
This boom is not leading to neighborhood restaurants getting wealthy because, like, the Yahoo people feed their people in the building. They don't leave, and all these companies have these great restaurants. They don't want their employees leaving. They want 'em staying right there. (interruption) No, it's not that. It's not that they're afraid of anything. It's that they don't want 'em leaving 'cause they want 'em there working. They don't want 'em leaving and running around with a Cuervo flask or an empty can of Colt 45.
No, it's just more efficient.
If you got 1100 people working for you, it's more efficient to have a cafeteria or restaurant or whatever rather than flood the neighborhood. Because people might not get back in time, or might not come back at all depending on the neighborhood. The guy's upset at wealth. He's upset there's too much wealth creation among the young, and they're not charitable, and there's no concern for the things that make the city great: "ethnic diversity" and "lesbian settlers." There's no Dykes on Bikes enclave in the neighborhood anymore.
It's just not the same as it is used to be.
It made me think it could be safe for me to go back when I read it.
Monday, October 1, 2012
In a way the Salon founder has got a point...in a way not...
Posted by Barbara Peterson at 3:53 PM