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From $4 toast to $1 billion plus Warriors arena

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 9, 2013

The price of living in San Francisco has always been high. But lately, the cost has been escalating rapidly, and guess who’s getting stuck with the bill?
Jolie O’Dell wrote a humorous op-ed piece for Venture Beat based on having a $6 coffee and toast breakfast at The Mill in San Francisco. The toast alone was $4! She argues that the tech industry is ruining San Francisco, and offers the following cycle for how the tech community is fucking up the City:

Here’s the cycle:

1) Someone creates a business for consumers with too much money and pretensions of superior taste. It might be a physical good, like toast; it might be a service, like black-car, chauffeured rides.
2) Tech folks, being one of the largest demographics in the city with ample disposable income, patronize, promote, and even invest in said business. (See: Blue Bottle coffee.)
3) Aforementioned business prospers and grows its profile.
4) People both within and outside the tech community are inspired to create more bourgie businesses that cater to the bored and overprivileged, peppering their descriptions with buzzwords like “organic” and “fair trade” and “artisanal,” the most meaningless of them all. Rarely are these goods and services truly accessible and affordable.
5) San Francisco becomes saturated with overpriced crap that is comparable in quality to less overpriced crap.
6) Middle class and working class families and individuals in the community find themselves priced out of goods and services. Small businesses in those sectors languish.

Jolie makes an excellent point, one that Eddie Kurtz of Courage Campaign translated into a housing petition to demand that Mayor Ed Lee stop catering to the 1% at the expense of the rest of San Francisco: “Sign on and tell Mayor Lee: San Francisco became one of the greatest cities in the world because it valued the working class. Unless you change course, our vibrant, diverse city will become a memory. Mayor Lee please stop catering to the 1% and start fighting for an affordable San Francisco.
Not that the petition will do much good. Mayor Ed Lee has made securing and building the Warriors arena for San Francisco the primary task of his administration. But the proposal for the Warriors arena is not only evolving, it’s costs are piling up. The cost for rehabilitating the aging piers upon which the arena will sit is estimated to be $170 million. And the cost for building the actual arena will likely top $1 billion. Sports stadiums always require subsidies from the taxpayers in order to be built and operated. They rarely make money. They are not a good deal, all the way around, for the city in question or the taxpayers of that city. C.W. Nevius, who was a stooge for the 8 Washington developer, is now toadie and apologist for the promoters of the Warriors arena proposal. While the Warriors are playing hardball, opposition is beginning to mount against the arena. You can check out an opposition Facebook page here, and a petition against the arena can be found here. The arguments accompanying the anti-arena petition are as follows:


The Warriors Project should not be built on Pier 30-32 because Pier 30-32 is a very unique piece of property. Pier 30-32 belongs to the state land trust. Pier 30-32 should therefore serve all Californians as public access to the SF Bay. The proposed Project will strip this part of waterfront of its uniqueness.


The Embarcadero cannot support any more traffic. The Embarcadero is already congested due to Giants games, The Ferry Building Farmers’ Market, the cruise ship terminal, the Exploratorium and Pier 38 (once open for business). The Embarcadero is the only access to all of those waterfront locations, and it has reached its capacity for traffic.


The Warriors Project will greatly obstruct both San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge views. The Warriors Project does not need water access. Other acceptable sites to build this project are available.


Noise is also a form of unacceptable pollution, and we are already enduring noise coming from loud fans, fireworks, ground and air traffic during Giants games, concerts and other events. Another arena in such close proximity would most likely double the already unacceptable noise pollution.

Given the amounts of unacceptable levels of plastic and garbage that end up in the SF Bay after every Giants game, it is clear that the adverse environmental impact on our Bay would only increase.

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