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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Bay Guardian’

Anti-Techie backlash: bus blockade tactic

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on December 31, 2013

So I’m walking around Market Street, doing a bit of extra exercise between my workout sessions, when I encounter this sticker on a newspaper kiosk near the corner of Church Street.
GAM_scum1GAM_scum2
Its an old slogan (“Die Yuppie Scum!”) updated for present realities in San Francisco. The techies flooding into the City have become a lightning rod for local frustration, discontent, protest, and worse. In particular, those Apple, Google, and Genentech buses seen cruising the city’s streets have become prime targets. On December 20, four separate incidents involving blockades and/or attacks on tech buses occurred in Oakland and San Francisco, according to the SF Chronicle. People peacefully surrounded and briefly detained buses at MacArthur BART Station in Oakland and the 24th Street and Mission BART Station in San Francisco. At 7th and Adeline streets near the West Oakland BART Station, violence greeted another bus, rocks and bottles were thrown, and window was shattered and tires were slashed.
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Video can be found here. These protests, nonviolent and violent, follow a bus blockade on December 9 in the Mission, covered here. The folks staging this protest called themselves the San Francisco Displacement and Neighborhood Impact Agency, and sighted the following reasons for their protest:

[W]e’re stopping the injustice in the city’s two-tier system where the public pays and the private corporations gain.

Rents and evictions are on the rise. Tech-fueled real estate speculation is the culprit. We say: Enough is Enough! The local government, especially Mayor Lee, has given tech the keys to shape the city to their fancy without the public having any say in it. We say, lets take them back!

Tech Industry private shuttles use over 200 SF MUNI stops approximately 7,100 times in total each day (M-F) without permission or contributing funds to support this public infrastructure. No vehicles other than MUNI are allowed to use these stops. If the tech industry was fined for each illegal use for the past 2 years, they would owe an estimated $1 billion to the city.

We demand they PAY UP or GET OUT!
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Those tech workers temporarily trapped on the buses in question were furious about being “held hostage” by the protestors blockading the means of transportation to their jobs. These techies have demonstrated a profound myopia over their own part in gentrifying San Francisco and in engendering the hostility among the locals to their intrusion. All the while tech workers are safely ensconced in their buses with tinted windows, air conditioning and wifi without thought one about giving back to the neighborhoods and the city they’re blithely destroying.

Business leaders narrowly argue that the backlash against the tech buses makes no sense, because the buses take solo drivers in individual cars off the roads. These business interests deliberately ignore the wider damage done to San Francisco by the tech industries relentless encroachments. And they conveniently look the other way as Mayor Ed Lee and other corporate complicit local politicians provide $14.2 million annually in tax breaks to stimulate growth in tech, biotech, and cleantech, most prominently to keep Twitter in San Francisco and to stimulate economic growth around its mid-Market Street headquarters.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian has provided a much needed critical counterbalance to the Chronicle’s pro-business cheerleading that simultaneously bemoans all the fuss being made over tech workers and the tech industry. Along with the YouTube of the December 20 bus protests below, SFBG continues to cover the bus blockages and other anti-techie protests.

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Posted in capitalism, evictions, gentrification, Google buses, life, Oakland, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, tech industry, techies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Millions of Dead Hipsters!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 8, 2013

Millions of Dead Hipsters!

Millions of Dead Hipsters!


Its official. According to Forbes, the Mission in San Francisco is the second best hipster neighborhood in the country. Huffington Post concurs.
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But there’s trouble in the burgeoning hipster paradise of the Mission. San Francisco columnist Carl Nolte writes with a touch of sadness that tensions are mounting between the Latino population already in the neighborhood and the invading hipsters, who bring with them artisanal coffee shops, pricy restaurants, and higher rents. There has already been vandalism and outright protest against the influx of hipsters. Oh my, can’t we all just get along?
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Gabriela Sierra Alonso writes, in an article in El Tecolote, that tensions in the Mission are high and about to reach the boiling point over “pent up frustrations about gentrification—for longtime Mission residents and newcomers alike.” The changing demographics of the Mission have claimed another victim, the city’s dwindling black population. Driven out of the Fillmore by urban renewal (called “negro removal” by the black community) in the 1950s and 60s, Jimmy Falls has started an occasional series in New American Media called “San Francisco’s Black Community — Where Did We Go?” where he writes “During that time, I would sometimes come back to my neighborhood to hang out with old friends, and I began to notice the same thing happening to my new neighborhood in the Mission — there seemed to be less and less black people.”
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There is something folks can do. Fight Back! Gentrification by more than just hipsters is now on the agenda for the Mission, according to the SF Chronicle and the SF Bay Guardian. In response, there are growing protests to the Mission’s corporate gentrification, as exemplified by the eviction of local families and small businesses. But, more can be done.
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BuzzFeed FWD recently posted “When San Francisco Rebelled Against The Techies” offering a brief history of the “city’s anti-tech backlash.” Inspirational posters from previous uprisings against yuppie/hipster invasions can be viewed there, as well as here. Take heart, a solution to the hipster infestation and corporate gentrification of the Mission may be just a cocktail away. A Molotov cocktail…
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Posted in El Tecolote, gentrification, hipsters, life, Millions of Dead Hipsters!, New American Media, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, The Mission | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

San Francisco or Manhattan? The future of San Francisco.

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 7, 2013

“The developers always win in the end.”

Taneyhill’s Rule

The voters of San Francisco soundly defeated Propositions B and C on November 5, 2013, thereby preventing the construction of the 8 Washington condominium development on the waterfront. At least temporarily. I give this caveat because of the above famous rule, propounded by an equally famous pundit. The proposed 8 Washington development called for the construction of 134 luxury condos, selling for up to 5 million a condo, surrounded by parkland with nominal public access. I use the term nominal because, depending on who one referenced, the parkland around 8 Washington was to be “as good as” public space, or a fiefdom owned, controlled and policed by the condo development. The 8 Washington site can be found here, but the link probably won’t be up for long given the ignominious defeat of this project. This is what 8 Washington would have looked like, according to models, plans and artist renditions:
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8 Washinton 2013
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The plan to develop 8 Washington immediately provoked local opposition by various individuals, groups and segments of the population. The whole proposal was quickly dubbed “The Wall,” and resistance quickly consolidated into an organized movement (No Wall on the Waterfront). I will not pretend to objectivity regarding 8 Washington, which I also called The Wall. I was against it. There’s plenty of information out there on the web to be had backing up my side. Here’s a list of links you can explore:

THE ALT-MEDIA OPPOSITION

The San Francisco Bay Guardian was one of the leading opposition voices against 8 Washington. This link details the blow-by-blow efforts by the developer to push 8 Washington through the SF Planning Commission, and then through the SF Board of Supervisors, as well as the fight against it, through scores of Bay Guardian articles and editorials. And this link hints at the dirty tricks the developer used to try and stop the efforts to put Proposition C on the ballot.

There were other opposition voices as well. The Bay Guardian’s sister publication, the San Francisco Examiner editorialized against 8 Washington here. And an archive of SF Examiner articles and editorials on 8 Washington can be found here.

THE BLOG MEDIA OPPOSITION

BeyondChron‘s archives on 8 Washington can be found here. Fog City Journal‘s archives are available by typing “8 Washington” into their search engine. The SFist had a few articles here, here and here. And Tim Redmond’s San Francisco blog had these archives.

CORPORATE MEDIA SUPPORTERS

The San Francisco Chronicle (via SFGate) offered this article and this editorial about the defeat of 8 Washington, after its incessant, year-long boosterism for the project. And the Los Angeles Times covered the defeat of 8 Washington with this article and this news story.

SOUR GRAPES

Finally, we come to C.W. Nevius, the SF Chronicle’s own “conservative suburban twit” …er… columnist. Here‘s where Nevius vents his outrage over the scare tactics used by the opponents of 8 Washington, and here‘s where Nevius pretends no longer to care that his beloved 8 Washington project failed so miserably on election day.

MANHATTANIZATION

The real issue, after the crash-and-burn of the 8 Washington project and its supporters, is the ongoing efforts to Manhattanize the city of San Francisco. Here are some:

Classic San Francisco Skylines
San Francisco Skyline from the Bridgeskyline
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Now, here are some models and artist renditions of proposed San Francisco developments, from a website called SkyScraperCity, a site full of developer porn with a thread devoted to San Francisco. These skyscraper porn fantasies aren’t even everything that developers have planned for San Francisco. Much the same information (from a different angle, in greater depth, with neighborhood and human implications) can be found in the November 2013 issue of San Francisco magazine (digital edition)

Projects Under Construction

Transbay Center & Tower

Transbay Center & Tower

Crescent Heights Apartment Tower (10th & Market Sts.)

Crescent Heights Apartment Tower (10th & Market Sts.)

SFPUC Headquarters - 525 Golden Gate Ave.

SFPUC Headquarters – 525 Golden Gate Ave.

One Rincon Hill (Tower Two)

One Rincon Hill (Tower Two)

Trinity Place, Phase 2 (Corner Mission & 8th St)

Trinity Place, Phase 2 (Corner Mission & 8th St)

55 Ninth St.

55 Ninth St.

333 Harrison St.

333 Harrison St.

The Madrone (Condominium) - Mission Bay

The Madrone (Condominium) – Mission Bay


Approved Projects
535 Mission St.

535 Mission St.

350 Mission St.

350 Mission St.

350 Bush St./500 Pine St.

350 Bush St./500 Pine St.

45 Lansing St.

45 Lansing St.

375 - 399 Fremont St. (aka "The Californian")

375 – 399 Fremont St. (aka “The Californian”)

1036 Mission St.

1036 Mission St.


Projects Proposed and Pending Approval
181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

201 Folsom St.

201 Folsom St.

222 2nd St.

222 2nd St.

Mission Rock Project (Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48)

Mission Rock Project (Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48)

Treasure Island Redevelopment/Towers

Treasure Island Redevelopment/Towers

OOOPS!

In a case of premature ejaculation, the SkyScraperCity site listed the 8 Washington project as approved. Perhaps its time to use the defeat of 8 Washington to build a broader resistance to the further gentrification and Manhattanization of San Francisco. Otherwise, San Francisco’s skyline might look like this, in the near future.

FUTURE SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE

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Posted in 8 Washington, BeyondChron, C.W. Nevius, Fog City Journal, life, Los Angeles Times, Manhattanization, Manhattanization of San Francisco, No Wall on the Waterfront, Proposition B, Proposition C, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco magazine, San Francisco skyline, SFist, The Wall, Tim Redmond, Tim's San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The monopoly within a monopoly

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 31, 2013

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Actually, the title should read “the monopoly within a monopoly within a larger monopoly.” The larger monopoly in question is the State of California, which is politically and culturally liberal, for the most part. The state’s demographic trends, if anything, will increase California’s leftist tilt for the near future. Then there’s the City of San Francisco, a more progressive enclave within the liberal State of California. Even with a moderate Board of Supervisors lead by moderate mayor Ed Lee (who succeeded the moderate Gavin Newsom, who instituted gay marriage), there is a substantial, occasionally obstreperous progressive faction within the Board of Supervisors (Allan Peskin, former Supes Chris Daley and Ross Mirkarimi). Finally, within this progressive enclave of the City of San Francisco is the still more progressive alternative media monopoly of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Bay Area Reporter.

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Put together by Todd Vogt, owner of the San Francisco Newspaper Company, which is part of the much larger 75-title newspaper, Canadian-based Horizon Publications, of which Vogt is the CEO, this local media monopoly is unabashedly progressive. Monopolies frequently are problematic however, even when they are seemingly benign and public serving. Public utility monopolies (like the long ago broken up Bell Telephone System/AT&T, or the current northern Californian PG&E monopolies) are the most egregious examples of entities that are good in concept, not so good in practice. And let’s not get started on private capitalist monopolies. In the current socio-political environment, I prefer government regulation to break up monopolies in order to limit excessive profit taking and foster much needed competition or, barring that, to keep the monopolies honest.*

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The Bay Area is no stranger to progressive bickering and in-fighting, if not sectarian conflict and internecine warfare. Witness the never-ending battle surrounding Pacifica’s Berkeley based radio station KPFA. Vogt’s three alt-newspaper monopoly is already showing signs of intra-progressive turmoil. Long time Bay Guardian editor Tim Redmond was ousted, fired, or allowed to resign, depending on who is telling the story. The reasons can be found here, here, here, here and here. Disputes over editorial policy and political endorsements, Redmond’s refusal to cut half of the Guardian’s news staff, and failure to agree on how to increase advertising revenues were some of the key issues. The Guardian attempted to practice a half-hearted transparency by reporting Tim Redmond’s departure in its own pages. Tim provided an extremely brief response on his blog, denying that had resigned, and leaving the reporting to other media. The Bay Guardian had its issues and problems, to be sure, but subsuming this alternative newspaper into Vogt’s alt-monopoly is not the solution. It’s not good news for progressive journalism in the Bay Area.

Beatles

*In his “Introduction to the American Edition” of The Star Fraction (2001), Ken MacLeod wrote:  “Unfortunately, there’s no reason why the Economic Calculation Argument [of von Mises] and the [Marxist] Materialist Conception of History couldn’t both be true. What if capitalism is unstable, and socialism is impossible?” Well, I tend to side with Marx’s argument that capitalism inevitably develops toward crisis driven monopoly, and that the libertarian theory of self-regulating laissez-faire market capitalism is utter bullshit. If the State disappeared today, leaving an unregulated capitalism to fend for itself, capitalism would promptly buy and install its own State tomorrow to protect capitalism’s interests and keep the “free market” reasonably well functioning. Oh, that’s right, that’s what American capitalism has already done. As for State Socialism, the old-style Communism of the Soviet bloc and Red China, that was pretty much a bloody disaster. That leaves decentralized, community owned, worker run libertarian socialism of one or another stripe as the only real, viable alternative…

Posted in California, capitalist monopolies, libertarian socialism, life, Marx, media monopolies, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, state socialism, Tim Redmond | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »