This is an article a reader described as being from the "screw them all" category, and I am inclined to agree. There are many funny bits in the piece, but I particularly liked the San Francisco lefties arguing that these new Google millionaires should act more like the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. LOL for sure.
Incredibly, no one asks the obvious question -- why is home supply in San Francisco treated as zero sum, such that a Google millionaire moving in by necessity kicks some poor people out. The reason is that no place in the country does more than San Francisco and the Bay Area to make it impossible to build new housing. San Francisco has some unique geographic constraints but you don't hear people complaining about this in Houston (which is in fact a much larger city). In fact, I am trying to imagine Houston complaining about too many rich people moving in. I just can't seem to focus that image in my head.
Actually, the article does very briefly consider the supply side of the equation, but of course no one mentions government development and zoning restrictions -- its the fault of capitalist speculators! My reader highlights this paragraph:
Though he doesn’t much care for the start-up douchebags, Redmond blames not individual tech workers for the current crisis, but property speculators and the lawmakers who have let them take advantage of their precious commodity: space. “If we had a major earthquake in San Francisco, the water mains all broke, and some guy showed up with a water truck and started selling water for $10 a gallon, people would be pissed,” he says. “That guy would be ridden out of town; he’d be attacked with sticks and pitchforks. But that’s what the real estate people are doing right now – and they’re getting away with it.”
Memo to speculators: If I have lost all access to water and am dying of thirst, you are welcome to come to my house and sell water to me for $100 a gallon. I promise no pitchforks at my house.
PS- One thing I did not know is that tech companies seem to be running large private bus systems
The Google buses, which often stop in spaces supposedly reserved for public transport, are a particular point of contention. This growing fleet of unmarked luxury coaches carries some 14,000 people on their 35-mile trip from the city to Silicon Valley and back. Since the search giant introduced the buses a decade ago, Facebook, Apple, eBay and almost 40 other companies have followed suit. Each new route quickly becomes a corridor of hip clothing stores and restaurants.
This is an interesting exercise in privatization. For riders, it certainly would be nice to have routes custom designed to match your needs (ie exactly from your origin to your destination without changing trains or busses), something that is often an issue with public transport networks. Als0- and this is going to sound awful but it is from many public surveys and not my own point of view - these private bus networks get around the social mixing issue that turns a lot of middle class riders off on bus systems.
This is obviously expensive but I understand why some companies do it. As someone wrote a while back, no one in their right mind would put Silicon Valley in California today if it were not already there. It is absurdly expensive to do business in CA and it is expensive to live there as an employee. However, tech companies have found that a certain good called "access to San Francisco" is quite valuable to the types of young smart employees they want to hire and can overcome these negatives. So the bus system is a way for companies to better provide this good. The irony of the article is that as so many tech companies are selling this good (ie access to San Francisco) they may be changing the character of San Francisco in a way that makes the good less valuable over time.