AdviceSan Francisco

How to Work in Tech and Still be a “Good San Franciscan”

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I saw this image on my friend Tuffy’s Facebook page. He had taken it somewhere in the Mission and decided to share it. I thought “well this is gonna stir some shit” and then posted it on the Broke-Ass Stuart FB page. I had no idea just how much shit it would stir:

techie-hatred-san-franciscoThe debate on my FB page totally exploded. At the time I’m writing this, less than 24 hours after I posted it it’s been liked 1.1k times, commented on 270 times and shared 434 times, making it by far the most engaging thing I’ve ever posted on FB. And at the moment the debate rages on.

There has been no shortage of coverage about the way that tech is drastically changing San Francisco, by affecting the housing market and the city’s general culture. Kim-Mai Cutler’s TechCrunch piece did a wonderful job of exploring the myriad things that brought SF to this housing crisis and how it has less to do with tech than we all think. And while I do agree that the culture of the tech community seems to be one that is tone deaf to the role it has played in San Francisco’s gentrification, the tech workers aren’t necessarily to blame for the city’s change. Yes, they are the ones moving into spaces previously inhabited by lower wage peoples. And yes, the unexamined sense of  entitlement that seems to be part of it is frustrating to say the least (don’t even get me started on dealing with it in a restaurant/bar environment), but still, they aren’t the real bad guys.

The real villains in the San Francisco housing crisis are greedy landlords, and the shady real estate developers and realtors who are making obscene amounts of money off people’s sorrow. And of course the politicians who are in their pockets. I’m looking at you Mayor Ed Lee.

Are you a “techie” tired of being maligned for simply moving to a wonderful city for work? I would be too. Here’s what you can do to be one of the good guys, and help unite San Francisco against greed.

  1. Vote on November 3rd. There is a coalition of candidates fighting for you and for San Francisco. Stuart Schuffman, Amy Weiss, and Francisco Herrera. We’ve joined together in a movement called “1-2-3 to Replace Ed Lee”. By working together and using ranked choice voting there actually is a chance that we can get Ed Lee out of office. You can also learn about all the other races and ballot measures here.
  2. If you know someone got evicted from an apartment, don’t move in. And if you’re gonna buy or rent a place, make sure it’s not from any of these people. They are literally making fortunes by being serial evictors.
  3. Get involved in progressive politics. Being a Democrat is not enough in SF. Democrats like Ed Lee and David Chiu are selling San Francisco out.
  4. If you’re making a lot of money, it means you have extra. Donate some of it to the San Francisco Tenants Union. They fight to keep people in their homes.
  5. Follow Nato Green. He is on the front lines of fighting for San Franciscan’s homes AND he’s a landlord.
  6. Follow 48 Hills. They are one of the bets places to stay up on SF progressive politics.

Will doing these things “save San Francisco”? No, of course not, but it’s a step in the right direction. We need to bridge this gap between “techies” and “locals” and unite to make San Francisco the inclusive place it should be. There is a war going on and we are all being used to distract each other while a few people at the top get very very rich. Fuck them.

Got other ideas for ways to help? Please include them in the comments.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".