I’ve lived here for nearly a decade now. Things have really started to change in the last two or three years. The tech industry has brought a lot of wealth into the city, and has created a “tech class”, people who can afford to pay exorbitant amounts for a one-bedroom apartment. With rents going up exponentially, most of my friends have been displaced.
Tech people have a lot of their needs met through their companies [many of which offer a wide array of services on-location, like food, dry cleaning, gyms, health care, day care and much more
] and thus don’t frequent a lot of the small businesses in their San Francisco neighbourhoods. Mom-and-pop stores are being pushed out
by fancy wine bars and coffee shops that cater to the folks working in tech.
For many people here, the Google buses have become a symbol of gentrification. They’re this big, looming presence. You see lines of young people, all staring down at their smartphones, pile into them. They use public bus lanes, and don’t pay for them. [Editor’s Note: Companies will, however, pay fees starting next year
“There’s no easy answer, but we need to start by curbing evictions”
Our protest was a way to call for dialogue, for people who work in tech to realize that they are having an effect on the city. A lot of them are great people but they’re often oblivious to their surroundings. It would be nice to see them get more involved in the community and ask what, perhaps, they can do to help.
There’s no easy answer on how to fix this problem now that the trajectory has been set in motion, but I think that curbing evictions of current San Francisco residents is key. Loopholes in the law need to be fixed
to make it harder to evict people, and to stop speculators from buying up whole buildings, declare that they’re going out of business, and flip them
. If big tech companies want to help out, financially or otherwise, that would be nice, too…