View Single Post
Old Posted Jan 31, 2014, 11:26 PM
JWS JWS is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by homebucket View Post
Uh oh. Also, just curious, are SFGate commentators representative of the majority of San Franciscans? Because it seems like most of them oppose the arena.
Well, they represent the majority opinion of a large segment of San Franciscans, yes. Most of whom live nowhere near the proposed development, yet view San Francisco as a quaint little fishing village that needs to be preserved.

I actually do understand and to some degree empathize with the shift San Francisco has made, and that many moved here for countercultural reasons and thus view the "Manhattanization" (a term I find tremendously foolish, by the way) of the city as a threat to their existence and lifestyles. Not to mention that even though they are rent controlled, the cost of living has skyrocketed to an unreasonable point for everybody (including people making six figures), and they see this as further proof that the soul is being sucked from their city (regardless of the fact that it was their own anti-growth ballots and movements that partially put those rents where they are). So while their mobilization makes me almost nauseous because of the sheer denial, fear mongering, and lunacy, I do understand where it is coming from and empathize with their frustrations and fears.

However, Summer of Love/Gay Rights Movement/90s stagnancy aside, we have to logically face where the city is now. Despite the movements that brought them to the city, nobody would look at these facts on paper and view San Francisco as some small little town that is anti-density, business, and growth:

- One of only five American cities to be designated as a Global Alpha City (the other four being NYC, Chicago, LA, and Washigton DC).
- Second highest population density in America (although I understand we aren't even at Bronx levels)
- Top 5 in the country for highrises above 35 meters (and per capita, we're #2 behind NYC), Top 5 in the country for buildings above 100m, #6 in the country for buildings above 150m. If you adjust the second two for per capita, we would rank higher once again but I haven't run them specifically to see where we are.
- Sixth most visited city in the US for tourism, 44th in the world.
- The hub for a region that boasts the headquarters of Wells Fargo, Visa, Facebook, Google, Apple, Oracle, Gap, Levi's, a federal reserve branch, Chevron, and which founded Bank of America. And those are just some of the heavy hitters.
- Center of a metropolitan region that, by some measurements, is over 8M people large.
- Culturally, one of the few American cities that can boast world class ballet/opera/symphony, all of the "big 4" sports teams regionally, 20+ Michelin starred restaurants, a park bigger than Central Park, a full roster of world class museums, dozens of internationally renowned landmarks from Alcatraz to the Golden Gate to Lombard to the cable cars, the list goes on.

The fact is that this little fishing village of 820,000 casts a very long shadow, not just domestically, but internationally. That is the reality.

So when you see these people fighting tooth and nail to keep the city the way they envision it, I respect where they are coming from, but their vision of the city is ideologically skewed and nowhere represents the reality. The issue is that the way the political system is set-up heavily caters to this demographic, which then produces policies and procedures that cater to the counter-cultural, anti corporate, fishing village full of quaint bakeries and 3-story buildings that doesn't actually even exist, and ignores the growing and increasingly international/powerful city that does exist.

They are protesting tech and finance as if this is new...the Bay Area has been the tech hub and the "Wall Street of the West" for DECADES.

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of lunacy, greed, and ridiculousness on the development side, but I am continually exhausted by people who vote based on ideology, not reality. I am not even in tech, but would love to see those companies mobilize their employees to vote pro-development for both candidates and ballot measures, because that is the only way I can see the tide turning against the extremely well mobilize anti-growth group. Ed Lee may not be perfect, but with the class-war brewing in SF, you can bet the next mayor will be anti-development and "progressive" in the regressive SF definition of the word, so this is the window.

[/End Rant].
Reply With Quote