A new "golden age?"

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By Tim Redmond

The bloggers are having a bit of fun with The Chronicle's front-page New Year's Eve assertion that San Francisco's Golden Age is here again. I have to agree with Beyond Chron -- the story was an embarassment that quoted only conservative, wealthy San Franciscans and ignored much of the city.

Yeah, reporter Carl Nolte, who is a good guy (and my neighbor in Bernal Heights) made the point that there have always been problems in San Francisco, including today. But his overall theme -- that all this new development and soaring housing costs are somehow good for the city -- is a crock.

I'm always the optimist, and I think that 2006 was a great year for local politics. But a "Golden Age?" No: what's happening in the local economy is that San Francisco is becoming a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. We are building housing for people who don't live here, and destroying jobs for people who do.

I've argued in the past that in a boom-band-bust city, the busts are often better than the booms. That's because the single greatest quality-of-life issue for most people (the non-rich) in San Francisco is the cost of housing. This boom is only golden for a very few.