Bloomberg calls SF #1, but it sees the pitfall that Lee is missing

It's not enough to be pretty city with a big brain, we also need to show we have a heart and soul.
Robert Glusic/Getty Images

Mayor Ed Lee just sent out a press release touting the fact that Bloomberg BusinessWeek named San Francisco the best city in the country, lauding us more for our scenic beauty and plethora of restaurants and cultural offerings than for Lee's relentless focus on using his office to facilitate private sector job creation, particularly in the tech sector.

In fact, it's notable that even this business magazine sees Lee's approach as more of a liability than an asset: “Not everything is golden in San Francisco, of course. An influx of young techies has driven up living costs. (Average rent for a studio apartment is $2,075, according to research firm RealFacts.) As the city has grown wealthier, it has lost some of its legendary grit.”

The Guardian has been discussing the dangers of devoting too many city resources to pumping up this latest tech bubble at least since the Twitter and Zynga tax breaks that Lee pushed shortly after coming into office, a warning that San Francisco magazine last week started to echo in an article by Salon founder and Season of the Witch author David Talbot, which he discussed on KQED's Forum this week.

For those beginning to call for a more balanced approach – something we urgently need if we are to remain the kind of attractive and diverse city that is the envy of magazine writers and observers of all kinds – the signs of our excess are everywhere, from the rapidly gentrifying Valencia Street corridor to Salesforce last week taking over Civic Center Plaza for a private party as our ignored poor looked on.

Unfortunately, Lee and his pro-growth allies (including a few sometimes-progressives on the Board of Supervisors) seem to have missed that coverage and that part of the Bloomberg article, because he's been full steam ahead in moving the agenda of his main financial benefactor Ron Conway, the venture capitalist behind many of the tech companies that are profiting from Lee's policies, along with this city's commercial landlords, at the expense of the rest of us.

“It’s certainly an honor for San Francisco to be named ‘America’s Best City,’ and it’s great to get recognition for the good work San Franciscans have done,” Mayor Lee said in his press release. “San Francisco is committed to being the best place to live, work and visit, and there is nowhere else on earth where you will find the economic opportunities and world-class events found in our great City.”

Spoken as someone who hasn't been trying to live here at just above the median income of less, which is most San Franciscans, the people who aren't getting much help from City Hall these days.



What? Jame Kim has been voted off the Progressive Island?

The girl needs to attend a Weekend Orthodoxy Seminar at one of the Camps.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

and however it is defined, I sure don't think SF is lacking in any.

walking home from the Warfield the other night, seeing so many people sprawled out in the middle of the sidewalk, selling rock, the piles of poop and scent of piss... I think we are doing just fine in the grit department.

and really now, hasn't the "young techie" bashing gotten tiresome yet? Heaven forbid the City have opportunities for young, educated people.

Posted by danimalssf on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

Grit is the opposite of gentrification, of chain store & big box influx, of artists and activists being priced out of the city, etc.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

When all the artist, writers and poets are priced out of the city, it will no longer be the cool place to be.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

when they leave.

If magic is all we've ever known
Then it's easy to miss what really goes on
But I've seen miracles in every way
And I see miracles everyday
Oceans spanning beyond my sight
And a million stars way above em at night
We don't have to be high to look in the sky
And know that's a miracle opened wide
Look at the mountains, trees, the seven seas
And everything chilling underwater, please
Hot lava, snow, rain and fog
Long neck giraffes, and pet cats and dogs
And I've seen eighty-five thousand people
All in one room, together as equals
Pure magic is the birth of my kids
I've seen shit that'll shock your eyelids
The sun and the moon, and even Mars
The Milky Way and fucking shooting stars
UFOs, a river flows
Plant a little seed and nature grows
Niagara falls and the pyramids
Everything you believed in as kids
Fucking rainbows after it rains
There's enough miracles here to blow your brains
I fed a fish to a pelican at Frisco bay
It tried to eat my cell phone, he ran away
And music is magic, pure and clean
You can feel it and hear it but it can't be seen

Music is all magic
(Are you a firm believer in miracles)
You can't even hold it
(Do you notice and recognize miracles)
It's just there in the air
(Are you a firm believer in miracles)
Pure motherfucking magic
This shit'll blow your fucking mind
(Do you notice and recognize miracles)

Music is a lot like love, it's all a feeling
And it fills the room, from the floor to the ceiling
I see miracles all around me
Stop and look around, it's all astounding
Water, fire, air and dirt
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don't wanna talk to a scientist
Y'all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed
Solar eclipse, and vicious weather
Fifteen thousand Juggalos together
And I love my mom for giving me this
Time on this planet, taking nothing for granted
I seen a caterpillar turn into a butterfly
Miracles ain't nothing to lie
Shaggy's little boys look just like Shaggy
And my little boy looks just like daddy
Miracles each and every where you look
And nobody has to stay where they put
This world is yours for you to explore
There's nothing but miracles beyond your door
The Dark Carnival is your invitation
To witness them without explanation
Take a look at this fine creation
And enjoy it better with appreciation
Crows, ghosts, the midnight coast
The wonders of the world, mysteries the most
Just open your mind, and it ain't no way
To ignore the miracles of every day

(Are you a firm believer in miracles)
Magic everywhere in this bitch
(Do you notice and recognize miracles)
It's all around you, you don't even know it
(Are you a firm believer in miracles)
Magic everywhere in this bitch
Shit's crazy
(Do you notice and recognize miracles,
So many miracles, the magic miracles)

Are you a firm believer in miracles
Do you have time for the miracles
Do you notice and recognize miracles
So many miracles, the magic miracles
Are you a firm believer in miracles
Do you have time for the miracles
Do you notice and recognize miracles
So many miracles, the magic miracles
Are you a firm believer in miracles
Do you have time for the miracles
Do you notice and recognize miracles
So many miracles, the magic miracles
Are you a firm believer in miracles
Do you have time for the miracles
Do you notice and recognize miracles
So many miracles, the magic miracles

Posted by matlock on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

A poet, you're not, Matlock. Try this one...

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
performing entrachats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be
For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence

~Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

A San Francisco without Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his brethren poets

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

As for matlock's doggeral, I'll only comment that it seems that some people brag about procreating the same way trolls spout abusive comments; in their hearts they *know* that at its root such behavior is a wrongful insult to society: that is exactly its appeal for them.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

Steven Jones writes:

"In fact, it's notable that even this business magazine sees Lee's approach as more of a liability than an asset"

For those of you who don't have time to read the article, it says nothing of the sort.

Steven Jones just totally made that part up, a complete fabrication.

Yes, they do point out the issue of rising costs of living and homelessness, but to say that they see "Lee's approach as more of a liability than an asset" has no basis whatsoever, just total propaganda created by Jones to mislead casual readers.

If you get a chance, look for yourself.

Posted by Troll on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

This business magazine doesn't praise these supposedly "pro-business" initiatives, it points out their negative effect on the city. What it does praise is our inherent qualities that pre-dated Lee's tenure. I think the asset vs. liability paradigm is a fair characterization.

Posted by steven on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

I don't mean that in the conventional sense, of course.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

Oh please. The article doesn't even mention Mayor Lee. It is almost entirely flattering and notes that San Francisco "placed in the top 20 for economic factors". It lists a number of cultural offerings that are in part supported by that economic strength.

The only thing even close to a negative in the article is the note that "As the city has grown wealthier, it has lost some of its legendary grit."

So to Steven the main takeaway is that the business magazine offered an indictment of Mayor Lee's policies which isn't borne out at all, not even close. They were saying that is the best city in the country.

Steven desperately wanted to see criticism of Lee that wasn't there so he made it up and tried to pass it off as fact.

Totally irresponsible to try to pass something like that off as honest journalism. It was just wishful thinking.

Posted by Troll on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

His entire body of work consists of that paradigm. He could make Stalin or Mao out to be great defenders of human rights while casting Roosevelt as a capitalist pig.

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

I mean, this was blatant lying. He writes that the:

"business magazine sees Lee's approach as more of a liability than an asset"

When in fact they make no judgement of any type whatsoever. If there was any possible implication at all it was certainly positive about their #1 city. Steven just totally fabricated a falsehood out of thin air and printed it.

Funny, I looked on Twitter and a grand total of 3 people retweeted the story. So Steven couldn't be more insignificant, which is a good thing. I guess that there is some motive for saying something that is true now and then. Maybe Steve should try it some time and find out, just as an experiment.

Posted by Troll on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

Please, I see way too much of it. As for the evil gentrification of Valencia- sure I loath the techies as much as the next person, but I hate the gun toting thugs and gang bangers even more. Given the choice, I will take the techie over the gritty gang banger.

Posted by D. Native on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

SF is very fortunate. Most other cities in the country/world are not "struggling" with the problems associated with growth and opportunity.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

Pick up any paper in the Bay Area, you will find a news story or something devoted to, tech, start up or IPO. Pick up those same papers you might find something about house or rent prices, cost of living here is getting higher. On gentrification this happens all the time, if is a free market folks, we also don't build enough homes in the bay area to counter gentrification. Hipsters, 2010's version of Yuppies move in, out timers get pushed out, folks even I can go home again. As for tech firms moving in, word of advice. Head to Mountain View, so much nicer, space is hard but you will find a nice office, smart people, you can park you car, ride on a bike, eat some wonderful food, parks and open space nearby.

Posted by Garrett on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 9:59 am

Also from this author