Tidbits on tech, race and gentrification in the Bay Area

Oakland Art Murmur has drawn the attention of Chronicle columnists and YouTube video producers
Photo by blocker1501 via Flickr

The media and blogosphere have given us plenty to chew on lately as columnists, subversive Tweeters, and mischievous YouTube producers take to the Internet to examine issues of tech, race, class and gentrification in the Bay Area. To wit:

Chronicle muttering about Oakland Art Murmur San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson is making noise about clamping down on the Oakland Art Murmur, saying Oakland is “asking for trouble” if it doesn’t rein in the popular, freewheeling monthly street festival that draws young creative types to the city center for art, food truck delights, street dance parties and the occasional African drum circle or impromptu magic show. “The street fair should be pared down to a manageable size,” Johnson proclaimed, pointing to a shooting that occurred at the last one to argue his point. It’s sad that an act of violence marred the latest Art Murmur, but we hope Johnson’s column isn’t a harbinger of some forthcoming campaign to sanitize the wildly successful, organically flourishing event. And for some reason, Johnson’s latest diatribe reminds us of this hilarious video we found on the Internet.

Using technology to examine issues of race and technology Jamelle Bouie, a journalist and blogger for The Nation, started a conversation about race and Silicon Valley in a thought-provoking article for The Magazine, revving up the Twittersphere by wondering out loud: “Why is tech writing so white?” Which promptly set off an online debate between Bouie, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, and a host of others who piled on to voice their own strong opinions on Silicon Valley and racial diversity. That exchange, in turn, was Storified by Buzz Feed staff writer Matt Buchanan, who also blogged it. Here’s how Buchanan distills the digital debate: “One of the side effects of the Valley's belief in its own progressiveness is an occasional blindness to the gap between its belief and its reality. Spanning that disconnect for some is a myth that the Valley is a total meritocracy that isn't subject to wider systematic problems of racism and sexism; that it is, in some ways, a truly hermetically sealed bubble.”

"Anti capitalist comrades" headed to court Remember when San Francisco prosecutors subpoenaed the Twitter account information of two activists who attended a Columbus Day protest that led to an ugly clash when the police showed up?  The request for Twitter account information was abandoned after a host of civil liberties organizations challenged it on First Amendment grounds, but the protesters are still scheduled for a Feb. 8 court appearance on charges ranging from unlawful assembly to battery on a uniformed officer. On a website set up in support of the ACAC19 (the 19 arrestees identify as “anti-colonial, anti-capitalist comrades”), organizers say prosecutors’ demand for Twitter records should be regarded as “evidence that the SFPD is using the case to map and surveil radical political networks in the Bay area.” We don’t know the extent to which San Francisco cops are engaging in such surveillance, but if Twitter’s transparency report is any indication, police have shown a growing interest in social media interactions across the board. To Twitter’s credit, the company logs all law enforcement information requests and tallies them in regular reports. The most recent data shows that law enforcement agencies have filed 1,858 user information requests with the San Francisco-based tech company since Jan. 1, 2012. During the second half of last year alone, U.S. law enforcement agencies filed 815 user information requests.

Google Bus invasion As we mentioned in this week’s cover story, San Francisco author Rebecca Solnit’s 3,900-word meditation on the Google Bus as it relates to San Francisco’s housing affordability crisis is a must-read.

“Creative class” expert: Service workers should get paid more Today’s Morning Edition on NPR featured an interview with Richard Florida, an urban scholar who has studied the rise of the “creative class” in cities like London, Sydney and, yes, San Francisco. Apparently, Florida has arrived at the groundbreaking conclusion that in order to maintain healthy economic balance, cities ought to find ways to boost the pay of service workers. Here’s an excerpt:

“A city or a metro region is much better off – if it has a large share of knowledge workers, of innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, professionals that make up the creative class, the wages and income of that city go up.  The problem is that others have said this has a trickle-down effect, that these wages benefit everyone. And I’ve been skeptical of that from the beginning … I’ve pointed out that places that have large creative class concentrations have a greater level of inequality.

“We actually looked at the amount of wages and salaries people have left after housing. If you do that, the creative class, they do better … but everybody else does worse. The point I’m trying to make with all this is that you’re better off with more knowledge workers, but sooner or later, we’re going to have to develop strategies in our country to boost the wages and salaries of the more than 60 million workers who deliver our services, who prepare our food, take care of our homes, wait on us in stores. We’re going to have to make their wages higher if everyone’s going to prosper.”


My one problem with this article is the use of the word "race." There is only one human race with many ethnicities. The word "ethnicity" is the word you're looking for.


Title: Tidbits on tech, ethnicity and gentrification in the Bay Area

Another example: "racial diversity" changed to ethnic diversity and so forth.

Thank you for the article.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

Someone needs a hug. Or maybe, a life.

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

"Someone needs a hug. Or maybe, a life."

Have you ever thought of getting one, pleb, rather than sitting around with nothing to do making fun of people in articles? Amateur/imposter troll.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

It's called multi-tasking.

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

Your employment description includes imposter trolling on here? So you're a paid imposter troll. Have your employer contact the International Troll Society where he/she will get a much better value for the dollar.

Or you're...

Multi-tasking = doing something personal on here when you're supposed to be working and on your employer's time. Lame, pleb.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

As if the establishment thinks that the SFBG wields any influence whatsoever.

Nah, not that it is any of your business, but I'm self-employed.

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

You would not be here if you did not think that the SFBG had any significance. The way that corporate power plays to win here is to leave no flank undefended and to forward operate on all viable fronts.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:19 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 7:02 am

Likewise you are here because you know that this is a significant progressive political presence that cannot go unanswered. Note how we don't troll around conservative sites picking fights.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 7:47 am

The SFBG has little significance and most people just pick it up for the movie loistings.

Oh, and Lilli absolutely does troll conservative sites because he has admitted being banned from them.

If SFBG didn't like moderates posting here, they could ban them. Yet they do not, telling you that you shouldn't object and try and censor diverse viewpoints either.

Posted by anon on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 8:08 am

Pathological troll.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 8:35 am
Posted by anon on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 9:26 am

The pathology of personal attacks against one's political opponents is sickening.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 10:51 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 11:06 am

Troll hijack: ceased discussing ethnicity, tech and gentrification long ago, just lingering now.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 11:19 am

most prevalent is that RC is mostly enjoyed by the old, for much the same reason as Prop 13 benefits older homeowners.

And the old typically have more money than the young.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 11:42 am

Troll hijack: everyone benefits from RC equally, it begins at the commencement of tenancy and ends with the tenancy. Seniors were the ostensible reason behind P13, that these families on fixed incomes yet with "more money than the young" were being priced out of their homes due to reassessments and rate increases. Allegedly.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

you have been there, since that is proportional to how far your rent will have diverged from the market.

Same with Prop13.

Both freeze the city, thereby reducing mobility and opportunities for growth

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

Troll hijack: San Francisco has grown to its highest population every under RC.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

market-rate condo's AND created many private-sector jobs.

Posted by anon on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

Powerful and depressing. There has to be a better way than the non-system we have now.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:43 pm