The Google-bus elitism


I've been waiting for the Chron's culture columnist Caille Millner to finally write about something interesting, and I got it April 27 when she stumbled onto the Google Buses. Or rather, the problem with the Google buses.

Thanks to the Chron's silly paywall, you can't read her column online, and since hardly anyone in San Franciso buys the Chronicle anymore, Millner's story won't get the attention it should. So allow me to repeat some of it here:

It was close to 9 p.m., and I was waiting at a bus stop on an island in the middle of Market Street. Next to me stood a tired-looking middle-aged woman who had clearly just left work. While we waited, up cruised the big white pod. It paused right in front of us. The door at the front slid open to discharge a few Googlers, and the luggage door on the lower right side of the bus also slid open to allow them access to their belongings.

One gentleman bounced down the bus steps and pushed his way in front of us to get his bicycle from beneath the bus. As he hurled it out onto the bus island, it hit the woman standing next to me. She glanced at me, mute and horrified, and in that moment I sensed that she didn't feel able to confront him. So I did.

"Excuse you," I said loudly.

>No response. He was busy fumbling with his messenger bag

"You hit her," I yelled.

He glanced up in no particular direction, as though suddenly troubled by the buzz of an insect. Circling his head around, he finally noticed where he was - the bus stop, the night, the fact that there were other people around him.

"Sorry?" he asked the air, in a tone of confusion. Then he climbed on his bicycle and pedaled away. He never looked at the woman he had hit.

There's a sense of entitlement about the rich, and the young rich are often the worst. And that's one reason why the logic of the Google bus -- it's better to have a single luxury vehicle haul all those people to work than have them all drive cars -- doesn't register with a lot of us. They're too good for Caltrain. They're too good for Muni. And they're too damn good to bother to notice that they've hit an old lady.



If you all view tech workers as "the rich," then you're conceding the political contest to the demographic realities that the SFBG and professional progressives have failed to check, and are all but giving up.

Entitled, selfish, narcissistic, socially clueless, sure. But not everyone who makes more money than you do is rich and not everyone who makes that much money is socially clueless.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:15 am

bias confirmation. If he sees a rich guy behaving badly, he says, "there goes another one". When he sees a poor person behaving badly, he feels we need to raise taxes so that they can be given services to make them less anti-social.

What a blissfully clueless one-dimensional world he inhabits, full of stereotypes that are always true all of the time.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:28 am

Can you imagine if somebody wrote about one LGBT or Asian-American committing a rude act and using it as proof of their "sense of entitlement" and that "too good for Caltrain"? That "they're too damn good to bother to notice..."

What classic bigotry. Great spokesperson, Progressives. Speaks volumes for your movement.

Wow. A rude act on the streets of San Francisco. Something that is only done by rich people, I guess. Never happens otherwise.

Reading the account in the Chronicle, it seems like the guy was totally zoned out, probably programming something in his head while getting his bicycle. But, as someone was pointing out, it would have been appropriate for the woman to give him room to do a physical task in a crowded street. Nobody said that he was swinging the bicycle wildly.

But wow. Not sure how you Progressives condone the blatant bigotry that is regularly published here.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:53 am

if you need MORE room in a public place, then it is YOUR responsibility to ask for more room (please). awhole

Posted by Guest on Dec. 30, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

Accusations don't even require proof it they are confirmed through bias! Naturally!

*Surely* Tim has witnessed some crime or error by someone not rich and has immediately called for a tax increase. (Waiting for proof here).

Actually it is reactionaries who harbor so little propensity for rational and analytical thinking that they habitually fall into the confirmation bias trap.

Every time Righty sees a person who is not rich they jump to ascribe all manner of personal failings to that person; stupid, lazy, etc.

On the other hand, what we have concrete proof of in this story -- and what Bold Lying Guest here hoped to obscure -- is that some self-entitled asshole got off of a Google bus, battered a Muni rider with his bicycle, and acted like a total jerk.

Liberals suffer from confirmation bias. It's Big Troll Trope #25.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:55 am

one self-serving alleged incident then?

And on the basis that you feel sure that maybe somewhere a right-winger has done the same thing?

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:05 am

It's the same mentality that encouraged the financial elites to gamble with our money which led to the stock market crash in '08. It's the mindset that allowed Michael Mina and other restaurateurs to cheat their employees out of their health care. And it is this very sense of privilege that makes Larry Ellison think that SF taxpayers should pony up for his little yacht party, no matter what it costs us. People have a right to be outraged.
Now, I have little doubt, and I trust that Tim would agree, that there are some rich people out there who do have a conscience. But for the most part, we are being bled dry by priviliged assholes like Ellison, Mina, Jamie Diamond, et al., who are the real "welfare queens" of this society. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said,
“We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor.”

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:57 am

Is being far more successful than you a crime, somehow?

Or is that just the envy talking, as it is with Tim?

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:10 am

I notice you didn't deny anything Ana had to say. So go ahead and pick our pockets for your profits. Just don't look yourself in the mirror afterwards, because you don't want to see the monster you've become.

Posted by Jesse on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:25 am

derives from somehow doing evil?

There is quite simply no evidence for that idea. Most of the wealthy people I know are very good people, honest, hard-working and generous. that doesn't square neatly with your class warfare rhetoric, but that doesn't make it wrong.

There are good rich people and bad poor people. Your stereotype is broken.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:33 am

> Most of the wealthy people I know are very good people, honest, hard-working
> and generous. that doesn't square neatly with your class warfare rhetoric, but
> that doesn't make it wrong.

I'm not going to bother to argue with you on this, because honestly: 1) I doubt you know many rich people, but you claim you do, probably just to sound important. 2) You offer no evidence except for your own observations, which, if you are one of the many who aspire to be rich, are suspect: you have to think the rich are great, because you're trying desperately to be one of them, and 3) you aren't even getting at the point of the argument, which has literally nothing to do with honesty, laziness, or generosity AT ALL. And the fact that you think it does means that you don't even know what you're angrily responding to.

The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of the rich, as measured by the few studies that have been able to examine this matter, live at an extreme disconnect from the rest of society. They do not understand how the average (median) US citizen lives, and they most certainly don't understand how the bottom 20% of the US live. (The studies don't show this, but I suspect that the idea that an income of $250k a year is 'solidly middle-class' is a very, very common one among the wealthy. They literally, simply don't know any better.) But more than that, a lot of them simply don't see the hoi polloi unless they are forced to. The people who are driven around San Francisco in hired cars (let alone their own personal livery) certainly don't understand what it's like to ride MUNI every day.

And most of the tech workers, the ones who are making well into the six figures plus stock options and laundry service and free meals and transportation and free tax service and so forth, and have been treated almost that well since college, and have never been out of work and down to $280 in their bank accounts and wondering if they are going to be able to make rent this month or if they're going to be out on the street with all their belongings... you don't think that's wealthy compared to the rest of the US?

Well, I work in tech, after having had experience in other areas, and in long-term unemployment. And if you seriously don't think that there is a disconnect there, then you are oh-so-very-part of the problem.

Posted by Fred Fnord on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

Perhaps a little jail time will help the rich speculators to find a conscience.

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:32 am

getting away with crimes.

And what would you know about being successful anyway?

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:48 am

Sorry, you already let the cat out of the bag when you said, "Why would rich people have a conscience?" That's really how you think, isn't it? (Fess up!) It springs from a sense of privilege that characterizes many, if not most, rich folks. It's the notion that you are not beholden to anybody but yourself -- certainly not the larger society of people around you.

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

In order to make such a broad generalization, you must know many of them, right?

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:35 am

Yes, you can be successful without being rich, too. I love my job and I'm in a loving relationship with a wonderful man. That's all the success I need in life.

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

Okay. Wrong writer. But isn't my underlying point, that he probably has a higher net worth than the "rich" person he's railing against, still the same?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

You assume 'being rich' = successful. 'Being rich' defined as having lots of money, that is.

Posted by pete moss on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:39 am

Tim assumes from that that he most be a bad person, but there isn't a shred of evidence for that - it is pure, blind prejudice.

And yes, to attain wealth usually requires success in some field. One can argue you are a success if you are happy, even if broke, but that is not the sense of the word we are using here.

Tim feels more comfortable with people who fail, but that tells us more about Tim than it tells us about people who are successful.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:53 am

What makes you assume that anyone who isn't rich is a "failure"? Talk about stereotypes! And what about all those folks in the middle? You appear to have a very limited idea of what it means to be a "success".

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

Also, what makes him assume the guy is "rich" just because he works for Google. I'd say he's probably more likely to be well-off and making around 100K. 100K per year is by no means wealthy in the Bay Area. And doesn't Tim own a house in West Portal or something? Wouldn't that mean he probably has a much higher net worth, which actually makes HIM wealthier than this guy?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

The portly Bruce lives in West Portal.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

Whatever happened about that public power initiative?

Oh yeah, the voters rejected it.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:37 am

So a young tech company employee bumps a woman while he is removing his bicycle from a bus. And to you that is "the same mentality that encouraged the financial elites to gamble with our money which led to the stock market crash". Really?

If a Muslim person bumped into you would that be the same mentality that led to 9/11?

And how did "Michael Mina and other restaurateurs to cheat their employees out of their health care." Any examples? Everything I read said that he just over collected the amount needed to fund their health care, which was always available to them. Do you have any examples of him cheating an employee out of their health care or is that just something that you made up because it sounds good?

"Now, I have little doubt, and I trust that Tim would agree, that there are some rich people out there who do have a conscience."

You realize that is like saying that there are some "good" black people out there? Do you have any idea how bigoted you sound as you make stuff up?

Posted by Troll on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:25 am

"even though he is rich".

Rather like, he's black but he doesn't commit crimes.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:35 am

Mon dieu, how beset upon they are! I just never realized. Look, when some rich white male has to worry about someone renting to them, or being passed over for a job, soley because of his skin color, I will cry for them. Honest. And if a shop owner follows Larry Ellison around a department store because they he is deemed "suspicious" -- that is, a little too white and well off -- I will be the first to rush to his defense.

Michael Mina broke the law by pocketing money that should have gone to fund his employees' health care. There is hardly in dispute. Mina was under investigation by the city attorney for his fraudulent use of surcharges by restaurants. That's the only reason he shelled out...the law finally caught up with him. But I suppose it is bigoted of me to point this out.

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:53 am

*this* is hardly in dipute

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:05 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:38 am

Well Ana, you wrote ""Michael Mina and other restaurateurs to cheat their employees out of their health care."

..and I just wanted to point out that you were making something up. I asked for an example of an employee who was cheated out of his/her health care; who needed it but it wasn't available.

The truth is that Mina collected some money and made all of it available. The staff didn't need a lot of it. So he dropped his % from 4 to 3.

Don't worry too much...we all make stuff up some time, especially when we want to say things that aren't true.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

Isn't that what you do every day on this site? Do you honestly think that Mina finally paid $83,617 to his employees out of the goodness of his heart? If so, you must be a troll of very little brain. Pity.

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

Ana, calm down... I was just pointing out that something that you said about Mina cheating his employees out of their health care wasn't true. Yes, he over collected and probably should have suspended the 4% charge or something but the thing that you said wasn't true. Deal with it.

So why don't you learn from this and maybe try a bit harder to stick to the truth next time.

And the rest of the things that you said were just plain bizarre and bigoted but let's just focus on this truth thing for now.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

You're really diggin a hole for yourself, troll. Didn't anyone ever teach you how to think critically? You could at least follow the link, and then ask yourself why a man who was under investigation for defrauding his employees suddenly becomes quite cooperative with the DA. Just a coincidence? Well, I think I'll leave you to your misery, since I have better things to do than debate some mindless troll.

Posted by Ana on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

Ana, if this bill passes with the expanded H1-B provisions, then the cheap imported tech labor will exacerbate the scarcity of women and non-Asian people of color in the STEM (science, tech, engineering and math) fields.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

or last week (I forget). try to keep up

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

Same bills, shame shills.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 2:20 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:39 am

I've worked with one handful of both women and non-Asian people of color in tech over the past few decades. H1-B prioritizes Asian immigrant engineers over developing that capacity in people already here. The paucity of women, blacks and Latinos in STEM will only be exacerbated if these H1-B expansions become law.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:22 am

And with all the misery such people either cause or condone in this world, it's good that they give back by presenting themselves as such comedic jackasses. Healthy it is to laugh!

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

People bump into/hit each other without apologizing all the time, especially on public transportation. Seriously, have you ever been to New York? As if often said, "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." I think that is far more fitting to this situation.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

Fuckface, past performance is no guarantee of future returns. They're not successful, they're just making a lot of money now.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:15 am

Smart guys make more money when the market goes down than when it goes up.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:20 am

The people we're talking about in general don't make money playing the market, they make most of their money working.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

You justify your relative failure in this field by constantly rationalizing that the more successful will all fail in the next downturn. But that's just wishful thinking on your part. Apple, Google etc. all survived the dotcom fallout and many fortunes have been made in the last 12 years.

Moreover, tech is only moderately priced in the markets right now - other sectors have done much better, so a crash is highly unlikely any time soon.

I know you love misery but it's not justified.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:34 am

Having been on the tech rollercoaster for a few decades, I can see that after each turn, it is downhill until it is up hill the next time. But every time, it is more downhill and less uphill. Tech wages have fallen in real terms by 35% over the past 15 years, they are only relatively high because other wages have fared worse.

Tech workers are the next auto workers.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:24 am

Every time I see a social crime I want a tax. Let's tax Google for bicycle crimes. Let's tax trolls for anonymous jerkery. Yea!

Posted by tim on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:17 am

You are taxing them, it is called the hit count and advertisers LOVE it.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:39 am

B) Even if I did, it's not a tax, it's a marketing expense, and so is tax-deductible.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:11 am

Run your cursor over the ads on this page. Do you notice the words "googleads" in the url? Tim is not above using the devil attempt to monetize SFBG.COM. Which is a good thing because they haven't been able to promote prostitution online, only in print.

In any event the ads are most certainly pay per click, and I'm sure that few of the dozen of so people who read Tim Redmond ever bother to click on any ads. The impressions mean nothing.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:37 am

Perhaps if you tell yourself that often enough, you'll come to believe it. I'm sure it must be reassuring if you can convince yourself that you're not helping SFBG to make money every time you post a comment. The last laugh is on you, troll...and Tim's taking it all the way to the bank.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

Oh....I totally believe that the ads on this page say "googleads" and that Google pays per click, not per impression.

Yes, I totally believe that. Really. I do. Does that seem strange to you?

Posted by Troll on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 1:17 pm