YIMBYs: The “Alt-Right” Darlings of the Real Estate Industry

By Toshio Meronek and Andrew Szeto : Truthout – excerpt

Rising city skyline from Bernal Heights by zrants

In San Francisco’s Mission District, flyers pasted on mailboxes and light poles warn longtime residents of the new “conquistadores,” the hordes of wealthy tech industrialists who’ve descended on the neighborhood en masse over the past few years, displacing many in the Latinx-heavy neighborhood to the outer reaches of the Bay Area.

But it’s not just lower-income people who are feeling set upon. Rich newcomers also see themselves as an interest group in need of a voice. “Someone needs to represent people who haven’t yet moved into a neighborhood,” said pro-development activist Sonja Trauss, who moved to Oakland in 2011, at an April real estate industry soiree in Vancouver. In San Francisco, “the people who haven’t yet moved in” most often means the tech industrialists, lured by high salaries, stock options and in-office employee benefits like massage therapists and handcrafted kombucha.

But these new tech “immigrants,” as Trauss refers to her kinfolk, spell disaster for current San Franciscans. In 2015, the city-funded homeless count found 71 percent of homeless San Franciscans were housed in San Francisco before being pushed onto the streets…

A Campaign to Legitimize the Luxury Condo Boom

A founder of the Yelp.com web empire, Jeremy Stoppelman, bequeathed $100,000 upon new Oakland resident Trauss in 2015, with the stated goal of clearing the way for more housing units, even if those units were only accessible to the richest of the rich. That investment helped to spark a libertarian, anti-poor campaign to turn longtime sites of progressive organizing into rich-people-only zones…

A Grassroots Facade…

YIMBY brings together community groups, advocates, and grassroots organizations,” reads the Toronto YIMBY Party’s website. But North America’s first YIMBY convening, YIMBY2016, was funded by groups, such as the National Association of Realtors and the Boulder Area Realtor Association…

Are the people-of-color-led community groups like Causa Justa that supported a moratorium on luxury condo construction “just as bad” as anti-immigrant Trump supporters? Trauss thinks so, calling people who didn’t support new market-rate condo projects in central San Francisco “nativists” because they don’t welcome with open arms the construction cranes building lavish condos with butterfly gardens and valet parking in traditionally working-class neighborhoods… (more)

The BARFERs (Ms. Stauss YIMBIEs are known as BARFERs) got in trouble when they used the term “nativists” at a Board of Supervisors hearing after Trump was elected. None of the supervisors appreciated that moniker and the project Ms. Strauss was supporting has been radically changed. It is slated to be a temporary homeless shelter.

Deadly Neoliberal Policies

Infill, with its self-aware, geek-chic name, is the podcast that Trauss co-hosts with another YIMBY-to-watch, Laura Foote Clark. When Truthout asked for evidence that the YIMBY trickle-down model would benefit people who aren’t making tech salaries, Foote Clark was quick to send a dozen papers that claim to show how neoliberal deregulation will end the housing crisis, and that rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…(more – Leave comments here if you can.)

This fresh look at San Francisco politics on the national stage contains helpful new observations and about our political divide. Most people want to same thing, they just disagree about how to get there.

“…rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…”

This statement is evidence of a misplaced jealousy of people who own homes, and a misunderstanding of the concept of liquid assets, true values, and security. People who own homes are just as stuck as people who rent. The only thing they have going for them is a little more control over their finances until they lose their source of income and are foreclosed on if they bought into an equity loan scheme.

If you do sell your home to realize an increase in equity value, where do you move? You can hardly afford to trade up in the market.

One of the major things that sets Yimbies apart from the rest of us is that along with a strong sense of jealousy, they live in the perfect future while the rest of us live in the present. Waiting for the world to turn into a perfect vision is not something that appeals to people who live in the present. We built the city to live in, not as a get rich scheme.

The amazing thing is that WE are accused of being the obstructionists, while THE YIMBIEs and BARFERs, along with SFMTA and SPUR are the real obstructionists. They are creating havoc on our streets impeding our movement, while claiming we are impeding their ability to stop us.

Everyone does agree that we have too many homeless on our streets and we need to enforce the eviction laws to keep people in their homes. The entire Board of Supervisors are intent on fixing that problem.

RELATED: Comments on the above article
With development activists compared to the ‘alt-right,’ the housing crisis debate jumped the shark

 

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A Big, Good, Bad Day for Google Buses in San Francisco

By Katy Steinmetz: time – excerpt

The city came one step closer to regulating them, and protestors staged one of their biggest protests yet…

Dozens of anti-eviction protestors marched behind a small brass band through the streets of San Francisco on Tuesday morning. The parade stopped at an intersection in a long-blighted, recently gentrifying neighborhood called the Tenderloin. Then the protestors did what has become their signature move in recent months: They blocked private buses attempting to ferry tech workers to their jobs in Silicon Valley, this time at Google and Facebook.

Private shuttles have become the cake in San Francisco’s revolution, a symbol of disconnect as the have-nots rally against a backdrop of skyrocketing rental prices and eviction rates. At a hearing at City Hall later in the day, a committee approved a proposal to allow and organize the growing fleet of vehicles currently using city bus stops without regulation. During roughly two hours of public comments, officials heard from tech workers who ride the buses, working-class residents who drive them and activists who oppose them (not to mention everything they stand for). Then the committee unanimously voted to go ahead with the 18-month pilot program, set to begin this summer… (more)

We are taking no position on this. It seems that there is a broader consensus on how to fix traffic and parking problems than on solutions for housing issues.

Protesters block Silicon Valley shuttles, smash Google bus window

By Sean Hollister : theverge – excerpt

The Google bus is a symbol of inequality

One of the perks of working at a major Silicon Valley company is a shuttle ride to work. But as housing prices rise in the San Francisco Bay Area, angry activists are targeting those shuttles to protest the region’s gentrification. In Oakland, protesters attacked a Google bus today, smashing a window and distributing fliers reading “Get the fuck out of Oakland” to Google employees on board…
One of the perks of working at a major Silicon Valley company is a shuttle ride to work. But as housing prices rise in the San Francisco Bay Area, angry activists are targeting those shuttles to protest the region’s gentrification. In Oakland, protesters attacked a Google bus today, smashing a window and distributing fliers reading “Get the fuck out of Oakland” to Google employees on board.

My Gbus got hit by protesters in Oakland and they broke a window. pic.twitter.com/VGCyhBLgyd

— Craig Frost (@craigsfrost) December 20, 2013

And in San Francisco, demonstrators blocked an Apple bus, holding signs and even carrying a wooden coffin bearing the message “Affordable housing.”
“We want the ruling class, which is becoming the tech class, to listen to our voices and listen to the voices of folks that are being displaced,” said one SF protester…
These aren’t isolated incidents. Just last week, some of the same San Francisco activists protested another tech industry bus at the same street corner, though an alleged Google employee at that rally turned out to be a fake. A small group of protesters also smashed a Google bus pinata back in May

Catherine Bracy gave a speech at the Personal Democracy Forum that does a good job of explaining the current economic inequality in Silicon Valley, and some reasons why the Google bus might inspire a certain degree of hatred. You can watch it here. (more)

If you think people are upset now, wait until the Federal unemployment checks stop coming. The pitchforks are out and will not be going away soon.
The best explanation we have seen so far for why the anti-eviction folks are attacking the buses came from someone on the local news who said, “We want the folks on the bus to join us in protesting the problems.”
Media can easily ignore the poor folks in the Mission who are losing their homes, but they can’t ignore anything that threatens the tech industry. Next trip to the Bay Area Obama might want to talk to the leaders of the protestors and listen to their concerns as well as the CEOs of Silicon Valley.

 

RELATED:
Via pandodaily
Source Craig Frost (Twitter, 1)(2)(3)
SF and Oakland, activists block tech buses to protest displacement
Indy Bay
ReutersKQED
oakland san francisco politics shuttle bay area bus protest transportation gentrification silicon valley Google