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Each morning, I enjoy indulging in a bit of light reading on “news” in my hometown region, the San Francisco Bay Area. Though it isn't my only source of news, my go to website is SFGate (free website run by the SF Chronicle newspaper). Just to be 100% clear, my follow thoughts on the endless complaints by some residents of San Francisco have nothing to do with SFGate, but instead the current situation in San Francisco.
The top three issues constantly making headlines are gentrification, corporate buses, and tourists. And in all three cases, the complainers get no sympathy from me. And when I reference the complainers, it is always a small, but loud group speaking for their community that makes headlines. In all these cases, I'm completely against their protests and could care less for their endless ramblings.
Gentrification in San Francisco
For those who don’t know, gentrification is the shift to wealthier residents and businesses in a community. And specifically in San Francisco, it is high paid tech workers who are moving in (but still working in Silicon Valley). And although I understand the advantages of maintaining a stable community of neighbors, I also see the benefit in improving city conditions. However, as long as laws are not broken, my opinion is people who earn more money should have the option of deciding where they want to live. Regardless, there is the constant fear that landlords may illegally encourage tenants with lump sum payouts or threats to move out so they can charge future tenants higher rent. Then there's the Ellis Act that allows tenants to evict tenants if the unit is put for sale, to potentially a developer. And although both are unfortunate events, this is the result of the capitalistic society in which we live. The majority of people who saved money to buy investment property hope to sell their investment . Those who make the decision to rent in an expensive area like San Francisco to experience the rich urban lifestyle do so at a cost. And for that reason, (except for extreme situations), I don't feel for those facing gentrification. In the bigger picture, the San Francisco will slowly get an upgrade, making it a more beautiful city.
Corporate Buses in San Francisco
This complaint is the most confusing in my mind. On one hand, every large city is heavily supported by public transit to relieve congestion. So why should the residents in an urban environment life San Francisco have the right to protest corporate buses from large Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Genetech arrive to shuttle their employees to and from work? These private buses improve traffic congestion, reduce pollution from cars, and even free up space in other forms of public transportation. Is it a form of jealousy from SF residents because it is a bus they cannot board? And how is the corporate bus debate different from a taxi versus a private limo service? If you don't like traffic or buses, my suggestion is to move to the suburbs.
Tourists in San Francisco
Resident complaints of tourists in large buses are the most outrageous. In all cases that I can recall, SF resident who moved into a previously famous location (i.e. Painted Lady) are now complaining of the constant flow of tour buses. In these case, you or your realtor should have mentioned that the home you are about to live in or rent is or is in the vicinity of a famous location. And like any famous location, tourists will want to visit. Why should residents be the only ones allowed to enjoy it? Just live with it or move out (so a resident that can handle tourists can move in). A similar example is my first home that was built near the train tracks. The train isn't famous, but I was aware of the train tracks existence and factored that into my decision to purchase a home. Any noise or rattling from passenger or freight trains is now a problem I have to live with, not complain about. The only legitimate reason for a resident to complain is if they were present before the flocking of tourists. But in general, San Francisco generate revenue from tourism, so a part of living in the city means dealing with tourists. If you don't like it, move to the suburbs.