Poverty among plenty


The Bay Citizen has a fascinating map by census tract of poverty in the Bay Area. Among the things that jump out: There's plenty of serious poverty in the area -- and it's worst than the map shows. The definition of "poverty" is a family of four living on $22,113 -- in the Bay Area. Hard to imagine how a family of four can even pay rent, much less eat, in this part of the world on $22,000.

Aaron Glantz makes an interesting point: "In many parts of the Bay Area, the wealthy and poor live in close proximity to each other." Check out the census tract in the Richmond, right next to Seacliff, where some of the richest San Franciscans live. A full 20 percent of the residents of that area are under the federal poverty line -- and they can walk a couple of blocks to the mansions where millionaires live. There are 60 people living in extreme poverty in the 35-square-block area around Presidio Heights, where the likes of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi live.

Poverty among plenty. Just a tiny fraction of the wealth of Feinstein, Pelosi and their neighbors would pull all of those 60 people way above the poverty line. And the Presidio Heights denizens would never miss it.


The data also show that in many parts of the Bay Area, the wealthy and the poor live in close proximity to each othe

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/14J0t)

The data also show that in many parts of the Bay Area, the wealthy and the poor live in close proximity to each other. 

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/14J0t)


side-by-side and chhek-by-jowl without any of the petty envy that might occur in less enlightenwed cities? Moreover, the crime that you'd think might occur under such disparate proximity also fails to happen - the poor mostly rob each other, paradoxically.

And in fact isn't this a perfect example of the diversity which we all love about SF? Money is just one of many factors, and the fact that it is distributed unequally in a meritocracy is all part of what makes the rich fabric of life in this city.

So would I prefer a gray mushed up "equality" such as was attempted in places like Bucharest or Belgrade? No thank you. I prefer diversity.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 1:57 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

It means the tendency of disparate outcomes to add to the vitality of a community or closed system.

We like disparity of ages, cultures, religions and races, right? So why would we think it to be in SF's interest if everyone was either fabulously wealthy or desperately poor?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

Poverty is the biggest problem in this world. We should reduce the numbers of poverty.

Posted by santosh_samad on Dec. 15, 2011 @ 5:07 am

give peace a chance. Any more cliches?

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 15, 2011 @ 6:33 am

I'd hardly call any qualms a family four has about living off of $22,113 in San Francisco "petty envy." Gross. 

Posted by caitlin on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

question I'd put to you is this - what the hell are you doing in one of the most expensive places on the planet?

A family of four could live fairly well in some of the cheaper places in this nation on that income. Not everyone can afford to live here.

Having said that, didn't SFBG recently get 20 million in a lawsuit award? Some of that could make a real difference to the lives of some poor families. How much have they donated as a result of their windfall? Well, Tim?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

So ... by your logic, if a San Francisco resident born and raised here cannot clear an annual household income of $22K then they should simply leave, even if their entire network of family and friends is rooted here? They should just abandon their community and relocate to somewhere with a lower cost of living? First of all, that's an absurd expectation to place on anyone. Secondly, it's unrealistic. You think someone living at the poverty line can just snap their fingers and find a job during one of the worst economic downturns in history, manage transportation costs and moving expenses even though they likely don't even own a vehicle, and afford a security deposit on a new place? Don't you have any idea how expensive and complicated moving can be for people under financial strain?

Posted by rebecca on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

were born here and find that they cannot make it in what has become an expensive place. If I had been born on Kaui, I'd probably feel the same way.

But I rarely meet anyone here who was born here. The vast majority of folks here have migrated here for "lifestyle" reasons. And they expect to be able to live well here on under 25K pa. Not gonna happen.

If you can't afford to live in Manhattan, Central London, Paris or Zurich, then you probably can't afford to live here either.

While if your roots are in the Bay Area, then what is wrong with being 10 miles away in Oakland, for half the price?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

I used to live in Greenwich Village and more than 99% of the residents there weren't born in the neighborhood - but that didn't make it any less of a cohesive, vibrant place. New(ish) residents aren't any less invested in their neighborhoods than are old-timers.

It's a fallacy to state that those who where born in a place deserve to stay in a place - and that their staying makes that place somehow more "vibrant." Most of the stay-behinds are the biggest NIMBYs around - they remember it like it was and they never want it to change.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

If your hometown becomes too pricey for your fiscal power, then find a place that better matches your ability.

People like Tim and Lisa want to freeze our town at a point of time, because progress and success scares them.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

and then corporations steal your invention...

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

Are you a winner/survivor? Or a helpless pawn and observor?

Grow a spine.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

Corporations steal inventions as a matter of course. And suing them to overturn the theft is a hopeless enterprise for an individual entrepreneur.

Grow a brain.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

Standing up for the "golden past" (which wasn't the golden for most people) and aspiring to preserve SF in amber.

The SFBG has opposed every significant development of the past 40 years - the museum district, the convention center and more. I believe they also opposed the building of the Transamerica pyramid too. The Guardian's vision of SF is a sad and dreary place - a torpor-lulled city filled with 4-story buildings composed of "transitioning" residents with all major corporations banished to the suburbs.

They should be proud.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

Now, that's a hell of a statement: Poor people shouldn't be allowed to live here because it's too expensive? Middle-class and working-class people should all leave San Francisco and turn it into a city for the rich alone?


Posted by tim on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

I'd love to live in Hawaii or Geneva but I can't afford it, so I don't. According to you, do I have a right to live in those places anyway? Regardless of my means?

I wasn't suggesting that poor people should be banned from trying to survive here. Only that it can be profoundly self-defeating to live beyond your means when there are alternate and more viable options.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

I want to live in Fairbanks Ranch, California. It's the fifth most expensive community in the country. It's really pretty...

Thing is, I can't afford it. I don't have the $3M needed for the average priced home. So per your logic, somebody should provide me a place to live there? Correct? I should be subsidized by somebody, because it's where I want to be.

Listen, I realize you're a fringe guy and it's a far left paper - so far left it's rendered itself a nonfactor in San Francisco politics of all places. But do you realize when you say something like "that's a hell of a statement" about a comment that 95% of the country would consider basic logic, you sound like a complete kook? And I'm not even going to delve into the multitude of academic studies performed by economists that YOUR PAPER QUOTES which show that attempts to manipulate/restrain housing costs eventually results in higher cost of living.

You don't have to agree with the comment, but do you really have to be shocked? Becuase you're either full of shit or totally out of touch.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

The poor don't have to walk far to work in the homes of the rich - thus negating the need for greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles. A win-win for everyone!!

I also looked at this map in greater detail and noticed parts of St. Francis Wood have a higher number of residents in poverty than others. Those are the poorest rich people I know.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

Tim wants full on class warfare where the poor HATE the rich but mostly, we just envy them and want to become them.

And many poor people have become rich by getting to know someone rich and making themselves indispensable to them.

So as I said before, it's a great thing about both America and this city that we see the rich not as evil but as people who have become successful, and from whom we can learn to get our own American dream.

When winners and losers can bury their differences, you know we've achieved true diversity.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

I've been reading the Guardian for years, and I've never heard Tim advocate class warfare nor hatred towards any group. He is simply demanding that the rich share "a tiny fraction of the wealth" to make the city more livable for everyone (better schools, jobs, health care, parks and neighborhoods). According to the polls, more than two thirds of Americans back higher taxes on the rich.


The so-called "American Dream", where anyone can get rich, is a myth. But that's beside the point. It is not our aim, as progressives, to "make ourselves indispensable to the rich" nor to get rich. Our goal is to create a fairer, more egalitarian society for everyone.

Posted by Lisa on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

and so the endless cry for the successful to be taxed more and more starts, at some point, to sound like nothing more than petty envy.

While if you want an "egalitarian society" then why on earth do you live in the most meritocratic nation on that earth?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes~

"The Internal Revenue Service issues an annual report on the 400 highest income-tax payers. In 1961, there were 398 taxpayers who made $1 million or more, so I compared their income tax burdens from that year to 2007.

"Despite skyrocketing incomes, the federal tax burden on the richest 400 has been slashed, thanks for a variety of loopholes, allowable deductions and other tools. The actual share of their income paid in taxes, according to the IRS, is 16.6 percent. Adding payroll taxes barely nudges that number.

"Compare that to the vast majority of Americans, whose share of their income going to federal taxes increased from 13.1 percent in 1961 to 22.5 percent in 2007.

"(By the way, during seven of the eight Bush years, the IRS report on the top 400 taxpayers was labeled a state secret, a policy that the Obama overturned almost instantly after his inauguration.)" ~David Cay Johnston


Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

they weren't rich any more. Which of course means that there would be no rich because there'd be no imcentive. Which means no Jobs, Gates or Buffett.

How many world class businesses and wealth generatos have come out of Albania, Bulgaria, North Korea or Cuba? None.

When you substitute envy for all other considerations, the road ends in Bucharest, Belgrade or Sofia.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:23 pm
Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

The economy peaked when taxes were high in general because the US was the only standing power with an intact industrial base and because the US was able to command the production of cheap raw materials from the global south.

Low taxes helped in the domestic economy but the US was uniquely situated globall at the time when taxes were high.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

the US economy was greatest when blacks had no civil rights.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

The economy boomed just -as- we were giving more civil rights and freedoms to people of color.

And the fact still remains that a 94% top tax bracket didn't harm the economy one bit.

The high tax economy continued to boom all the way up until the 70s during -plenty- of new competition from Germany and other parts of Europe.

Your ravings are ahistorical nonsense.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

and we had segregation then.

It all started going wring with LBJ's "guns and butter" ers, which happened to be when we gave away the civil rights.

So we can just as easily argue that it was a lack of civil rights that made us prosperous.

Point is - simple-minded correlations don't add value.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 6:19 am

Again you show your total lack of knowledge of history.

The boom years lasted all the way until the mid 70s and was ended by

1) the 70s oil shock

2) the mindless concerted campaign of corporations and elites to repeal all of the progressive, civil rights, and environmental gains of the three previous decades.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

Which is why no serious economist or politicians proposes taking taxes back the 1950's rates.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 6:06 am

At that same time period, we had segregation.

So, segregation caused the boom, right?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

No, because the regime of segregation had been in place for half a century and could just as easily have been blamed for the great depression as well as the post-WWII boom.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

Far greater civil rights were granted in the middle of the boom and it continued.

No correlation.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

by the early 70's we were in trouble - inflation and a move off the gold standard by Nixon.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 6:20 am

The economy went south in 1968 for largely the same reasons it is going south right now: war(s) that the economy cannot afford. Wars are highly profitable but bad for the economy.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 11:27 am

Your all too convenient fictional account is not borne out by reality.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. economy grew by an average of 3.8% from 1946 to 1973, while real median household income surged 55% (or 1.6% a year). The economy since 1973, however, has been characterized by both slower growth (averaging 2.7%), and nearly stagnant living standards, with household incomes increasing by 10%, or only 0.3% annually.


You don't know what you are talking about, and you are twisting history to fit your bogus right wing agenda. (A favorite pass time of economic reactionaries.)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

You can't just go back to some point in time in the past, cherry pick some feature that you want to credit, and then claim that that is what created prosperity.

It's as ridiculous to assert that 90% tax rates created success as it is to assert that segregation caused it. Both were prevalent in the 50's and 60's, but that doesn't mean that either caused prosperity.

It's a bogus argument and you know it. And there isn't a serious, credible economist on the planet recommending a 90% tax rate to ensure economic vitality. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

a) You are the one who selectively left out half of the economic boom to serve your grade school level economic argument. Hence, you are the one, who cherry picked, genius.

b) I have made clear -several- times that I have never once claimed that high tax rates led to the economic boom.

To repeat to your clay, brain, yet one more time..

You falsely claimed that high taxes hurt the economy, and I easily proved that you are completely full of shit by showing that the highest tax rates in U.S. history were accompanied by the biggest economic boom that the human species has ever witnessed.

Therefore it is totally ridiculous to claim that high taxes stifle the economy.

They clearly do not.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

Note that the actual share of their income that the rich pay in taxes, according to the IRS, is a mere 16.6 percent! It's really worth it to read the entire article by David Cay Johnston...that is, if you care to educate yourself, instead of spewing nonsense.

Posted by Lisa on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

Is it because your life is a failure and so you seek to punish those who have done better?

Or do you wish to diveroce the rewards of society from effort and ability?

Either way, you must realize that you're in a tiny minority in this country. And you must surely feel more affinity with places overseas.

So why stay here? Given that nobody feels as you do here?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

and where are you from? It would lend a lot more creedence to your argumentation if you were an actual person. 

Posted by marke on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

definitively identify you in real life?

Right, I didn't think so.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

with a passing familiarity with this site knows I'm the managing editor and have been the web editor for the past five years. You're still hiding behind an alias.

Posted by marke on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

Not that it matters either way because the focus should be on the message and not the messenger.

I used to post with a constant handle here but then people started imp'ing my handle and I realized it was better to post anon. The only people who criticize that are usually those who cannot refute my arguments.

If you're really the "web editor" here, then implement some type of registration and userid/signon like every other site on the planet.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 6:44 am

It was few months ago, and I don't remember the exact quote, but Marke jumped in at one point when the anti-social obsessives were trolling up a storm: The likely usual suspects of Arthur, Eric, h, Marcos and their active baiters and enablers wasting electrons day after day just because they get a cheap thrill seeing their name in print: "Mommy, Daddy, look at me!"

Marke's post explained everything you need to know before posting here: this website is a refuge for San Francisco's lonely and miserable.

Any website where you can read post after post from people with the apparent emotional maturity of a 12 year old trying to "win an argument," or "prove" someone is wrong," or call local politicians like Mayor Lee a "1%er," or obsessively post responses to people they should know - if they had half a brain - will never agree with them, or who post "so other progressives will know how to think about a subject," or who reflexively post because someone might read a point of view different from theirs and they need to apply their special spin sauce to a well-stated contrary point of view - well, the only thing you can add to Marke's brilliant, pointed post is to maybe say the website is the last refuge for the lonely, miserable AND delusional.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 10:39 am

@Guest (10:39 am)

What can you say about people who insist on psychoanalyzing other people, whom they've never met, and don't know the first thing about. Projecting much?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

and I fully support their right to form a labor union, and go on strike. Imagine a day without Matlock, Anonymous, et al


Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 6:48 pm


I didn't catch your comment yesterday, but I've got to hand it to you. This is high comedy. For the past two months, we've been witnessing a mass public revolt against the richest 1%. These are average Americans from all walks of life -- vets, students, workers -- who have occupied public space in dozens of cities all across America. btw, the latest polls say that over 2/3 of Americans want to tax the rich. But I'm in a 'tiny minority'? Nice try. Shall I help you pack?


Posted by Lisa on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

99% of people are ignoring it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 6:04 am