The rich, the poor and the state of SF

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Why are they so angry? Take a guess

The latest Forbes 400 is out, the list of the richest Americans, and a record number (according to my annual record-keeping) now live in San Francisco. This is a city with 18 people on the top-billionaires list -- and since the list cuts off at $1.1 billion, there are a lot of really, really rich San Franciscans who didn't quite make it this year. School Board candidate Sam Rodriguez told us his research shows that there are 80,000 millionaires in the city, meaning one in ten San Franciscans is worth a cool mil, and while some of that is just homeowners who bought 20 years ago and now have property worth $1 million -- and I haven't verified his data anyway -- it's hard to argue that this is anything but a very wealthy city.

(It also has, according to Forbes, the second-hippest neighborhood in the nation, and that would be the Mission, which is reaching that fully-gentrified stage where nobody young can afford to live there anymore so it won't be hip much longer.)

The list comes out at the same time that figures show nearly 7 million Californians are living in poverty, and household income for most people has been stagnant -- at best -- for more than a decade.

It was a great year for the top 400, though -- their median income was up rather dramatically. It seems that, whatever Mitt Romney may say in public or in private, the Obama administration hasn't been bad at all for the 1 percent.

I keep asking, and I know it's tiresome, but: Why, in a city with 18 billionaires, do we still have to clear out homeless encampments?

Why are the public schools holding (literally) bake sales to buy paper and pencils? Why have we cut the number of acute psychiatric care beds at SF General from 40 to 10? If San Francisco can't even talk about taxing the billionaires, is there any hope for the rest of the country?

FYI, here's The SF 18 (complied by Anna Sterling):

    1
    Riley Bechtel
    $2.9 B
    Chairman and CEO, Bechtel Corp.
    2
    Stephen Bechtel, Jr.
    $2.9 B
    Former Chairman, Bechtel Corp.
    3
    Doris Fisher
    $2.9 B
    Cofounder, Gap
    4
    Dustin Moskovitz
    $2.7 B
    CEO, Asana
    5
    Ray Dolby
    $2.4 B
    Founder and director emeritus, Dolby Laboratories
    6
    John Fisher
    $2.3 B
    President, Pisces, Inc.
    7
    William Randolph Hearst, III
    $2.3 B
    Source of Wealth: Hearst Corp
    8
    Marc Benioff
    $2.2 B
    Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com
    9
    James Coulter
    $2.1 B
    Source of Wealth: Leveraged buyouts, Self-made
    10
    Gordon Getty
    $2 B
    President and Chairman, Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation
    11
    Phoebe Hearst Cooke
    $1.9 B
    Source of Wealth: Hearst Corp
    12
    Michael Moritz
    $1.9 B
    Partner, Sequoia Capital
    13
    John Pritzker
    $1.8 B
    Source of Wealth: Hotels, investments
    14
    Robert Fisher
    $1.7 B
    Director, Gap
    15
    William Fisher
    $1.7 B
    Director, Gap
    16
    Peter Thiel
    $1.4 B
    Partner, Founders Fund
    17
    Thomas Steyer
    $1.3 B
    Founder & Co-Senior Managing Partner, Farallon Capital Management
    18
    Jack Dorsey
    $1.1 B
    CEO, Square, Inc.

 

 

 

Comments

Your idea that it's unaffordable is off the mark, and in fact even the article you cite (2nd hippest neighborhood in America" states that rents are lower in the Mission than other parts of the city.

The Mission is really several neighborhoods. The "media gulch" stretch along Bryant, the "barrio" either side of 24th St., the "hip" boulevard that is Valencia St. and a fairly anonymous quasi-industrial stretch in the middle (NEMIZ).

You could even throw in Mission Dolores and Liberty Hill to see even more how heterogeneous it is.

As for there being "too many" rich people in SF, so what? You'd have a lot more to worry about than mere envy if they all left and took their wealth with them. We'd be "Detroit on the Bay" and most of your precious welfare programs would have to close.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

I bet you read that in San Francisco Board of Realtors' guide to the Mission.

Rents in The Mission are barely affordable by tech workers and not affordable by anyone with a median income.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

people like many hispanics minimum wage workers and starving artists.

There's lots of rent-controlled housing in the Mission, and anyone who walks a few blocks there beyond the tinsel of Valencia St. quickly comes to realise it's a low rent neighborhood.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

You answered your own question. The only affordably housing left in the Mission is the rent-controlled housing that residents have occupied for many years. There is NO current rental housing available in the Mission for anything other than an astronomical price.

San Francisco will never be Detroit. Ask me, we'd be better off with fewer rich people and cheaper housing

Posted by tim on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

Rents and home prices in SF simply reflect the success of our economy. Or, more accurately, the success of the economy in San Mateo and Santa Clara and Marin counties.

You're free to move to Detroit, Tim, is low-rent naighborhoods are preferable to you. I'm sure they'd welcome your economic ideas there.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 4:24 am

Facile self-congratulatory soft-core Ayn Randian pablum is quite revelatory of the facile

The high rents don't reflect a successful economy any better than a huge cancerous growth represents good health.

So while the Bay Area's economic uptick turns it into a magnet for a whole new generation of highly productive youngsters without a product -- who neccessarily bid-up the pricing of housing otherwise used, sometimes in higher density by the more ordinary kind of working folks

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 6:41 am

They do have a product. You're using it right now to make and read these posts.

Maybe if you stopped and thought about it for a second instead of just coming up with some pompous insults.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 7:14 am

I am using a linux laptop to browse the web using firefox. The SFBG is serving their content via the apache webserver.

The tech economy is using those products as well that were gifted to them to produce time sponges that they are trying to monetize via massive infusions of speculative venture capital.

It is this infusion of venture capital, not firefox, linux or apache that are driving up rents.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 9:47 am

Congratulations. But the page you are reading is still supported by ads from Google.com, perhaps administered by the same people that Tim derides as they ride in their big white bus. And the page asks for additional exposure through Facebook and Twitter shares.

Also, it probably would not exist if everyone had to run Linux to access it. I bet a lot of people read it on their phones.

I'm responding to lillipublican's original statement that these rich silicon valley kids don't have a product, when in fact it is a product that most of us use every day and it has had a dramatic impact on our world.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

I use an advertising blocker, contributed to the commons by a benevolent engineer, so count me out of that. Yes, the burden of running linux is so onerous, just like the burden of running apache on linux to serve this all up, it is all such confusing rocket science, get off of my lawn!

Posted by marcos on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 10:33 am

find, based on your falsification by omission.

No. The high rents aren't explainable solely by facile Ayn Randian pablum.

The high rents are no more a sign of a successful economy than a huge cancerous growth is a sign of good health.

The new generation of highly-productive-people-without-products bidding-up the prices for housing will -- just like the last wave -- leave behind greater economic ill-health when, ultimately, they excised by the scalpel of market correction.

Also, the relative attractiveness of the Bay Area over Detroit stems not solely from their relative geographical and cultural characteristics, but from the imbalance resultant from an economic malaise which is a wider manifestation of the economic mismanagement perpetrated on the American people by short-sighted and shallow-thinking greed heads.

And -- of course! -- while a rising tide might hypothetically lift all boats, this economic wave is only helping a narrow sector, having decidedly mixed effect on other players. The local economic imbalance is driving the destruction of affordable housing on material, and not just conceptual basis.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 7:17 am

claim that they are "wrong" or "cheap" or "expensive"

They simply are what they are.

There are cheaper rents elsewhere. Nobody moves to Aspen to get cheap rent.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 8:00 am

that seems above question based on its constant repetition, but it doesn't factor in market anomalies such as speculation -- exactly what is driving the wildly imbalanced housing market in the Bay Area right now.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 10:29 am

There have been booms and busts throughout history and some of those have resulted in displacements of existing communities.

BUT what we are seeing now is completely unconstrained capital beefed up on steriods able to flow across borders concentrating on a few desirable areas.

Perhaps there is such a thing as creative destruction, but I'd do everything possible to erect as many barriers between unrestrained capital flows and communities that generations of residents have built.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 10:56 am

they are now just happens to be optimal. SF has been changing forever and that is a part of what it is. If you want nothing to ever change, you should probably move to some small village in Europe where literally nothing does change for centuries.

Taking the Mission as an example, it used to be home to Italians and Irish. Is it somehow "wrong" that they left and Hispanics moved in? Why?

And if Hispanics are now being replaced with annoying hipsters with rimmed glasses and stupid goatees, is that wrong too?

You want to make time stand still out of some misguided sense of NIMBY'ism. It's parochial.

The irony is that you can live just a few miles away, in Oakland, where rents are a half or two thirds lower than SF, and yet be in SF in 10 minutes. Try living that close to Geneva or Aspen or St. Moritz or Monaco on that kind of rent - can't be done.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 11:22 am

Nobody is talking about freezing anything, that is reductio ad absurdum.

People should not have to up and move and see their established communities rent asunder just because speculative capital has designs on their communities.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 11:53 am

lately and backed up my assertions with URLs ending in .edu. I hope you will research the *huge* distinction between RAA and "straw man" -- the latter to which I *know* you meant to refer.

Reductio is a completely valid logical tool.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

We must let capital run free otherwise we'd freeze San Francisco in time like a museum.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

I know that's anathema to the rigid pedants of the left.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

have to move then you're like King Canute order the tide to go back.

Neighborhoods have always changed and always will. Some get better and some get worse, but people go where they think they will most be happy.

Nobody has a right to live in the nicest, most expensive places on the planet.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

The straight white male Republicans of mid 20th century California allowed for zoning and planning to promote the orderly development of communities.

It is not like the two choices are stasis and capital rampaging over our communities irrespective of impacts on existing residents.

There are plenty of policy choices at hand to balance the interests of existing residents and capital, protestations of the neolibertarians notwithstanding.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

make SF more "affordable" except at the margins. The City doesn't have the money to build much "affordable" housing and has to rely on setasides and development fees to build most of that. Rent control, by it's very nature, applies to several thousand less buildings each year. And the RE market is simply too big for any entity to control - even the Feds are struggling to have much impact there.

The left always think they can control everything. It's a myth. In the end, you have to go out and get a job to pay to buy stuff, and you cannot make that go away.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

Government can quit throwing fire on the conflagration that is consuming our communities.

Government can adopt countercyclical policies that flex as the economic cycles go through their motions.

None of this is rocket science, policy choices have been made to the contrary, but that does not mean that policies that have worked all of a sudden will not work just because those who benefit from their absence say so.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

Dream on... billionaires are dumping their stocks. All that "quantitative easing" (really, another bailout for the banks) means we're headed for yet another economic meltdown.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

The economy has not felt the ongoing meltdown because the supply side has been on about $16,000,000,000,000 of crack courtesy of the Federal Reserve expanding its "balance sheet." Once the supply side crack stops working...

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

Socialism -- Yes! SOCIALISM! Hahahaha! -- many of our troubles stem from the separation and opposition of capital to labor.

And I believe it was Karl Marx -- that's right! Mathematician Marx! -- who established that unregulated capitalism was destined to suffer endless destructive boom-bust cycles.

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Posted by website on Jul. 09, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

I was hoping that you could let me know what constitutes "rich" here in S.F. so that I can determine whether you think the City would be better off without me.
thanks in advance

Posted by danimalssf on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 8:20 am

kinda leaving yourself open there. Just thought I'd alert you...

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 8:50 am

I really don't give a hoot what Tim or any anonymous people on some comments section thinks of me
But in general, I'd like to know what "rich" is, according to SF standards. $100K? $250K?

But lets say I make enough dough to quality as rich in Tim's book. I've lived here for 20 years. I give blood. I donate time and $ to causes I believe in. I don't hurt anyone, I live and let live, generally vote pretty progressive/liberal, don't give a crap about naked dudes in the Castro, didn't have anyone evicted to move into my apartment, etc etc. The City is better off without me if my apartment could instead be used for some low income family? Really? How so?

It just seems fucking ridiculous for Tim to consistantly say who merits living in SF based on their paycheck. I guess unlike him, it isn't all about the Benjamin's in my world.

Posted by danimalssf on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 10:00 am

than answer your "point" is that your point was a non-sequitur.

The article doesn't say that rich have no place in San Francisco.

The article doesn't indicate that $100,000 or $250,000/yr incomes make you rich.

The article points out that with 18 billionaires in San Francisco and a 10% population of millionaires, that San Francisco shouldn't need to be so cruel to homeless people as to roust them whenever they find themselves the barest degree of shelter.

Your claim that Tim is constantly saying who merits living in San Francisco based on their paycheck is a lie which calls into question your other claims with regard to being liberal/progressive, giving blood, etc.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 10:40 am

If there are more rich folks then, by definition, there are going to be less poor people. Tim starts from the premise that poor people are somehow better and more desirable than rich people. That's an appalling piece of discriminatory thinking and yet he wears it like a badge of pride.

I don't judge people by their bank balance anyway but I do know that poor people are generally a drain on the city resources whereas rich succeesful people give more than they take. So we need more rich people to stop taxes rising on the rest of us, and there's plenty of room in the east bay for those whose budget doesn't stretch to one of the most expensive places on the planet.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 11:26 am

Rich people are rich because poor people are poor. Of course, liberals prefer analyses that exclude the exploitation of labor. The biggest "drain on the city resources" is the business community and the cops who protect them.

Posted by Eddie on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 11:55 am

off in most countries. Wealth isn't a fixed commodity that gets shared out. It gets built and everyone can have more if you bake a bigger cake.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

Working people, that's who. The rich skim the profits from other people's labor and by exploiting natural resources. Let them eat cake.

Posted by Eddie on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

Marx' labor theory if value is as bogus as his historical imperative.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

also proof that 'historical imperative" is Marx's.

Thanks.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

not a neutral observation.

The poor and middle class are made poorer by an influx of those with greater wealth and disposable income as the prices for commodities become inflated.

This happens across the board; not just with respect to housing. Outlets that lower income people patronize for necessities such as food and clothing are displace by those catering to frou-frou rich peoples' nonsense making those commodities less available and more expensive to buy for those who are on the society's precipice or being pushed closer to it every day.

The rich getting richer *makes* the poor poorer.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

Too bad there isn't a shred of evidence that it's true.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

but even Thomas Jefferson believed that too great a division between the rich and the poor would be incompatible with democracy -- a premise whose validity is as self evident as my statement concerning the effects of increased concentrations of wealth on poor people; notwithstanding your ossified beliefs to the contrary.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 4:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

in Tim's comment to another poster in this thread he wrote:
"Ask me, we'd be better off with fewer rich people and cheaper housing"

so yes, he is judging rich people and his desireability of having them live here. My point is that the amount of money someone has is a bizarre factor upon which to decide whether somebody is worthwhile living in SF.

I never said the article claimed that $100K or $250K were rich, so please don't put words in my mouth to try to make a point. I was asking him if he thought that those amounts qualified as rich. I didn't lie about anything

And you can question my claims about giving blood, being liberal, etc. I don't need to prove myself to anyone, and to some anonymous guy who makes a hobby of starting shit with people on a comments thread in particular. And please feel free to not respond to anything I write. I wasn't talking to you, and frankly, I find your posts to be regularly abusive to anyone who doesn't toe your line. There's an art to debating, to be able to disagree without being disagreeable, and that is something about which you clearly have no concept. You're never going to change somebody's mind, or at least give them food for thought, when your points are wrapped around calling them a rat or vile or whatever 50 cent word you happen to pull out of your thesaurus on any given day.

So go ahead and pull out your thesaurus to find some big-time worlds to hurl at me. Am I

Posted by danimalssf on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

point that the rich should be getting taxed back into the realm of common people like they used to be: such would serve the larger interests of society and democracy.

That does not imply that those of a certain economic class are undesireable per se; only that the algae bloom of wealth is damaging the cultural ecosystem.

Thanks for the implied compliment on my writing based on your mention of a thesaurus. I do like words, and know and use as many as I see fit.

As for the abusive qualities in some of my posts, I do try to avoid such and highly respect the overtly polite habits of such commenters as jccourt, but note well that I view the straw man argumentation technique of falsely imputing statements and habits to others is abuusive in itself and I will either riducule such behavior or answer in kind according to my whim... and your performance in this regard is a perfect example.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

you're the biggest, most pompous, self-aggrandizing, blowhard, faux intellectual, boring dick on this forum.

Just sayin'

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

I think that the issue is not so much that folks who came here decades ago and worked hard did well, rather that the city that brought us all here decades ago is being overrun with the fruits of speculative venture capital, yet another gold rush.

At least the gold rush produced something of lasting value--gold. This tech rush is most likely another case of a frothy economic bubble that will leave a handful of winners and a broad base of losers.

Is it worth sacrificing the city that brought us here and that we've breathed life into on the altar of free market unregulate capital flows and speculation? I don't think so.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

That's arguably the spaciest thing you've ever said here.

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and we have the rich for dinner ;)

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 1:40 pm