Tale of two cities

LA Mayor, Eric Garcetti

Interesting piece in the LA Times a few days ago, Our new mayor, Eric Garcetti, wants to bring raves back to Los Angeles. After the death of a 15 year old that snuck into the Electric Daisy Carnival event at the Coliseum, the raves have gone to Vegas, where they're pulling in 100K in attendance. The mayor sees dollar signs in those numbers, not to mention OT for city employees that have been hurting the last five years from budget cuts. A sensible idea.

It got me to thinking, as these things do, about a more general policy of bringing lucrative businesses and events to LA. After all, downtown business rents are cheaper than New York or Tokyo and there is far more space here as well. The city's soon to be highest high rise will be a Korean owned hotel, so LA has already demonstrated a cooperation with Asian interests that cannot be matched. Not by New York or any other American city, even those on the West Coast. Like Seattle, Portland or erm, San Francisco.

If Garcetti and the city council decided to offer up better deals for high-tech than exist 390 miles to the Northwest, there is precious little Mayor Lee could do to match. LA has a lot more money and of greater importance, much more space. 49 square miles cannot compete with 480 square miles. And with the Internet making high tech jobs doable anywhere, why wouldn't tech start ups decide to opt for LA?

Let's face it, San Francisco has priced itself right off the grid. For all of Mayor Lee's tax incentives, the city is incredibly expensive to rent or buy in. It is still possible to find a decent 1 BR in Silver Lake or Eagle Rock or Highland Park for under 1200 a month--where is that in SF, Bayview (if at all)? And no 82K parking spaces or multi million dollar Manhattan sized condos either--for 3 million bucks, you can buy a reasonable property in the West Side's swankest hoods--what does that get you in Pacific Heights?

LA is a very expensive city to live in by dint of car ownership as necessity and driving distances. It's also nowhere near as pretty as San Francisco is. But as SF approaches Tokyo-like exclusivity, it would take very little to pry high tech firms south--where it's always warm, the beaches and ski resorts both near and best of all--the entertainment business and its attendant pleasures and power are nearby. 

Let's face it, SF has screwed up--their biggest business for eons is tourism and that would never change were the city not so insistant on wrecking same with crack downs on clubs and "1984''-like scare tactics. Los Angeles--with its money and power can offer incentives that Mr. Lee and his cromies could only dream of--and with a forward thinker like Garcetti at the wheel, this may be inevitable.



Wow, Johnny's still posting!

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

"LA has a lot more money and of greater importance, much more space. 49 square miles cannot compete with 480 square miles."

Because there is nothing in the Bay Area outside San Francisco...

Posted by Ted on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:21 am

Hayward? Fremont? Pleasanton?

I think not.

Why do you think real estate in SF has skyrocketed--because it's a "stepping stone to Walnut Creek"?

Such agonizing tunnel vision and pig ignorance.


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:29 am

"Where do the Techie Nouveau Riche Wanna Be?
Hayward? Fremont? Pleasanton?"

Better Hayward, Fremont, and Pleasanton than South Central or East LA.

Say, I hear that the San Fernando Valley is the hip place for techies these days! All the Silicon Valley tech companies are moving to Northridge!

Posted by Rick on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:34 am

Pleasanton is not South Central's doppelganger in anyone's metric.

Are tech companies relocating into the heart of Oakland's barrios?


As trolling goes, rather anemic.


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:39 am

A better comparison is Greater LA with the 9-County Bay Area. There is much more to the Bay Area than just SF. The best two universities in the Bay area are Stanford and Berkeley, and neither are in SF which really doesn't have a world-class university outside of the specialist UC facilities for law and medicine.

If you look at the best parts of LA, they are not so different in price from SF. Compare apples with apples.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

Easy there, Ted. He is comparing two cities, not two regions. Lee's ability to effect change stops at San Francisco's city limits. Seeing as LA is a much bigger city in terms of square miles and available space, Garcetti has a lot more to work with.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

"And with the Internet making high tech jobs doable anywhere..."

A statement so obviously clueless about the tech industry and high-end white-collar economy as to disqualify anything further the author says from serious consideration. Which is a shame, as one of premises -- that the city of SF is incompetently run, and overly- and stupidly-regulated -- is a good one.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:25 am

"LA has a lot more money"

Math was never Johnny's strong point.

From wikipedia, median household income:

San Francisco–Oakland–San Jose, California CMSA $63,024

Los Angeles–Riverside–Orange County, California CMSA $45,903

The San Francisco metro area is #1 in household income in the United States - the Los Angeles metro area is #43, behind such economic powerhouses as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Appleton, Wisconsin.

Posted by Rick on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:30 am

That was your insertion, not mine.

Household income isn't even the issue here--it's the ability to lure business away from  an overcrowded, overpriced city by dint of sheer size. 

No one with a median household income of 63K can buy property in San Francisco now--that might get you 2/3's of a parking space.

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:37 am

The Bay Area is 1,023 square miles - more than twice the size of LA.

You may have noticed that not all tech companies feel it necessary to locate in the 49 square miles of San Francisco - some of them locate in dull, unimportant places like Cupertino, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, Mountain View...

Posted by Rick on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:50 am

I was wondering when someone was going to point out that the tech industry is actually centered in Santa Clara County, which sits on 1,304.01 sq miles, and not really in SF.

SF has places like Twitter and Zynga.

SC County has Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, etc.

Posted by GPR on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

But don't worry, Johnny, households in LA still make 10% more than households in Stockton!

(Stockton–Lodi, California MSA household income: $41,282.)

Posted by Rick on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:44 am

I really hope you're right and that L.A. can come back. Ironic that it's less authoritarian than The City now, which was definitely not the case in the 20th century.

Posted by CQ on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

The overreaction of the city of LA pushed the festival into Las Vegas which welcomed it with open arms - which was a huge loss for LA. Bring raves back to LA!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

Why is this guy still spewing his drivel around these parts? Time for the scrawny Guardian to find bloggers and writers in San Francisco to mouth off about nothing much of substance.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

You lost me at "always warm". Quite possibly the number one reason why we left SoCal.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

Being their own worst enemies, they can aspire only to find fault in others. Their own words and attitudes repel others.

Posted by N.L. Eakins,,,,Iowa on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

... as opposed to Wendy Greuel. Both seem like moderate milquetoast Democrats, but I was kinda hoping that Garcetti would prevail. Greuel seemed like too much of a fuddy-duddy. Guess my instincts were right. Even so, this is surprisingly forward-thinking. He's totally right about the dollars, of course. It's just that few politicians see value in events for young people. In San Francisco, City government seems intent on chasing out every festival that young people enjoy. A yacht race that a few billionaires are interested in won't bring anywhere near the kind of money that EDC would. I wouldn't begrudge the rich boys their little boat race if the city was promoting a diverse range of nightlife that everyone could enjoy, but the one-sidedness of it really ticks me off.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

Not just young people, but the Tamale Lady, Tu Lan and Esta Noche, community institutions that have been with us for decades suddenly facing trumped up enforcement actions. This is where the vaunted "free market" transforms itself to the expensive market.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

"our new mayor"? is this a strange typo or does johnny do all these dispatches about SF from LA? That would sure be disturbing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

Thanks for playing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

I am from the SC County which leaves to say this. How many of you even go down there, yes we aren't like San Francisco. We don't want to be San Francisco! When people ask me about Silicon Valley, which I reply to their question like this.

Silicon Valley is made up of many cities all holding hands, nothing in common, different sizes, land areas, history and not much else.

Sunnyvale has Murphy Ave., Mountain View has Castro Street, each one has their own quirks. Each city has something to offer or in the case of others, they just don't want to live there.

LA is made up the same way, not everyone wants to live in LA but maybe somewhere that offers something that suits their tastes.

Posted by Garrett on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

I would say University Ave in Palo Alto, Castro in Mtn. View and Santana Row in San Jose were all basically designed to emulate the sort of urban commercial districts that existed in SF for decades prior to the advent of SC Co. counterparts.

Santa Clara County's strongest point is its abundance of open space districts, like Rancho San Antonio and Foothills Park.

There's a reason so many of the tech companies provide shuttle buses in and out of SF. The south bay just doesn't have the same cultural or nightlife resources as the city, and their employees don't want to live in the communities near corporate HQ.

Posted by GPR on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 10:28 am

and is closer to the high tech powerhouses.

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