Where No Google Buses Go

Toxic smoke, visible from Market Street in San Francisco, is blown east, away from the city, and toward the communities of Richmond and San Pablo after the Chevron refinery exploded in 2012.

Toxic smoke, visible from Market Street in San Francisco, is blown east, away from the city, and toward the communities of Richmond and San Pablo after the Chevron refinery exploded in 2012.

For every word written about the gentrification and displacement that is tearing San Francisco apart, there should be ten words written about the the poverty, environmental racism, and financial predation battering the smaller industrial cities of Contra Costa and Alameda counties. In suburban hinterlands north and east of Silicon Valley and San Francisco are the bankrupted municipalities of the Sacramento Delta and Carquinez Straight. We’re talking Stockton and Vallejo. Even closer are other cities devastated by the economic crisis, places like San Pablo, or Richmond from where you can see the rising skyline of San Francisco across the Bay, growing with towers of luxury apartments as it is.

Black and Latino residents have already been pushed to the fringes of San Francisco, both geographically and in the employment ranks of the new tech-centric economy. Fleets of Silicon Valley company buses that clog San Francisco’s streets picking up and dropping off the gentrifiers —mostly affluent white and Asian newcomers to the Bay Area— give the ruthless socioeconomic order a sense of literal arrival each morning and night.

It’s impossible to ignore, and the region’s media, fixated as they have always been upon San Francisco’s wealth and velocity, give the city’s problems frequent coverage. But San Francisco’s problems are really just a small part of the region’s destruction and reconstruction around new and even more severe class and race inequalities. In San Francisco the have-it-alls are now as busy purging the middle class as they are the remaining working class communities of color. Beyond San Francisco, in its sunset shadow, are entire cities of the dispossessed, largely forgotten in the boiling public debate around housing, jobs, and community.

There is no Google bus that arrives in San Pablo, a small city across the Bay from San Francisco that for decades has been known as the Bay Area’s poorest municipality. What did arrive at least twice in the last two years were orders for San Pablo’s 30,000 residents to shelter in place from toxic chemical clouds. San Pablo is less than two miles downwind from Chevron’s giant Richmond oil refinery, and another couple miles southwest of the ConocoPhillips refinery in Rodeo. If Twitter and Salesforce and cleantech and biotech symbolize the “green” and “postindustrial” corporate community of San Francisco today, it is noxious oil and chemical giants like Shell and Valero that dominate the landscape of Contra Costa.

The landscape is relatively level where San Pablo’s 30,000 residents are concentrated. Most of San Pablo’s homes, schools, and businesses are built on the Bay’s flatlands bracketed between the Interstate-80 Highway to the east and the BNSF’s congested train tracks on the west side. BNSF is the rail road of the world’s fourth wealthiest man, Warren Buffet. Through San Pablo it pulls thousands and thousands of tanker cars filled with hazardous crude petroleum and refined petrochemical products. Warren’ Buffet’s net worth of $53.5 billion is 45 times greater than the total assessed value of all the land and buildings in the city of San Pablo. In 2013 Warren Buffett’s wealth grew by $37 million a day. In contrast, the average worker living in San Pablo earned $106 a day.

Up against the BNSF railway tracks are neighborhoods comprised of trailer parks and aging houses. The little wood-frame homes, many built in the 1960s and 1970s, are inhabited mostly by Latino immigrants and African Americans. San Pablo is 88 percent non-white. Children attend an elementary school just 200 feet from where oil trains race by around the clock.

Back in 2007, before the economic crash, the median household income in San Pablo was $46,000. This was already a community enduring serious poverty and higher than average rates of unemployment—6 percent even at the height of the mid-2000s boom. Of course the Financial Crisis hit San Pablo hard, and the Great Recession, which officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009 caused unemployment, poverty, and foreclosures to spike in the community. Incomes dropped drastically.

With an unemployment rate now at 12 percent, double its pre-Great Recession rate, and with median household incomes having actually declined by $7,000, to $39,000 in 2012, San Pablo’s residents have only fallen further behind in a region where there are corporations and individuals worth billions.

There has been no recovery so to speak of. Far removed as it is from the playground of San Francisco, and in the path of a polluting industrial facility, waves of techies aren’t clamoring to move into San Pablo, but the oil trains still stream through. For decades the community has been afflicted by property crime and violence bred from poverty and alienation. The city’s politicians now allocate 45 percent of their total budget toward police repression. Ironically about 19 percent of San Pablo’s city revenue is now gotten from a casino that was allowed to open in 2002—sin funds the city, even while it arguably fuels social problems like gambling addictions, drunk driving, and assault.

There are no tech buses to block in San Pablo. It and other cities east of San Francisco have been left behind in the tech boom. The new economy’s billion dollar corporations and thousands of startups are concentrating themselves in downtown San Francisco all down the San Mateo Peninsula into northwest San Jose. Places like Palo Alto and Mountain View have become wealthier, whiter, and more connected to San Francisco through public and private transportation infrastructure investments, and through financial networks that link San Hill Road to the Embarcadero.

Across the Bay in San Pablo and further east there are no new tech campuses planned. Apple is building a multi-billion dollar campus in Cupertino. (No one actually knows how much it will cost.) In Contra Costa County the only multi-billion dollar investments planned are PG&E gas-fired power plants like the one to be built in the distant town of Oakley.

There are no techies pushing up rental prices in Contra Costa’s working class cities. There is only the sinking feeling of further declining real incomes, a generation of lost wealth, deepening racial segregation, and cities that are tottering on weakened fiscal foundations.

San Pablo’s neighborhoods were crushed by the foreclosure crisis. When the crash came it took what wealth many had saved up; the median home value in Contra Costa County dropped by 47 percent in 2008. It dropped another 24 percent in 2009. Prices haven’t recovered in many corners of the county since, especially those areas populated by Latinos and Blacks. Over the past year there were 168 notices of default issued on mortgages in San Pablo out of a total 4,030 loans — four percent, according to Foreclosure Radar. HUD’s estimate of foreclosures at the outset of the Great Recession, from 2007 through the first half of 2008, showed that one in ten mortgages was foreclosed in San Pablo. At the same time San Francisco’s rate of foreclosure was a mere 2 percent.

Remarking on how much more devastated Contra Costa County cities like San Pablo were by the Great Recession, Chris Schildt and Jake Wegmann wrote in June 2012 that, “we now face a new map of regional inequality, one for which the entire region bears some responsibility, not simply the residents and leaders of southern Solano and eastern Contra Costa counties.”

How right that is. All the big banks that were responsible for the subprime boom —and the frenzy of packaging these predatory loans into complex derivative investment products that ultimately crashed the economy— have offices in San Francisco. Many of the bank architects that targeted African Americans and Latinos with subprime loans, financing their moves out of San Francisco and Oakland into Contra Costa County, are in downtown San Francisco. A few, like banking giant Wells Fargo are headquartered there. Their executives live in mansions in tony neighborhoods like Pacific Heights, or down in San Mateo’s wealthy enclaves like Hillsborough and Atherton. JP Morgan has a tower on Mission Street. Bank of America has a regional office in San Francisco, as do US Bank, Citibank, HSBC, and others. Tech, after all, isn’t San Francisco’s only industry. Finance is one of San Francisco’s big employers and has been since the Gold Rush.

But the boom today really is in tech. There have been rumors lately that Google is eying real estate in San Francisco for a second campus there in addition to its Mountain View headquarters. Google more than any other tech company has been obsessively reshaping the political geography of the Bay Area. Its executives privatized part of San Jose’s public airport. The company is building floating real estate in the Bay as part of its planned conquest of retail. It’s buses are most prolific, and most blamed for blocking streets in San Francisco, and parts of Oakland, and of course each bus represents perhaps fifty employees whose relatively flush incomes are putting unprecedented pressures on rents in San Francisco, and also areas of Oakland like the “Temescal.”

Google doesn’t send its buses into Richmond, and they probably never will. Like San Pablo, but much larger, Richmond has become a refuge for many of the displaced families forced to leave San Francisco and downtown Oakland, but even so Richmond’s housing stock is characterized by an unusually large number of empty and blighted homes, zombie houses from foreclosure. Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, is wealthy enough to buy up every parcel of land and every building in the entire city of Richmond, and still have about $3 billion left over. Google’s other founder, Sergey Brin, could do the same thing. To put the extreme wealth of Silicon Valley’s elite in a similar perspective, consider this: Richmond’s estimated 39,000 households earned a collective income of about $2 billion last year. If the Google co-founders Brin and Page wanted to, they could pay every household in the city twice their existing income for a total of eleven years.

Perhaps here I should conclude by adding that Google also claims a $130 million California research and development tax credit which will carry-forward indefinitely and allows the company to whittle down the taxes it owes to Sacramento for many years to come. Tax policies that favor the wealthy and large corporations, after all, are part of the cause of growing inequality in America today.

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99 comments
  1. Thank you for sharing this story. Its absence from the popular media is heartbreaking. You tell it with beautiful sadness.

  2. Jeff said:

    Thoughtful post. I live in Vallejo and it’s bad here without any immediately apparent reason as to why – there’s more to it than the real estate bust though. Eight months in and I’m still trying to figure it out (and get used to the sounds of gunfire).

  3. Franklin Graham said:

    Great reporting. Something has to give, as this kind of displacement only fuels the sense of alienation and anger that is fueling the economic and political landscape.

  4. engineer said:

    Leftist hate growth so they fight developers, meaning that more housing can’t be built.
    Then they turn around and complain that housing is too expensive for poor people.
    They never realize that they are the ones who caused the problem.
    Oh, but they profit from it- by fighting development, rich leftist ensure their houses appreciate in value.

    Such hypocrisy.

    Cry some moar.

    • adhdwiz said:

      Huh.. look at your argument “Leftest hate growth”- is that supposed to be a given? The point in the article is that this area is poor and is therefore unable to grow. Your introducing political jargon as a comment into what is a needs based, non-partisan issue. How dare you even call your self an engineer? $10000 a year barely buys food….

  5. Eli said:

    I indeed can’t help but feel that a tech-proletariat of 20-something white kids out of college and an urban proletariat of, well, proletarians are being pitted against each-other by a capitalist class who actually own all the freaking property.

    • a. said:

      so well put. “tilting at google buses” is a phrase that comes to mind. if i were a finance or tech captain of industry, i’d be overjoyed the protestors were so misguided.

  6. god said:

    talented people succeed
    talentless people fail
    this is justice

    • white collar crime kills said:

      Talent worked for Joe Stalin, Richard Cheney, Robert Mugabe, and Al Capone – until he got caught.

  7. jwb said:

    So what are you getting at? When will the proletariat start blockading the BNSF instead of smashing up buses in Oakland?

  8. nsnjohnson said:

    While I appreciate highlighting inequality – it would be refreshing to hear some proposed solutions. Given the situation, what would you propose local political and business leaders do about it?

  9. rich leftist said:

    “engineer” didn’t read the article. He blames a lack of development for housing prices. Yet, the article mentions the “unusually large number of empty and blighted homes, zombie houses from foreclosure.” There are enough houses sitting empty in the US to contain all the homeless. Many of them being held off the market by banks, who famously are not leftists.

    He hates “rich leftists” who ensure their “houses appreciate in value” by opposing development. Apparently, he liked the housing bubble caused by the conservative crony capitalists of the Bush administration, who created the surplus of housing in the US and brought down housing values — all it took was shady derivatives and the concomitant diminution of the middle class so that fewer people can afford housing.

  10. Anonymous said:

    Fascinating article, but I would like to hear more about the landlords who are charging the outrageous rents . I read in other articles that absentee land ownership has much to do with the current situation, and that real estate corporations centered overseas are snapping up land in the Bay Area and driving up the rents.
    I would love to hear your comments , especially in context of this article.
    Secondly, you point out something that is so important, but largely overlooked… environmental racism. This is something that desperately needs attention, and I hope to hear about it in future articles. Any links to organizations that are addressing this?

  11. I was very disappointed by this piece. I expected a call to action, a plan, or even a summation of ideas, but all I got was a sensationalized interpretation of data (4 busses an hour for all of san francisco != “clogged streets”).

    It’s good to shed light on the fact that these other places exist and are being ignored, and this person does do that. But what do we do? The Bay Area is not the only place where this great inequality and separation (particularly by race and class) exists — the tech industry is booming, creating a magnifying glass for the situation, but you can see it in most big American cities (even Btown, which ranked #1 right in front of atlanta for most unequal city).

    What do we do about the more structural problems? Should we be protesting the google busses or the corporate bosses or the unions or the state politicians or the mayors or the tech industry or the financial industry (or any industry in particular, for that matter)? What gives?

  12. Ty Gerhardt said:

    OK…so how bout instead of telling Google employees to “Get Out”…how about the mayors of these cities and the leaders of the “Occupy” movements approach Google and say, “Look, feel free to continue using our bus stops and roads, etc. free of charge, BUT, take a few million dollars and invest in teaching young kids and lower income/unemployed workers to code and offer some job placement programs for these newly educated individuals…not just in the US but around the world so that a young mind’s only chance to see the world and interact with it ISN’T just the military? Have them invest in lower income housing developments and things like that. Those kinds of investments would be drops in the bucket (and would probably be tax deductible) for companies like Google and Apple.

    When I was a kid growing up in the 70’s in poverty to a couple of meth addicts, my step father had state funded employment development/job training available to him that allowed him to become an autobody paint and repair technician. I was tested and put in the GATE program where I was able to test out of reading because in 2nd grad I was already reading at a 12th grade level and was allowed to learn BASIC programming…I my high school also had really great music program that I was able to take advantage of (that has since been cut to significantly less than the program it once was). I also took a few electronics classes that were available for the taking as an alternative to wood shop or metal shop (the latter two of which I had already taken in junior high). My life has had it’s ups and downs over the years but I went from being a dish washer to a gas station attendant to a bellman at a hotel, to a copy shop copy machine operator to a collections agent to a construction worker to a music store clerk/manager to being a copy writer for a popular audio cable company to being a QA engineer for an online radio station and I’m currently an audio/video producer for a tech/media company in San Francisco.

    The thing that kept me going and moving ahead all my life instead of ending up in prison like my brother and in economic chaos and drug addiction like my family…opportunity. Opportunity provided by the state in my school to study music, basic computer programming and electronics, the opportunity to attend ridiculously affordable junior college (by today’s standards, at least) for a few years to study music…and ultimately following the winds of opportunity when the job market in Sacramento wasn’t doing so great (which resulted in a few months of homelessness) by developing my creative writing to the point where I was able to become a popular local writer on the scene and do enough featured readings and sell enough of my first couple of self-published poetry books (the printing of which was provided to me by a friend who I used to work at the copy shop with who snuck me out 200 copies of each of my first two books that I was able to sell at $7 each) which gave me the money I needed to move to Oakland almost 20 years ago so I could be more involved in the music scene here and hopefully find greater employment opportunity.

    20 years later I’m doing well economically in part because I spent all but the last 3 in a tiny rent controlled apartment battling the many greedy land lords (who kept buying and selling the place, all of which aggressively did what they could to get me to move so they could double or triple the rent) and saving up money with my wife waiting for the crazy inflated home market to come back down to a level I could finally afford to buy a house in West Oakland. Over that time I worked to improve my job situation and take advantage of opportunities where I could find them all while continuing to participate in the local music community which, sadly, has been dying as a result of the socio-economic changes in the bay area.

    What I’m saying here is that opportunity and a desire to not end up like my parents pushed me forward to where I’m not struggling as much as I was when I was younger…opportunities that DO NOT EXIST for young people today (or the unemployed) due to budget cuts. Companies like Google and Apple have an incredible opportunity to provide that kind of hope and opportunity to the communities they are displacing with laughably insignificant impact on their bottom line. Opportunities that will keep kids from turning to crime and give them a chance to provide for themselves and their families…opportunities that will allow them to engage with the world…opportunities that they can use to grow their communities.

    THIS needs to be the message the Occupy movement needs to be handing out to Google employees at their shuttle stops. That’s going to go down a lot easier and get more people to help your cause than “GO HOME…WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE!!!” You can make enemies or you can make friends/allies who are sympathetic to your cause that are in a position to help. You can live out your “sweetheart of the revolution” fantasies and break a few windows…maybe rough up a few Google employees and pretend you’re sticking it to the man while Twittering about it to your comrades while employment and housing opportunities continue to diminish and those who stand to lose the most continue to suffer OR you can create opportunity by encouraging these companies to make these kinds of investments in the communities they are displacing. These companies need a to improve their image and an opportunity to fix it. Give them that opportunity…propose these kinds of investments in the communities…or just keep throwing bricks at their busses and telling them to “Go home!” The choice, ultimately, is ours.

    • Mary G said:

      Well said Mr. Gerhardt. It’s a matter of choices as to what you do with the hard knocks and bad upbringing that you were handed. I too grew up in poverty (hard poverty) but always knew that if I pulled up my boot straps and worked hard, I could get out. That there was a better world out there. I didn’t settle. Get angry if that’s what it takes, but use that energy to move mountains, not become a victim

      • Ty Gerhardt said:

        I don’t see the problem as an issue of a lack of character or work ethic so much. I believe most people will work when there’s an opportunity to make a living. I think what I’m asserting here is that there is a significant lack of opportunity for the people to advance their station in life AND there is a PR need for the tech companies (not to mention the moral obligation of being good corporate citizens). Those two needs can create a real opportunity generator if the two sides can get over their prejudices and apparent willingness to engage in a culture/class war.

        It needs to happen, because as it stands now, the opportunities that were available to the poor and lower middle class folks when I was younger (or the environment to create them) that helped me advance my station just don’t exist today and that’s a real powder keg that will only blast an even greater hole in the vast canyon of economic disparity.

  13. Allure Nobell said:

    Don’t worry. When the real estate in the peninsula is exhausted they will come to Richmond and San Pablo, demand more environmental controls over the refineries, and drive up the real estate prices there, too. I give it another 20 years.

  14. Oh No So Poor said:

    Those in poverty make, on average, over $100 A DAY? Tell me when to pack my bags! I’d take an income like that in exchange for a couple of days spent inside ’cause of toxic air.

    • Oh No So Poor,

      Yes, and if you do the math that’s about $26,000 a year, in a region where the minimum cost of living is exactly about that for a single individual. And then if you account for unemployment, and adjust these incomes by the number of dependents (children, elderly, disabled) who rely on these income earners, you’ll find that $26,000 a year doesn’t go far at all to obtain housing, food, healthcare, transportation, and other necessities for families.

  15. miguel said:

    What BS. There’s nothing stopping NAMs from joining the ranks of Silicon Valley. They have diversity quotas and if qualified would have their resumes go to the top of the pile.

  16. I moved to San Francisco in 1982 with $75.00 in my pocket wearing a bright orange back pack. I found a job in a day and lived in a residential hotel on the corner of Gough and Hayes for $45.00 per week. It wasn’t long until i moved into a small studio apt. for $350.00 per month. That studio apartment now rents for near $3000,00 per month. I loved this city, my favorite memories are there, It’s all i can do to afford to visit now. I find this sad….

  17. Jenny said:

    This is a sad story I have never heard before. I am aware of some of the stories of destruction and devastation in the midwest but had no idea there were areas like this on the west coast.

  18. Yes, San Francisco is an expensive city and yes, there is class disparity. So people succeed and become wealthy by becoming educated and choosing certain industries. Is this author blaming the select who have become wealthy? It would not do any good to complain about the rich, but to encourage those with privilege to find solutions for people who aren’t as lucky and fateful.

  19. @..”Perhaps here I should conclude by adding that Google also claims a $130 million California research and development tax credit which will carry-forward indefinitely and allows the company to whittle down the taxes it owes to Sacramento for many years to come. Tax policies that favor the wealthy and large corporations, after all, are part of the cause of growing inequality in America today…”

    I wish this part could be surrounded by neon lights in a boob tube commercial! Since obviously more Americans watch T.V. than actually READ..That last sentence is says a great deal and aptly defines where we’re at right now..Sadly? The rich know how to “buy” their way into D.C. and media and etc etc..The story for S.F. and gentrification is happening all over our country..Excellent, well -written/expressed and relevant write..2 thumbs UP

  20. sirastravelbook said:

    Reblogged this on Sira's Travel Book and commented:
    An engaging reading on the growing inequality in san francisco. You will rarely find these stories on media headlines.

  21. All of America needs to hear this story, especially in the wake of the ridiculous holiday spending boom that launched the tech world further into wealth.

  22. Anonymous said:

    very sad

  23. While I am reluctant to take sides, given he sensitivity of the subject. I have to say, this is a well titled post and that’s quite the angle to look at a community as. :O

  24. I appreciate someone illuminating the blight in West Contra Costa County. It is something that is often ignored in the hype of Silicon Valley vs. Tenderloin media coverage. However, blaming Warren Buffet or Chevron is displacing your frustration. We should instead look to reasons why residents aren’t able to climb out of poverty. Improving schools, encouraging and enabling residents to go to college, working to diffuse gang violence, and finding ways to support single mothers in the community would be far better areas of focus than talking smack about Twitter and Google and Apple ON A BLOG.

    We can’t blame tech for poverty; if anything it has saved the Bay Area from feeling the full effects of the recession. Trust me, I’m a 20 something in SF, and I know first hand that there are NO jobs in other parts of the country. Those Googlers worked hard to get where they are and have transformed the way the world works. Instead of hating them, engage their resources and talent to transform areas not currently feeling the love from tech. I’m tired of the media baiting tech and the poor against each other because I know so many techies just looking for ways to become engaged with local organizations and charities, only to find bitterness and resentment.

  25. Somehow public policies have to collaborate with these tech businesses in creative ways to help bridge the inequality gap. Currently, much of the collaboration, as you’ve pointed out, involves businesses receiving greater profit (i.e. tax breaks) than the community at-large receives. I’m not sure how to encourage more productive collaboration, although tech-based companies appear to have a greater awareness for social justice than most other industries. I think advocating stories like these is a start. Well written.

  26. With all the foreclosures in San Pablo, I wonder whether this might be an economical place to look to purchase a home.

  27. Really great article. I worked in Bayview and lived in Vis Valley. If those n’hoods got the flu, Contra Costa got full blown pnuemonia. You should include sources for the stats you quote (for nerds like me who want to see the reports/articles used).

  28. I read a novel once about a wealthy woman buying a bankrupt, very small, midwest town. Starting small she brought her business skills and network to rebuild the town. Your comparison of the tech wealth to the land value reminded me of that. Maybe these towns need a benefactor willing to adopt them and share some of their experience.

  29. Shreya said:

    such a awesome touching reality …. loved the post …

  30. infoapw said:

    Yes, I agree, theres to much publicity about the big cities. While in the back-streets and suburbs, there’s a lot of hidden hardships.

  31. The problem lies solely within our leadership (on all level and sides). We will not get anywhere until a few souls are elected that are not just speaking generalizations but actually looking to change and seemingly; these types do not want to run for an elected position. Our system of government needs a major overhaul. Business works to streamline and adapt to change. Yet we pump trillions of dollars into the government to fund programs that yield little to zero results.

    The end result is a segment of society that is only going backwards. They can not even operate a computer to go online to apply for jobs that are decent so how can one expect them to improve? As you said, around them are people living in a different world or technology and improved ease of living.

  32. Grim. And I keep blaming India for a non-inclusive growth. Looks like its the same in America.

  33. Afropolitan Explosiv said:

    Thanks very much this is informative.

  34. Fascinating, yet shocking. Extremely well-written.

  35. CJ said:

    Ty Gerhardt’s Story deserves the attention. IT tells the truth behind how people can be motivated and driven to take the paths they choose. Kudos to you Ty. YOU should be the example kids see, everywhere.

  36. Minaa B said:

    Very informative article. Thanks for sharing!

  37. spain90 said:

    Eli you hit the nail -on – the head!!

  38. Great, informative piece! You taught me the adjective “tony”, which highlighted the predation at the top… the “raison d’etre” of all the surrounding squalor. I’m familiar with a number of the areas you mentioned, including RIchmond, where some of the earliest risings of the Black Panthers took place, if I’m not mistaken. The particulars you’ve highlighted in the Bay Area are also replicated to varying degrees in large urban areas around the country. One or two increasingly more exclusive and isolated centers of capitalist concentration of wealth surrounded by those left behind (until more profitable means of exploiting the majority outliers and their resources are found… ie expanding gentrification).

    I read some comments from people chastising your piece for not offering a solution. They appreciated the info, but yearned for something to do. And apparently they need to be told what that should be. Or maybe they want you to tell them so they can disagree with your recommendation and then feel better about not “doing” anything. To me, the point isn’t to “do” anything, but rather to understand what’s going on, and to see the intrinsic inequalities wrought by global capitalism. Moreover, as Slavoj Zizek would underscore, we need to gaze through the ideological smokescreen emitted by capitalism to see that this is how it MUST function. Only outside of that framework can we actually begin to think about solutions. The injunction is thus to think. In an era touted as “non-ideological”, ideology is therefore more dominant than ever. We gotta cast our gaze through the haze. :)

  39. Great photo and article. I have always wanted to visit but haven’t made it to this area yet. I used to visit San Diego as a child with my mother 4 times a year. We loved California. Our A.V.A Live Radio After Show just kicked off last week. I Hope you’ll check it out and participate with me in the conversation.

  40. I dont think there is anything we can do about this

  41. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed – I’m glad to learn about your blog. I live in the East Bay and there is an awful shortage of honest reporting on what’s happening in the local economy. What sources (news, bloggers) do you recommend for staying informed about local news?

  42. Wow. I’ve grown up in the Bay Area my whole life and never knew about San Pablo. Thank you for writing this. So glad you got Freshly Pressed.

  43. Thank you for a great, great post. Your forgot that a parking ticket for a regular driver in SF is more than $140 bucks and only $1 for the Google shuttle parked on a Muni spot.

  44. waltsamp said:

    A very good post. What it brought to my mind was a picture of a dying forest and the suggestions in most of the comments were that somebody should plant a few trees. What it would take to create a new culture there is all the values that have been rejected by the present one. Thus it seems unlikely that, while revolution may come, there will never be the restoration of a just society in the SF area, or for that matter in similar cities.

  45. Ashley said:

    Thank you for sharing. We need to really think about these things and I don’t ever remember someone talking about this with me! Raising awareness is so key. Very thoughtfully written.

  46. Great post! I would never ever find this information without you!

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