In San Francisco and Rooting for a Tech Comeuppance
SAN FRANCISCO — These are anxious days in the land of start-ups. Another few months of tight money and the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will be feeling real pain.
The sooner the better, some people here say.
Cities do not usually cheer the downfall or even the diminishment of the hometown industry, but the relationship between San Francisco and the tech community has grown increasingly tense.
Two years ago, radicals began delaying and harassing Google and other tech companies’ shuttles as they threaded San Francisco’s narrow streets. Now — after the city officially gave the shuttles free rein to use public bus stops; after the tech elite were accused of trying to buy a crucial local election; after the home-rental company Airbnb spent a fortune to defeat a proposition that would have restricted its business — the discontent is mainstream.
In December, 39 percent of Bay Area adults said they thought things in California were headed in the wrong direction, up from 29 percent a year earlier, according to surveys by the Public Policy Institute of California. In Los Angeles, by contrast, the percentage expressing general disapproval fell from 37 percent in 2014 to 33 percent in 2015.
加州公共政策研究所(Public Policy Institute of California)的一项调研显示，去年12月，39%的湾区居民表示，他们觉得加州的情况在朝着错误的方向发展，而在前一年，这一比例为29%。相比之下，在洛杉矶，总体感觉不满意的人数比例从2014年的37%，下降到了2015年的33%。
“It’s practically a ubiquitous sentiment here: People would like a little of the air to come out of the tech economy,” said Aaron Peskin, perhaps the most prominent leader of the opposition. “They’re like people in a heat wave waiting for the monsoon.”
Mr. Peskin, a combative presence on the city’s board of supervisors a decade ago, was the underdog when he sought to reclaim his seat last fall against an incumbent backed by both Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the tech establishment. But he drew volunteers from all over the city and won by a 9-point margin with the slogan “Let’s take a stand to make San Francisco more affordable and livable.”
十年前，他是旧金山监事会(San Francisco Board of Supervisors)里一个充满抗争性的角色。去年秋天，在试图重获这一位置的竞选中，他是处于劣势的一方。他的对手是一名时任成员，而且拥有旧金山市长李孟贤(Edwin M. Lee)和科技界权威人士两方面的支持。但佩斯金在全市有诸多志愿者支持，还抛出了“让我们表明自己的立场，让旧金山变得更加宜居”的竞选口号。最终，他以9个百分点的优势获胜。
“These billion-dollar companies should help ameliorate the impact they’re having,” Mr. Peskin said. “They can afford to do a lot more. So far, it’s only window-dressing. They can volunteer to be decent.”
During the late 1990s dot-com boom, the office parks of Silicon Valley were another world to most San Franciscans, a place somewhere to the south that they needed never go. But increasingly Silicon Valley is rooted in the city itself, which makes it inescapable.
The consequences for people who do not make their living from technology are increasingly unpleasant. The city is bulging at the seams, adding about 10,000 people a year to a record 852,000 in 2014. A one-bedroom apartment goes for a median $3,500 a month, the highest in the nation.
For every person who moves to San Francisco, another two start commuting to work here. Traffic is down to a crawl: The average afternoon speed on the roads feeding into the highways has dropped 20 percent in the last two years. And the BART trains are squeezed tight: Since 2012, average morning rush-hour ridership from the East Bay has risen 30 percent.
Signs of distress are plentiful. The Fraternite Notre Dame’s soup kitchen was facing eviction after a rent increase of nearly 60 percent. (It was saved for a year after its plight received worldwide publicity.) Two eviction-defense groups were evicted in favor of a start-up that intended to lease the space to other start-ups. The real estate site Redfin published a widely read blog post that said the number of teachers in San Francisco who could afford a house was exactly zero.
不适的迹象比比皆是。因租金上涨近60%，慈善机构圣母博爱(Fraternite Notre Dame)的救济食堂差点被迫关门。（在其困境获得全球关注之后，这个食堂得以以现有租金继续租用场地一年。）两个维护被驱逐者利益的团体被房东赶走，目的是给一家创业机构腾地方，而这家机构创业项目是向创业公司出租办公场地。房地产网站Redfin发布了一篇广为传阅的博客文章，文中表示，能买得起房子的旧金山教师的人数为零。
“All the renters I know are living in fear,” said Derrick Tynan-Connolly, a teacher at a high school for pregnant teenagers and young mothers. “If your landlord dies, if your landlord sells the building, if you get evicted under the Ellis Act” — a controversial law that allows landlords to reclaim a building by taking it off the rental market — “and you have to move, you’re gone. There’s no way you can afford to stay in San Francisco.”
“我所认识的租客都生活在恐惧之中，”德里克·泰南-康诺利(Derrick Tynan-Connolly)说，他是一所面向怀孕青少年和年轻母亲的高中的教师。“如果你的房东死了，房东要把房子卖掉，或你因埃利斯法案(Ellis Act)要被赶走，你就必须搬走，得离开这里。在旧金山你找不到负担得起的住处。”埃利斯法案是一项颇具争议性的法案，它可以让房东通过将房屋撤出租赁市场，重新拿回房屋。
Mr. Tynan-Connolly, 52, first came to San Francisco three decades ago, when its origins as a working-class port were still in evidence. The city was a haven of political and sexual tolerance unlike any in America. Now, he and many others feel, it has become something much narrower: a haven for the wealthy.
“The city has the largest budget it ever had,” he said. “But the homeless are still suffering while working-class families, including my students, struggle to find affordable housing and child care. Where are the benefits from the boom that are accruing to the whole city?”
San Francisco has a budget of $8.6 billion and a deficit of $100 million, according to Mayor Lee, who ordered city departments to cut spending by 1.5 percent. The mayor, who did not face any significant opposition for re-election in November, did not have time to be interviewed, a spokeswoman said.
Sentiment is difficult to gauge on a citywide scale. The demonstrations against the shuttles got widespread attention, but quickly petered out. Mr. Tynan-Connolly noted that the long history of activism in San Francisco was driven by young people, and now the young people often work for the tech companies.
The Airbnb proposition, which would have placed some limitations on short-term rentals in the city, was defeated by voters, but the $25 billion start-up’s victory prompted a backlash. The Internet Archive, which tracks political ads, said 1,959 minutes of airtime were devoted to opposing the measure. In support: 16 minutes. That mismatch fueled claims that tech money is in control of the city.
上述与Airbnb有关、意在对旧金山的短期房屋租赁进行限制的提案，最终被选民否决，但这家市值250亿美元的创业公司此番获胜，却在社会上引发强烈反应。追踪政治广告投放情况的互联网档案馆(The Internet Archive)表示，为阻止这项议案获得通过而投放的广告时间总共有1959分钟，而支持这一议案的广告时长只有16分钟。这样的不平衡，促使更多人觉得，科技公司掌控了这个城市。
Some tech folks think things are out of kilter.
“There are valid concerns that San Francisco is becoming a plutocracy,” said Donna Burke, an entrepreneur and investor. “Silicon Valley traditionally valued changing the world over money. We need to get back to that ethos.”
None of the San Franciscans interviewed for this article said they wished any harm to tech workers, but they lamented what they saw as a high degree of cluelessness.
“I have a lot of friends who work in those companies, and they literally encourage me every week to quit my job and do what they’re doing,” said Helana Corda, who teaches sixth graders at a public middle school, is a part-time bartender and works at a program for disadvantaged children. “They think they’re trying to help, but I feel slightly offended.”
Even those who have benefited from the tech workers and their free-spending ways say something is amiss.
“I like a boom. I’m a fan of this boom,” said Craig Stoll, co-owner of Pizzeria Delfina and other popular restaurants. “I think it’s exciting times in San Francisco. I like the influx of people. But it comes with problems. A lot of our cooks don’t live in the city. They can’t afford it.”
“我喜欢大发展。我拥护这样的繁荣，”Pizzeria Delfina等几家热门餐厅的联合创始人克雷格·斯托尔(Craig Stoll)说。“我觉得，对旧金山而言，这是一个令人兴奋的时代。但它同时也有一些问题。我们的厨师有很多都不住在城市里。他们负担不起这里的费用。”