The Bay Area is getting a rough rap lately. As tech entrepreneurs assume an ever larger role in the social heartbeat of the most expensive city in the country, much has been written about the widening gap between the rich and everyone else. Recklessly insensitive comments by some of these tech leaders have been highly unhelpful, casting a cold, arrogant image on San Francisco’s tech elite and creating distrust and resentment between the haves and have nots.
For example, if you’ve got a few moments, read this blog detailing some atrocious poppycock from the mouths of CEOs. If you don’t have a few moments, here’s a quick lowlight, thanks to one CEO with either a severely damaged ego or a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease:
"The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it's a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that's okay.
In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city. Like it's their place of leisure... In actuality it's the business district for one of the wealthiest cities in the USA. It is a disgrace. I don't even feel safe walking down the sidewalk without planning out my walking path.
You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It's a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I'd consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn't made anyone's life better in a while."
Another leading light called for those in technology to "build an opt-in society, outside the US, run by technology." He believes that "We need to run the experiment, to show what a society run by Silicon Valley looks like without affecting anyone who wants to live under the Paper Belt (i.e., government.)”
Let me just add this note to the discussion about San Francisco’s civic dissension: it doesn’t have to be this way.