Bubbles, Bike Lanes, and Bailouts: San Francisco’s Infantilized Future on the Taxpayers’ Dime
Progressive “YIMBY” policies limit both social and physical mobility of Americans in exchange for the infantile pleasures of the elite.
San Francisco is about to take another turn for the worse. The San Francisco Standard reports:
A network of “tech families” in San Francisco are forming a new political group that intends to spend up to $5 million a year—over the course of decades—to radically rewrite the script on housing, transportation, education and public spaces in the city.
Abundant SF, whose name gives a nod to a line in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1937 inaugural address, is seeking to make a sustained investment in YIMBY ballot measures and candidates who are ideologically aligned on the group’s core tenets, according to more than a dozen people who are familiar with the organization.
Billed as an initiative by “tech parents,” the organization is led by a lifelong political operative. According to SF Standard, one of the organization’s key members is the tech CEO and local and state political activist Zach Rosen who, for instance, was recently part of the group of tech leaders calling on the federal government to bail out Silicone Valley Bank.
SF Standard identified State Senator Scott Wiener as Abundant SF’s “North Star.” Wiener is best known nationwide as the author of state laws that legalized some forms of pedophilia, reduced penalties for knowingly infecting people with AIDS, and jeopardized enforcement of human trafficking. He is currently busy decriminalizing hallucinogenic drugs—presumably the last step before making them, amphetamines, and opiates fully legal for recreational consumption.
The organization is not expected to ruffle any feathers, i.e. local politicians seem attuned to their goals. Rather, the group will use its leverage to guarantee the YIMBY (“yes, in my back yard“) direction of the progressive city politics. They will likely ensure that the city will look and feel very different and, in the process, make life more difficult for the remaining ordinary people.
Last year’s passage of Proposition J that permanently shut down JFK Drive to car traffic was the dry run. The closure was won over the objections of many locals as well as the nearby De Young Museum.
With wide sidewalks and beautiful scenery, San Francisco, by design, is a great city for pedestrians. Closing roads, however, serves a different purpose—to flex power while reducing mobility of its residents.
But San Francisco’s deal makers like over the top initiatives that are, at once, decadent and far-ranging but of dubious practical value. For example, Scott Wiener is currently trying to bring a $1.3 billion project for pier redevelopment that includes a floating open air swimming pool. The piers, to be sure, are dilapidated but considering the local climate, there are only a few days in a year when most people could theoretically enjoy splashing in water in the open air. This is not LA; Bay Area back yards don’t have swimming pools because it’s too chilly.
San Francisco techies definitely have their aesthetic sense that feeds into their way of life. One tech reporter went to a party in the Mission District where the guests downing craft beer on a balcony were treated to the sight of fourteen bubble machines simultaneously going off on the roof of the adjacent building. The adults laughed with excitement and, being spontaneous, fun people, filmed the show for social media. “Random SF magic,” declared one such tweeter.
I, too, had toddlers, so I witnessed firsthand the delights of soap and water “science experiments.” But what, save for a hit of ecstasy, would get the early middle age crowd so pumped about it? Should they not be more responsive to sophisticated pleasures? On the other hand, a bubble show is easy to arrange, but getting to a museum is increasingly complicated.
And what kind of decadent monster looks at San Francisco and decides that what the city needs are floating swimming pools and bubble makers?
Looking at the kind of money being poured into local politics, instead of into real change, San Francisco can expect more “quirkiness”: closed streets and public parking spaces appropriated for private use and bike lanes. None of these novelties are innocuous. They are taking us closer to the 15-minute cities where people are confined to their neighborhoods and, as San Francisco’s example indicates, playact being three-year-olds.
Not many real three-year-olds live in the Golden Gate City. The lifestyle that the tech YIMBIY’s advocate is not something to which most families gravitate. Tellingly, San Francisco bicyclists are mostly white men. Abundant SF is an odd family advocacy group—most families chose cars for their transportation needs and prefer open roads on which to drive them. It’s possible that the work-from-home techies have resources, like nannies and rideshares, that allow them to exist unbothered in their wealthy enclaves. Yet since the late 1960’s, the city has been notoriously hostile to middle and working class families; the war on cars is just one aspect of it.
Aside from traffic, Abundant SF wants to focus on increasing housing density and closing achievement gaps in schools. Local progressives argue that the homelessness for which the city is notorious is a result of housing shortages and high rents. It follows that by building and subsidizing housing we can alleviate the problem. But junkies don’t sleep in the alleyway off Market Street because they can’t pay rent. Many of them came to San Francisco because of its laid back attitude towards drugs. Moreover, high rents are also a result of overregulation which local leaders embrace.
Both homelessness and the achievement gap stem from the same old Bay Area problem: the breakdown of law and order. The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a story about a Ukrainian refugee who stopped going to her public school because she was violently bullied. She now dreams of going back to her war zone.
Beatings in and around local schools became increasingly common with the introduction of “restorative justice” that drastically reduced punishment for crimes, especially for juveniles. One high school student interviewed by CBS News commented on a fight at a local mall:
I did see police talking to kids in the video that you showed me. They didn’t even look like they regretted it. It’s obviously going to happen again because they were messing around and they threw a bottle of milk at me and my mom when we were walking by[.]
I should mention that the girl was Hispanic. White techies shy away from topics relating to law enforcement, escaping into what amounts to quality of life issues. Then they turn “quality of life” on its head—junkies are allowed to block sidewalks, but merchants are fined for awnings that happened to not be to some bureaucrat’s liking.
YIMBI’s will likely shape the direction of local politics for years to come. Similar developments are likely to take place across the country, limiting both the social and physical mobility of Americans in exchange for infantile pleasures. And it’s worth remembering that much of the funds used to usher in these innovations come from taxpayer bailouts of silly banks with silly ideals.
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If I cared any longer, or had any hope any longer, that things could improve in the zone from the coast to maybe 100 miles inland up and down the West Coast; this would possibly upset me. But I recognize that they are bent on their own destruction through “Wokeness”. In fact fanatically determined upon it. So be it. Nothing can be done, so it is time to just watch and enjoy the mayhem. We are about at the point where those it would be worth accepting as refugees are already gone. Let those who have chosen to remain be an object lesson that entropy and reality always win. There are some things I will miss in SF; the De Young Museum, the Pampanito and the Jeremiah O’Brien at Fisherman’s Wharf, and more than a few restaurants. But just as there were probably Romans who regretted the loss of some of the “amenities” of Pompeii, there will be those Americans who regret the loss of some of the attractions in SF. That kind of regret did not save any of Pompeii.
The De Young Museum a while back had an exhibit that was hilarious to me. Some “artiste” had put some apples out to rot over a 30 day period or some such.
And it was prominently displayed. Not sure what great art it was supposed to be, but glad I didn’t live there and pay taxes to support that schiffy stuff.
I had an orange on the shelf above my desk which was allowed to slowly dry out and shrink over the course of a year. Unlike the apple, the orange seemed to get more resistant to outside influences over time. FWIW, no taxpayer money went towards my orange experiment.
I loved Max’s Opera Cafe. Great Reuben sandwiches.
Ya know, it will be the homeless in that swimming pool, filled with ecoli…
Lots more coming their way
Sodom and Gomorrah Comes to mind..
More likely filled with dysentery.
My lovely wife and I used to visit Sonoma County wineries several times a year. We are now down to once a year at most. Just getting through San Francisco is a major pain. Sadly, several other cities in the bay area have adopted San Francisco’s hatred of cars..
Sonoma is insanely expensive now. We got married there 16 years ago. At that point, all wine tasting were free. Now we can’t afford it.
Very wealthy people making life miserable for the middle class. I would suppose that at some point in the not very distant future there will be very few middle class people left in San Francisco.
The elite haven’t figured out how to make cloud cities yet, so stealing San Francisco will have to do.
Really don’t care what Blue Cities do to themselves. They voted for it so have fun.
Californians, and San Franciscans in particular, might want to review the original Disney version of Pinocchio; things did not work out great for the Lost Boys on Pleasure Island.
With regards to this article: those who would understand it won’t be reading it. Those reading it won’t understand it. Twilight zone school of writing.
I’ll take it as a compliment.
San Francisco bicyclists are mostly white men.
What percentage of those are gay and/or single?
Left in LIMBO. Fortunately, while liberalism is a progressive philosophy and condition, it is also generational and sectarian. #PrinciplesMatter
There could be value in some of their ideas. Perhaps rename JFK drive to Teddy Kennedy drive, line it with bubble machines, and have it terminate off the end of a pier.
So they’re going to spend what amounts to pennies of their money (5 million collectively) to waste billions of taxpayer money?
SF you deserve this for your choices over the last decade or so.
“But what, save for a hit of ecstasy, would get the early middle age crowd so pumped about it?”
It was a “woke” gender reveal party. Bubbles are colorless.