San Francisco's Existential Collapse

3rd EDITION (in English), publishers wanted! Available in Motto and Pro QM (Berlin). 1st and 2nd EDITION (in Spanish) sold out in Spanish bookstores. Limaclara Publishing House Investigative Journalism Award 2015 (Argentina). More info, don't hesitate to contact me: [email protected] or @danigarciausa. Summary: The decline of San Francisco's identity. What happened with its iconoclast spirit? Startups, gentrification, hipsters, millennials, tech bros... fade San Francisco's unique nature. An essay-report about the current economic, social, cultural and human cycle that neoliberalism imposes, with real stories of Sanfranciscans. Chapters: 1. The great deception of startups 2. The gentrification script is well known 3. The actors of the system 4. An exhausted system 5. "Only in San Francisco" Presentation (video) in Spanish:
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SAN FRANCISCO’S EXISTENTIAL COLLAPSE Author: Dani García @danigarciausa [email protected] Design: Glorium Organicus English proofreading: Patrick Jones 3rd edition FEBRUARY 2015 THE GREAT DECEPTION OF STARTUPS “It’s the saddest period in the history of this city.” Bob is shaking from the marijuana, this evening he has smoked more than usual. “This is a romantic city which is being devastated by all things tech related,” he enunciates surprisingly well this time. In an ageless silhouette with a joint between his fingers while watching the Giants, this UCSF writing teacher in his forties teeters and then rights his short and rather Un-American frame lamenting he is too high. But he is right: San Francisco is a city that is losing its soul. live”. Irene, a New York native of Hispanic heritage, works for an NGO which helps the homeless in the city, around 6,500 according to local sources. Most of them sleep at SoMa (South of the Market), the area par excellence for techies since the local government endorsed a program three years ago to bring Silicon Valley to the heart of San Francisco. We talk under the penetrating and continuous cold of the Bay Area, on Market Street, where we witness homeless people being evicted at 4:30am by local government employees. This is a couple of hours before young millennials, who may have arrived in California from any part of the country or the world, start to walk these streets hungering for a piece of San Francisco’s success. The northern California city has always been built by trailblazers. Within hours of the devastating 1906 earthquake(1), San Franciscans were already at work building new houses. But economic booms have always come in waves: the gold rush, the hippie movement, the dot-com bubble, and now startups. “I lived through the dot-com era...people today are relatively uniform, more dull. In that time, there were parties everywhere. Young people earned a lot of money and they wanted to celebrate it. But, now? They are just worried about projects, creating projects all the time and they don’t have time to 5 An Anti-Tech movement is spreading, especially among native San Franciscans who are pissed off about the excessive rents brought by startups. Above all they believe all that money is gutting San Francisco’s unique personality, aesthetic and original nature; a place home to nice, warm, and laid-back people. 6 TECH MONEY IS GUTTING SAN FRANCISCO’S UNIQUE PERSONALITY, ESTHETIC AND NATURE —You see the people in this bar? —my friend Isaac says, a Bay Area Californian stereotype with good cheer. We are at another trendy bar in the Mission District, to the west of SoMa, an international swarm of hipsterism. —These are not my people, I don’t feel close to them. Programmers, financiers... they are not from here. People who are from San Francisco cannot afford to live here anymore because of these people. It doesn’t take us much time to head to another bar early in the night. On the way, our view is assaulted by some luxury apartments which aesthetically kill the landscape. —This is the shit I was talking about! —He yells— a Miami Beach flashy building in the middle of “La Misión”!. We reach an ordinary American dive bar. We play pool and drink Tecates from the can, a Mexican beer, the cheapest one in any bar among all the choices. A wild passion for beer of all kinds permeates the culture of San Francisco. Tyler arrives, Isaac’s friend, he has the classic surfer silhouette and warm northern Californian glow. —I was raised close to here, in a middle-class family, —Tyler tells me— now I can’t live here. I am 26 years old and if I wanted to live here with a wife and kids I couldn’t. It’s not only about the rent, but also schools, restaurants, basic things. I moved out to Oakland like other working class friends. 7 WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO ICONOCLAST SPIRIT? San Francisco is the new epicenter of innovation, uncontrolled consumption economics, and disproportionate rents. A city which was the counterculture farm, it is now uninhabitable for most of the normal people. It is being strangled. In the words of Vice Magazine, “What happened to the San Francisco iconoclast spirit?”. In the eyes of many there is one primary reason to be found lurking behind so many others: startups(2). Startups are no longer created by “polo-shirt and chino wearing former ex-Microsoft executives,” says the writer Adam Fletcher(3). The idea now is that anyone can create a startup, this generation was raised believing that we should be able to do whatever we want because we can. We have been led to believe that we have both the skills and talent for it. That we do not need to work for a boss anymore. We can all be CEOs, CMOs, CCOs, SSs, GOPs. A subway car is a good place for coworking. Pivoting, pivoting and pivoting; before, a business plan was the car engine, now the car is driven around endlessly searching for funding rounds that act like any supplementary car accessory. 8 Offices are spaces conceived with table tennis, retro video games, plastic ball rooms, egg-shaped chairs and puff seats. Sometimes there are more interns than employees, there is even the meta-intern role, the unpaid intern who aspires for a promotion to the paid intern status. That is of course the narrow stereotype, illustrated with comic dispassion in the new HBO sitcom Silicon Valley(4), a stereotype successfully spread throughout our generation to keep oiling the economic system. Meanwhile the reality is that startups that have never sold a dollar have been acquired for billions; there are $25 million dollar busts(5); or, moreover, that there are spoiled brats who aspire to change the world with their startups and yet claim it is “grotesque”(6) that there are homeless people on the streets of their headquarters. This is the new tech bro archetype. In New York City, Wall Street brokers know they are dicks. In Los Angeles, corporate higher-ups live comfortably with their superficiality. In San Francisco, techies believe they are saving the world with their startups. —The great deception of startups, —says Bob, framing the quote with his hands in the air. — Is that it is they are no different than the greedy Wall Street scavengers of Generation X. I am at Bob’s office in UCSF. He is clear headed now and he asks me for advice about how to handle non-English speaking students for his writing lecture while he mixes headlines typical of someone who has known this city for 43 years. —The work force and methods have changed, yes, but not the cold ambition for money and the dehumanizing concept of success. They’re cynical, they seek a piece of success at all costs and they don’t have a normal life with free time, getting plastered every weekend and having sex often. They live submitted to the necessity of success. 10 BETWEEN 80 AND 90 PERCENT OF STARTUPS FAIL, MEANWHILE 44 PERCENT OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES GET AHEAD Propaganda, masquerades, posturing...these enterprises could be named a “startup” or a “John Doe” because behind the curtains they are all similarly anonymous and the machinery always works the same. In fact, according to federal data, between 80 and 90 percent of startups fail in their first years(7), meanwhile 44 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises, usually known as “my business” colloquially, survive their first five years of life(8). Startups are no more than another form of fuel for the unstoppable ‘Wheel of Neoliberalism’. History is rife with similar cycles. It now has a different and more attractive packaging, relentlessly recruiting a new generation as the human fuel for an anti-human system, resulting in inevitable injustices like gentrification. 11 THE GENTRIFICATION SCRIPT IS WELL KNOWN An affordable lifelong neighborhood always draws in artists, because we artists want to be unique, and living in an unusual neighborhood helps distinguish us from everybody else. The artist community tidies up ‘The Neighborhood’, opens art galleries, tea shops, hair salons, and other independent businesses. This draws young people from the neighbouring areas which in turn draw gin bars, sushi restaurants and vintage boutiques. ‘The Neighborhood’ becomes safe. American Apparel and Urban Outfitters open a store and also draw local citizens. Startups land. Apartments rents rise. Lifelong residents have to leave because they can’t afford to live there anymore. New York City is the historical archetype of gentrification, past and present. A city which devours and represents economic, social and cultural cycles. It seems it has always happened there. The neighbourhoods of SoHo, Tribeca and Greenwich Village all experienced a boom in cultural cachet in the seventies and eighties. They were the epicenter of bohemian lifestyles and are now a haven for franchises, luxury boutiques and an endless list of celebrities’ homes. More recently it has happened in Brooklyn; the ‘Monster’ had no food in Manhattan and crossed the East River. In just over ten years, Williamsburg, a serene Jewish, East European and Hispanic working class area, has turned into a neighborhood of young, bearded, and tattooed inhabitants. People who are in at least one band, post in at least one blog and spend their nights developing projects. But New York has no limits and the gentrification tsunami is spreading onward; to Greenpoint’s old factories converted into loft apartments (north), to East Williamsburg and Bushwick’s working class and residential areas (east and south east), and to Fort Greene (south) where the Barclays Center stands, home to the (suddenly-everybody-is-a-lifelong-fan) Brooklyn Nets. It is, as Spike Lee said in a brilliant speech(9), “the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome”. For up to 90 percent of the original East Harlem residents, the same Harlem stereotyped as too dangerous to live in, is now becoming too expensive and exclusive to live in. 13 SPIKE LEE: “GENTRIFICATION IS THE MOTHERFUCKIN’ CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS SYNDROME” Right now New York is facing a homelessness crisis worse even than the Great Depression years. Rents have skyrocketed and public assistance for luxury real estate is at its highest level in the history of the city, meanwhile cutbacks are being made in homeless services and affordable housing is simply not affordable anymore. Residential parking lots, playgrounds and community centers are being torn down to build luxury properties. The acclaimed drama Boss starring Kelsey Grammer, captures perfectly, under that harsh political caricature of Chicago, how the system swallows up the city administration as a product. Local governments allow corporations, under established corrupt practices, to make investments beneficial only to themselves. This is the situation worldwide across major urban centers. In Madrid, where middle class habits and customs are falling under question, perfectly described in Juan Aparicio Belmonte’s novel Un Amigo en la Ciudad. In an East London (Hackney, Brick Lane), “surgically removed”, as The Libertines howls in songs like Time For Heroes and Campaign of Hate. In Berlin, where the anti-gentrification movement rallies to freeze rent prices and avoid evictions. And even in trendy Portland, where the city is unable to offer toilets to its homeless population in Old Chinatown, but at the same time gives carte blanche to real estate developers to build luxury apartments. Gentrification affects everyone, and almost always unfavorably. If you have several properties you may win the lottery, rents may double or even triple in a few years. However, if you are a small landlord, the corresponding tax rate incurred by the rise in rents will likely kick you out of the neighborhood. If you are renting, you will almost certainly suffer the same fate. And if you are a small business in a city without commercial rent regulation, say goodbye to your lifelong neighborhood and community. Gentrification does not solve problems, it simply moves them. It is even a public health issue(10) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which points to changes in stress levels, violence and crime, and mental health in populations experiencing gentrification. “Is San Francisco New York?”(11), New York Mag asks. The gentrification avalanche makes the Californian city the nation’s number one in the category of ‘Excessive Rents’ ahead of the Big Apple. Where are the San Franciscans going? To East Bay, to Oakland, the inevitable choice of working class people where rents are cheaper at the other side of the Bay Bridge. 15 Though even this situation is gradually changing, to the point that the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), the symbol of public transportation, has suffered rate rises making living and working in North Bay still less affordable. Even Tenderloin, traditionally the most dangerous and poor neighborhood in San Francisco, is not immune to young students excited by this ”dehumanizing success” arriving to the area because it is the most affordable situation for them to start their project. CITIES ARE MANAGED AS A PRODUCT “Santa Cruz also notes price rises”. The same Santa Cruz sung in Surfin’ U.S.A by The Beach Boys is also suffering the rent earthquake. Tom is a Californian spirit with a British passport who has already been married to the Pacific lifestyle for ten years but, like any good Englishman, he loves to wet his whistle. He looks like Russell Brand’s lost twin. “Living in San Francisco is crazy, this new real estate bubble will pop at some point”. Real estate and rent regulation in the Californian city is practically non-existent, it favors speculative landlords who, using the Ellis Act(12), a provision in California Law, can apply evictions giving few rights to the tenants. 17 In San Francisco, evictions under the Ellis Act rose 170 percent between February 2010 and February 2013 according to local government reports. That, and the fact that building in the city is almost impossible due to a shortage of land (property taxes paid in the Bay Area averaged $5,358 in 2012, almost double the national average of $2,823) results in a lack of supply. Seeking an apartment is a like “Hunger Games scenario”, New York Mag quotes. This simile is not excessive: someone could write a book about the techniques and tricks used by housing hunters between 18 and 35 years old, such as setting alarms during the day (including wee hours) because the sooner you answer a Craiglist ad the better your chances, or using web tools to create and analyze automated emails using keywords. 18 It is not only not knowing what to do with all that wealth that makes San Francisco like a new New York, but also the straying of its natural identity. Gotham has been Gotham since long long ago, even the eighties’ pollutant crime was a symbol of its personality. When did New York lose its soul? In the words of Vice, “San Francisco used to be that place you moved to if you were too weird for LA, but too lazy for New York”. The city where your crazy and outlandish personality fit in, no borderlines, no posing. Now, on the spot where there was once a porn store, there is a cafe where having a coffee without using your Mac or iPad makes you feel strange, an unequivocal picture of the Big Apple. SAN FRANCISCO’S REAL ESTATE REGULATION FAVORS COMPLETELY SPECULATIVE LANDLORDS 19 THE ACTORS OF THE SYSTEM The system brought an old idea back and murdered its psychopathic and philosophical essence, using just its guise. That idea: hipster. “Contemporary hipster is the subcultural type generated by neoliberalism, their values exalt political reaction masquerading as rebellion, behind the mask of vice”, that means the lifelong posing figure just as Mark Greif’s book What Was The Hipster?(13) states. It is believed hipsters are those who fight against day-to-day commercialism and standardization, but the reality is exactly the opposite. They are rather one more zombie victim of the money cycle. Hipsters have learned to pretend the revolution while they decorate their rooms with IKEA furniture, dress in Urban Outfitters clothes and arm themselves with Apple devices before heading out to the street. A creed which doesn’t take anything seriously, apart from themselves. It is the narcissism of our generation, we are immunized with consciousness comfort and we have guillotined the true sense of rebellion. 1999 is the year zero of this era. Artists started to arrive in Williamsburg, they were the “new hipsters”, reminiscent of anarchists in some ways because the spirit of Seattle protests was still floating in the atmosphere: they did not accept the America of commercialism and standardization. Yet every distinguishing bastion and source of identity is a commercial opportunity. The same system began to mass-produce those revolutionary ideas standardizing an identity and the people’s trendy tastes because it needed a new face to boost the urban and commercial development. 21 22 This idea was exported from New York to London, San Francisco, Berlin and around the world. A few years later, after the dotcom explosion, neoliberalism needed a new cycle to oil its machinery for the future: startups. As a result, the world of the hipsters(14) and the world of startups collided. They needed each other, hipsters fit in the startups workflow; and startups, as a product of the system, absorb perfectly the gentrification steamroller and standardized cultural products flogged by hipsters. The result? A new tale: millennials. “Millennials(15) are about 80 million people (in U.S.) born between 1980 and 1996 who have values such as no respect to authority, high tolerance, closeness to their family, desire of commitment and optimism. They question how the system works”. This definition of Millennials or Generation Y is pure propaganda, not only because this prefabricated template is spread through the mass media (here(16) or here(17), for example), but also because it is wholesaling a definition of success and dreams that neoliberalism needs to renew the gears of the system. A NARROWLY DEFINED IDEA OF SUCCESS AND DREAMS IS SPREAD TO KEEP THE SYSTEM WORKING 23 WE ARE A NARCISSISTIC AND CONSCIOUSNESSCOMFORTED GENERATION DEPRIVED OF THE TRUE SENSE OF REBELLION 24 In the words of Spanish writer Ignasi Giró about the new wave of optimism: “Our dreams, generally, tend to be drawings sketched by overfed egos, intended to hide a lack of something rather than to activate virtues… It is all about reaching peaks rather than enjoying the path toward them.” In other words, hipster narcissism and the search for success through startup business models both create and respond to society’s expectations of modern success, it is a feedback loop. Our generation is a product which believes in questioning the system but works for it, sedated mainly by the culture industry. Subcultures are cannibalized; hippies, grunge, burlesque, vaudeville… they are commodified until they are used up and then set aside to be relied on in a future cycle because we are designed to need something. In San Francisco, “around every corner, there could be an anarchist bookshop or a dude covered in glitter wearing a Spongebob t-shirt,” in the words of Vice, there was no reason or need for a reason why they existed. The existential crisis and death of the spirit of this city is because of the lack of “authenticity”, that word that Lester Bangs yells in Almost Famous. —There’s a lack of authentic people, —Tyler tells me while we smoke a cigarette outside a bar near Clarion Alley(18), artistic symbol of the city and living image of the 150-year San Francisco’s authentic identity. 25 AN EXHAUSTED SYSTEM “The Beatles are as popular as ever, Volkswagen vans are back in, and hippies have just become hipsters. Black rights have become gay rights, women’s liberation is now Jezebel, and Vietnam is Iraq. LSD goes by acid, ecstasy is called Molly, and bud is still very much bud. Carol King goes by Lana Del Ray, Janis Joplin is known as Amy Winehouse, and John Mayer likes to think he’s Bob Dylan. Woodstock is Coachella, Burning Man and Bonnaroo. Vinyl are still vinyl and record stores are what is now Urban Outfitters. And JFK is most definitely Obama”, go the words of Elite Daily. History is eminently cyclic. Everything we are living has already existed, it has had another name because it has been revived by the system to make it relevant and profitable again. The problem is “cycles in capitalism are burned through increasingly quicker”, Irene says. “The system has been corrupted, everything is being consumed faster and in shorter and more massive cycles; films, fashion, music, art… all under prefabricated outlines. Sixties trends were four years ago, eighties trends were two years ago, and 90’s grunge styles are in fashion today...When music and fashion reach the present what will happen? A new rehash again?” EVERYTHING IS BEING PRODUCED AND CONSUMED IN SHORTER CYCLES 27 It is an obvious cycle in every facet. Maja, an old friend, is on the other side of the phone in Williamsburg. She writes short films from time to time but she works for a vintage boutique and in organic farming. —This neighborhood is poison for artists, –she sighs– Rents...anyway, everything has lost its soul. The reason of this rent apocalypse is precisely because of artists. We are screwed because this is an age old story. It is not an old story, it is history. Artists land in an old neighborhood. They turn it into a trendy locale. More artists land. Trendy businesses start. It is new and different because originality is highly sought after, now more than ever. College students and hipsters land. Franchises open. Rents rise. Millennials arrive. Startups open their headquarters. Artists complain that cities do not appreciate the creative industry and they are being priced out of the neighbourhood. They depart to another neighborhood and the cycle starts over again, like it is happening now in Sunset Park, South Brooklyn. “Creativity is our most precious economic resource”, economist Richard Florida points out in his theory Crea- tive Class(19),; Florida indicates that it is good to draw and stimulate artists, designers, architects... for the economic development of the cities. That is the purest essence of neoliberalism exploiting creativity. Yet the system is getting increasingly poor results. The American dream is breaking down. The decline of the middle class, America’s traditional economic base, continues unabated into its third decade. Most households, especially in urban centers, cannot afford rents that are increasingly taking up more and more of their income(20). America is getting older(21), shifting more wealth into established pensioners and retirees. Millennials have lost, or rather never achieved, their independence as surveys record the percentage of adults living at home with their parents(22) is at its highest point in at least four decades; this is especially unusual against the backdrop of a society programmed to leave home at 18. The precariousness of this generation’s employment is unquestionable and a chief culprit is the pervasiveness of unpaid internships(23). A disposable middle class, foot soldiers under General System’s command. Artists, hipsters, startups, millennials...that is what we are. The shape of our human, work, moral and ethical force. What is SoHo, New York, today? A wealthy neighborhood and haven for multinational chains and franchises. In the seventies? A new untapped area ripe for local artists to live and work freely. And in the intervening years? The cycle of commodification and gentrification. It is reminiscent of The Simpsons’ scene(24) where Bart asks where their dog Santa’s Little Helper is. He pictures a man in a boiler room throwing dogs rather than coal and yelling: “more dogs!” —Hipster apocalypse is coming —Tulu sings—. THE AMERICAN DREAM IS BREAKING DOWN ALONG WITH ITS DECLINING MIDDLE CLASS 29 “ONLY IN SAN FRANCISCO” Tulu is a Samoan American who says he is homeless. —I quit my job as a cook, too stressful. —he tells me drinking a beer and watching a Liverpool game. He is a bitter fan. The recurring topic when talking with any San Franciscan is how the city has become messed up. People are fed up. Tulu hints at and implies a range of conspiracy theories, he doesn’t look all together sane. —We didn’t even know the global connections. Where did startups come from? Because of someone’s good will to save the world? —he hits my arm in frustration. We are silently shut out. with him, he is in many ways the very essence of San Francisco’s authentic, unique and bizarre spirit. Hostility to the tech industry permeates every chat. In honor of their counterculture genes many San Franciscans are assembling against this economic cannibalism and its aggravating effects on social inequality. Activists are a headache for Mayor Ed Lee, apparently in the startups’ pocket according to popular rumors. The direct action group ‘Eviction Free San Francisco’ has organized protests in front of landlords’ homes and made an impact in the local news(25). Ironically even a startup, Airbnb, has joined the movement(26) because tenants, fighting against price increases, rent their rooms through Airbnb. Landlords, unhappy about finding their properties on the popular platform, often evict the tenants. Tulu himself has lost track of what he is saying and I begin to feel concern for his mental health. Despite the incoherence of much of what he says I find on another level that I empathize 31 ANTI-GENTRIFICATION MOVEMENTS DEMONSTRATE WITH PROTESTS AND CREATIVE COMMUNES A RECURRING TOPIC WHEN TALKING WITH ANY SAN FRANCISCAN IS HOW THE CITY HAS BEEN MESSED UP BY THE TECH INDUSTRY San Francisco’s vigorous activism is not a fan of ‘Google Buses’ either, startup shuttles equipped with every small detail to make the 30-minute trip from San Francisco to Silicon Valley more comfortable for their employees. “They treat us like kids. Picking us up at home and dropping us off at work round trip. We don’t have to worry about anything”. Tom says matter-of-factly. He works in Yahoo! because the startup he used to work for was sold to the giant tech corporation. Protesters regularly block the shuttles arguing that they create traffic jams, raise rents in the areas they stop in by as much as 20 percent, and illegally use city bus stops while not paying a single tax to the local government. Some of them have been vandalized or had their tires removed. The Anti-gentrification movement(27) (New York, San Francisco, Austin) also shows up in peaceful protests which hark back to the sixties’ collectivist spirit. New hippie communes in San Francisco are houses for 10-12 people where collaborative activities are taught and creativity and entrepreneurship are exalted, similar to what some artists are doing in New York(28). There are around 50 places(29) in the Bay. They purport to drink from the same fountain of gentrification resistance however, considering the room/bed price (around $1,200) they are more akin to hacker houses: rooms easily visible on Airbnb for any young millennials who 33 want to “save the world”. These hacker houses, like the one featured in Silicon Valley, are tech bros farms only and exclusively concerned about creating some app, software, web tool...and that implies not caring about social interactions. In one of my first room huntings in San Francisco, I came across one of these hackers homes in SoMA; they gave me an interview to know if I was “enough of a techie”. The CEO of the house ruled me out of the selection process, apparently unconvinced by my social skills with homeless people or my economic needs. They were solely interested in what I could contribute to their tech farm. 34 The last bastions of resistance are rent-stabilized apartments, often owned by the few reasonable landlords willing to stare down this gentrification infection. Irene lives in one of those places thanks to a verbal agreement, but she knows she will be kicked out when her landlord has no alternative. —I’ve lived here for 15 years but I’ll go back to Queens when it happens.— she sighs. Cities and neighborhoods change, history proves it. We can’t freeze them and convert them into museums. But we can advocate a more human and natural development not linked with the city-branding. —Creating affordable housing is more efficient financially than trying to make a trendy city. — she says, showing me some of the proposals she has made in the last few years. This is not about an anti-capitalist agenda, neither is it about a pipe dream “from Happy-Land, in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane!”, as Homer Simpson sarcastically said once(30). It is just about humans being human. 35 It is 4/20(31) (/2014) in San Francisco. Pot smokers are everywhere, even more than on a typical day; it can only happen here. It is also Easter. Six cars go through 24th street honking their horns like a World Series celebration, but their painted windows make it apparent they are actually celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Potrero Hill there is a downhill tricycle race (Bring Your Own Wheels(32)). Ninja Turtles costumes, trashcan vehicles and baby buggies designed as aerospace big wheels; just another Sunday in San Francisco. I am heading back home on the local train and it is the usual bizarre packed scene; in the middle of the train a high guy with big earphones, a baseball hat and skateboard begins a wacky shuffle and dance. He look like Phoebe running through Central Park(33). I am cracking up, and the rest of the car is too. My seatmate looks at me and smiles: “Only in San Francisco.” 36 37 IMAGES: Page 6: Dustin Diaz ( Page 9: JD Lasica ( Page 10: Page 14: Larrybobsf ( Page 16: Biggest neighborhood rent increase Q1 2013 vs Q1 2014 Page 22: Time magazine cover May 20th 2013 Page 29: Euan ( Page 32: -Matso- ( Page 34: Sylvain Kalache ( Page 37: Global X ( NOTE: Some names of the story has been changed at the request of the interested party. REFERENCES: (1) Watch Youtube: “San Francisco Earthquake 1906 - Before and After Journey Down Market Street” (2) Watch Youtube: “Questions Everyone In SF Hates” (3) Read “9 Signs You’ve Become A Startup Hipster” (4) Watch Youtube: “Silicon Valley Season 1: Trailer (HBO)” (5) Read “Is Payment Startup Clinkle a $25 Million Bust?” (6) Read “Happy Holidays: Startup CEO Complains SF Is Full of Human Trash” (7) Read “5 Mistakes Every Startup Should Avoid” (8) Read “Small Business Stats for Small Business Week 2011” & “The US Small Business Administration” (9) Read “Spike Lee’s Amazing Rant Against Gentrification: ‘We Been Here!’” (10) Read “Health Effects of Gentrification” (11) Read “Is San Francisco New York?” (12) Read Wikipedia: “Ellis Act” (13) Read “What Was The Hipster” (2010), Mark Greif (14) Read “Are You Actually A Hipster?” (15) Watch Youtube: “Are you really doing what you love??” (16) Read “For Millennials, a Generational Divide” (17) Read “El órdago de los ‘millennials’” (18) View Google Images: “Clarion Alley” (19) Read Wikipedia: “Creative class” (20) Read “In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class” (21) Read “Two Dramas in Slow Motion” (22) Read “Infographic: The Rise of Millennials Living at Home” (23) Read “For Interns, All Work and No Payoff” (24) View Google Images: “The Simpsons More Dogs” (25) Read “San Francisco tenants’ rights activists demonstrate outside the Marin home of alleged ‘serial evictor’” (26) Read “Stop the evictions, fix the law in San Francisco” (27) Read “Embrace the Worldwide Movement Againts Gentrification” (28) Read “A Way for Artists to Live” (29) Read (30) Watch Youtube: “Sarcastic Homer” (31) Read Wikipedia: “420 (cannabis culture)” (32) Watch Youtube: “GoPro HD: Bring Your Own Big Wheel” (33) Watch Youtube: “Phoebe Running Style” Online version on and ‘San Francisco’s Existential Collapse’