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Contents under pressure: San Francisco’s boom

January 3, 2017

By Michael Howerton : sfexaminer – excerpt

Here in the land of bubbles — the tech bubble, the real estate bubble, the blue state California liberal bubble — a good deal of anxiety is spent wondering when things are going to burst and come crashing down. Is San Francisco at its breaking point?
As if to confirm such fears, the City Controller’s Office last week reported that our maxed-out office space, extreme housing crunch and jam-packed transportation system are stifling further opportunities for growth. There is no more give in the trousers without loosening a button — or popping the balloon.

While these are indeed boom times for The City as whole, the benefits have been, as is usually the case, unevenly distributed. For the most part, this means the poor, the renters, the homeless and semi-homeless, the disabled, and many from other countries, documented and not, are feeling a disproportionate share of the squeeze such growth brings. Issues of gentrification and economic equality have been a decades-long struggle, and a worsening topic, in this quickly changing city.

As San Francisco Examiner reporter Joshua Sabatini recently wrote: “For the past six years, San Francisco has experienced a huge boom in jobs and construction and the opening of new businesses. But amid all the economic growth, there remains a charged debate over displacement of long-standing residents that continues to boil over into intense political discourse.”…

With the board’s composition in flux and three new supervisors set to be sworn in next month, now is the time for new action from City Hall. Last month, Supervisor Malia Cohen said The City needed “a sea change” on how it handles development, saying, “Development should not be about displacing people.”

We hope her colleagues, both new and returning, agree and can steer a new course for San Francisco, one that brings us closer to The City we once thought we were.
Michael Howerton is editor in chief of the San Francisco Examiner… (more)

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