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Protesters Block Apple and Google Buses In California

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the stop-disrupting-the-peaceful-gridlock dept.

Google 653

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Business Insider reports that protesters have stopped a bus filled with Apple employees in San Francisco and a Google bus in Oakland. Tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook provide free buses that take their employees from San Francisco to their headquarters in the suburbs. Protesters are mad at the tech companies because the wealthy tech employees have driven up the price of housing in San Francisco, which is pricing out some people. The buses also use public transit stops, and some protesters think that's wrong. Between 70 and 100 protesters gathered for the blockade of Apple private tech shuttle to protest evictions in the city of San Francisco. The activists in San Francisco were from Eviction Free San Francisco, Our Mission No Eviction, Causa Justa /Just Cause. Protesters stood in front of a white shuttle bus holding banners and signs. Some peeked through cardboard signs fashioned in the shape of place markers on Google maps, with "Evicted" written across the front. Meanwhile violence occurred in Oakland, according to reports from IndyBay, as protesters unfurled two giant banners reading "TECHIES: Your World Is Not Welcome Here" and "Fuck off Google" and "a person appeared from behind the bus and quickly smashed the whole of the rear window, making glass rain down on the street. Cold air blew inside the bus and the blockaders with their banners departed." Two weeks ago, protesters stopped a Google bus."

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653 comments

Bus Bar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753045)

First post as a friend.

frist psot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753047)

I have nothing to say here.

Hmm. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 months ago | (#45753049)

This just in: The homeless and unemployed mobbed a bus full of people perceived to be rich, perhaps unaware of the 60-80 hour work weeks endured by software engineers, that once you take that into consideration, many in the industry make at, or less, than minimum wage.

-_- Guys... if you're gonna have a protest against the rich, go pitch a tent on the CEO's lawn, not in the middle of the street where a bunch of people only doing slightly better than you are take the bus to work every day. Not only will you win an Irony award from me, but you'll get arrested for obstructing traffic too -- and rightfully so. Time and place. First two things you learn in activism. Time. Place. Learn it.

 

Re:Hmm. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753071)

You are clueless.

Re:Hmm. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753153)

We all know girlintraining is clueless. And gives a bad name to girls.

Re:Hmm. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753239)

So...does her name mean she has no tits but will eventually have tits as soon as she reaches puberty, or that "she" is actually a transvestite?

Re:Hmm. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753405)

I had always assumed the latter.

Re:Hmm. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753407)

You really mean 'Transgendered'. We don't know but I do know one thing that 'girlintraining' does not sound like any girl (or trans) person I know. As one myself the old saying 'it takes one to know one' really applies.

Re:Hmm. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753087)

And the rich desk jockeys don't understand what it's like to not have food to eat or a place to sleep or what it's like to do back breaking manual labor in the freezing cold for 12 hours a day, every day just to be able to afford a small apartment and the basic necessities of life.

Re:Hmm. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753167)

It's easily to afford a small apartment in Nowhere, Montana. These protesters specifically insist on the luxury of living in San Francisco.

Re: Hmm. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753277)

Where exactly does one find a job in Nowhere, Montana? Because the availability of work is what makes suburban / rural areas prohibitive, not the price of housing.

Re: Hmm. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753441)

There's always service industry jobs available.

Re:Hmm. (3, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 4 months ago | (#45753419)

Exactly. If it's not Google or Apple employees, somebody else is going to want to live there. Popular living destinations always attract high costs of living...this isn't even a new thing, it's been going on for centuries, get over it.

Effectively these people are saying that just because they're poorer they're somehow more entitled to live there than somebody else who is willing to pay more. It's the 99% syndrome where you believe that because you are a member of a larger group means you're automatically more important.

You don't necessarily have to live in Nowhere, Montana either. Places like Phoenix and Houston are probably easier to find jobs in than SF and the cost of living is MUCH lower (both places are just slightly below the national average of cost of living, whereas SF is about two and a half times the national average.)

Re:Hmm. (1)

riis138 (3020505) | about 4 months ago | (#45753247)

As an app systems analyst that worked his way through college hanging drywall and getting burned by fryer grease, I must say you really have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Hmm. (3, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 4 months ago | (#45753485)

Most of us "desk jockeys" started out that way. Hell, right out of high school I started in the Army in a combat arms MOS, which some job indices consider to be one of the worst jobs you can possibly have. I lost that job after a year due to problems with my eyesight. Without even counting that, I can guarantee you I've seen much worse hardship than you have. I'm not bitter over it; quite the opposite as it made me stronger. The difference between people like you and people like me is that we find our way around these problems instead of taking that bitterness out on other people and smashing their bus windows in.

Can't afford a small apartment in New York? No shit, it's because it's expensive as hell to live there. If you crave the city, try some place like Miami which is much cheaper. Sure it's not New York, but I can almost guarantee you a better quality of life because you'll be living within your means.

Re:Hmm. (1, Interesting)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 4 months ago | (#45753215)

I love the ACs below that slings arrows from hidden view. girlintraining makes a value point and I'd mod her up. If you are going to protest, TIme and place do matter. Also you audience matters and picking on a bus load of techies expends too much cap;ital on a little target. Had they protested in front of google, had the, as she suggested, parked themselves in front of the people who are really driving up prices then they could garner more positive interest in their cause. All they did was pissed of people who work for a living, negate any value attempted by using violence, and most likely hurting, not helping their cause.

To the ACs, get some brains cells to stop the knee jerk reaction, or come out of the woods so we can put a name to the small minds that carry it.

Re:Hmm. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#45753259)

She makes a valid point but I'd say it's not really relevant. People are protesting about their conditions and are going after a soft target because the people to blame for their conditions are not as easy a target or even easy to identify.
See also attacks on "those migrants that are taking our jobs" for similar irrelevant soft target stupidity.

You miss the point. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753233)

We are starting to see the social unrest caused by the wealth disparity in the US - a disparity of Third World proportions. You have people being left begind in the economic prosperity and to add insult to injury, they are then told it's because of their character: unwillingness to work hard, poor money skills, getting the wrong education or degree. (It's funny, back in the 90s, all those tech people were saying "follow you passions! That's how you make it big!" and "We only hire people who are passionate about what they do!")

The techies were just the first targets. Don't worry, the CEOs will come next - if they can get through shareholder paid for armed security. Security for big shots is a BOOMING business, btw.

This is what happens when people feel like there's no hope for them to better their lives. They see that "work hard" means nothing when you have assholes who know the right people become billionaires with little or no effort - they just had the contacts to folks who knew how to set it up to sucker investors with an IPO.

It's starting to happen folks! Social issues like this were solved in the 30s but we went BACKWARDs in the last couple of decades.

We need 1950s income tax rates back; which was the most prosperous times in US history. Back then working hard and having "good" character got you some where.

"I'd rather have to give half away than have all if it taken away!"

-Joseph P. Kennedy.

Re:You miss the point. (1, Informative)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 4 months ago | (#45753283)

A disparity of third-world proportions? Get real.

The disparity in the US is huge, yes, but being poor in the US is a picnic compared to the third world. No one in the US needs to starve. You have a roof over your head. You have at least some money for luxuries like a mobile phone and a TV. Comparing this to third world poverty shows that you've never been to the third world.

These idiots want to drive the high-tech companies out of San Francisco? Maybe they should look at places like Detroit, where most industry is gone. They are idiots, pure and simple.

Clueless (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753357)

The disparity in the US is huge, yes, but being poor in the US is a picnic compared to the third world. No one in the US needs to starve. You have a roof over your head. You have at least some money for luxuries like a mobile phone and a TV. Comparing this to third world poverty shows that you've never been to the third world.

That is false and you have absoutely no clue. See the chart. [theatlantic.com] We are on the level of some African countries - and some of those Third World shitholes are actually better than we are.

The rest of that statement show someone who has a very very cloistered life.

Taking too many company buses and living on the company "campus" are we?

They are idiots, pure and simple.

That's what I think of all the SF tech companies. They are all just advertising companies with a delusion of being innovative.

Re:You miss the point. (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#45753459)

What's the big difference between not having a job in Detroit and not having a job in San Francisco? Probably that you can afford the rent in Detroit, considering that everyone's fleeing...

Re:You miss the point. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753353)

You have people being left begind in the economic prosperity and to add insult to injury, they are then told it's because of their character: unwillingness to work hard, poor money skills, getting the wrong education or degree. (It's funny, back in the 90s, all those tech people were saying "follow you passions! That's how you make it big!" and "We only hire people who are passionate about what they do!")

You're exactly right, and the difference between the 1990s and the 2010s is that now, being passionate about what you do is considered a character flaw. The only correct attitude to have is to be motivated by money and absolutely nothing other than money, because people who do anything for money are easy to control. If you're not motivated by money and you're not in debt, you simply will not be allowed to work anywhere.

Re:You miss the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753437)

The protesters want prosperity handed to them. They attack others who worked hard for what the protesters view as prosperity. If they want someone to blame they should start looking in the mirror.

Re:Hmm. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#45753471)

But the homeless mobs don't live in walking distance to the CEOs house. You protest where you can.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 4 months ago | (#45753499)

win an Irony award...

One of the protesters (Paula Tejada) complaining about life in the city said to the people on the bus who like living in the city: "if you want homogeneous, go live in the suburbs.”

How is it their fault? (5, Interesting)

jfbilodeau (931293) | about 4 months ago | (#45753051)

I hate to make it sound like I'm pissing on the protesters, but how is it the fault of techies that house pricing is going up?

Re:How is it their fault? (5, Funny)

Entrope (68843) | about 4 months ago | (#45753085)

If techies accepted jobs that were just barely above the poverty line, they wouldn't be able to afford expensive houses, and the protesters would focus their efforts on more deserving targets like all the bankers and lawyers who live and work in the city (and who would still be able to bid housing prices up).

You know, because this country's problems are caused by paying good wages to STEM workers, and the solution is clearly to not do that. Someone should let politicians know.

Re:How is it their fault? (5, Insightful)

Cheviot (248921) | about 4 months ago | (#45753101)

I don't agree with the protesters, but their argument is that by providing these busses, Apple and Google are encouraging their employees to live in the area the busses service.

Previously the employees would have chosen to live somewhere convenient, but more expensive, due to the need to drive themselves. Now the Apple and Google employees can buy up places near the bus routes, causing a mini-housing shortage and driving up prices, thus pricing locals out of the housing market

Re:How is it their fault? (0, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | about 4 months ago | (#45753121)

So they're a boon to homeowners who can now sell their prices for a lot more than they dreamed of. This sounds like a good thing, to me.

But, you know, keep on with the class-wars, everyone.

Re:How is it their fault? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753181)

And a very bad thing for the renters, you know, the poor.

Re:How is it their fault? (4, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 4 months ago | (#45753227)

Also a bad thing for people who want to stay in the home they have lived in for years but can no longer afford the increased property taxes.

That is the fundamental flaw of property taxes - the taxes can go up even if your property stayed exactly the same just because a bunch of people around you overpaid.

Re:How is it their fault? (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 4 months ago | (#45753271)

I thought California had it set up so property taxes are set when a house is purchased and never change?

Re: How is it their fault? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753287)

California prop 13 limits yearly property tax increases to only 2%, regardless of how much the property value has appreciated. It was passed specifically to prevent people from losing their houses due to property tax increases.

Re: How is it their fault? (0)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#45753363)

It is also designed to encourage sprawl, sub-optimal land use, and encourage people to sit motionless in their cars on freeways. In short, it is designed to protect the haves, the insiders, those who have already made it at the expense of the people of tomorrow.

Re: How is it their fault? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 4 months ago | (#45753453)

It may encourage sprawl and sub-optimal land use, but the traffic congestion is caused by stupid zoning and heavy subsidation of private car usage. (Also designed to protect the haves and insiders.) Sprawl could still be accomodated by better zoning (interspersed commercial zones instead of alternating commercial strips and huge tracts of residential suburbs) and public transportation (instead of subsidized gas, cars, and roads).

Re:How is it their fault? (1)

xelah (176252) | about 4 months ago | (#45753449)

And a bad thing for younger home-owners who want to trade up repeatedly in the future. Few people in that situation complain about the price of their house going up, but if you do the sums you find they're likely to buy more additional housing in the future than they've bought so far.

Re:How is it their fault? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753461)

Last time I checked the poor can find somewhere else to live too. See it works both ways.

Re:How is it their fault? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753255)

The buses aren't driving up housing prices, the are simply going to where people have already chosen to live.

And there is no "mini housing shortage", there is a big housing shortage all across San Francisco, and it's due to stupid city policies: rent control, zoning, lots of red tape.

Re: How is it their fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753421)

It's due to building on a peninsula in an earthquake zone.

Re:How is it their fault? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753503)

there is a big housing shortage all across San Francisco

Apparently there's a bigger housing shortage in SV, otherwise most of these techies wouldn't move to SF. Why isn't SV more urbanized? Who influences the zoning regulations? An SV filled with 10+ story apartment buildings would go a long way towards increasing housing availability.

Re:How is it their fault? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753117)

Maybe they should legalize prostitution. In countries where it is legal, prostitution is confined to particular places (red light districts) mainly because it is not desirable and thus imposes costs on the property owners, i.e. it drives the property prices down. So maybe Apple and Google should hire prostitutes and place them in the suburbs.

Re:How is it their fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753201)

The growing divide. See earlier discussion:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/12/04/1546202/andy-rubin-is-heading-a-secret-robotics-project-at-google

Re:How is it their fault? (1)

Crimey McBiggles (705157) | about 4 months ago | (#45753221)

There was a documentary about this recently, but I think it's one of those programs that's only available via tinfoil hat.

Re:How is it their fault? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753457)

Americans have lost about 7\8ths of the purchasing power the they had since 1990. Back then, while it surely was difficult, if you worked 1 Job you could afford a cheap apartment and could put food on the table; if you worked 2 you could save some cash and had a real shot at starting up a business. Nowadays the only way you can get away with doing that is to get Food Stamps, Welfare and work under the table all at the same time and if you're planning on starting a business you have to be Nuts.

Combine that with an annualized 9% year over year increase in the price of education (which if you are educated you'd know that phrase means Exponential Price Growth ) and you can see how a bunch of uneducated slobs might feel trapped and might feel the need to lash out.

There's really 2 problems here; first Google and other IT Giants are turning the area into a Company Town; don't think for a second that the same people who are on the boards of directors or work as higher-up managers haven't invested heavily in real-estate. Would you invest in a $250,000 bus to move your employee's to and from your business if you didn't own the real estate? Case in point; Google doesn't pay their employee's well enough they can afford Corvette's, much less parking spaces, nor do they spend money with the city on infrastructure projects that might allow everyone to live better. Instead the management has decided busing their employee's to and from work like they're in high school is the way to go. Oh you'll get paid 100k+ a year, but the companies management will take it all back with high-sky rent and mortgages, leaving you with just enough for some cheap ikea furnature and a crappy compact car and a small suburban hovel which you'll be stupid enough to think makes you superior to everyone else because it's Green.

What, you think these protesters are looking to move into a 3 story mini-mansion? They just want a 1200sqft house. FFS, that isn't that big.

Second; IT Companies love importing thousands of job-frauds from foreign countries and putting them to work at their company to make it appear as though there's more competition for IT Jobs then there actually is; that way when they find a real genius they can make them feel insecure about their job prospects and hire them for pennies of their actual worth. A competent IT person is indistinguishable from an incompetent IT person to a normal manager, and if you're willing to accept excuses the sky is the limit as to how cheaply you can hire someone. The Problem is that generally Genius can do Math and have noticed "250k education for 50k\yr pay" makes no sense.

Seriously; Established Engineering professions are paid hourly, we're paid salary. Why? I have no fucking clue these days.

Why is this relevant? You need a place to store thousands of indentures servants, cheaply.

There are still those of us who do it for the love of technology. That's a hard sale to most people, though. Especially when OT Exemptions enable managers to order you to arbitrage yourself against poorly made software and hardware that is poorly made because the people making it found out they could order their IT Staff to arbitrage themselves against a keyboard without OT in lieu of instituting an Actual design process they instead have a chinese firedrill going on all the time until things fall apart. Devops = Process of continuous improvement; No Shit sherlock what have all the good sysadmins and programmers been doing since the 1970's?!?! Then there's the code agreements saying anything you make offhours belongs to the company; effectively if I make a million dollar a year app for my phone, the company owns every last penny; can a Janitor go into business for themselves doing janitorial work? Yep. Can we? Some programmers sign those agreements with multiple companies doing side-contracting gigs. When you're a genius-geek in your 30's thinking about a family and noticing that career choice requires 60hrs a week of work for your cheap-ass managers, yeah. You just might decide to eschew having children or a normal life, or you might quit and change professions, or you might decide to leave a highly-secure system to the company and no passwords or documentation to speak of, or you might decide to start spending your free time spelunking around in corporate systems where you aren't welcome for the sake of curiosity, or you might decide to become a hactivist. Or you might decide to go Columbine on their asses. Either way. Can't tell you how many IT Folks I know who are single and in their late 30's, or who got divorced and who's wived took every last penny, the kids and the dog plus maintainence, or how many just get depressed and leave.

Incidentally, the worst god damn thing you can do to an employer is being fucking fantastic with technology and take care of issues before they become issues, then leave. Because when they hire someone else who's horseshit at the same price, they will completely trash the beautiful system you've built and probably turn the company into a flaming heap.

Of course, I'm doing it because I'm betting 90% of the IT people out there are complete horseshit because the leaders of this industry have taken quite literally every fucking step they can think of to make smart people not want to go into this industry, and WHEN the economy turns around in 5-10 years after a massive rash and a reform movement, I'll be able to name my price.

Re:How is it their fault? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#45753491)

Thry work in the burbs and live in the city. If they lived in the burb they worked in, city housing would be cheaper..

Another thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753053)

this could just strengthen the theory of the Golden Girls and the fact that they were cosmonauts.

Just one more reason I am glad to be out of (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 4 months ago | (#45753059)

California.

Yes, people caring about where they live is (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 4 months ago | (#45753109)

bad.

Re:Yes, people caring about where they live is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753151)

Dear Friends,

One of the most well-known newspaper editorials ever written was published 116 years ago. It was in response to 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon's letter to The New York Sun asking whether there really was a Santa Claus.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” the newspaper famously replied. “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist."

Given the current state of affairs across America and the globe, I could understand why some folks would be skeptical if such a response were published today.

With millions of people here still struggling to find a job and a political system hampered by gridlock, these past few years have been especially difficult times for too many Americans.

And this was a year in which tragedy touched too many lives, and pocketbooks were stretched too thin.

Yet it was also a year in which a man in a cowboy hat became a symbolic hero during the tragic Boston Marathon bombing. And in St. Petersburg, Florida, a 15-year-old orphan’s in-church plea for a home was heard around the world. Ten thousand families offered to adopt. And now he’ll be spending the holidays with his likely new family.

For a year that began in bitter political partisanship, it has ended with compromises on the budget, defense spending and even legislation to ban guns that cannot be seen by metal detectors.

So you see, if we just pause to look we'll certainly see signs that charity, humanity, justice, cooperation and compassion still exist. And there are many reasons for us to have faith, to feel hopeful, and to be charitable towards our neighbors.

And isn't this what really matters most in our state, in our nation and around the world?

So from my family to yours, I wish you all a joyful Christmas and happy holiday season - and a very bright 2014.

Sincerely,
Sen. Bill Nelson, Representing Florida

Re: Yes, people caring about where they live is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753169)

There's a tendency to protest, doing violence and property damage first , figuring out appropriate targets to effect actual change later, that's unique to CA. I went to Berkeley and also lived in many places in the US and abroad and I, for one, would not live in CA again. There must be something in the water that leads to such frequent overblown and misguided 'political correctness'

Re: Yes, people caring about where they live is (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753257)

There's a tendency to protest, doing violence and property damage first , figuring out appropriate targets to effect actual change later, that's unique to CA.

First, the idea that it's unique to California is preposterous (full disclaimer: I've never lived in California and never had any desire to). Second, there was no violence and the property damage was limited to one broken window. I don't particularly agree with these protestors, but the protests seem reasonable. Of course it's going to get publicity when you obstruct things - that's the idea.

I went to Berkeley

If that's the only place in CA you've ever lived, you have an extremely biased experience. When it comes to "frequent overblown and misguided 'political correctness'", Berkeley is a national joke.

No violence?!? (1)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | about 4 months ago | (#45753505)

Unlawful restraint and intimidation are forms of violence. Or are you of the opinion that violence only involves physical injury?

How long before Google Glass gives us a picture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753065)

"...a person appeared from behind the bus and quickly smashed the whole of the rear window, making glass rain down on the street."

Smile, you are on Candid Camera.

protest as though the world were watching? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753069)

or even our moms. that would apply to the 'civil' servants (our employees?) as well

What do they want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753073)

I don't quite understand what these protesters want to happen. Do they want the companies to pay their workers less or otherwise not treat them as well? Or are they just trying to scare successful people away?

Re:What do they want? (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#45753089)

Or are they just trying to scare successful people away?

They want them to move away from San Fran, so that the whole place will become a slum that they can afford to live in.

Either that or they want to force them all to buy cars, producing more gridlock, more pollution, and more wear & tear on the roads.

Re:What do they want? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753269)

They want them to move away from San Fran, so that the whole place will become a slum that they can afford to live in.

Really? Was the whole place a slum before it became a popular place for SV techies to live in?

Re:What do they want? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#45753355)

Really? Was the whole place a slum before it became a popular place for SV techies to live in?

No, but it will be after they drive the people paying the taxes away.

Or do you think they'll stop with the techies? When housing prices don't go down after they've been driven off, they'll look for another scapegoat. And then another....

Re:What do they want? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753371)

Or do you think they'll stop with the techies?

For the most part, yes. There wasn't nearly as much of this before the techie invasion. If you disagree with me, please explain your reasoning.

When housing prices don't go down after they've been driven off

You don't believe in supply and demand?

Shooting the messenger (5, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#45753079)

The tech industry is not responsible for driving up housing prices. The greed of people who set housing prices is responsible for driving up housing prices. However, it is much harder to visibly protest the upscale equivalent of a slumlord (I guess still a slumlord), especially when such highly visible symptoms as environmentally friendly commuter buses are within easy reach.

Re:Shooting the messenger (4, Insightful)

envelope (317893) | about 4 months ago | (#45753093)

It isn't greed so much as supply and demand. There's no real estate master setting prices for the area. Each house sells at its own price.

Re:Shooting the messenger (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#45753137)

Perhaps I made an unwarranted assumption. I assumed that the people complaining about being 'prized out of the market', so to speak, were renters, not home owners, because I've never heard of a home owner with a mortgage already in place complain about the value of his home going up. I assumed that the protestors were people who couldn't afford their rent because their landlords set higher prices (after their contracts were up) because they figured they could get away with it with this influx of affluent tech workers. These landlords would be the real estate masters, exploiting shifting demographics to make themselves richer (which I judged to be a form of greed).

Re:Shooting the messenger (1)

aesiamun (862627) | about 4 months ago | (#45753155)

Typically, if the value of your house skyrockets, so do your taxes.

Taxes go up, so does your mortgage...and then you can't afford to live there.

Re: Shooting the messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753183)

In CA, Prop 13 limits property tax increases to 2% / year. Most homes have already appreciated so much that year to year fluctuations have no impact on pace of property tax raises. Taxes can come down when value drops though as did happen in 2008.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753245)

> Typically, if the value of your house skyrockets, so do your taxes. Taxes go up, so does your mortgage...and then you can't
afford to live there.

Not in California. By law, property tax bills can only increase by inflation, not to exceed two percent per year:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_13_(1978)

Re:Shooting the messenger (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#45753213)

I've never heard of a home owner with a mortgage already in place complain about the value of his home going up.

Unless the new level of taxes prices a tight budget out of the local housing market.

I assumed that the protestors were people who couldn't afford their rent because their landlords set higher prices (after their contracts were up)

I understand what the dynamic of mixing rising prices with static income can do to borderline solvent families. It's a problem in any area that experiences a boom as there are folks on fixed incomes who do not benefit: teachers, city workers, retirees, etc.

People who rent space for a living are going to raise rates to whatever the market will bear... it's like a pay raise for them.

Re:Shooting the messenger (2, Insightful)

cardpuncher (713057) | about 4 months ago | (#45753165)

>The tech industry is not responsible for driving up housing prices

Yes it is. The tech industry is supposed to have made location an irrelevant criterion.

The tech industry is not only refusing to eat its own dog food, it's wilfully jacking up its costs and risk by insisting on stockpiling its live meat in one location.

Re:Shooting the messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753249)

Telecommuting has not caught on, not even in the tech industry, because managers force workers into one location so the managers can see the slaves over whom they exert their power. To make location irrelevant is to disregard human nature.

Re:Shooting the messenger (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753311)

Mod to +5.

The tech industry in SV does a lot of complaining about high salaries and a "shortage" of people. They also use that excuse to claim they need more H-1B's. SV is, ironically, incredibly provincial. Maybe they should check Google maps - there are many places besides the Bay Area and Bangalore. Some of them are even in US. That includes tech hubs where you can get talent cheaper and more easily that SV.

Re:Shooting the messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753275)

The greed of people who set housing prices is responsible for driving up housing prices.

Are you f*cking kidding me? Do you think there is some central planning sky fairy that decides to screw with people by "setting housing prices"?

Home owners (you know, normal people) put their homes on the market and then they sell to the highest offer. What do you want them to do? Say "oh, please, $100000 will be just fine"?

Not a protest, kidnapping. (0, Flamebait)

trout007 (975317) | about 4 months ago | (#45753095)

Restricting someones freedom to travel is kidnapping not a protest.

Re:Not a protest, kidnapping. (2)

Misagon (1135) | about 4 months ago | (#45753105)

Is the TSA kidnapping people now also?

Re:Not a protest, kidnapping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753175)

I have heard rumor, yes. I'm going to be flying out tomorrow, so if you don't see me posting here after that then it probably means the TSA have kidnapped me - please alert the media in that case. Also watch this [youtube.com]

Re:Not a protest, kidnapping. (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753321)

Restricting someones freedom to travel is kidnapping not a protest.

Hyperbole much? Unlike kidnapping, making somebody late for work is not a federal crime.

I sense Irony (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 4 months ago | (#45753133)

That these protests were organized using the technology of the companies they were protesting against.

Cake (4, Insightful)

danceswithtrees (968154) | about 4 months ago | (#45753159)

There is an ever widen inequality gap in America. Gaps in wealth, income, education, access to healthcare, life expectancy, etc. Much attention has been paid to the life of the top 1% but not so much to the bottom 20%. Real incomes for them have stagnated or gone down over the last decade. The urine poor public education system gives little opportunity for upward mobility. Hunger, cold, and loss of housing are constant worries.

Meanwhile in congress, politicians want to cut social welfare programs, keep taxes on the wealthy at record low rates, give tax breaks for corporate jets, cut unemployment benefits, send the poor to fight stupid wars (how many of the Apple and Google employees have friends and family serving in the Middle East?). The list goes on and on. I am fighting the urge to blame this all on the Republicans because the Democrats don't really seem to want to fix the problem.

So the situation has devolved into this-- where the poor, disaffected, resentful masses with little hope of improving their lot see the gleaming buses give free rides to the Apple and Google employees with their free lunches. To be fair to the employees in the buses, they are probably not the really rich because they have onsite parking. First the spray cans. Next the torches, rocks and sickles. Meanwhile the politicians in Washington cry "Let them eat cake."

Re:Cake (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 4 months ago | (#45753177)

I thought that Google employees all payed for the rides, lunches and all with their work. After all, the money to pay all that has to come from somewhere, which is the result of their work (ie: the income produced by people using their products). And if they were not as successful, they would not have any of that.

Re:Cake (1)

danceswithtrees (968154) | about 4 months ago | (#45753281)

I don't know if you intentionally missed the point of my post or reading comprehension is not your strong suit. Companies often offer "free" things as an incentive. "Free" heating and air conditioning so that workers are comfortable. "Free" food and beverages so that workers think they work in a great environment. "Free" shuttles so that people who don't have onsite parking don't complain as much or perhaps giving an option for people who don't want to drive. My point is not that they have "free" lunches and shuttles but rather the inequality gap that is fueling the anger and resentment of the people outside the bus toward the people inside.

Re:Cake (2)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 4 months ago | (#45753243)

You mirror my thoughts. At times I also most wish that republicans would take and hold all three branches. It will hasten the fall of this country and perhaps, maybe, possibly out of the upheaval, a better system can come to pass. Right now I feel democrats (or maybe better to say caring politicians) try to slow the fall, give hope to the hopeless and serve only to make this country suffer more. Gangrene slowly pervades our system, our society and the caring politician, a minority today, only allows the infection to spread, albeit slowly.

We live in a time of a heartless society.

Re:Cake (3, Funny)

Stickerboy (61554) | about 4 months ago | (#45753297)

You mirror my thoughts. At times I also most wish that republicans would take and hold all three branches. It will hasten the fall of this country and perhaps, maybe, possibly out of the upheaval, a better system can come to pass. Right now I feel democrats (or maybe better to say caring politicians) try to slow the fall, give hope to the hopeless and serve only to make this country suffer more. Gangrene slowly pervades our system, our society and the caring politician, a minority today, only allows the infection to spread, albeit slowly.

We live in a time of a heartless society.

Thank you, Ra's al Ghul!

Re:Cake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753365)

The Republicans --- and their most extreme factions --- have already taken hold of all branches of government. They just often call themselves "democrats" for PR purposes. Our current president taxes the rich at lower rates than Frickin' Ronald Reagan; no wonder massive wealth inequality and the consequent social unrest are visible. The trickle-down economy is no longer a future aspiration for the oligarchy, but the unchallenged present reality of politics.

Techies not welcome in the world anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753185)

Well fuck me, anti-intellectualism has reached a new peak. I knew I should never have bothered to learn to read. A lifetime of study, wasted! Is it too late to become ignorant and therefore blissful?

This news comes as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the steadily growing popular disdain for IT ever since the dot-com crash. IT guys have lower status than dirt these days.

exactly what is wrong with "Gentrification"? (5, Insightful)

lophophore (4087) | about 4 months ago | (#45753205)

Exactly what is wrong with "gentrification"? One commenter on the linked article on IndyBay points out the City of Detroit as an example of what happens when the middle class leaves. Is that what they want for Oakland?

Re:exactly what is wrong with "Gentrification"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753447)

That it evicts people from their neighbourhood. The idea that it isn't violence cause it's the "market" is a serious failure of critical thinking.

Gentrification can change the population of an area quicker than a Chinese eviction for "development".

Re:exactly what is wrong with "Gentrification"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753451)

Gentrification is segregation for white people.

Re:exactly what is wrong with "Gentrification"? (5, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about 4 months ago | (#45753495)

There's a difference between "the middle class leaves" (because middle-class jobs are gutted) and "the middle class is forced out of their homes by the upper-middle-class." The people being evicted are representative of the vast overwhelming majority of the population; general working people who keep a city going. Perhaps you don't believe anyone should be allowed to settle down and work and live in a small but reasonably comfortable home if they can't pull a six-figure salary; these people disagree. Maybe you don't worry about losing your home, having to move far out of town; losing your friends, community, school zone, and perhaps your job, too. Maybe you were raised with a silver spoon in your mouth, with zero experience of the actual struggles and concerns of the majority of working American families. But don't let your ignorance control your disdainful attitude towards the working class.

short sighted (4, Informative)

cellocgw (617879) | about 4 months ago | (#45753217)

As I recall, housing prices in SF and environs were going astronomical long before Google existed. And seeing as Apple's been there since the 70's, it seems rather odd that "just recently" Apple is responsible for a price rise in housing.

Re:short sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753323)

Leader after leader can gradually run a country into the ground. Yet the one who carries the brunt of the blame - and punishment - is usually whoever is in power when the people have finally had enough.

Elsewhere in the world ... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 4 months ago | (#45753265)

In England, Microsoft and Oracle have a similar free bus service for their employees - http://www.tvptravel.co.uk/tvp-buses [tvptravel.co.uk] , http://www.somph.co.uk/tvp.html [somph.co.uk]
It too uses public bus stops, and the local council helpfully puts the route and the stops on their bus maps - http://www.reading-buses.co.uk/maps/ [reading-buses.co.uk]
and lists the coach hire company that operates these services as one of the local public transport operators.

If anyone here were to protest against this bus service, people would think they were mad.

Go away! You've ruined the whole town (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45753267)

In an unrelated story a horde of pale greasy nerds descended on the popular internet forums shutting them down, "Go away! You've ruined the whole town" one said before unleashing the full fury his home OC3 connection on a popular forum for trading cat pictures.

The writing on the wall (1)

taylorius (221419) | about 4 months ago | (#45753313)

We don't know who these people are, or their backgrounds - so it seems rather trite to sneer at their protest.The earning power of Google's brilliant tech professionals has swept them aside. Is it surprising they have something to say about it? And they are only the first small drops from the stormclouds. Robotics and automation constitute a rising tide that will engulf more and more low-skill jobs - and not just those either. What will most people do when there is no prospect of them getting any employment?

Re:The writing on the wall (1, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753433)

Technological improvements have been "engulf[ing] more and more low-skill jobs" since the start of the industrial revolution in the mid to late 18th century.

Why doesn't SV urbanize? (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45753411)

Despite all the complaints about a lack of housing, SV hasn't become more urbanized. Is there any reason for that other than zoning and other government imposed limits? If SV companies really wanted more housing in the area, they'd pressure the local governments to change that. It's absurd to complain about lack of housing when you don't see 10 story apartment buildings everywhere.

What would they prefer? (1)

egoebelbecker (3470505) | about 4 months ago | (#45753429)

Would they rather the tech employees clog the streets with BMWs and SUVs? Or move out of the city and stop spending money in local restaurants, stores, gyms, etc?
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