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A Comprehensive Examination of the Bay Area Housing Crisis

The Google Bus protests got the media’s attention, and the Ellis Act has politicians' attention, but the Bay Area’s current tech-housing-gentrification crisis is a big, complicated mess.
April 16, 2014, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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“If you’re wondering why people are protesting you, how we got to this housing crisis, why rent control exists or why tech is even shifting to San Francisco in the first place, this is meant to provide some common points of understanding," writes Kim-Mai Cutler before launching into one of the most expansive and incisive pieces of online journalism in recent months (years? decades?).

The really, really long (don’t say we didn’t warn you) article includes 21 subheadings that frankly address components of the crisis, like rent control, supply and demand, and the “Twitter tax break.” Two particularly helpful subheadings provide distillations of all the current measures proposed by the city government (subhead 15) and the tech industry (subhead 16) to ameliorate the crisis.

But, writes Cutler, “none of this — the increased eviction protections, the push to stall the shuttle program under CEQA, Ellis Act reform – amounts to massive, systems-level change. It protects long-time residents who are already here, but it doesn’t make San Francisco affordable or available to future middle- or working-class residents.”

Meanwhile, tech companies are finding other places to do business, or, as Cutler puts it, “[the] high cost of living in the Bay Area is the rest of the world’s gain.”

The article concludes by delivering some tough talk to tech workers, homeowners in the city and on the peninsula, and activists. It’s all highly recommended reading. 

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Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 in TechCrunch
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