Dog Bites

Paranoid Android

"While I appreciate that it is easier to let the readers write the column for you, printing the entire ramblings of longtime city investors (whatever the hell that means) was a bit hard to take," complains disgruntled reader Paul Miller.

Well, thanks for pointing out how much last week's column sucked -- like we hadn't noticed ourselves. At least try to be constructive -- like Michael Ege, who, noticing we need some help, writes to say, "Stanley Kubrick once directed a film about Clint Reilly's love life. Title: Jaw Wired Shut."

Dog Bites believes it may not be possible for anyone else to really appreciate just how mucheasier it is to let the readers write the column for us. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see what's happening now that the city's longtime refusal to add to its housing stock has come back to haunt many of the very same über San Franciscans who've repeatedly objected to having, say, new 16-unit apartment buildings built anywhere near their neighborhoods, and who now find the owners of their charming Edwardian flats raising their rents. Imagine! Then, when these arbiters of all that is San Franciscan go to look for a new place, they find to their dismay that 24-year-olds with jobs at Web start-ups are lining up on the sidewalk to pay $1,850 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. The shock of this cold new world is just too much, and the formerly self-congratulatory True San Franciscan demands the only fair solution: The newcomers should just go away.



Welcome Home
How shortsighted neighborhood activism fuels the city's housing crisis, and pushes the best of San Francisco deeper and deeper into the suburbs
By Matt Smith
August 18, 1999


Pick the Chron/Ex
columnist you think
will be the first
to receive the
Golden Handshake:

He or she will get
canned on:

My e-mail address is:

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More About

Yeah, that'll work.

Dog Bites -- Just had to contribute to the ongoing "I'm more San Franciscan than thou" saga. I'm something like fifth generation San Franciscan. I've attended all school levels here, then college and law school at Cal. So I consider myself as native as they come. I recently moved back from NY, where I lived for two years, and found my other native friends very disgruntled. It took me several months, but pretty soon I caught on, too.

My biggest pet peeve: when people lie about where they're from, e.g., "Yeah, I'm from here." "Where did you go to grammar school/ high school?" "Oh, well I didn't live here that far back." As if moving here when you're 20 somehow makes you actually from here.

I also have had the earthquake fantasy. I am well aware that that's one of the biggest "spooking" qualities of SF. At least it might stop the influx temporarily. And let's face it, that would pretty much wipe out the Marina District now, wouldn't it? My alternate "solution" has been to start a "get your ass out of San Francisco" campaign, which would involve minor defacings of targeted homes, e.g. paper pasting thoughtful and creative postings, making others aware that they're not necessarily welcome in this neck of the woods.

(Name Withheld)

P.S. I assume you won't print this, but just to play it safe, I don't want to see my name in print. I've got a budding law profession to think about. And by the way, I plan to make some changes in this town once I'm in the field!!! I'm not just a whiner; I'm a doer....

Meanwhile, there's no evidence of any policy change at the city's spineless planning department, where for decades a passel of short-sighted, self-appointed, and self-interested neighborhood groups have been allowed to set the housing agenda for an entire region (for further details, see our August 18 cover story "Welcome Home" Dog Bites, currently forced to put up with all kinds of crap in our own rental, would love to move -- but not to a shared two-bedroom in Dublin, which appears to be all we could afford outside of the rent-controlled wretchedness in which we now dwell, where a four-unit luxury condo project is going up across the street, with attendant 6 a.m. construction noise. And then, in the midst of this eerily unprecedented second Indian Summer -- migraine weather for sure -- we come in to work and find a string of mysterious voice mail messages from an inspector in the SFPD's Arson Task Force and have the immediate and guilty idea that, somehow, our very thoughts are under surveillance. Time to make another aluminum foil hat.

Dog Bites,

In response to your dilemma over who's "more San Francisco" than others, there's a very simple rule of measure. Basically, anyone who arrived here after February 1, 1997 is simply not, and never will be, a true San Franciscan.


We think our point, however, was that while those who've been here for a while like to wax nostalgic about the huge flat with the paneled entry, coffered ceilings, and working fireplaces they used to rent in Bernal for $560 a month back in 1983, when this city was still a haven for other cool people just like them, they may be guilty of something of an oversimplification when they blame the current untenable situation on people who just up and recklessly move to San Francisco, probably on some flimsy pretext like having been hired to work here or something. Worse than that, the old timers' zeal to shout down anyone deemed not San Franciscan enough means that public dialog about the city's housing problems is impoverished.

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