Google and SF Gentrification: Stephen Elliott Needs to Read A Book

Joel Kotkin, the nation’s top urban historian, explains how The City got itself into this fine mess.

By Joe Eskenazi

We all have a relative who feels inclined to tell us how San Francisco used to be. You used to be able to enjoy a Bay view for $120 a month. You used to be able to buy marijuana for a penny a pound.

Well, Joel Kotkin doesn’t remember it that way. When the internationally respected historian of city life first moved to “The City,” he recalls you could still catch a bitter, salty whiff of the Bay wind no matter what neighborhood you were in. But other than that bit of olfactory nostalgia, he’s no romantic. “San Francisco,” in his words, “has always been hard.”

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