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Cynthia Johanson
murphy has it out for me
murphy has it out for me
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it's one thing to overcome your circumstances and succeed- it's another when one of of those is an undiagnosed mental illness. i'm so impressed by the success of the founder of "artisanal toast": http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676/

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so apparently it's a bit cold elsewhere? #lolland http://imgur.com/QqGZplZ

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Inspiring insights from a fantastic father, who's confronting the stay-at-home-dad and black man stereotypes head-on. I'm definitely all for #TeamGrownAssMan .

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Hear hear!
My Thoughts on the Housing Crisis.

A few weeks ago, a small group of protesters blocked one of the many shuttles that ferry employees of technology companies from San Francisco to Silicon Valley. Their cause was the rapid gentrification of San Francisco, fueled by dramatic increases in the already high cost of housing in the city. Quickly the online debate escalated. Naturally, a good amount of the comments came from the extremes of both sides: from “evict them all, landlords should be free to do what they like” to “pushing the poor from the city is structural violence”.

The solutions, such as they are, proposed by both sides are vague: build more housing! Reform the Ellis Act! I certainly come down on the side of more housing, but to be fair, I am not acknowledging the fundamental problem. Housing in San Francisco (and by extension, urban areas across the country where similar battles are being fought) is a scarce good. There is not, as some activists would have it, an unlimited demand for housing in San Francisco. But to meet the demand a significant change to the cityscape would be required. Imagine a city with two million inhabitants or more, with the density of manhattan. This is not something everyone (or even most people) in San Francisco actually want (I’d prefer this option, but I guess I am in the minority). So then, if the city doesn’t wish to increase density until supply meets demand there will be far fewer housing spaces available in San Francisco than there are people who want to live in them.

So, given this situation, how should we allocate these spaces? The current run up in prices reflects the standard way scarce resources are allocated in our society: to the people with the most money. Currently the people who can afford to rent or buy in San Francisco belong, at minimum, to the “professional class” doctors, lawyers, and more controversially, software developers. If we as a city could stop all eviction the number of available spaces would get even smaller. The few available spaces would be reserved for the affluent, and the rest would be given by seniority (rent control allows people who’ve lived in the city a long time to have priority access to housing). Is this what people want? Young activists will not be able to live here, unless they can move in with people who already live here. 

What if we could make what people like Rebecca Solnit seems to want happen: can we make San Francisco a place for the “old San Francisco of people who didn’t have lots of money, but who had lots of time to devote to activism and social services. People who worked a little on the side to make a living, and then devoted themselves to idealistic jobs.” So then would rents be capped and spaces allocated to the right kind of people? Would their be an application process, like a university? A sliding scale?

Honestly, I don’t think anything can or will be done. Increased density, which I think is the best option, is not politically viable. Other choices aren’t realistic. In the end, I predict that the cityscape will not change much, but the cost to live here will continue to climb slowly as old rent controlled leases end through attrition. Hopefully as the people who want to live here are prevented from doing so they will work to make the rest of the bay area more like San Francisco: denser, with better transit, food and community.

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i love stories like this- kids who fight their way out with sheer hard work and persistence. http://mashable.com/2013/12/17/dorchester-boston-brothers-billy-baker-yale/

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i need to stop testing my team's integration on videos that make me tear up. here's the latest: Apple - Holiday - TV Ad - Misunderstood

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My take on the SF eviction and corporate shuttle debate: we all agree that the city has a housing supply-and-demand issue, a homeless and mentally ill challenge, and a public transportation and traffic nightmare. These are the incredibly hard problems that growing cities have, and they will not get solved by pointing fingers. It will take hard conversations that respect all the other sides to find the compromises to reduce each problem.

For instance, blaming the condition of downtown streets on the homeless doesn't do anything towards helping them get a place to go or at least use a bathroom. Blaming shuttles for using bus stops doesn't do anything for addressing the immense increase in traffic or air quality. Blaming the Ellis act for evictions to build condos doesn't do anything towards addressing landlords that want to stop being landlords yet no one will buy below-rate apartment buildings. Blaming a "tax cut" for SF companies on not contributing a fair share doesn't do anything towards building a mutually beneficial relationship (a cut on an employee tax that no other city has).

My recs? Shift spending from symptoms to causes: allow many more building permits (to greatly increase housing supply), and use the taxes to subsidize Muni more (for more regular, cleaner, safer city transportation), rebuild the health infrastructure for the mentally ill, and build many more public toilets.

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all the performances from last night's #TheVoice without commercials or fluff. #winning #i<3youtube James, Tessanne, Jacquie, Will and Cole: "Best Day of My Life" - The Voice Highlight
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