What Ed Lee Didn’t Do
How Mayor Ed Lee remade San Francisco in Big Tech’s image:
It was for the have-nots, too, but not in the same way: many have found themselves economically banished from San Francisco. At the dawn of Lee’s tenure, nobody foresaw the explosion of tech industry job growth in this city and region at its present level. As such, the Lee administration’s gift bag for tech outfits — an industry that was poised for takeoff, regardless — led to unforeseen consequences. The avuncular Lee found himself portrayed by the city’s left as the smiling avatar of the tech- and business-friendly policies that have driven San Francisco’s inequality levels to be on par with those in Rwanda.
“Ed could have worked more robustly to address the runaway inequality in San Francisco,” says former city supervisor John Avalos, a critic of Lee’s from the left who ran against him for mayor in 2011. “The way he supported tech and the private sector was an effort that got out of hand. It was like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
This was all part of Ed Lee’s San Francisco. His policies made many people angry. But right now people aren’t angry; they’re sad.
Fuck that, I’m angry. Just because someone dies, doesn’t mean you can’t be critical of them.
The number of homeless people — and their sidewalk encampments of tents – exploded in number under Ed Lee, mirroring the explosion of techies and tech companies in San Francisco. I know this because I’ve lived in San Francisco for five years and I’ve been visiting it regularly since 2001.
I’m not saying Ed Lee is completely to blame for this, but he sure as hell didn’t make the situation better.