What Amazon’s HQ2 plan gets right: Move the jobs to the workers

: washingtonpost – excerpt

One disconnect in the American economy these days involves the thousands of high-paying jobs in cities such as New York, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco without workers to fill them. One culprit: housing shortages caused by zoning and other restrictions that make it impossible, or too expensive, for workers to move to these cities to take those jobs.

According to one widely cited study, this housing shortage has reduced economic output by 9 percent, costing the average American household $6,700 in forgone income.

The “zoning is strangling the economy” story has caught the attention of conservatives who dislike regulation, liberals who care about affordable housing, and environmentalists who want everyone to live in walkable cities. Not surprisingly, it has also been embraced by the technology sector, where most of the unfilled jobs are found, as well as by construction and real estate industries eager to build and sell more housing…

Before we rush to turn every San Francisco into a Houston, however, we need to ask ourselves whether the better strategy wouldn’t be to move the jobs to workers rather than move the workers to the jobs…

That seems to be the approach taken by one of the country’s most successful companies, Amazon.com, which announced this past week that it would spend $5 billion to create a second, “equal” headquarters campus somewhere other than its home base in Seattle. Rather than wait for Seattle to solve its housing and congestion problems, Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive (and the owner of The Washington Post) decided to help create another Seattle someplace where his company’s spectacular growth can be more easily and inexpensively accommodated…(more)

This is the best idea we have heard in a long time and one we have been suggesting for a while. Move the jobs to the people where they live and where the work in needed instead of crowding people into dense over-crowded small uncomfortable units. What happened to personal space?

Big cities have major problems that will not be solved by increasing property values and to raise property taxes as many civic leaders are attempting to do. The current rush to build and invest in capital improvements has left no funding for operation and  maintenance of those systems that are falling apart. We need another to feed the economy and maintain the infrastructure that is falling apart.

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With ad ban, Muni finds another way to siphon money from transit

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

For sure, Muni’s not keeping pot off the buses

SaSan Francisco’s misbegotten attempts to legislate legal pot in this city have, truly, been a Judge Dredd moment. Just as in that film Sylvester Stallone “is just as bad as people who don’t like him say he is,” our city’s legislative torpor, neighborhood parochialism and capitulation to anti-marijuana zealots has been a display of government as bad as this city’s most hyperbolic government critics regularly accuse us of.

That … is saying a lot. But, last week, city government had one of those dreaded “hold my beer” moments — and propelled us even further into a farcical realm, banning marijuana advertising from Muni vehicles and property…

Just when you thought it was safe to move to California, San Francisco City Hall pulls a fast one. Since they can’t keep pot off the Muni they are retaliating by removing the pot ads.

Lee “urged” the board to nix pot ads on buses after a platoon of Chinese American anti-marijuana zealots protested at his Glen Park home on Nov. 11, urging him to nix pot ads on buses. Picketing outside a politician’s home is a bit tacky, but you’d have to expect more of it if it gets results. And, per Mayor Lee, banning pot ads is a moral necessity to “protect our future generations and communities of color.”…

Your humble narrator regularly commutes on not just any bus, but the 14-Mission — with a toddler in tow. Ads for legal weed approved by a supermajority of city voters are far, far from the most objectionable materials to be found within. Or without.

Stating that vulnerable people must be shielded from the malign influence of ads for weed rings hollow when weed itself is plentiful on these buses; at times, they resemble a rolling blunt bazaar. People are smoking out the back windows. People are rolling joints. People are conducting thriving businesses. The future generations, it seems, are adept at multitasking…(more)

This has to be one of the funniest articles I’ve had the pleasure of sharing in some time.

 

 

 

At the Artists’ Loft Museum, Longtime Arts District Residents Are Refusing to Be Erased

By Catherine Wagley : laweekly – excerpt

Please don’t let the Arts District become unlivable for actual artists,” Michael Parker pleaded on Aug. 10, addressing the City Planning Commission and the developers behind the Camden Project, a mixed-use development slated to go up on Industrial Street downtown. Just 5 percent of the complex’s residential units are required to be affordable housing, which Parker doesn’t think is adequate. “There should be much, much, much, much, much, much, much more affordable housing and larger units so that dozens and dozens of 25-year-old artists from the CSU can afford it,” an effusive Parker said. He also mentioned the Artist Loft Museum of Los Angeles (ALMLA), the museum he started out of the Seaton Street studio in which he’s lived and worked since August 2001.

“What’s the name of your museum?” asked Planning Commission president David Ambroz.

“The ALMLA,” repeated Parker. “We have our first opening on Aug. 31, the last day of my lease, before I will be facing —”

“Now you’re slipping into testimony,” Ambroz interrupted. “The name of the museum I got.”…

Parker recently received notice that, upon the start of his new lease, his rent would increase by $2,050 a month — a 43 percent increase from what he’s been paying, and about 200 percent more than what he was paying six years ago — and that he would no longer be able to live in his studio, though the space has been zoned live-work for at least 25 years. He is working with lawyer Elena Popp of the Eviction Defense Network to fight these new terms, something a number of other artists in this city are doing, too. Parker also spent last Wednesday morning in court, after his landlord’s lawyer sent Popp a temporary restraining order against ALMLA’s opening. The judge ruled that the opening could legally go ahead, as long as Parker kept attendance under 49 people at a time. “You’ve wasted enough of my time,” Parker recalls the judge saying after she emerged from her chambers with a decision…(more)

Who knew in the 1970’s when Beaux Arts was under pressure to close one of the first “live-work” art and entertainment centers, that San Francisco and Los Angeles would face the same fate forty years later. Seems the establishment can’t stand art and creative thinkers.

Four Quitters Walk Into a Bar…

Interview by Lydia Polgreen : huffpost – excerpt

To swap war stories from an administration they couldn’t serve for one more minute.

have met Trump haters before, lots of them, the kind who seize upon every conspiracy theory and refuse to give him any benefit of any doubt. The four people I recently spent the morning with at Solly’s Tavern in D.C. (sans booze, don’t worry) were not Trump haters. They were, however, Trump quitters.

All of them, at some point over the course of the last nine months, had left their posts within the current administration, having decided that they could better serve their country from outside the government than from within. They weren’t happy about quitting, either. They were civil servants who wanted to remain civil servants, who, except for one, had worked under presidents of both parties. They had disagreed with superiors over the years, they had been fearful of new regulations and wary of political appointees, but they stayed on because that’s the nature of career work in government. This was different…. (more)

The Atlantic Confirms It: We Are Living In A Kakistocracy

By Dartagnan : theatlantic – excerpt

I can speak from firsthand knowledge that living through 11 presidencies of varying degrees of competence (and the occasional scandal or criminality) gives you some perspective on what we are experiencing today. Norman Ornstein, political scientist and resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has lived through 13 of them. What he sees with the Trump Administration is something so unique it needs a special word to describe it, a word that has been out of popular usage for nearly two centuries. The word is “kakistocracy.”
kakistocracy (English pronunciation: /kækɪsˈtɑkɹəsi/) is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens. … It was also used by English author Thomas Love Peacock in 1829, but gained significant usage in the 21st century…(more)

San Francisco: now with more dystopia

By mhudack

I visited San Francisco for the first time in a year last week. Someone turned up the dystopian dial 20% while I was away.

I stayed in a hotel downtown. At about ten on the night I arrived I decided to walk to a wine bar for a glass of California Pinot Noir. I walked six blocks to get there.

On that six block walk I witnessed multiple homeless people crawling on the streets. Crawling. Someone shot up heroin right in front of me. Three separate women dressed like ’70s LA street prostitutes propositioned me. Then I got to a very nice wine bar where I had an unreasonably expensive glass of Russian River Valley Pinot. It was great but the juxtaposition not great at all.

The next morning I noticed that there are more self-driving cars on the street than there had been a year ago. There are also more people living in tents and in shanty towns. More people shooting up on the street. There are also more companies reinventing the world than ever before. Many of them are investing heavily in automation and eliminating human workforces.

I witnessed the worst of human destitution as self-driving cars rolled past.

One evening I had meetings in Palo Alto and dinner in San Francisco. I took a Lyft from Palo Alto to the Mission for dinner. It was cheap, easy, convenient. A little piece of the future.

Once we got off the highway we turned into the Mission. At around 19th and Folsom we were blocked by a house in the street. The house was a one room shanty built out of 2x4s and Plywood. It had a door and windows. It was on dollys and someone was pushing it down the street.

My driver flashed his headlights and pulled around the house. He dropped me off a few minutes later at Tartine Manufactury, which served my friend and I a very good but unreasonably expensive meal. The man pushing his house could have used the money we spent on that meal. The juxtaposition, again, was uncomfortable.

William Gibson will tell you that “the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

San Francisco is in the future. San Francisco’s future isn’t pretty. It’s cold, hard, technological. It’s fueled by both extreme poverty and extreme wealth. By technology and heroin. It is the future of dystopian novels. It is the future of Gibson and Philip K. Dick. It is the future of Blade Runner.

Someone needs to take hold of the dystopia dial and turn it back down. Quickly. Before it becomes too late. The city needs to take better care of its poor and seriously examine what’s happening in its midst. It’s not enough to say that other cities hide these problems at their peripheries. There is something seriously disturbing about the situation in San Francisco that must not be ignored. Everyone has to come together, take responsibility, and move forward… (more)

A goo description of a look into our country’s future if we don’t stop the “progressive future ” being crammed down our throats by our government. Believe me you don’t want to go there.

U.S. Suspends Cuban Visas, Withdraws Staff Without Finalized Plan in Place

: thedailybeast – excerpt

The U.S. State Department announced it would stop authorizing visas for Cubans before actually finalizing the details on how to implement the suspension, The Miami Herald reported Friday. One official said that Cubans could possibly apply for American visas in other countries, but did not explain how such a procedure would work. The U.S. is also withdrawing some of its staff from its embassy in Havana, but says it will still officially maintain diplomatic relations. The announcement comes after mysterious sonic attacks damaged the health of around 20 diplomats, causing symptoms ranging from hearing loss to brain damage…

Reactions in the Washington and Miami have been mixed.

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio criticized the administration for not going further. “Shameful that State Department withdraws most staff from the U.S. Embassy in Cuba but [Raúl] Castro can keep as many as he wants in U.S.,” the Florida senator tweeted…(more)

One of our favorite cultures deserves some mention as it once again goes out of government favor. The old one step forward and one step back US dance.