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back to article 'F*** off, Google!' Protest blockades Google staff bus AGAIN – and Apple's

Buses operated by Google and Apple to ferry their staff to and from work were blockaded today by Bay Area anti-gentrification protestors. The coaches were held up in San Francisco and over the bay in Oakland – the latter a port city with a high-crime rate and relatively cheap rents, which has caused it to become a new home for …

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Trollface

I don't get it

Personally, I think all of the affected bay area businesses should just up and move to somewhere which is interested in having them.

Everybody wins.

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Trollface

Re: I don't get it

The actual homes of the companies in the South Bay (Stanford on down) ARE interested in having them; it's the poorly-run cities of SF and Oakland north of there that are having these events.

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Rent Control wont work either

The trouble is that rent or housing should not cost more than 1/4 of your monthly income.

Available Rental Property is at an all time low and rents are at an all time high.

If people cannot afford to live near the area where they work then there will either be no one to work minimum wage or lower wage jobs, OR they will need to have MANDATED wage raises to be able to afford to live there OR they will have to base rents on peoples ability to pay.

NONE OF THESES SOLUTIONS ARE IDEAL!

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Re: Rent Control wont work either

Or they will have to commute further

I would have loved to live in WC1 and save the trip on the Northern Line - but I don't think it's the government's job to force somebody to (somehow) build cheap housing for millions of people in the square mile.

Ironic that they are protesting an environmentally and neightbourhood friendly form of transport. Hopefully when Google stops the busses because of the bad press all the highly paid Googles will buy Humvees and F150s and drive instead

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Re: Rent Control wont work either

Commuting further is fine if you have a decently paid job with half reasonable working hours, but many people in service industries are on or close to minimum wage so additional commuting costs can make a massive impact on net income. Add in maybe working unsociable hours so public transport isn't really an option & suddenly you don't have office cleaners, early morning or late night café workers etc.

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Re: Rent Control wont work either

"...many people in service industries are on or close to minimum wage so additional commuting costs can make a massive impact on net income. Add in maybe working unsociable hours so public transport isn't really an option & suddenly you don't have office cleaners, early morning or late night café workers etc."

Central London has been like this for decades but there are no signs that it is falling apart due to a lack of cleaners or others in low income jobs. (Personally I hated commuting/working there, even on good money).

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Re: Rent Control wont work either

Are the buses neighbourhood-friendly, though? They seem to me to work against the deployment of decent public transport that everyone can use, and from that perspective I can see the point of the protesters. I wonder if the Google and Apple employees would choose to live in Oakland if they had to rely on public or private transport to get to work, rather than these buses?

GJC

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Re: Rent Control wont work either

What about the presence of these buses prevents San Francisco's city fathers from implementing "decent public transport that everyone can use"? Unless you're prepared to postulate running gunfights between Google buses and Muni buses, which would be entertaining but seems highly improbable, I'm not really seeing how the presence of the former prevents the multiplication of the latter.

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Re: Rent Control wont work either

Simply by removing some potential customers that might otherwise use public transport, the Google buses change the arithmetic, potentially making some routes less viable. I have no idea of the actual impact this might be having, however, not having any relevant figures to hand.

GJC

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Happy

Pic of the month

Love that first pic! :-)

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Re: Pic of the month

I did too. "Google, allow me to translate ..." hahahaha

Oh, your upvote.

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Anonymous Coward

Funny Picture

Long time reader, just signed up....................sorry

I'm sorry, but being a Boston resident, rent is also pretty high. Before I could afford to live in the city I chose to live in a crappy surrounding part of Boston. It was cheap, my commute sucked and life goes on. Eventually I worked my way up to a better standard of living and had to the opportunity move into a better part of Boston.

I think the part in the article about focusing on the right things to improve are more effective, ie more affordable housing rules. Hell, I couldn't live in an apartment that was nicer than my current one because i made too much money.................Apply your skills in the right manner and keep on trucking. Blocking people from getting to work is an absolute waste of time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Funny Picture

That's great for you. I suspect that many of us have pursued further schooling and improved our economic prospects. Are you telling me though that you don't know people who have a great deal more difficulty with that than you?

I went to elementary and middle school with many who weren't going to get far academically and to high school with quite a few who weren't going any further than that. There are a huge variety of reasons why people don't become more educated or capable earning more.

People deserve a decent, safe, and comfortable place to live, and those who earn the least are also least able to afford to commute.

It's saddening that affordable housing is an issue anywhere in the "developed" world.

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Ultimately it has always worked this way, if an area becomes more popular for whatever reason, then the rent goes up, if you can't afford it you move somewhere you can afford. When you rent you should accept that it is temporary, you can not expect to rent the same place the whole of your life and sometimes you have to move. Those that purchased a house in the area have cashed in on the price increases and done very well. Renting has always meant a temporary place to live in most cases. Look at London, pretty much the entire centre is gentrified as it costs about £1600 per month for a decent flat/apartment. Unfortunately the world doesn't stand still, and you can't expect to stay where you live for life if you rent, unpopular, but true.

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Anonymous Coward

It's one thing for the rent to increase and another for you to get booted out to make way for someone else.

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Not really. When the rent increases beyond your ability to pay it, you either move somewhere you can afford, or you get booted out to make way for someone else, who can pay the rent.

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Anonymous Coward

I live in Mountain View, CA; Home of Google. Apple, Yahoo and other similar companies are nearby. Places like Mountain View really like Google because they get all sorts of fees, license money and other forms of revenue from these cash cows. Places like Mountain View do not want to have new housing to meet demand. Yes, luxury housing (overpriced) is being built, but anything remotely resembling affordable is not being built. I've been here since 1986 and I very much like it here. But, beings this is America, land of the Fee, you have to pay to play.

My crummy 2 bedroom apartment's rent has gone up over 60% this year. I live in a four unit complex, and I'm the only one still here when the rents started getting jacked up earlier this year. Two of the “recently departed” were parents with small children. These other three units are now occupied by lots of new people. There is trash and litter lying about. Trash bins are often overflowing. Yes, my rent has gone up over 60% and the quality of life has gone down by a similar amount. There are two things I can do: 1) find a more affordable (and hopefully nicer) place or 2) get a job that pays more. I'm looking into both options.

Anyway, cities that benefit big time by having big, rich places like Google should shoulder a big chunk of the responsibility for housing the people that work at places like Google. I’m familiar with San Francisco, where a lot of Google employees live. I hope S.F. can do something to help those that are being displaced by les nouveau riches. A whole lot of them are much worse off, financially, than me.

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Meh

geographical quibble

SF and Oakland are in the north/south center of the Bay Area (which is approximately centered on the Golden Gate); the "north of the Bay Area" would include Marin County (home of rolfing and birthplace of mountain biking), Vallejo, and the southern parts of the wine country.

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Facepalm

Protesters are protesting the wrong things

The protesters are protesting change. You can't have life without change. If you try, all you get is death.

The 1960's-style hippies were not the first people in San Francisco. Nor were the gold miners of the 1860's. Nor were the missionaries of the 1780's. Ever since white people encountered San Francisco, it has been under constant change. I don't see why the hippies should be so privileged to keep their position in it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Protesters are protesting the wrong things

Imagine a new high paid industry comes to your town, one that you have no skills in and the end result is you can't get a job or pay rent any more. How is that fair?

Towns and cities that become dependant on one industry don't do well long term, look at Detroit for an example of that.

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Re: Protesters are protesting the wrong things

"Imagine a new high paid industry comes to your town, one that you have no skills in and the end result is you can't get a job or pay rent any more. How is that fair?"

It isn't either fair or unfair, it's life. Industries come and they go over time, and the employees can't stop that happening. Buggy makers weren't happy when the automobile came along, but would you suggest that was unfair, or should have been stopped?

"Towns and cities that become dependant on one industry don't do well long term, look at Detroit for an example of that."

Seems a bit in conflict with your first point. Do you mean that Oakland shouldn't have become dependent upon dock working jobs, or SF shouldn't become dependent upon the tech sector? If the latter, you may have a point some decades into the future, but what would happen to California's state finances if the tech industry relocated itself to the other states?

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Re: Protesters are protesting the wrong things

Basically, it seems to me that these protests are complaining that other people living where they want, is preventing the protesters from living where they want. And I agree, it is unfair, but so would be the situation if the protesters got their way.

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Re: Protesters are protesting the wrong things

Who said life is fair? Life is never fair, some of the people on those buses busted their humps to get to where they are. They earned that right, and now people want to take that away because someone else planted the envy seed. There was a time where people moved in order to feed themselves and their families, now we expect everything to come to us.

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"How is that fair?"

When were you promised life would be fair? By whom? Did you get it in writing? -- signed? Witnessed? Notarized, perhaps? Failing that, were you promised you'd always be able to afford to live in San Francisco? By whom? -- &c., &c.

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Holmes

This is a put up job by a competitor

Not a grass roots sentiment at all. The corporate wars have progressed beyond lawsuit shenanigans, industrial espionage and sabotage to hiring agents provocateurs to create this nonsense. No doubt the next step is armed conflict with mercenary armies of "security guards".

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Re: This is a put up job by a competitor

I can't tell if you're being serious or not...

But open corporate warfare went out of fashion a long time ago. Now it's easier to drive your competitors clients into bankruptcy or put your man on their board or the board of their clients, than actually openly challenge them. Sucks for the company that gets caught in the middle, but that's always the way with war, the bystanders are always the first to be killed.

But on that note, we do business in some fairly awful places and paramilitary security is absolutely required for your staff. I don't think it'll ever come to that in the US though. It's all just too thoroughly real for most US residents. It looks cool in the movies when you're traveling around with your own small army, but it really isn't much fun.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is a put up job by a competitor

A little history - The Pinkertons ?

But that was different, it was 140 years ago.

Wrong ! It was during the last Gilded Age, when Laissez-faire capitalism was last allowed to run amok.

Well, maybe not the last time it was allowed to run amok. Seems to happen often.

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Terminator

"Anti-gentrification"? What??

Seriously, WTF is with the stupid level of those people?

My only hope is that they will be first through the meat cleaver once AIs pump out the HK drones.

They and their dumbass Che Guevara Tees.

Jeez. move to flyover country if so needed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Anti-gentrification"? What??

Scuze' Sid, there are "Anti-gentrification" activists in "flyover country" too. You just have your head too far up your backside to see them. Or anything else in "flyover country".

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bad side effect of a generally good thing

With people complaining -- correctly -- about so many formerly- decent- paying manufacturing and other jobs going overseas, we should be glad that some good-paying jobs in "clean" industry (let's leave the environmental costs of manufacturing computers and providing the leccy for ginormous server farms for another discussion, 'K?) are staying right here in America. If Google paid its employees well but more modestly than currently (i.e., not enough to spur a "mansion shortage" or gentrify entire neighborhoods out of reach for most residents), they'd get bashed for not sharing the wealth with the employees who made it possible. Perhaps San Francisco (and/or other municipality) could enact optional zoning overlays by which certain incentives are given to developers (expedited review, mitigation of certain requirements) if for every X "luxury" units they create for les nouveaux riches, they also build "Y" affordable (however this is defined) ones for everyone else. We've been down this road before, so I'm surprised cities that host big league tech companies haven't gotten this sorted out (or at least shown us what possible "solutions" do NOT work).

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Big Brother

Re: bad side effect of a generally good thing

I don't know whether putting one's fetishism about how "things should like" onto a housing market raped mercilessly by the fetishism of the "everyone should own a house" housing bubble is the way forward.

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Re: bad side effect of a generally good thing

" onto a housing market raped mercilessly by the fetishism of the "everyone should own a house" housing bubble"

Rubbish. Underlying asset prices (and eventually rents) of buy to let properties are just as much of a bubble, and both are caused by the same thing - demand for both rented and bought housing growing faster than supply. In the UK that's mostly down to the twin idiocies of politicians exercising too much control on the housing market so that insufficient new houses are built, and their "open door" policies on immigration that allow in around 150,000 people (or more) each year.

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Re: bad side effect of a generally good thing

Ledswinger,

Why is it all the politicians' fault? If local people complain every time that new housing (or anything else) is to be built near them - then it's a bit rich to complain about a lack of available housing. Or the cost of infrastructure projects...

I believe this is also a problem in the whole Silicon Valley and Bay Area, erm, area. Lots of nice 'unspoilt' places where people don't want any more houses built near them, but do want people to work for their companies, and serve them coffee.

It's way too easy to blame all society's ills on politicians. Sure they're far from perfect, but then in many cases we've trained them to be. If you vote out all the politicians who say they want to raise taxes, but keep voting for the ones who say they'll spend more, you end up in debt.

I saw a survey last week. 48% thought that the economy would be doing worse now, had Labour won the last election. 41% thought that if Labour had won, they would personally be doing better. Huh?!?! I guess that means they think that government cuts need to be made, but hopefully someone else will pay for them (or just bung it on credit).

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JC_

Re: bad side effect of a generally good thing

I saw a survey last week. 48% thought that the economy would be doing worse now, had Labour won the last election. 41% thought that if Labour had won, they would personally be doing better. Huh?!?! I guess that means they think that government cuts need to be made, but hopefully someone else will pay for them (or just bung it on credit).

I suppose the answers to these questions always lines up with party preferences, but if we'd had the policies that Labour campaigned on then the economy would have been better off.

Austerity - i.e. spending cuts - is exactly the wrong thing to do in a recession and the fact that Osborne and Cameron have insisted on making them (and are still making them) has damaged the economy and people's lives. Of course, to Osborne and Cameron, those are other people's lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bad side effect of a generally good thing

Your comment illustrates the lack of corporate taxation in the US and Canada. These countries were built and developed strong economies on corporates taxes of 50% or greater.

Then as you all know the corporations were able to buy enough political will to end that taxation and incorporate "globalization" into the economic lexicon and the NA economy has been on the down turn ever since.

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@AC 2055 (GMT) Boston Resident

Thank goodness that the fabled American Dream is not dead - your comment is the first concrete example I've seen in a while that can be encapsulated that way.

Nice to see.

Cheers

Jon

PS I lived in a town for many years that features in your treasured folklore - Plymouth (Devon - not MA) and Thanksgiving respectively. Boston is of course in Lincolnshire. In the UK we can't even type Massach ... whatever, without a squiggly red line appearing 8)

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Re: @AC 2055 (GMT) Boston Resident

Yes. And they should be thankful that the NATIVE Americans didn't have a non-immigrant policy huh?!?

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Re: @AC 2055 (GMT) Boston Resident

What? Of course the American aborigines had a "non-immigrant policy"! It's just that theirs, which operated largely at the retail level of slaughtering a farmhouse's or outpost's worth of whites when opportunity arose, failed to out-compete our own ancestors' wholesale "come on, then, if you think you're hard enough" policy.

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Anonymous Coward

Come on Google, have the (chocolate) balls

and threaten to move lock stock and factory to some other state AND pay to take all their employees with them.

Then the cry at lost revenue from all around the Bay area will be deafening.

On the otherhand, my current empoyer has just decreed that we can no longer work from home so my daily commute of 60 miles and 2-3 hours buy road or 3+hours and 4 trains (all round trips) plus the extra expense means that I'll be looking for a new job in the new year.

WTF is it with companies and requiring to see bums on seats especially when my immediate manager lives and works 6,000 miles from me?

Oh what a tangled web we weave and live.

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Re: Come on Google, have the (chocolate) balls

They require chair warmers because they are afraid and inept. Instead of fostering competent people, they opress them...Arthur Andersen style. I too suffer this crap, simply because I know more than my management and they feel out of control.

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C-C-C-C-CLICK BAIT !

So where are the pictures of the Apple bus alluded to by the clumsy headline?

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Excuse me for being thick...

... but I thought these "high-tech" workers had access to something called "The Internet" that reaches most of the civilised world - even Basingstoke.

Why are these people putting up with being bussed for hours to work through the grim urban sprawl of Northern California - and, more importantly, why are their employers paying such ridiculous amounts of money to crowd them into the same physical location?

What's the point of this "transformative" technology if all it does is keep people's lives exactly the same, but pushes up their cost of living?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Excuse me for being thick...

Not thick at all — excellent point.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Excuse me for being thick...

Google invests a lot of time, effort, and money into seeing to all its employees' needs, or as close to that as possible. There are extremely sound business reasons for so doing; on the one hand, it tends to cultivate loyalty to the company on the part of its employees, and on the other, it does a great deal to alleviate the little nuisances of everyday living which would otherwise distract said employees from spending their every effort on behalf of the company.

This effort, though, is by far most effective for employees who spend their time mostly at the Googleplex -- for a Googler, being at work means, among other things, access to free food, laundry service, exercise equipment, play equipment, and frankly if Google could legally play host to an on-premises brothel then I strongly suspect they'd offer that amenity as well. Being at home, however pleasant, means worrying about all those things yourself. Especially given the sort of nigh-monomaniacal focus on one's vocation which tends to come with being a skilled enough programmer to get hired at Google, is it any wonder that Googlers largely prefer to spend their time at work?

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Mushroom

land of the free, home of the homeless

http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/jungle-thousands-homeless-people-live-shantytowns-epicenter-high-tech-super-rich

http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/19/tim-draper-six-californias-secede-silicon-valley-ballot-initiative/

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Re: land of the free, home of the homeless

Yeah... sorry, but you can't blame SF's homless population on Google. I have been an infrequent visitor to SF for decades now, and he first time I ever saw a "bum" was in SF at the age of 5, Long before Google.

Actually, SF has had housing issues for a very long time. Aside from the homeless, there is the longstanding joke about how to end up with a small fortune in SF real estate: First you start with a large fortune....

Even 10-20 years ago SF rents were a bit pricy ($1200-$2000 for a 1 bedroom or studio apt) I don't see how this can be laid at the feet of Apple/Google, except that they are visible.

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Re: land of the free, home of the homeless

Visible and conspicuously flush, hence frequent targets of solicitation for funds with which to maintain the enormous homeless population which San Francisco's soft-hearted citizens choose to foster.

Soft-hearted and soft-headed, too, in my opinion -- I can understand the impulse behind picking up a stray kitten; I've done it myself, often enough. But you've got to master that impulse at some point before you've picked up so many stray kittens that you can't properly provide for any of them.

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West Oakland could use a good dose of gentrification. It might even become safe to park at the West Oakland BART station if it happened.

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Why not follow the lead of that other chocolate factory?

Cadbury built a whole town for their factory workers (Bournville) in order to "alleviate the evils of modern more cramped living conditions". Sounds like a familiar problem, 100 years on.

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