The happiest city -- for some


Not to go all gloomy on a day when it's finally not cold and the sun is out and San Francisco was just named the happiest city in America, (based on things like the number of shopping centers and cultural events), but really: Let's not all jump up and down and celebrate. This is a very happy city for people who have money; it's becoming a very anxiety-filled city for everyone else.

I've gotten quite a few comments and emails from friends on our cover story this week, and most of them go something like this:

"Great story. Really scary. I hope they don't Ellis Act my building or I won't be able to stay here, either."

If you're a renter in San Francisco, and you've been here a while, and you're under rent control, chances are you're nervous about your future. Because if you get evicted, you're almost certainly leaving town. Maybe you can find a place in Oakland that's smaller than what you currently have at twice the price, or maybe you can't. 

This is a city under immense pressure, and while the economically secure can happily go to shopping centers and see the Opera, I would say a majority of the current residents of San Francisco are more stressed about their future than they have been in years. And that doesn't seem to be addressed in the happiness calculus.


This must be six pieces related to or mentioned Ellis in the last week.

Let it go, man.

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

they'll let it go when corporate boot lickers quit pimping for landlords.

Posted by janarchy on Feb. 13, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

Do you really think I give a crap when a bunch of whiney, self-absorbed jerks complain?

Posted by anon on Feb. 13, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

levels then shouldn't moving somewhere those things don't exist be considered part of the solution? Mobility is a great thing and in America it's very easy to exercise.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

never gotten a satisfactory answer:

Why do people who obviously cannot afford to live in SF think they are nevertheless entitled somehow to live here anyway?

I accept and acknowedge that I cannot afford Los Altos, Aspen, Aruba or Andorra. Why is that so hard for others to do?

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

"I just don't understand why these people with good jobs, lots of friends, and lots of roots in San Francisco don't just go move somewhere where they don't know anybody! And it's not like our economy is having any problems, so I'm sure they'd just be able to move somewhere and get a good job at a moment's notice. I just don't understand why people might be upset that the place that they were able to live in ten years ago and want to live the rest of their lives in is now out of their reach! It's just *mysterious*."

Or, to put it another way: you have the empathy of a doorknob.

Posted by Fred Fnord on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 11:20 am

But for those who do care about the poor, than it seems rather obvious that they might be happier somewhere where they were not struggling every month to meet their housing bill.

Oakland and Daly City are both 10 minutes away, and much cheaper.

Posted by anon on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 11:35 am

Well, Empathy, thanks to RENT CONTROL, I don't have to struggle every month to meet my housing bill. So it seems rather obvious to me you are a snooty turd who does not care about those of us who are not MONEY GRUBBERS.

I have never liked rich folk because they are so BORING. All they do is chase the almighty dollar and boast about how rich they are. BORING. You should move to Oakland and get your bottom kicked by some resentful poor folk. Gosh, it's just ten minutes away and you can easily get back to the City to indulge your obsession with wealth!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 8:49 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 9:09 am

And you don't?

Were people in San Francisco ever compassionate?

I see two things happening:

1. Google, twitter, apple crowd comes in and says "F U, i know that this tenderloin apartment is a piece of crap, i know the building is full of bed bugs, i know the crackheads can literally jump into my street level apartment from... the street, i know that this place should be 1/4 of the cost, but VANITY compels me to offer you 1/4 above the already inflated price, just so i can screw you over and not let anyone else live here.

2. The "natives" - basically the people who played musical chairs and got a sweet deal because they were lucky. These are the "F U, i rented this place 10 years ago, and now divine right entitles me to live here forever and ever and have others pay for my rent".

I don't know who's worse.

I almost got a sweet rent controlled studio, at 1200 last year. In the TL, facing an intersection - fire trucks, trannies, drug dealers, crackheads... and i don't care, i actually like it. But it went to someone else, and that person moved out exactly 12 months later (saw the same place on craigslist).

I may be wrong, but i assume that the person was bothered by the festivities of the loin and moved out.


The same place now goes for 1500 and is out of my reach.

If there wasn't for vanity, that other person would have never moved in there in the first place, and the place would have probably cost far less.

Just because it costs 1500 doesn't mean that it's still not a crappy tiny studio in a cesspool of a neighborhood.... to you. To me it would have been heaven. I would have never moved - but i'd still have a problem with rent control. If it weren't for that, we would have never been in the situation we are in. The discrepancy woudln't be so vast, and maybe in 2013, there would be people other than coders moving here. Like how about artists, activists, musicians etc.?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 7:12 am

Worst case, they BART in from Oakland - a few minutes away and half the price.

The mistake lies in thinking of SF as an island, when in reality it is just the downtown of the Bay Area.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 7:32 am

"I may be wrong, but i assume that the person was bothered by the festivities of the loin and moved out. "

Or this person got burned out working 70 hour weeks for a cult like startup or established tech firm, could not make the cut as the cream of the crop, was fired and is moving back to whatever suburb emitted them.

Posted by anon on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 8:21 am

Many people live in one Bay area city and work in another.

And most tech jobs are more 9 to 5 than you'd think.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:34 am

Tech jobs are often 10AM-8PM.

Posted by anon on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:58 am

We start earlier than you, at 8am, but people leave between 4 and 6. And of course there is an hour lunch break in there too.

Generally, I reckon the guys who are there 12 hours a day don't know what they're doing or at doing it for appearances.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 10:15 am

Here is why I believe I personally deserve to live/stay in San Francisco: It's my home and has been for 31 years.

The concepts of belonging and community and rootedness are essential to most people's well being. Maybe not while we are young (although I would have argued that point then), but certainly as we grow older and realize we have become inseparably entwined with the place we call home.

I have been a part of shaping SF through community work, campaigns and public art projects, beginning in 1982. I know every inch of this place better than the lines on my face.

Yes, it's gorgeous, but so is Monte Carlo, and I would never have wanted to live there, make a home and build a life there. Or Los Altos, for that matter. I came to San Francisco because of the culture and the people of this city, and the long legacy that has made it special. It is those of us who are writers and artists and at the cultural and intellectual edge, who work for non profits and who dig into this city to help shape it for the next generation, who have historically made this the place everyone seems to want to be, at least for awhile.

I know one thing: If the profile of the city becomes primarily that of a bedroom community for white high tech workers who spend most or all of their waking hours just working, the rest of us will already be living in exile, even without leaving our apartments.

Posted by Slavenka Anon on Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

Where would that be, Lucretia? Seriously. I would not be able to stay in San Francisco if I lost my rent-controlled apartment. I am getting old now, and it would not be "easy," let alone "very easy" for me to move. In fact, it would be a disaster for me. I would lose my social contacts, which are limited to begin with. My physical safety would likely be seriously reduced, since I would have to move to a poorer area. I would be extremely depressed. People like YOU should move and leave the rest of us to enjoy our neighborhoods.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 8:44 am

Tell me what the rest of us SF'ers gain by you being here rather than in a place you can actually afford?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 9:09 am

Why don't you move? You're like Marie Antoinette holding out cake to the starving masses.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 5:23 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

There are no subsidies for property ownership, nosiree.

Posted by anon on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:05 am

IF the property you own is also your home AND you happen to have a mortgage, THEN you may be able to deduct the interest on that mortgage for your taxes IF you earn enough AND it is worthwhile to lose the standard deduction.

Most properties are not subsidized, therefore.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:36 am

You fail to appreciate the subsidy of depreciation.

Posted by anon on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:57 am

not a private home.

Even then, it is reclaimed upon sale as ordinary income.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 10:14 am

Cities change, even San Francisco. Those who can not afford to live here should move rather than have others subsidize them via rent control. I'm tired of this author trying to make me feel guilty because I paid my own way through college, got a degree that allowed me a job that paid well and have been successful investor in stock and real estate. This is a blended capitalist/socialist economy, but the monies being paid to NGO Not-for Profits to maintain poor people in SF living in 3rd world living conditions are just plain ridiculous and self-defeating.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

"I'm tired of this author trying to make me feel guilty..."

He can't. That's your job. That's your baggage, pleb. Only you can make yourself feel guilty, not the author. One chooses to feel guilty or not. Despite all of your snooty elitism, it sounds like you have issues and you're trying to disguise them with all of your alleged "success." And with your snooty "I'm better than you" elitist, self-absorbed, self-entitled attitude, it's obvious you feel nothing. Just an empty sack. Clearly you've never learned that money does not buy/guarantee happiness. And your not-so-veiled hatred for poor people is sick but typical of your type.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

Poor dear. Don't you think you should seek help for the obviousness of your vulgar behavior?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

You shouldn't feel guilty because you 'paid your own way through college' and so forth. (Why do I get the feeling that you've left a lot out of that description? Not intentionally, but because you really don't understand that anyone helped you 'pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.').

The reason you should feel guilty is because you're a bad person, lacking all empathy and feeling yourself superior to everyone without your advantages. And, honestly, it sounds like you already do. Good: that's a step in the right direction.

Posted by Fred Fnord on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 11:23 am

Let me guess, Can't afford it. You're a white male, right?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 8:51 am

is a tool that the non corporate Dems (Avalos, Campos, Peskin and their ilk) use to stay in power. More homeownres equal more conservative voters = more corporate type Dems (Gavvy, Ed Lee, WillieB, Elsbernd/Ferrell and their ilk.) The no corporate Dems and their supporters who make their living off this issue and the homeless/illegal immigrant advocacy industry will fight to the death to maintain it. and all the special privileges that keep bringing the homeless/illegals here to feed their insatiable not for profit machines.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

So what you're saying is that the corporate dems represent well, corporations; while the non corporate dems represent ordinary people. And rent control is one policy that helps ordinary people (who aren't rich) stay in this city. And this is bad... how exactly?

Posted by Greg on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

most suits your political agenda winning at the polls?

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

Playing for keeps.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

Mister Ellis is the trump card in this game.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 10:27 am

And the condo conversion limits are the queen of spades that comes in the same hand as your jack of diamonds. +3, sucka.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 10:42 am

you or the city can do about it, because it is governed by State law.

If you were right, why would Tim be whining so much about this?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 11:03 am

How boring has this pseudo-emotional rant gotten? "What's being overlooked is that SF is not an easy place to live if you're poor".

Holy sweet shitballz NO FUCKING SHIT!!! Seriously, what is this? Is this like, journalism? It's awful. And somehow it's on repeat here at the SFBG. Make the broken record stop. Please.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

I really feel for you. It must suck to have someone forcing you to read these articles. Just terrible torture.

Seriously: if you hate this so much, why do you read them? It's a bizarre behavior. Do you just *adore* being angry all the time? Do you read them out of a sense of guilt, torturing yourself because you secretly feel yourself unworthy of the wealth that, let's face it, is probably a result of your upbringing and connections rather than any actual self-worth? Do you read them just because you will click on any story that's put in front of you, like a monkey with a typewriter?

People who go seek out things that they hate, solely so they can complain about them, are mindboggling to me. Go read or something.

Posted by Fred Fnord on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 11:28 am

I'm not sure which is worse, that these trolls hang out on sites they hate to attack posters who are in sync with the editorial position of this rag, that Tim and the SFBG allow the barn animals in the farm house, or that people actually pay the trolls to spend all waking hours here harassing.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 12:09 pm
Posted by anon on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

You describe my state of mind perfectly Tim.

I am way more anxious now that when Newsom was mayor. There are luxury condos going up all over town as though it will have the slightest effect on workforce housing prices. Mainland triads more likely.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

Even better Oakland is just 8 miles away! So many options for you here!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

Ah... The good ole "yellow peril" rears its head again.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

The model minority troubles them, for some reason.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

Divide and conquer... pitting Asians against progressives. Won't work.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

Bad things happened to the Chinese long ago so all Chinese and Chinese Americans are permanently insulated from any criticism even though there is a Chinese American Mayor, Board President, Assessor, Assemblymember?

If we can talk about Central American gangs, then we can talk about Chinese gangs.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

The broken record from the smug, arrogant, extremely immature, childish, self-entitled homeowners who think they deserve special rights is that, "if you can't afford to live here, then move." That is screamed in all caps, like the children they are. There's no concern at all about someone being evicted and their entire life being unrooted, their friends or family.

There's something called karma. And maybe someday these low-level, cold, snarly, nasty, lobotomized amateur trolls (of the old breed) who clearly don't care about anyone but their own smug non-useful selves will receive a load of karma as retribution for their hateful troll "act" on here.

Clearly, the impression from the elitist homeowners is that they want only wealthy (and I suspect mostly white) people living in San Francisco. Make this city one big "gated community." There are many gated communities around the country. Why don't they move to one since that's what they want? Wouldn't that be easier for the smugs since they have the luxury with their supposed enormous wealth to move anywhere. Wouldn't that be easier instead of trying to ruin San Francisco and turn it into a "gated community" of only wealthy people. When that happens, who will want to come to San Francisco? Kiss your tourism industry goodbye. Because who want to come to a city filled with nasty, unfeeling, uncaring people such as those holding the majority sick attitude on this forum? One would be better advised to visit pond scum.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

Do not demonize all homeowners. Simply because someone is better off than you does not make them wealthy or conservative politically.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

I stand by what I wrote. I worked with real estate liars here at one time and speak from experience with homeowners and homeowner associations.

But specifically I wrote, "elitist homeowners." Emphasis on "elitist."

There are some good homeowners, but I thought that was obvious and didn't need to be said considering I had said "elitist homeowners."

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

I wish that marcos would think twice when he imagines that someone on this side of the table needs to be corrected, because it's often a phenomenon of his own imagination.

Sorry marcos, but don't be such a pissant.


Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 9:02 am