San Francisco has always had a reputation as a dynamic and diverse city. Since gold became the new black back in 1850, SF has continued to evolve and change.
The fine folks at The Atlantic Cities have a great article up about where college graduates are heading for jobs. I mention this only because the San Francisco MSA ranks as the fifth best-choice for recent college grads when you look at the number of jobs available as a ratio of total area population (the article terms this measure as location quotient), while Silicon Valley ranks as the number one best area for a recent college grad looking for a job.
Given the number of shuttle buses that frequent San Francisco in the morning and evenings, it’s a safe bet that many of those newly employed Silicon Valley twenty-somethings are living in the city.
San Francisco was once a blue-collar city that had a reputation for being particularly tolerant. But we are no longer that blue-collar industrial city that helped power America’s win in World War II. Nor are we the San Francisco of the late 1970’s, where Harvey Milk was the first openly-gay elected politician in America.
But what about our city policies? Are they designed for a different era?
For example… rent control. When our new arrivals aren’t outlaws seeking the refuge of a sanctuary by the bay, but instead well-educated college grads pulling down an average hourly wage of between $40 – $48/hour (per the Atlantic Cities article), what is rent control accomplishing?
We are no longer an affordable city, and we haven’t been for quite some time. Rent control, as currently written, offers absolutely no help to new arrivals because rent resets to market rate when a new tenant signs a new lease. Rent control in San Francisco favors those that have been here a long time.
Are we governing with a view towards the future, and a clear idea of the city we want to become? Or are we governing with a view towards the past, looking in the rear-view mirror with nostalgia for a city that we’ve already left behind…