Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices - "The city had more housing starts in 2014 than the whole of England. Can Japan's capital offer lessons to other world cities?" (via) [more inside]
Kim-Mai Cutler: Nothing Like This Has Ever Happened Before - "San Francisco Bay Area poverty rates in all nine counties have increased in the last economic cycle, even with the Facebook and Twitter IPOs and private tech boom. The main transfer mechanism is land and housing costs, as rising rents and evictions push service and other low-wage workers to the brink. [Henry] George's solution was a single land tax that would replace all other government revenue sources. If an owner wanted to develop their property to make it more useful or productive, George argued that they should have the right to keep the value from those efforts. But increases in the value of underlying land were created by — and ultimately belonged to — the public at large." (previously: 1,2,3) [more inside]
The SFMTA is weighing an appeal that would dismantle the private commuter shuttle program, after the program was approved last November. Yesterday the board approved changes that would keep the program going for another year. [more inside]
Saigon Deli Sandwich and Taco Valparaiso offers a lesson in cross-cultural communication. In 2011, Tony Torres, who owned a taqueria, approached Dieu Ngo, who owned the Saigon Deli banh mi shop, with a proposition that they join forces. The result was a classic multi-cultural fusion, and a budding romance.
1906 San Francisco Earthquake survivor Ruth Newman passed away July 29th at the age of 113. This leaves William Del Monte (warning: auto-playing video), currently 109, as the last confirmed living person to have survived the earthquake and fire.
Engineering Geology of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System, 1964-75 (J. David Rogers & Ralph B. Peck, published 2000) chronicles the construction of the subterranean components of BART.
Remembering Tandem Computers: "Tandem was an archetype Silicon Valley company with stock options, an emphasis on taking chances, a recognition that sometimes the answer lies in a place where no one else has thought to go." The company was founded in 1974 by Jimmy Treybig. Though largely forgotten today, Tandem's surviving legacy is the NonStop line of servers, now owned by Hewlett-Packard.
"Honestly? I've never had more fun cooking. Or eating. I didn't want to write this piece; it's almost humiliating to hear myself talk this way. But there it is. I'm in Berkeley. I'm lucky to be here. I may stay." Mark Bittman talks about California produce. [more inside]
You live in the Bay Area, it's a Friday evening and you have nothing to do...why not try Bike Party? It's like a less angry, more laid-back Critical Mass. There's one in San Francisco every First Friday of the month, another in the East Bay every Second Friday, an even bigger one in San Jose every Third Friday (which had a special guest rider last March), and a Peninsula ride every Fourth Friday. These rides change their route (and their theme) every month to keep it fresh. Not everyone is a fan, however, as evidenced by the comments on this local news article about the Sep. 2014 East Bay Bike Party.
How hedge-fund mogul Tom Steyer is using his checkbook to punish climate-change deniers, persuade Obama to halt the Keystone XL pipeline, and try to save the planet. [more inside]
In September 2000, a teenager suffering from Bipolar Disorder named Kevin Hines attempted suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. A confluence of fortunate events (such as a Good Samaritan Sea Lion) came together and Kevin not only survived but did not suffer major mobility loss, as many other people who survive the fall do. Today he works as a suicide prevention/mental health awareness advocate and has authored a memoir. He is featured in the 2006 documentary The Bridge.
A lovely meditation / photo essay about California's Yerba Buena Island.
There are holiday displays, and then there's Tom BetGeorge's holiday display. Mr. BetGeorge, of Newark, California, has created a 100,000 light extravaganza celebrating Christmas and his favorite music from Star Wars. It has to be seen to be believed.
Meet craft brewers, home brewing enthusiasts, bartenders in "Craft Beer – A Hopumentary", which focuses on California. [YT] [more inside]
A man wearing a dark blazer with white braiding steps out from behind what looks to be a giant white balloon. A penny-farthing sits in the foreground. Cheerily, he addresses the camera: "Hi, I'm Scott Apel, video critic for the San Jose Mercury News, and I'm here to welcome you again to The Prisoner, one of the most intriguing and most talked about television series ever made..." (YT) [more inside]
Protesters blocked a private Google shuttle in the Mission District of San Francisco today. "In the video, a Google employee who hopped off the bus shouts down Erin McElroy, a protester who also heads the eviction mapping project. 'How long have you lived in this city?' McElroy asked him. He shouted back 'Why don't you go to a city that can afford it? This is a city for the right people who can afford it. You can't afford it? You can leave. I'm sorry, get a better job.'" Concern over increases in cost of living in San Francisco are becoming more of a focal point for discussion, as seen in a recent NYT blog post, Dystopia by the Bay.
BART workers are continuing their strike into Monday, with no quick end to the strike in sight. [more inside]
The high salaries of the Silicon Valley are not enough to send your children to college, buy a house, and retire when looked at alongside living expenses. You need to play the equity game. [more inside]
Dan Grover and Mike Belfrage have mapped transit inequality in the Bay Area after reading a New Yorker piece on the New York City subway (previously). The ways in which a widening income gap are changing the demography of San Francisco have been widely reported of late (previously, previously). The project's code is available if you'd like to try mapping your own city.
The Bacon-Wrapped Economy, or how the rise of a new elite of wealthy, predominantly twentysomething, software engineers and startup founders is changing the San Francisco Bay Area's economy and culture. [more inside]
First the Bubble. Then the Short. Now the Long.
Some neighborhoods in Oakland are as devastated as any of the worst hit regions across America — Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix. Now the morphing of the housing bust and foreclosure epidemic into a lucrative multi-billion dollar opportunity for major investors is also uncannily centered upon Oakland and the greater Bay Area, where companies flush with hedge fund cash are buying up homes by the thousands. The entire sweep of the US housing bubble, financial crisis, and foreclosure wave can therefore be told by looking at persons and companies with intimate links to Oakland and the Bay Area. What follows is one account.
The San Francisco Street Food Festival is an annual Summer event in the Mission District that features around 60 different Bay Area vendors and is attended by tens of thousands of foodies. This year the usual mainstays were joined by Don Bugito, which served up insect-based dishes and billed itself as the first "PreHispanic Snackeria." When the food truck commences permanent operations this month, it may be the first eatery in the country devoted exclusively to preparations involving insects. But they're not the only entomophagy pioneers in San Francisco, where Bug Cuisine is Booming. So just how tasty are insects? (Via) [more inside]
Bay Area Slang Top 100 (The Grinch song). From Rafael Casal — 100 Bay Area slang terms in under 3 minutes. [more inside]
Forty Thanksgivings ago Alcatraz Island was occupied by a number of Native American activists as a protest. The occupation lasted until June of 1971 The best place to learn about it is PBS's website for Alcatraz Is Not an Island, Jim Fortier's documentary about the Alcatraz Occupation. Besides an overview of the events it has video interviews with the people involved. [RealPlayer required] Here are photographs of the occupation, mostly from newspapers. For a flavor of how the local media covered the events, here's the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive's Occupation of Alcatraz Collection which has over 40 contemporary newsreports [MPEG4]
Mental illness and doughnuts do not mix. Psycho Donuts in Campbell, California takes donuts "to the next demented level." Mental health advocates are not enthusiastic. The store itself comes with nurses, a padded cell and "group therapy" area. offerings include the Massive Head Trauma, a jelly donut with red filling oozing from the side and the Bipolar, half nuts and half coconut topping. The shop's owners respond to the controversy.
So you'd like to see daily photographs taken in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area? You can start with What I'm Seeing and supplement your viewing with the following sites. [more inside]
Modern Military Ruins in San Francisco. Really awesome Flickr set includes documentation of Hunters Point Shipyard, Treasure Island Naval Station, Alameda Naval Air Station, the SF-88 Nike Missile Site, Hamilton Field Air Force Base, and Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
Harold Sherwood Bachman has died. Mr. Bachman was the designer of Doggie Diner's grinning dachshund, festooned with a bow tie and chef's hat that went on to become a Bay Area icon.
Free TiVo. If you are an American consumer and live in the Bay Area, the TiVo company on Friday will give away 40GB Series 2 recorders to Comcast customers who bring their cable bill and a gift for The Family Giving Tree charity to TiVo headquarters in Alviso, Calif. The giveaway will last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until they run out of units, and will be limited to one recorder per household.
Were protests always like this? Living in the bay area for a few years now, I've avoided taking to the streets to protest wars and such. Not because I'm pro-war or anything, I'm just a little wary of what these events are really all about.
Is "street racing" as popular outside the Bay Area as it seems to be here? Have there been tragic accidents taking the lives of non-racers elsewhere? Will these idiots be emboldened by the release of "The Fast and the Furious" this weekend?
"Guess what, folks: We're taking back San Francisco." -- Woo Hoo! Forget BushGore; on Tuesday progressives won big time in San Francisco. Chris Daly seriously kicked ass in my district, while progressives Matt Gonzalez (yes!), Aaron Peskin, Jake McGoldrick, Sophenia Maxwell and Gerardo Sandoval, will all join our hero Tom Ammiano on the board of supervisors. Take that, Willy Brown.