When i get despondent about my beautiful city by the bay, i have got to remember that San Francisco is just like it always has been since its inception… trying to be cashed in upon. It has ALWAYS had someone who is or has attempted to be sell it out completely. And why not? It is a BEAUTIFUL place with so much charm and character and a beautiful warm/cool, colorful clean landscape with still hints of the wild left intact. It also was rebuilt after 1906 at a time when there happened to be a LOT of money in this city and in the hands of a few hardcore business men.
The ones who came to San Francisco knew where the real gold was, were the ones that stayed in town and provided the provisions that the huge new influx of inhabitants and travelers needed and cashed in. Those in turn, many of them became the Grandfathers of what is the SF we know today. Otherwise called The Argonauts. Within this small grouping, a lot of the time they kept the money within the family, by lending it to nephews or marrying 2nd and 3rd cousins etc. This is how my ancestors managed to maintain the wealth within this small group of tight knit Jewish Bavarian immigrants. It also helped strengthen the faith and their durability and standing within the community. This is true with a lot of different ethnic immigrant groups that settled in the city (think Italians in North Beach, Japanese in Japantown, Mexicans in the Mission etc.). However, although settling with like faiths, this tiny 7×7 square mile town, it is so small, it is pretty much, where you can find a place that fits most of your needs that you can afford, you take it… and get to know other neighborhoods and cultures.
It has been a battle since Sam Brannen made his claim while running through Portsmouth Square… …GOLD! … There is gold found in the American River! A battle between those who make San Francisco why people love it so much, (they are the heart and soul that match the beauty and architecture), and those that see San Francisco as it also is… a great place that could easily be exploited to make themselves a lot of money. The potential to make money here by selling out to big business and sweetheart deals to line one’s pockets will always be a vulunerability for a place like SF.
The locals are stubborn steadfast fighters that are doing it out of survival and do not back down. They are what puts the “active” into “activist”. They know that they are only as strong as they are organized and committed. They are fighting for all the right reasons and have had to pretty much non stop from one direction or another since the start.
The other is the big greed machine which is almost a force as well as a contageous disease that makes the ones it infects as addicted to it as a junkie to his fix.
There has to be a beautiful blend of the two… the residents that actually call this home, and the ones looking at it by means of how other ways they can bring in more people, and usually, richer, (and i hate to say it but i will… whiter) people who will be willing to pay more for this magical place.
What the problem gets to be is that it is the mentality of the locals which is through their intelligence, humor, ease and creativity as well as acceptance of all things different and also their empathy for people in conditions different from their own. They get forced out by the increased costs of living, (from mass transit, to rent or a coffee etc.) Without the freedom filled free living locals with all of its nuts and unusual people as well as the bankers and lawyers and waitresses and cab drivers etc, it is closer to a Hollywood set than our little Bohemia by the sea!
When (hopefully if not when, but we are seriously running out of room!) this beautiful world class city ( & loses all of those that put their heart and soul and time and love into making this that city), are gone, it will just be one GIANT gated community with fear humming from within Its sand colored walls. It will lose its sparkle and innovation. It will lose its soul.
This is what i am seeing and gets me so scared, but like always… like i said in the begining, SF has always been growing and becoming a modern beauty throughout its inception. We just have to cross our fingers that so many locals have not left, that their army of activists has diminished to the point of not standing a chance, because i think that there is a point of no return where it will become an enclave of the rich and the rich alone.
This city has always been known for being a super diverse place with a lot of sex and drugs and music and art. It can not white wash it so that you get used to not having that element of acceptance, San Francisco will be done for.
…that is until the next big earthquake. It really unnerves those who have managed to maneuver their lives into such a controlled existence, that a percentage of them will and do run for the hills or at least back to wherever it is that they came from. And then the locals will move back and start again…. Just like the cycle of life i hope!
By the way, this is a response that turned into an over-winded reply turned post to Mskatykins. Thank you for being such a valued reader and always contributing to the conversation. Katykins… You are awesome!