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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Raising the Bar

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem

The tech bubble will burst again. But farmers, tailors, home builders and BART drivers aren't going to disappear anytime soon. Maybe the tech crowd should consider shedding their mortal flesh and uploading themselves into The Cloud as an exit strategy?

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Vince Rubino on 11/19/2013 at 6:47 PM

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem

Thank you, William H. Thompson.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Mary Eisenhart on 11/14/2013 at 8:52 AM

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem

DeTocqueville forgot to add that "countries don't just get the governments they deserve, they also get the 'values' they deserve.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Alain Pierre on 11/14/2013 at 8:40 AM

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem

Not quite paramount to the discovery of the new world, Mr. Youngdahl reveals for us in his article here his opinionated finding that arrogant Silicon Valley companies are callously causing job loss and banks are populated by non-indicted thieves. One wonders what this author would have written had he lived during the Industrial Revolution, or during the times when electricity replaced whale oil and automobiles replaced buggy makers and horse stables. Of course, bankers perfected their schemes long before now and for some their reputations among many has suffered for centuries. Perhaps Henry Ford was arrogant, J.P Morgan and Edison, too. Was, as Youngdahl states, the Bay Area quite proud of its values in the days when it conscripted thousands of Chinese laborers to build the railroads supporting mansions on Nob Hill, or when it solidified its standing as a financial capital, which in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed? Does Youngdahl recall that Amadeo Giannini founded the Bank of Italy (later to become Bank of America) and he made handshake loans that rebuilt San Francisco after the great earthquake? Perhaps he and other bank and railroad founders were arrogant. too. No, the so-called moral compass of the Bay Area has been spinning for a much longer time than Mr. Youngdahl has been here, and its directions over the decades have been and now are influenced by more than a crowd of bankers and techies. The seeming certainty about the Bay Area is its crucible-like nature where people, ideas, culture, business and whatever else comes here must offer some form of value to survive. It has never been a place where everyone gets their way and it should not be a place where those like Mr. Youngdahl can pontificate to any of us which direction on some moral compass is the one we must follow. As Youngdahl states, values matter. Agreed. But to build a healthy and caring culture in which we can feel good about our children's future, our society must trust each individual's ability to decide for themselves what elements of our society will survive the crucible and which moral directions will not be taken - rather than have one person's opinion and his ideological persuasions make such decisions for us. It seems, by his writing this article, Mr. Youndahl has little faith that people have the capacity to make the right decisions - a common misconception among those of his ideological persuasion.

12 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by William H. Thompson on 11/14/2013 at 1:32 AM

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem

The lack of "values" and deference to things that are truly important pervades every aspect of society. That's why the debate about "health care" never has anything to do with health....nobody cares about THAT. I don't like to generalize about groups, even techsters and hipsters. They reflect the values that we have all allowed to take over. And actually, I've meant quite a few whose hearts and values are in the right place, so maybe all is not lost.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Barry Seidel on 11/13/2013 at 3:54 PM

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem…

Google's "engineers" recently issued something about their own take on cooperating with the NSA (a raised middle finger essentially). This has not been Google's response generally.

Regards values, I don't think the general case of corporate values supporting a tyranny (those of Silicon Valley one component of this) are to be doubted now. And the suggestion that somehow we are in an "evolutionary" no-choice zone regards an "Information Age" and its developments reminds me of the also specious argument that "Globalization" had to proceed just the way it has.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by terrybake on 11/13/2013 at 1:00 PM

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem

Zucherberg and the rest of the dotcom pinheads are pimps. They have convinced the world that they create products that are so valuable that if you don't have the latest (whatever) gizmo, you have no societal value or access to what is hip and cool. In fact, they create nothing of value, it is all an illusion. Twitter, are you kidding me? Why do I care what some idiot in Iowa thinks about anything? At the end of the day, the world will not stop or be the least affected by not hearing from you instantly. You really are not that important. The finance vultures do not even begin to comprehend the notion of a social contract. How much money do you really need? The combination of the arrogance and greed of these two sectors will be the demise of the nation if we, the people, do not get them in check FAST! It may already be too late.

17 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Gary Patton on 11/13/2013 at 3:59 AM

Re: “The Bay Area Has a Values Problem

Interesting article but very short on facts, figures and research. Sounds like a sour grape piece instead of an intelligent critical analysis of comparatives and where are they hiding all those robots anyway? Actually, this article strikes me as typical of the self-indulgent culture of the anarchists. Balance would have been nice in acknowledging all the good that has come out of Silicon Valley and how it has entered us into the Information Age. We are way past the Industrial Revolution and manufacturing will take a back seat to information services, like it or not, this is the evolution. Grow up.

21 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by Mary Vigilanti on 11/12/2013 at 6:59 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

BTW, how come the mainstream press hardly noticed the obscene money being handed out to that BART 'negotiator'? What was it $300k? That's not newsworthy for some reason. Or the BART managers ridiculous salary? She;s worth that much cause she has so much 'talent'? Or the last manager who walked out with a $1million golden parachute? Not a thing? Right its all the workers fault who are the greedy ones, asking for things like lunch breaks and health insurance. What do they think this is Stalin's Russia?

13 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Al Margulies on 11/01/2013 at 2:28 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

This is one of the best articles I have read ANYWHERE about the strike and the underlying issues, the REAL issues not the ones that the mainstream media. How do we get the world out though? How can we beat the mainstream media where so many zombie americans are stuck on?

17 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Al Margulies on 11/01/2013 at 2:22 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

Again, On Point, as was last week's Express. Today, CPUC weighed in, NTSB still has to complete its report and recommendations on safety, a key union grievance.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Nazreen Kadir on 10/31/2013 at 6:53 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

By the way, Bob, you can stop calling yourself a leftist now.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Pamela Drake on 10/31/2013 at 2:42 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

Work rules like being allowed to get your 30 minute lunch break before going out on a train for many more hours, are not trivial, and throwing them in as an issue at the last minute is also not trivial, just a good way to force a strike when a settlement was imminent. Way to go, BART board!

13 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Pamela Drake on 10/31/2013 at 2:40 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

Mainstream press fails to drink Express Kool-Aid. The reverse also happens. Film at 11.

2 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Mary Eisenhart on 10/31/2013 at 12:02 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

I don't think anybody absolved BART management but this crisis was brought on by the unions and for really silly things in the work rules that nobody with an ounce of common sense agrees with- like take a sick day and get overtime the next, demanding that hard copy pay stubs be delivered ( hoe many union jobs does this save? Ironically BART unions wanted more stabilty in their schedules as they were inconveniencing riders/payers to be more flexible because of their imposing no BART service! The fact is is that the equipment is the taxpayers and transit workers are using our machinery to make a living- a healthy living- and preventing us from making our living by striking. Who wouldn't like the the $95 a month health care, and the very reasonable wages- ? The allusion to Harvard was not that of going to the school but BART has 1000's of applicants for each union job much as Harvard has 35023 applicants for 2029 spots.
why on earth the author brought up America's Cup is a mystery- no relation whatsoever to BART.

Ultimately BART management blew it and didn't let a mediator take a shot at the ridiculous work rules and gave unions raises - a big Boo - Hiss all around to both sides and leaving the taxpayer again short.

13 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Jeff Diver on 10/31/2013 at 10:58 AM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

I agree, the article is spot on. It was obvious and disappointing at the time that the Tribune and Chronicle editorials and letters were strongly biased in favor of the "have mores". Tax dollars paid by the middle benefit the top and then the top denies living wages for the middle.

20 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by B Tom Smith on 10/31/2013 at 5:14 AM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

Of course we all pity the poor BART union workers who only extorted a 15% raise over 4 years averaging 3.75% a year - while Social Security recipients were granted a paltry 1.5% increase next year. No matter that the BART workers, already being paid among the highest wages in the nation and the highest in CA will get 2.5 times the 2013 COLA increase over 4 years. And woe that they should have to pay a bit more for their ridiculously low health care and pension contributions - while their plans eclipse those in the private sector. What is this author smoking that he talks about a "struggle" for the middle class worker? Is he junked up on socialistic weed? His screed blaming the tragic deaths of two workers, naming them as "scabs" and calling that accident a "killing," went so far over the top as to prove the writer was overdosed. Of course he is pandering to what he suspects is the largely liberal readership of this publication, and jabbing spikes into just about all other more-widely-read publications as they echoed the general public's overwhelming condemnation of the union demands and strikes. While that may be preaching to the readership "choir" here at East Bay Express, it is a ridiculous posture in the eyes of any but the most liberal of liberals. Now with more money in BART worker paychecks, the BART riding public will have to wait with baited breath for cleaner stations and more polite and smiling station agents, suspecting no improvements and the only smiles forthcoming will be when those BART employees deposit their new found loot at the bank.

13 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by William H. Thompson on 10/31/2013 at 2:45 AM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 10/30/2013 at 6:42 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

Nice work on this article, Jay. I just referenced it in a post I wrote for the Guardian:
Steven T. Jones
Editor, SFBG

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Steven T. Jones on 10/30/2013 at 5:46 PM

Re: “Let Them Eat Cake

Hmmmm . . . "At its core, the dispute was about whether it's possible to sustain a middle-class existence in the Bay Area today." The enthusiasm with which the writer makes his case is understandable but, in the end, he doesn't support or even try to support that key contention. I can see how the BART union sought to sustain **their** middle-class existence -- nothing wrong with that -- but a cause for **all** in the middle class, wanting to join the middle, and wanting to stay? Maybe -- but it's still a claim that the writer decided to not even try explaining further.

12 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Tony Daysog on 10/30/2013 at 1:37 PM

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