Letters for the Week of April 10, 2013 

Readers sound off on street food, tech money, and the Oakland city council.

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Chris Juricich, Oakland

One Tough Business Model

Valid point about less resistance to sixteen-buck burgers than fifteen-dollar noodle plates. And any restaurant that is paying high wages and benefits to full-time employees has to charge 25 percent more than the vast majority of restaurants that don't. Even more if they don't have a full bar.

But the disposable income of young foodies and food-oriented older people in Oakland just isn't the same as in SF or Palo Alto or Berkeley. People have lots of reasons to live in Oakland. One of them is that it's cheaper than SF and Berkeley.

There are hecka lot of underemployed residents here who can afford a $3 doughnut but not a $15 plate of ramen except on special occasions. That's not racism.

Serving affordable high-quality food and paying decent wages and benefits in brick-and-mortar restaurants is extremely difficult to pull off anywhere. That is one tough business model.

Leonard Raphael, Oakland

The Pop-Up Problem

In Juhu's case, I think some people are remembering the prices when it was a pop-up in San Francisco. The full-size sandwiches were less than $10 and seemed bigger than two of the current slider-sized pavs — probably the equivalent of the three-pav combo at $13.

That's not to say it's not worth it for the quality, and I'm sure cost dynamics have changed with the permanent location.

Andrew Chang, Oakland


"The Case for Censure," Seven Days, 3/27

Dig Deeper

The audit did not go far enough. Do we really think that these are the only two and these were the only ways and only times? We should go back and review every time a large amount of money, especially redevelopment money, was flowing.

Don Macleay, Oakland


"The Bacon-Wrapped Economy," Feature, 3/20

Disappointing

While many of the points made here align with my personal experience, I am dismayed to find the "evidence" used in this article equally anecdotal. Employment of some pertinent (the charity to wealth comparison made is fairly irrelevant in the context of aggregate tech generosity) empirical analysis in lieu of this sensationalist verbosity would afford our author the potential to be taken seriously by the community she assails. 

Disappointing.

Channing Allen, San Francisco

Do Your Homework

Maybe the author should have done more math homework.

I do not disagree with many of the points made in this article. I am a 28-year-old female in tech who lives this depicted lifestyle: I live between AQ and Sightglass (I have met investors there), my next Burning Man project is a slide made from irrigation pipe, and am figuring out how to dress "Silicon Valley business casual chic" for jumping between business meetings and places with heavy machinery.  I'll go on: My only real threat in life is a mugging in SOMA, I make more money than my parents, and attend parties to specifically target the most important person in the room and try to find a genuine connection. The one question I beg the author is: Why can't the author feel happy for me? Why do I have to feel bad, why do I owe something more?

I was the kid who did my math homework in school, got easy As in class, and was made fun of for it. I was the kid called "four eyes." I was the kid who had trouble making friends, and couldn't figure out why. I was the kid who read books. I was the kid who dreamed of getting out of my boring middle-class, blue-collar town. I was the kid who fought through two engineering degrees to make the salary I want. I was the kid whose mom told me I wasn't smart enough to be an engineer. I am the only kid who could help my parents with a good retirement.

I am living the life I had hoped for myself. The Bay Area is a haven for the geeks, nerds, smarty-pants, artists, dreamers, activists, storytellers, and weirdos. We are all with common company here, we can be ourselves, and we can change the world. I decided when I moved here to not let common thinking, working-class-family kind of thinking, drag me down and stop me. The only thing I feel I owe society is to tell little girls to do their math homework; that it's culturally acceptable to stay interested in science; and to get a degree in computer science, math, science, or engineering if they want a fun, awesome, and exciting lifestyle for themselves, too.

The software positions are open and nobody is stopping others from joining this world/lifestyle. Just feel good about doing math homework.

Erin Rapacki, San Francisco

Remarkable

A remarkably well-written article on an emotionally charged subject. 

Really well done. You educated and enlightened without judging or sinking into cliched archetypes of rich and poor. 

Can't wait to read more by you. 

Frank Barbieri, San Francisco

Lots of Words, Little Insight

This feels like so much effort with so little insight.

"Bubbles" are not some new invention, they're part of the cycle of capitalism. We grow and contract in a cycle. The trick is trying to make sure the retractions aren't so drastic that they destroy more than the growth cycles created. And yes, people lose their jobs and livelihoods in the process. And our country is wealthy enough that we should figure out a way to address that (which probably has a lot to do with education, not just charity). Frankly, that kind of "philanthropy" feels more important to me than support for the SF Symphony. And there's room for both.

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