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Speaking of which, many of your examples of corporate largesse are laughable. You haven't scratched the surface of the true excesses (CEO salaries, anyone?) while you've tried to shock us with things like expensive bikes and buckets of Smirnoff Ice. Luxuries, for sure, but hardly the sole domain of the ultra-rich. And I once flew half-way around the world for a weekend — because there was a fare sale and a last-minute flight to Paris was $400. Does that make me a billionaire?
Yes, the world is changing. The way people donate money is changing. The things people are interested in are changing. We don't want to lose what's valuable about the past, but we don't get there by freezing time or lamenting the loss of some golden age that never existed anyway. You have to think of it like surfing: You can't pause the wave, but you can get on top of it. If you face it and argue otherwise, you're just going to get a lung full of water.
I also think the loathing of the restaurant and personal services industries in this article is totally misguided. Not that all these services are ideal, equitable, or even a good use of money. But you know what else these people are? Small-businesspeople. They looked at a changing world, considered their talents, skills, and passions, and found a way to make a living doing it. And probably created some jobs in the process.
Yes, rents have gotten inflated and there are private buses in SF. And there are some things about that that are problematic. But those buses also deliver loads of cash into our city's economy. It goes to taxes. It goes to small-businesspeople. And these people live here. The services that are created to serve them are sometimes silly, but often they're great, and make the city a more vibrant, livable place for all of us.
Gentrification is tricky. It has its problems. It also has its benefits. It means the local economy is growing. It means that families who struggled to buy in a tight housing market are getting rewarded for their investment. You can't stand still. The world doesn't work that way. Economics don't work that way. We have our highs, we take our licks, hopefully we get smarter and do better the next time. But you have to figure out a way to make the change more livable without bailing against the tide.
This article is high on word count but low on understanding of what needs to happen to really make our communities better.
Alex Beckstead, San Francisco
The Surgeon Double Standard
Is the original sin of these young riches simply not to have studied law or medicine, but being merely geeks?
Such high incomes are socially expected and accepted for surgeons or lawyers, but "undeserved" for spewing out code days and nights?
Our April 3 cover story, "Real Warriors," misstated the month in which Golden State Warriors fans booed team co-owner Joe Lacob. It was March 2012, not December 2012.
Our April 3 Seven Days column, "Newsgathering Was Never Free," stated that the OC Weekly in Southern California had announced that it was erecting a paywall. The paper's announcement was an April Fool's joke.
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