I used to love San Francisco at Christmas time. It was a magic place, from the lavish City of Paris to Funland and the Cliff House. There was always something happening in every nook and cranny of what Herb Caen called the “Baghdad by the Bay”. I had many friends who lived there, crazy bohemians, porn stars, cartoonists, musicians and technicians, so there was always room at the inn.
These days most of those friends have migrated from the bay, so I have to pay for lodging. It can be an arduous task, depending on where you want to be. Rates are still relatively cheap at The Bed Bug Motorlodge, if you’re brave, or you can spend upward of $800 to get a suite uptown. It can be a very expensive place to sleep, as the locals are finding out.
Those few souls who still reside there send me bulletins from time to time, usually involving long time residents who were being evicted and invaded and otherwise abused by what I call the NUBE’s (New Urban Billionaire Elite). The problem has escalated to the point of where the billionaires are forcing out the millionaires. The poor are just collateral damage.
To protest, the downtrodden surrounded a Google bus full of techies, who immediately snapped photos on their I-phones and posted them online. If they had been in Cairo, the mob might have set the bus on fire, or at least roughed up a few people, but this is the city of peace and love. The techies waved to the crowd and went back to staring into their tiny screen world.
Still, a recent poll found that the happiest people in California are coastal Democrats, mostly because they have all the power and money. Inland is a different story, from struggling cities with soaring crime rates to rural jurisdictions with little influence in Sacramento. Our own Board of Supes voiced their disgust with the bear flag bureaucracy that wants us to preserve our wide open spaces for their recreation and forgo collecting property taxes. We keep sending them the bill they promised to pay, and they ignore it while treating us like begging children. “Please sir, could I have some more?”
We haven’t quite descended into a Dickens scenario yet, and we can probably expect another influx of refugee retirees in coming years. They’ll bring some much-needed capital into our neck of the woods. Odds are that many of them will be Democrats who still believe they can grab a piece of the California Dream. The Republicans who flee the coast are more likely to keep going, having given up all hope of rekindling the Reagan revolution in the golden state.
It will be a rough transition for the urbans here. They’ll have to do without Trader Joe’s. But there is a Starbuck’s, and judging from the line of cars I see there every day, business is booming.
I see it as an indicator of things to come. We’ll get some new blood, new politics, and increased property values as the newcomers organize to shut the door behind them. There will be new battles over what politically correct development will be allowed across the Bear River bridge, and the coming of legal marijuana will be a main topic of rural zoning laws. New residents will want the kind of services they were used to in the city.
So send us your
poor displaced persons, yearning to be free of Scrooge McGoogle and his cronies. Just don’t try to turn us into the world you left behind.