Monday, April 21, 2008

Dear politicians and members of the media,

Hi. I'm from San Francisco. Well, not originally. Originally, I am from a very small rural town in Eastern California. It is a town built for tourists generally; but a lot of the people who live there are of the cowboy/ranching/general shit-kicking type; the kind that brag about what zone they got for their deer tags.

I would stop short of going to the rodeo, but I did often go to local fairs and gander at the contemporary equivalent of Zuckerman's famous pig. It was a fine place to grow up, but at an early age, I knew it wasn't my scene.

Most of the people who live in San Francisco are from somewhere else. I can only think of two people I know who can actually say they are "from" San Francisco. Drawn by the culture, weather (ha ha), politics, or some mixture, most people who live here have generally chosen to live here. Some of them are from big cities. Some of them are from little towns like me. Some of my friends here are from Nebraska, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Ohio.

I live here because of the culture, the city's proximity to some amazing places (Yosemite, Napa/Sonoma Wine Country, Big Sur, Stinson Beach), and I like the city's general mellow, tolerant, and laid-back attitude.

I won't lie. I'm a liberal. I would venture to say very liberal by most people's standards, at least as far as social issues go. Compared to others in SF, I would probably be considered just sort of liberal. But I like living in a city that prides itself on being progressive, even when I don't necessarily agree with all of it.

But to the extent that people call San Francisco a "bubble," I must vehemently disagree.

Gas prices near my house are now $4.17/gallon, compared to a national average of $3.47. I'm not going to even bring up property prices or rent here. Ok maybe I will. My roommate and I pay over $2k a month for a very small 2 bedroom. Owning property here is not really ever in the cards for me. I have been held-up at gunpoint. Our public transportation system is severely lacking. Some of our neighborhoods are downright scary, and some of that is because shipping yards and other businesses have shut down or left town.

In sum, San Francisco, like other cities, has its share of problems and it is in no way immune or impervious to the economic shocks than others. Sure, we're liberal, but other than that, we are just like everyone else.

And just like you, I like where I live. I'm proud of my city, and I don't like people bad-mouthing it.

So to all of you politicians and members of the media who like to throw my city's name around whenever they want to really emphasize that someone is "elitist," maybe you should think about the real out-of-touch bubble that is Capital Hill before you start badgering us. Especially when a certain other democratic candidate also just had a closed-door fund raiser here herself.

Well, I was trying to find a link, but can't. Hillary Clinton was in the building next door to where I work a couple of weeks ago.

No comments: