Feeds

'Don't hate on me for my job!' Googlers caught up in SF rent protest ruckus

Ad giant's commute shuttle halted by angry San Franciscans

Seven Steps to Software Security

One of Google's gilded buses that shuttles staff from San Francisco to its Mountain View HQ was this morning waylaid by anti-gentrification protestors.

Activists stopped the bus at 24th Street and Valencia in an attempt to raise awareness of the widening inequality in San Francisco, brought about by an influx of tech-generated wealth.

The protestors blocked the double-decker shuttle to highlight Google's use of public spaces: its private, employee-only buses call at the city's MUNI public transit stops. The campaigners are also irritated by the wider rapid gentrification of large swathes of San Francisco, claiming hefty Web 2.0 salaries drive up SF rent and force out other folk.

The bus was halted in front of a sign that wildly alleged: "WARNING: Illegal Use of Public Infrastructure," and another that declared: "WARNING: Two-Tier System," judging by photos posted (deliciously ironically) on social networks. The protest lasted for about half an hour, according to reports.

One Googler named Alejandro Villarreal posted a picture to Facebook-owned Instagram from inside the bus; the image was captioned: "My shuttle came under siege this morning. #Googleproblems?"

Another Google bod complained that the protest was making her late for work:

One bearded bloke, initially believed to be a bus passenger but that now seems unlikely, was recorded conveniently yelling at the protestors: "I can pay my rent, can you pay your rent? Well, if you can't, why don't you go to a city where you can afford it."

"Get a better job," he later blasted, as seen in this Bay Guardian video, neatly encapsulating the reasons why some SF residents are overwhelming unhappy with the tech moneyed class.

Although Google says its shuttle buses are environmentally friendly, as they encourage employees to not use cars to get to the company's sprawling Mountain View HQ, the buses have come to stand for the unequal distribution of wealth in Silicon Valley.

While junior Google engineers earn upwards of $80,000, incomes in other industries have stagnated. As young, well-paid employees from tech companies have gravitated to San Francisco, rents have rocketed up, driving out longterm residents. Though Google's mantra is "don't be evil" it is, however inadvertently, bringing about a painful change to the fabric of the city many of its employees call home.

We approached Google for comment, and will update this story if we hear back from the web giant. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
Price cuts, new features coming for Office 365 small biz customers
New plans for companies with up to 300 staff to launch in fall
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.