I Just Don’t Get Why Everyone Is Mad At The Google Bus

I Just Don't Get Why Everyone Is Mad At The Google BusSometimes I am a very bad liberal. Trigger warnings and waaahing about #rapeculture make me want to yell at all the baby feminists. I am not good at Intersectionalism. Don’t care about drones. And now I honest to God don’t know why we’re supposed to be mad about the Google Bus.

I get it like “gentrification is : (” and “the rent is too damn high” and I totally get it that tech bros and glassholes are making your lovely hippie city of San Francisco grotesque. (Hint to SF: you got pretty yuppie all the way back in the ’80s, and Apple or Snapchat or whatever had fuck-all to do with it.) But complaining about the buses? Blocking the buses? Doing funsy clown-dressed protests about the buses, even if you are as wacky and funny as former Bogota mayor Antanas Mockus (dudes, EVERYONE watch Cities on Speed, like, NOW) and dress as clowns or mimes or mimeclowns?

Here, have some Mockus, because awesome.

EARTH TO BRENT, buses are an environmental positive. They are good for your city. They are keeping your city from having more smog and more traffic and more adverse health effects from the stress of shitty soul-sucking commutes and more surface-level ozone and FEWER OF THESE FUCKERS CUTTING YOU OFF, because you know if they were driving their Lexii or their Teslas or whatever to work, THEY WOULD TOTALLY CUT YOU OFF.

google bus protest

Anyway, Valleywag’s got the statement from the protestors about whyyyyyyy, and it is full of stuff about evictions being up and how much in fines the Google buses would have to pay in fines to use the bus stops if they didn’t have a “backroom deal” with the SF transit authority, which, I would like to point out two things that will further make me an Enemy of the People: if they have a deal with the transit authority, which controls the bus stops, they are probably not acting in a manner that is “illegal,” and YOU get a fine when you stop in a bus stop, because YOU ARE NOT ACTUALLY DOING MASS TRANSIT. You are driving one or two people in a car. MASS TRANSIT IS GOOD, EVEN IF IT IS PRIVATE.

For the earth and other living things.

[Valleywag]

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  • el_donaldo

    But mass transit is BETTER if it’s public, right?I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m an East Coast ruralist, so I suppose I shouldn’t comment. But is the awesome street theater up there pro- or anti-Google bus? Cuz I just want what is weirdest for everybody. That’s my platform.

    • Cuz I just want what is weirdest for everybody. That’s my platform.

      That I can get behind.

  • spookymotion

    I think the bestest outcome would be if Google had a deal with the SF Transit Authority where they poured all the Gold Dobloons into the existing infrastructure to make it awesome for everyone, while still meeting Google’s needs. That said, hippies and artists attacking techies “for ruining San Fran” is riduculose. The communities intersect QUITE a bit. And it smacks of “My gentrification is ok, but you gentrifying me is totally not ok”. Newsflash, unless you can trace your ancestry to the Ohlone people, you gentrified SOMEONE when you moved to SF.

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      • spookymotion

        Did they displace the “indigenous” people, for whatever values of “indigenous” you choose? Probably. If you have 10 houses, and 6 people live in those houses, and 6 people want to move in… well you do the math. We could of course build more houses in SF, but that’s a HappyNiceTime post for another day.

    • So, if you were born there?

      • spookymotion

        Is eviction awful? Yes. Does it suck when a family has lived in an area for mumblemumble number of generations and gets forced out by market conditions? Absolutely. That’s really terrible. But yelling at the 20 year old who’s just looking for a place to live near where she works is yelling at the wrong enemy. IMHO the biggest cause of evictions in SF is SF not keeping pace with new capacity and housing demands.

  • WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! Google’s wage slaves should be forced to live near where they work in the hideous dull of Silicon Valley. They probably shouldn’t be allowed to live anywhere they can’t walk to work, & they should be forced to do just that. Yes, public transit is better than individual ninnies in their cars, but 30 miles of diesel pollution 2x a day is no picnic either. Good for you not otherwise being a good liberal ‘though. I’m getting sick of them too. They’ll probably have to go w/ the reactionaries. Why should you be mad? Well, why the hell not, just in general? I certainly am!! Thing two: If Google provides free transportation for its wage-slaves, what happens to tax-supported public transit, say, for the people who clean Google workers’ houses for minimum wage? Back to hitchhiking to work once public transit is made redundant?

    • SullivanSt

      Shuttles for people earning $100k+ pa have absolutely no effect on the viability of public transport, because, as Becca points out, these people would not otherwise be riding public buses, they would be cutting protestors off in Lexii. Or maybe Google-supplied hybrids. But definitely cutting people off in vehicles far less efficient per-passenger-mile than buses.

      • Slippery slope.

        • SullivanSt

          So you’re trying to make the kind of argument that around these parts we regularly deride in thoroughly deserved fashion because it’s a complete load of hooey?Have fun with that.

          • Nope. I can just see a little farther into the future. Buses for the 1%, & sandals made from worn-out bus tires for the rest of you. Or do you think you’ll be on the side of the monied when it shakes out?

          • SullivanSt

            Stop taking the mushrooms with the brown acid. It’s not doing you any good.1%ers do not ride buses.

          • Really? Of course the 1% doesn’t, but their flunkies drones & clones do, & will see private transit safe from the unwashed labor pool as a swell benefit.

          • SullivanSt

            Again, with the average Google salary being $128k, these are not people that would ever take a public bus. The alternative is to drive the luxury car they already own.

          • Guest

            Hold on hold on hold on. Most techies I know ride their bikes, quite frankly. And with rent what it is, and a mission 2 Bedroom clocking in at 4500 a month, 128k salary is vaguely 4800 a month take home, where are people finding the money for these luxury cars?

          • SullivanSt

            The Mission isn’t the only neighborhood in San Francisco, not even the closest to Mountain View. Apparently renting there is just a stupid economic choice because a mortgage on a median home will be about the same as rent, but you get to deduct the interest.$128k pa is also significantly more than 4800/mo take home. I know, because I’m substantially overwithholding at the moment on $95k and taking home almost $4700/mo, and the difference between NY SIT and CA SIT is a small fraction of the amount I’m overwithholding.

          • spookymotion

            Most techies ride bikes 🙂

          • spookymotion

            So techies are now the flunkies of the %1? I wish someone told me when I went to school for Computer Science. That as soon as I accepted that degree, I would suddenly be a bad guy. I need more black in my wardrobe if I’m going to pull this off convincingly.

          • Count down to “Well, Iiiiii don’t take the bus, myyyyy employer pays for it, so why should Iiiiii pay taxes for lazy people who won’t get jobs w/ free buses?”in yada secs.

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          • Whatever how many yada …

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          • spookymotion

            @MBouffant:disqus, @floydblandston:disqus Conflating the techies with the 1% is reallllllyyy bad. For the most part the techies are not looking for tax havens, ways to use their money to unfairly influence politics, dismantling safety nets and screwing people over (like the 1%). As a well paid techie, I really would like an awesome safety net for everyone, I’m willing to pay my fair share, and I would like ways for artists to viably live in SF. The thing that makes SF desirable to live in is the fact that it’s so culturally vibrant. Evict all the artists, and it ceases to be culturally vibrant. See: Manhattan.

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          • O.K., now I’m just being a jerk for comedy purposes, because I know everyone’s little hearts (Bless ’em!) here are in the right place & I don’t know you from nowhere nohow & am far from perfect as far as collaborating, but if I may fix that for you:I am a well-paid techie w/ liberal sensibilitiesenable these greedy pigs to ruin everything by letting them steal the surplus value I create, & I am afraid if I let you give them what they deserve you won’t stop w/ them.

          • SullivanSt

            Absolutely no more relevant an imagined argument than “I drive my car, why should I pay taxes for lazy people”.In other words, the google bus makes no difference at all to the argument. But keep on throwing out terrible logic, by all means.

          • So, you don’t think “terrible logic” like that will be used, & not w/o success? I don’t agree w/ it, but we’ve already heard it? Prop. 13?And yes, one bus is better than 30 or 60 cars; it would still be better to subsidize freeway buses run by public transit, so all the people (hah yes I am a commie) could enjoy them, not just Google’s special snowflakes.

    • Jon Hendry

      Google doesn’t have enough employees to make public transit redundant. You’d be better off asking that about private airport shuttle services.

    • DrShitferbrains

      This kind of shit really alienates those like me who would otherwise naturally be allies. When you start talking about forcing people to do anything and throwing around words like “wageslaves”- whatever the fuck that is- it just makes me throw up my hands and be content for this to be your problem and not mine.

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        • No sheet. Those who protest most, yada.And gee, imagine anyone anywhere, a lone bully or a thug backed by a gov’t. or a corporation (not to even start w/ your parents, for gawd’s sake!!) forcing anyone to do anything, ever. Never happened in all of human existence!Sorry I forgot the tongue in cheek emoticon. I’m nuts, but not enough to think we could get away w/ ever forcing anyone to do that. Not until the ocean has risen enough anyway.

  • SullivanSt

    You’re supposed to be mad at buses because you’re a drivelling idiot, is about the long and short of it as far as I can gather from what I could stand reading of the comments at the linky, which was very little because drivelling idiots.

    • peteywheats

      You are supposed to be mad at the busses because the people in the busses have jobs and you don’t, so you have time to protest busses.

  • Jon Hendry

    Imagine the agita if Google started buying up all the real estate closest to public transportation stops, both in the Valley and in SF and Oakland. And putting offices in those places, pushing out local residents who lived near those stops, and businesses, etc.

  • It’s about time we privatized “public” transit, along w/ the schools & everything else the leeching poor (WHO DON’T EVEN PAY TAXES111) take from us who make & create!!!

    FEWER OF THESE FUCKERS CUTTING YOU OFF, because you know if they were driving their Lexii or their Teslas or whatever to work, THEY WOULD TOTALLY CUT YOU OFF.

    Oh crap, just realized that self-driving Googlemobile may just cut you off as if it were a dudebro. We must stop them now!!

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    • spookymotion

      I think the difference here is that Jim Crow is an extreme attempt to systematically oppress and disenfranchise an entire class of people, whereas someone taking a job with Google and moving from New Jersey to SF is… taking a job with Google. That tech is in vogue right now, and people happen to want to pay top dollar for techies is not the techies fault. I’m so lucky I wasn’t born in the middle ages, because I can’t blacksmith to save my life.

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        • spookymotion

          You hit the nail on the head. People getting thrown out of their houses is. just. plain. awful. There’s an increased housing demand in SF and a very limited supply. How can we solve that? Demonizing entire groups of people for what they are and throwing bricks through bus windows is clearly not the answer. re bussing: Google has really missed the mark- they could have poured all this money into making SF Transit awesome. It would have been a public relation windfall and met their needs.

          • But Google doesn’t care about the Muni, they care about getting their workers from the city to Mountain View (& back) …In the city transit will be be poor people propelling Googloids in rickshaws & pedicabs. Why should the gov’t. subsidize transit w/ taxes when there’s a potential rickshaw puller (who couldn’t pay his rent, even though he had a full-time job) sleeping on every steam grate downtown? “Look at this guy, he has calves the size of cantaloupes! What an entrepreneurial go-getter. Faster, boy, faster!!”

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          • They can work in teams.

    • The segregation of the future will be economic. Next we’ll be hearing how Google at least makes their buses run on time, & in the future of diminished expectations, that will be a big deal, even if no one else’s bus runs.

      • Dragoon21b

        What do you mean “Of the Future”…Especially in the Bay Area…

        • Coming down from brown acid & ‘shrooms, so trying to be restrained.

    • rebecca

      because I assume taking a public bus to wherever the fuck their campus is would take hours with all the stops. I wouldn’t want to either.

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        • peteywheats

          Yes, the snob value of not having to work on a daily basis with a municipal transit authority when you have all the money you need to handle things yourself instead of relying on a government bureaucracy to do things for you. There are plenty of things to be angry at Google about, having a shuttle bus does not seem like it should be on top of the list.

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      • Silvia Winter

        Rebecca Solnit hates them, and Rebecca Solnit invented the word “mansplaining.” Case closed.

  • Inconstant Reader

    The problem here is not that the protestors are angry — they’re right to be — but they’re directing their anger at the wrong people. SF’s housing problems are serious and complicated, including legal issues that discourage expanding the housing stock, but overall here the problem is neo-Gilded Age capitalism, not techies who want to live in the city. And everyone seems to be ignoring the effect on local government services of 40 years of Prop 13.I get that techies can be annoying, even the majority who are not brogrammer types. But the riders on the Google buses did not cause the problems and cannot, by themselves, fix them. Class war is right, but the real enemy has done a fine job of setting factions against one another.Lately I think that it’s time for the tumbrels. But then I worry that we’ll just end up guillotining the wrong people, and the banksters and their allies will continue as usual.

    • DrShitferbrains

      Also too, all the focus on techies tends to target the one group who does not itself have a profit motive in advancing gentrification. It’s not in our interest that our own rents are high, that the coffee is expensive etcetera and so on.

  • le_renard_de_velours

    Loud noises!

  • Marilyn Browning Vogel

    Google, Facebook and Apple are all massive tax cheats that contribute to ALEC and Ted Cruz. The reason they can afford these buses is because they hide their money in Bermuda. The Buses ARE NOT ENVIRONMENTAL. Encouraging your 10,000 employees (times all the companies that do it) to live 50 miles away cannot be environmental. People are losing their homes and their communities. These brogrammers are heavily, white, male affluent and absolutely devoid of any creative capacities. Please watch corporate shuttle roadkill to find out what it’s like to nearly get murdered on your bike and evicted by Eric ‘It’s Called Capitalism” Schmidt’s luxury escape 1% mobile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh9m61-QRcYPS Wonkette – your readers are not riding the tech buses.

  • Haribo Lector

    As I understand it, what has really got up people’s noses is the fact that the Google bus and their ilk cause traffic congestion by using bus stops and bus terminals that tax payers pay for and which Google pay not a single penny for.Personally, I don’t ride any buses at all because I didn’t get my driving licence until I was 28 and I figure that I’ve paid my dues and also that I’m better than that because buses are for Communists and sex offenders.

  • Annie Towne

    My problem with the tech community millionaires/billionaires taking over the city is that they do not support what makes San Francisco a world-class city: its opera, ballet, symphony, and museums. They don’t give a shit about any of its cultural institutions, which are in danger of dying because of lack of funds. Old-guard wealth always supported them, which allowed them to grow into arguably the country’s best. With all the wealth in the hands of these craven consumers and none of it going to keep the city alive, San Francisco will die. I hate them.

  • moon

    Just like the charter schools in NYC, if a for profit business used public buildings and equipment built or purchased with public funds, they should pay an appropriate market for it. Also rich assholes feeling intimidated is just a net positive no matter the reason.

  • Amorivoro

    I hope the protesters convince wealthy Google employees to get to work the proper way: private company cars.

  • $73376667

    The buses are at best a wash environmentally.First off, the best solution would be to not live in San Francisco to begin with, since they don’t work there.But the techbros are flocking to SF because of the trendy coffee house with the local band and the organic fair trade grocery stores and whatnot. But with rent skyrocketing, the baristas and the not-so-local musicians and the hippie grocers can no longer afford to live in the city themselves any more. They will be driving their private vehicles from the ‘burbs, as their employers sure as hell ain’t gonna send a first-class motorcoach out to collect them.Seriously, the only thing propping this all up is the fact that, in this economy, said baristas/”musicians”/grocers can’t get a job closer to their new homes. If/when that changes, I expect this real estate boom to be followed by a bust that will make Florida land speculation look sane; Celebration notwithstanding, nobody lives in EPCOT.