‘Nerding Out’ Has its Rewards
San Franciscans, who can no-longer afford living in the sparkling city by the sea, are reportedly flocking to the tony sections of Oakland. Nearly one third of the buyers of Oakland real estate are economic refugees from San Francisco; trucking their equity and freighting their Ikea inventory across the rusting Bay Bridge.
Given the fact that they bid $100,000 over asking price without flinching, these sangfroid, urbane predators are winning bidding wars. As a result, people who would have liked to have lived in Oakland are now shopping for digs in the hinterlands of Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Pleasanton.
And these economic refugees from Oakland are outbidding the distressed locals, who should otherwise be entitled, by birthright, to live in Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Pleasanton. Now, these disenfranchised are immigrating eastward to dodgy places like Tracy and Livermore, displacing those indigenous peoples to blasé homes in Stockton, Manteca and Lanthrop.
Fortunately for the displaced, the redolence of cattle feedlots and crop dusting chemicals is holding down the prices of double-wides, Quonset huts, pre-fabs, inflatable, chicken coops and pontoon houses on the east bank of the San Joaquin River. The problem originates with entry-level tech workers temporarily priced out of Palo Alto, Atherton and Woodside, they fan out like an oil spill.
Tech workers exist in a different economy. Just as we exist in a different economy than the people who make nearly all of our consumers goods; who literally stock the shelves at K-Mart, Target and Walmart. That new container ship that docked in Oakland with 18,000 containers is filled monthly by people whose government is too parsimonious to go $20 trillion into debt to keep their standards of living afloat.
As a teacher, I know some of these tech workers, they were once my students. Despite such a disadvantaged, rocky start, they are now knocking down the big bucks. A year out of college and they are taking me to lunch … and picking up the martini tab! But is it fair?
It’s one thing for professional athletes, recording stars, career politicians and Hollywood celebrities to ignore equity issues, but tech workers? I remember these people!
When regular students were building home-coming floats, these people were sneaking around designing robots and video games and nerding out in computer class. These dweebs flirted with back-injuries carrying textbooks home at night.
Where was the sense of adolescent rebellion? They signed up for every advanced-placement course they could and then they used their empyreal GPAs to gain unfair advantage and elbow their way into the best colleges. And now they are creating a housing ripple in the Bay Area that extends from Silicon Valley all the way east to the foothills of the Rockies.
Even if they are part of the 2 percent of the U.S. population that pays 98 percent of all personal income taxes, does that entitle them to buy whatever property they can afford?
Something must be done before we are all living Jackson.