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Report: Google, Facebook Employee Buses Blocked By Protesters In San Francisco

"I think the reason a lot of us were out there blockading this morning is that we're looking at a city that could become ... a bedroom community for the Silicon Valley."

Google employees wait for a bus in this file photo. Credit: Flickr
Google employees wait for a bus in this file photo. Credit: Flickr
A group of several dozen anti-gentrification protesters briefly blocked two tech buses at Market and Eighth streets in San Francisco before bringing their message to a local Realtors' office and City Hall this morning.

One of the protesters said the buses blocked were shuttles for employees of Facebook and Google.

The buses were eventually allowed to leave, and the demonstrators then marched to the offices of the San Francisco Association of Realtors at Grove and Franklin streets.

"This is ground zero for the battle of renters in San Francisco," Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, yelled through a bullhorn while gesturing at the building.

Other protesters played musical instruments including drums, a saxophone, a trombone and a clarinet. The crowd chanted, "What do we want? Stop the evictions!"

The march ended at the front steps of City Hall, where several speakers discussed what they called an "epidemic" of gentrification and evictions in the city.

Rebecca Solnit, a local author and historian who has written extensively about the impact of tech workers moving into San Francisco, said today's protest is about fighting for the "San Francisco dream."

"It's the dream that you can be idealistic, that you can lead a really meaningful life...that you can live in a city that has room for everyone," she told the crowd gathered at City Hall this morning.

"I think the reason a lot of us were out there blockading this morning is that we're looking at a city that could become homogenous, that could become a very dense suburb...as it becomes a bedroom community for the Silicon Valley," Solnit said.

Speakers at the rally also urged protesters to attend today's San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency meeting at City Hall at 1 p.m.

The meeting will include consideration of a controversial plan that would charge tech industry companies a fee for their shuttles to use Muni stops.

Several protesters this morning said they planned to attend. Bernal Heights resident Amanda Ream, 38, said she took part in today's protest because she wants San Francisco to "maintain the diversity and culture that I love about it."

Protester Barry Hermanson, 62, a homeowner in the Sunset District, said, "The eviction crisis is out of hand...The gentrification in this city is incredible."

Hermanson said he is running for Congress, in part because he says he is concerned about a lack of affordable housing.

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Kelly Blythe January 23, 2014 at 03:39 PM
I don't get it - SF wants to be "green" yet they complain about shuttle buses that each take 45+ cars off the road (assuming 45 individual drivers ride each bus). Would the traffic and greenhouse gases be better? And then let's tax them for using bus stops? All those "techies" spend their money in SF - rent, groceries, entertainment. It seems like typical SF - "lets kill the golden goose!". Kind of how they squandered the America's Cup opportunity. Who can fault anyone who moves out of SF for a more reasonable place?

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