select all

Tech Entrepreneur Doesn’t Want to See the ‘Homeless and Riff Raff’ His Industry Is Displacing

Here’s a fun phrase that definitely won’t send a shiver down your spine: “Open letter from San Francisco–based entrepreneur.”

Letters from Bay Area entrepreneurs are usually just bad in a babbling, techno-utopian kind of way, so it’s sort of thrilling when a truly terrible one crosses our screens. Like this this missive from one Justin Keller, complaining that “[t]he city […] can no longer ignore it and let people do whatever they want in the city.” No: not Uber executives! But rather, the downtrodden and displaced. It is addressed to San Francisco’s mayor and police chief. Here is the opening sentence:

I am writing today, to voice my concern and outrage over the increasing homeless and drug problem that the city is faced with.

Okay, no red flags yet. San Francisco’s increasing homeless population — displaced by rapidly rising rent prices as the tech industry continues to flood the real-estate market — is a serious social and economic concern.

Every day, on my way to, and from work, I see people sprawled across the sidewalk, tent cities, human feces, and the faces of addiction. The city is becoming a shanty town … Worst of all, it is unsafe.

This holiday weekend, I had my parents in town from Santa Barbara and relatives from Denver and Rochester New York. Unfortunately, there was three separate incidents and countless times that we were approached for money and harassed.

This sounds terrible. Hard to imagine a worse way to live!

It is a very difficult and complex situation, but somehow during Super Bowl, almost all of the homeless and riff raff[1] seem to up and vanish

MY DUDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A new tech screed against the homeless pops up every few months, full of anger and dehumanizing language and proposing no solutions. Peter Shih, a start-up co-founder, attempt to defend his own terrible blog post as satire in 2013, and another complained about SF’s issues despite having once resided in city-subsidized low-income housing.

Maybe there’s an app that could fix this? Can code solve this?

Keller did end up apologizing for one thing in his letter.

I want to apologize for using the term riff raff. It was insensitive and counterproductive.

Apparently, the rest of his message is fine, though. More than 2,000 people have given it an affirmative “kudos” on Svbtle.

Another Tech Bro, Another Bad Blog Post