The Weird Redemption of SF’s Most Reviled Tech Bro
Lauren Smiley
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Terrific reporting, writing here. Not sure I’d headline it a “redemption story,” however. Gropman, Keller, and others arrived in SF with the goal of pumping their companies’ and personal brands, not becoming part of the city’s civic structure. You cannot, then Reverse Engineer the core drivers of civic engagement, namely Public Service spirit and basic compassion. More important however — the large ‘institutional’ tech companies that have received major tax credits — Thanks, Ed Lee! — to set up in SF established a MINDSET that is tough to crack at this juncture. The Gopmans and Kellers who followed are merely replicating the EXPLOITATIVE model undertaken by your Twitters and such. With the exception of Benioff, few of these scaled-up, BILLION DOLLAR enterprises paid attention earnestly (meaning with monetary and man/woman power investments) in the needs of the city they colonized. Plenty of blame to go around, and none of it is productive, in any event. I actually covered ‘homelessness’ for the original San Francisco Examiner during the late 1980s, so can accurately confirm the seeming intractability of this crisis. Same time? The absence of CREATIVE thinking about solutions from the political class, which is now combined with the willful obliviousness of the new business sector power-brokers (Tech Cos) has exacerbated homelessness to a stunning degree. What’s to be done? Not sure. But it isn’t too late for The City to begin considering aspects of Gopman’s encampment model — which has a lot to recommend, I had not seen this plan until reading of it here — as well as for the extraordinarily bright, creative, and wealthy new residents of the city to pitch in, in earnest, not just for their own ‘brand’ and not always with the goal of making a profit. Human nature can’t be legislated, strictly, but it can be conditioned and redirected through smart power into modes of behavior that actually can affect widespread positive changed. Or at least do no harm.

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