Big thanks to the Bohemian and reporter Peter Byrne, plus outgoing editor Stett Holbrook, for doing the good and hard work of accurately scrutinizing the business dealings of Sonoma County elected officials and their financial backers. Sonoma County residents need numerous sources of news to keep us informed and better prepared for the effects of disaster capitalism now firmly entrenched in Santa Rosa. Good luck to you and thanks again.
The Dark Side
Richard Walker is a professor of geography at UC Berkeley by trade, but he has taken on the incredible task of putting into historical perspective the mythology and current reality of rising inequality fueled by the tech economy in his new book, Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area. In his telling, Silicon Valley is more than a geographical place. Walker gives us an economic analysis of how the latest boom has affected our metro-region and helped make California one of the top economic powers on the planet.
The brilliance of the work, his economic, political and social analysis, is based in everyday language. Walker also does not shy away from naming capitalism and the “profit at all cost” motivations that even the new generation of tech entrepreneurs cannot escape.
One of the insights graphically illustrated for North Bay residents is just how small the tech sector really is in relation to other Bay Area powerhouse industries—healthcare, education, finance, real estate, hospitality/food service and government—industries that many of our neighbors work in and brave two- or three-hour commutes in order to make a decent salary.
Very few people are actually in tech, but all the new industries are affected by and in some way in service to this new powerhouse. A sky-high stock market and proliferation of billionaires does not trickle down to most workers, especially in the lower stratum, well-represented here in the North Bay.
Walker speaks about his new book on Oct. 9 at 7pm at Copperfield’s Books in Santa Rosa. Anyone who cares about the rapid growth of inequality, gentrification and the affordable-housing and environmental crisis in the Bay Area—and what is in store for our next generation—should attend. More important, read this book.
Last week’s cover story on Yarrow Kubrin contained a couple of reporting errors. Kubrin lives in San Francisco, not Sonoma County. He spent six months in jail, not one year. And he was released in 2015, not 2017.