Wednesday, March 01, 2006

City and Suburb

For an old client, I've agreed to spend a month going onsite to their famous company in Silicon Valley.

Not being an automobile driver, I took the old-fashioned Caltrain down to San Carlos from San Francisco...

...and then walked a stormy half-hour through the arid suburban business parks which don't even have sidewalks on many of their streets.

Silicon Valley's business parks, or campuses as they like to call them, are bizarrely antiseptic sprawls with seemingly strict racial stratification.

Most of the businesses seem to consist of white folk, including a few Europeans, along with a huge percentage of East Indians. Mexicans are the slaves who keep the places running, from food service to landscaping.

The business parks look like a David Cronenberg film such as "Scanners" where terrible things are happening behind moderne glass and steel.

It was a relief to return to San Francisco's Civic Center..


...where there was a multi-racial collection of teachers marching on the San Francisco Unified School District building across the street from my apartment.

They were chanting, "What do we want? A Contract! When do want it? Now!"

It wasn't particularly imaginative but they seemed to be having a great time strangling traffic on Franklin Street...

...and of course the police were loving every minute of it since they got to overpolice yet another demonstration and make lots of overtime while they were at it.

There was a San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday the 1st where the supervisors grilled the police spokesmen on why their overtime was so out of control, and the response was on the order of "Those anti-war protests are getting more violent all the time," which of course is crap.

The vast majority of the San Francisco police force live in the suburbs and treat the city as if they are an occupying force. They're also lazy as hell, so if you're a criminal, you really don't have to worry about them much, other than the fact that they are bankrupting the city's budget.


sfwillie said...

You know, Michael, even the Mexicans drive to work. That turquoise drive-in movie screen thingie was actually designed by, and paid for by, some of our fellow human beings. This is disturbing.

Great colors in the night shots.

Les said...

The teachers were going to make cool giant puppets, but they ended up having to use all the art supplies for their classrooms, since the budget has all gone to the police.

There's no reason those horrible office parks couldn't have tram lines going to them. They're all new construction. All Redwood shores would have to do is levy another tax on the builders. The land is already so completely overpriced that the transit would only be peanuts on top. Also, the builders could get away with smaller parking lots and thus sell more office space and make more money.

Del4yo said...

You can chant: "What do we want? A Contract! When do want it? Now!"

On the campus too if you want. ;) But I guess it won't be very much appreciated.

You will find nearby the campus a little lake you can take a walk around, enjoying the unexpected view of wild birds. Since there is not much pedestrians, a few wild animals a living around. They don't get disturbed much.

sfmike said...

Dear Les and Willie and Del: Thanks for stopping by and leaving the smart comments. And Del, I have noticed the wild birds and hung out with them one afternoon. They will probably be making their blog debut soon.

janinsanfran said...

Mike -- this is really nice. You've inspired me: next week I'll photograph the strange "green" building I'm working in during a contract in Minneapolis and post same.

Also, glad to see your observations on our "occupying force." Some of the newer ones are more professional, but there are indeed some long lasting bad apples there.

p said...

dear mike,
you need to get a bicicleta!
that will solve all of your problems!
oh the glory of it all...

Kimo Crossman said...

SF police seem to have forgotten how to walk the streets. Maybe they could learn a lesson from NYC coppers.