Professor DeLeon Discusses Tech Boom in San Francisco

Friday, March 23, 2018
Photo of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco skyline at night

SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE -- “The Twitter tax break was an irrelevancy,” Johns says. “This has become a shibboleth of a certain group on the left. I don’t think it drove the development, anyway. You’ve got these underlying things that drove this whole sector. San Francisco had all this undervalued land, perfectly situated and ready to go.”

That point is echoed by Richard DeLeon, retired professor emeritus of Political Science at San Francisco State and author of the forthcoming San Francisco and the Revolt of the Cities: Progressivism, Technology and Democracy in San Francisco, 1996 – 2016. Building off the “thriving remnants of the dot-com crash,” the tech boom, DeLeon says, was bound to happen.

“Once it got established, it fed upon itself, created its own gravitational field and locked in. I don’t think anything is inevitable, but all the arrows were pointing in that direction and the conditions were set.”

DeLeon, a self-described “progressive lefty,” dismisses the idea that San Francisco should have somehow blockaded the economic stimulus that tech’s moving in created. While he calls Ed Lee the “concierge mayor” for the way he catered to tech, he regards the demonization of figures like Conway as “highly simplistic thinking.”

Photo by Michelle Prevost