A recent poll conducted by a pro-development organization has found that residents of San Francisco blame the tech industry for the city's high housing costs. The Chronicle reports that the group, Rise SF, advocates for construction of both more housing and public transportation and has a steering committee that represents tech, construction, and business interests.
The poll, which was conducted in English and Chinese (though not, it should be noted, Spanish), asked 400 residents if they believed the tech sector was to blame for San Francisco's notoriously expensive cost of housing. 63 percent of respondents answered "yes" (the margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 points). In addition, 53 percent of residents said the city was partially at fault as well for not building enough housing.
Did they really need a poll to tell them that?
Formed just last month, Rise SF has a prominent list of backers and according to the Business Times has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Facebook. Members of Rise SF's steering committee include tech luminaries such as Y Combinator's Sam Altman, Lia Theodosiou-Pisanelli of Square, Michael Matthews of Facebook, and David Rusenko of Weebly.
Also on the steering committee is Sonja Trauss, the founder of the sometimes controversial SFBARF. "[Our] city has all these policies that prevent it from accommodating growth — it’s not elastic,” she said tells the Chronicle. “There’s such a tight grip on the way the city is built that it stresses everything. When that tide ebbs, finally people feel relief.” That's a sentiment some San Franciscans expressed this March to the New York Times, airing their grievances and expressing their hopes for the relief of an economic cooling down period.
Another member of the steering committee, Jared Friedman of Y Combinator, tried to shift the blame away from the tech sector — suggesting inaction at City Hall is to blame for our housing problems. "I would really like to see the elected leaders in San Francisco promoting common-sense solutions to these problems," he told the Business Times.
According to his own group's poll, however, what the city's residents would really like to see is startups like the ones Friedman incubates stop driving up rents. If the past is any indication, neither is likely to get their wish any time soon.