Is it really Progress? …You Douche!

douchebag ‎(plural douchebags) A sterile container which holds the fluid used for giving a vaginal douche. (US, slang, vulgar) A jerk or asshole; a mean or rude person; someone seen as being arrogant, snobby or obnoxious.

There is an overall acceptance in our society that “progress” correlates with improvement. Was the civil rights movement an example of progress? Was the women’s liberation movement an example of progress? Trail of Tears? The iPhone?

Depending on how the outcome of any of these examples directly effected you and the people you care about, it can be a matter of perception whether or not these movements defined progress.

I recently had an opportunity to watch San Francisco 2.0, a documentary by Alexandra Pelosi. Daughter of long time California Representative and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The documentary exposes a realistic portrait of the current tech boom movement in San Francisco.

As a Bay Area born and raised once removed now returned resident, I have had an opportunity to live in other cities where similar situations have unfolded but on a smaller scale. I lived and worked through the “dot com” boom and destruction in Seattle in the late 90’s early 2000’s. Most recently, I lived and worked through the Zappos Era of Downtown Las Vegas. And now, the tech boom in the Bay Area.

Concurrent themes: Housing affordability, gentrification, income inequality. Three very dicey subjects for politicians and residents. Housing affordability is a huge issue right now in Oakland:

The Bay Area is now the most desirable place to live if you want to roll the dice in the tech industry. I can rarely identify locals and transient residents anymore. The highways and public transportation systems are flooded with more people than I have ever seen growing up here. This of course, is merely a scratch on the surface to the deeper issues that are conversations that can’t be fully accounted for in a simple blog post.

I think the biggest issue for me is income inequality and gentrification of popular neighborhoods. Long time residents in the Mission District in SF, Lake Merritt in Oakland, are now dealing with what happens when the douchebags move into your neighborhood.

With that comes higher rent, posh artisan eateries and bars, and loss of identity. And if you can’t afford it because you don’t work for a multi-million dollar backed tech company, you have to move out!

So it leaves me to ask.. What is progress? What does it look like and at what cost?