Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gentrification Penance: an exploration

Recently had an exchange on the Twitter in which an understandably concerned Conscious Person wondered aloud about what she should do to repent after booking an Airbnb in Oakland. Airbnb, you see, has been linked to such ills as people getting evicted so owners could Airbnb the place or usable rental units being used as de facto hotel rooms instead of regular housing stock the city so desperately needs.

Of course, she was asking tongue in cheek (or so I assume) but it got me thinking, couldn't we avoid a lot of hair-pulling and mouth-wailing if we could just set up an easy Gentrification Penance system?  Like they used to do (or still do, I guess, I don't know, I'm not #blessed) in the Catholic Church?  The way I understood it is, you pushed over a cyclist out of Sidewalk Rage but then on Sunday you'd confess and if you said 33 Hail Marys or Jesus Is Just Alright With Mes than all is forgiven, right?  Here are some ideas.


SIN PENANCE
Buying something at artisanal tchotchke shop that used to be shoe repair store Buy 3 ice creams from jingle bell ice cream cart man; give to local urchins
Saying "Sorry they got evicted, but they should learn how to code" Fingers bitten off and eaten by pit bull with tetanus
Subletting your $1100 studio to a web designer from Illinois for $2300 You are revealed as former moderator of Backstreet Boys fan forum; also, lose apartment
Double parking your $100,000 car on Valencia in bike lane Metal recyclers get 20 minutes alone with car; entire carafe of Blue Bottle dumped onto calfskin interior
Using a bot to score highly coveted restaurant reservation All meals for rest of year from Jack in the Box at Geary & 10th
Loudly talk about your startup in the middle of a bar Alcohol-free 4 Loko
Buy building; Ellis Act all tenants; resell as TIC All assets seized; building returned to former tenants; your home given to first homeless people who wander by; new job as sign spinner outside doomed housing development in Phoenix during summer
Shopping at Local Mission Market Everyone laughs at you

5 comments:

hez said...

To be fair, Local Mission Market is one of the only places I can get a boneless chicken breast with the skin still on it...and it's humanely raised. Other than that...

GG said...

Maybe we could set up a system similar to how you can buy the "carbon offsets" if you book a plane flight or commit some other environmental sin.

The money could go into a fund that, for example, helps buys markers and cardboard that "real San Franciscans" could use to make eviction protest signs.

Stephen said...

I've been into Local Mission Market only once, a couple months ago, and I was astonished at the prices. It seemed like they had to be that high, however, given the incredibly inefficient use of space. If you rent a 3,000sf space, and use it to showcase a single apple, that apple is going to have to be priced at about $20,000.

Tamagosan said...

If the sentencing process is going to be live-blogged by you, then sign us up!

@hez: Sounds like someone needs an artisinal butchering class? Much, much cheaper that way.

Alissa said...

FWIW, I did ask the host whether he owns or rents, and he owns, so thats good. Olu suggested that I can represent this Airbnb host once he gets evicted for renting on Airbnb so for every day I spend in his unit, I will spend one hour boning up on Oakland's rental laws.