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1/8/2014
04:53 PM
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Google Ferry Dodges Street Protests

To avoid besieged buses in San Francisco and Oakland, Google begins transporting employees by boat.

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ThorvingtonF079
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ThorvingtonF079,
User Rank: Strategist
1/9/2014 | 5:57:17 PM
Re: Work from home?
Despite Google's image of a forward thinking, progressive company, they utterly forbid working from home on a full-time (or even regular) basis. As far as I know, only a select few groups of elite people  in the organization have that privilege.

They'd rather have their employees schlep out to the office in Mountain View, apparently.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/9/2014 | 3:34:33 PM
Re: Is this helpful?
>...all of these things are far more worthy of activist ire.

Nicely put, Michael. Given the equivalency of money and speech established by the Supreme Court, the problem is that the less-than-wealthy simply don't speak in large enough donations to be heard by Congressional representatives.
Michael Endler
IW Pick
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
1/9/2014 | 3:15:20 PM
Is this helpful?
These protests seem misdirected-- and this is coming from someone who considers our right to protest to be one of our most sacred liberties, and who has participated in more than a few demonstrations.

Some members of the tech community certainly give the impression of being aloof or naive to social challenges facing the Bay Area, and the country at large. I've encountered several people at big Silicon Valley companies who stepped into six-figure jobs right out of college and who seem oblivious to the fact that most people don't lead such charmed lives. Some of these people evidence the sort of self-styled "master of the universe" attitude that rejects the fact that success often has as much to do with luck or timing as objective merit. But I also know A LOT of techies who are hard-working, socially conscious people. It's also worth noting that many major SF-based tech companies (e.g. Salesforce) are laudably generous with their wealth. Are the tech companies enjoying tax exemptions open to some criticism? Sure. Are some of the SF techies overly entitled, or inadequately compassionate to those less fortunate? Yes. Is SF mayor Ed Lee doing a sub-par job protecting the city's dwindling middle class? Arguably. But the way some activists are generalizing the entire tech world is myopic and counter-productive.

Here's an example: If Google, Facebook and others stopped running buses, perhaps that would push some of the SF techies into the South Bay. But it would also push an influx of riders onto the public transportation infrastructure-- and as someone who already stuffs himself like a sardine in a can onto the massively unreliable N-Judah MUNI line, I don't see how that outcome is helpful. It would also put more drivers on the already-busy 101 and 280-- again, not helpful.

People should be angry. Thirty year of wage stagnation and the growing income divide are topics worthy of rage and action. I mean, the average salary in San Francisco right now is in the low $60K range, which sounds like a lot, but a) the median salary is lower than that; and b) the average studio apartment costs about $3000 per month. So if you make the average salary, have no expenses, and can survive without eating, you can afford (after taxes) the most modestly-sized accommodations. That's insane. And if you make less than the average, you'd better enjoy roommates. But the Google buses are at most a symptom of the problem, not a cause. The tax code, corporate personhood and the impact of money on free speech, escalating health care costs and the role of insurers and pharmaceutical companies in the escalation, self-serving executives who boost their own pay and arbitrarily define their own value, pundits who callously and moronically argue that most jobs should suck because otherwise people wouldn't be incentivized to better themselves, policy-makers who render judgment on struggles they've never faced themselves, inept and corrupt Congressional leaders who perpetuate all this garbage, so-called think tanks that advocate demonstrably bad data, media personalities who perpetuate a culture in which opinion and faith count for more than empirical facts-- compared to the Google buses, all of these things are far more worthy of activist ire.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/9/2014 | 10:10:15 AM
Work from home?
I wonder how many of those employees must be in the office every day -- and what their work-from-home policy is.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
1/9/2014 | 8:23:15 AM
Is this the best plan
While this is typical of Google, finding an unconventional way around problems. This seems like it would make it easier to disrupt their employees.  Blocking access to the dock for the ferry or interfering with the ferry once it is out on the water seems like it would be just as easy as blocking a bus stop.  Maybe this will keep people happy for a short time but eventually people working on those docks will complain about the amount of traffic that they are seeing now.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
1/8/2014 | 8:54:22 PM
Potential ad on Craigslist: Wanted, submarine, used
Let's hope the protesters have no U-Boat experience in their ranks or torpedoes in their arsenal.
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