San Francisco, CA

Opinion: San Francisco Needs To Be Affordable For Those On A Low Income

Amancay Tapia

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Big cities need socioeconomic diversity. No major city in the world can afford losing the socioeconomic or intellectual diversity that adds value to the community. San Francisco could lose it in a near future as workers on an average or low income can no longer afford living in the city.Their work,however, is essential to any community.

The pandemic proved that it was those on low paid jobs the ones who were key to keep the country functioning. In San Francisco, home of Twitter, Uber, or Airbnb, many blame tech workers for driving rents up and erasing the once thriving socio-economic diversity of the city.

Wouldn’t we all love it if the native Americans of northern California together with the Spanish missionaries where still coexisting without one taking over the other?

The example seems extreme but it could be used to illustrate what is happening nowadays with the exodus of those who can no longer afford living in the bay area. Five centuries ago before the European settlers arrived from Spain to the Bay Area, this part of California was rich in plant and animal life and according to a Berkeley University study, it was populated by around 15,000 Ohlone peoples on lands stretching from the San Francisco Bay to Big Sur.

In the 1700s, the Spanish quickly set up missions in California, and to their surprise, the Ohlone peoples, did not farm or domesticated animals for survival. As time went by, many Ohlone started to die because of diseases such as measles brought by the missionaries. By the end of the 18th century various epidemics killed hundreds of people at Mission San Francisco and Mission Santa Clara. By the 19th century, the native population of California went from an estimated 310,000 to 100,000.

The Spanish established not only their Missions, but also their technological ideals on the land. However, the Ohlone continued to survive on acorns, trout, and other wild harvests as they were not keen on the Spanish agricultural logic on the landscape.

The differences between the Ohlone and the Spanish clashed, the lifestyle of the Ohlone peoples disappeared and this part of northern California just like the rest of the country, made way for one lifestyle only, that of Western civilization.

This history illustrates how it is better for communities to live equally, peacefully and coexist despite the vast wealth diversity in this part of the world.

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