Obstacles to More Jobs in San Francisco

Diego's picture

Thank you to everyone in the jobs group for helping make the Reset San Francisco launch event such a success! We want to keep the discussion going online so that the ideas we began to touch upon during our discussion can further develop, perhaps into actionable solutions.

One of the big issues several members of the jobs group pointed out were the regulations and roadblocks that can hamper business growth or keep new companies out of San Francisco altogether. The discretionary review process was a source of some frustration, as was the issue of why storefronts remain empty even when there are business that would like to move in.

I'd like to invite the members of the jobs group - as well as any other San Franciscan who has an opinion on jobs and business in the city - to voice their opinions as to the way forward. Or, if you think there are bigger fish to fry as to the jobs issue, what are they?

vitriolic's picture

The walking haircut newsom-mayor sf

I believe there is too much FAT in sf mayors office!  He fired city workers to hire aides at $150,000 each with way too many perks.  His sit lie ordinance is discriminatory; all those cute pubs, restaurants, gg park, buena vista park--the bourgeois can sit stand or lie if they patronize the establishment.  I am offended at the merchants on Haight that are voting against sit/lie.  Publish a list of those merchants and ask them why they don't support sit lie ordinance.  I think the Haight will be considered too ELITIST, and may not draw the amount of tourists this small neighborhood gets on a daily basis.  People lying in the park, which is what lots of SF visitors and residents do; some get harassed-r they missing american apparel or villains clothes or shoe biz.  I am extremely grateful no starbucks, regret no PEETS coffee. Since the walking haircut lives in the neighborhood, police abound in droves, handcuffing people in the park (4 humiliation?) then taking handcuffs off, damage already done of humiliation.  I lived in the haight in the 60's and we had foot patrol by police, it was ok until they brought tanks in and that was the beginning of the end. There was nothing done that required tanks to be rolling down Haight or Frederick(near where my parents lived.  I remember it being shocking to see this as a 21yr old at the time.  Now brutality is biigger than ever in the haight by police, undercovers, agent provocateurs. The intuimidation of immigrants (ie;MEXICANS who r master carpenters and the best domebuilders in the world; why else do the wealthy hire them @ scant wages.

John Popescu's picture

Re: Obstacles to More Jobs in San Francisco

The way I see it the problems are this:

1) The jobs have left this nation for cheaper labor markets overseas. This is especially a problem with jobs where information is the job commodity.  Information technology jobs are but one example.

2) The mentality amongst business seems to be young, cheap, indentured workers are a right on par with sunlight and oxygen.  Moreover some would justify this position with straw man arguments a *qualified* American can't be found, the enterprise needs to be cost competitive, and we are now in a "global" economy and capital can flow anywhere.

3) Taxation and regulation.  As a small business if I ever expanded I'm not looking to Downtown San Francisco.  I'm looking to the North, South and East where payroll taxes, business taxes, and all incumbent to being a business is less costly and regulations more sensible.  I don't understand the whole concept of "Personal Business Property" and why should I be forced to report on the cost of my fax machine and, moreover, have to deal with processing paperwork and paying levies on it ?  

So, I think, if jobs are to return to San Francisco it has to be a team effort getting business and government together in a fashion beneficial to all involved.  Workers deserve a good wage, business deserves a climate where they can grow and prosper, and government needs to serve the needs and address the issues of workers and business owners.


Kurt Thialfad's picture

Bigger Fish.

<i>Or, if you think there are bigger fish to fry as to the jobs issue, what are they?</I> And there is also an elephant in the room.

First of all, the sanctuary city policy encourages illegal foreign workers to come and settle in San Francisco.  There is no  incentive for a business to hire  American workers, nor  any penalty for a business hiring illegal foreign workers. Under these conditions, San Francisco's unemployment rate is unlikely to improve.

bobbyh's picture

Changing the way we think about businesses

I think that we often forget here in San Francisco where jobs come from--businesses!  We have such an anti business environment here in SF because it is the political norm to demonize businesses as fat cats who are just trying to line their pockets with wealth and so should be used as an ATM machine whenever the City runs out of money.  The City's spending problem has made businesses the easy whipping boy to squeeze dollars from and as long as that is the case, we won't see a big uptick in businesses moving here.

The reality is that SF is dominated by small businesses who are trying to make it and they do not have massive amounts of wealth sitting around to hand the politicians who can't control their own spending.  We want all these wonderful things, but it seems that businesses are always the ones who foot the bill, with chants of "pay their fair share!" Well, newsflash, if you want jobs, then you have to help businesses locate and expand here and that won't be accomplished through more taxes and fees.  What we need to do is recognize the importance of businesses to our local economy and  take concrete steps to help them thrive, expanding our local economy, bringing in more tax revenue, and creating more jobs.  Its a win-win for everyone, but it seems our local pols can't resist the easy "tax the businesses" approach that brings them a short-term boost in revenue but hurts our long-term viability as a place where businesses want to locate and expand.

John Popescu's picture

Re: The way we think about business

My perception of business comes from my interaction with it.

Right now I can't get a job and the prospects of going on public assistance is very much a reality.  I feel I am not viewed for my talents, background, and abilities rather as some disposable means to and end.   I can tell you, again from personal experience, age and race discrimination is very much alive, well, and going unpunished.

When I see people like Carly Fiorina laying off thousands and buying new yachts costing more than even a home in San Francisco then, yes, my perception is they are selfish, greedy, arrogant entitlement minded fat cats concerned only with enmassing their personal fortunes at everyone else's expense.

I think the fact manufacturing jobs went to less enviornmentally regulated labor markets and information jobs went to labor markets with laxer if not absent workplace regulation speaks volumes. 

ExcelsiorMom's picture

Keep our light industrial areas

One issue is a basic planning issue.  We have to ensure that we keep a good mix of land use types throughout the city.  We are constantly encroaching into our light industrial areas and opting for more housing over warehouse or light industrial space.  This is an untenable balance.  Light industrial areas are essential to a balanced economy.  We must make sure we protect these areas, so these jobs also don't walk away and out of  the city.  The City can not just be a place for professional and professional servicies jobs. 

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137