Sunday, December 15, 2013

6 Creative Ideas to Deal With Rising Rents in San Francisco

6 Creative Ideas to Deal With Rising Rents in San Francisco 

From the beat generation, to the hippies, to the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz and the Gay rights movement, San Francisco has traditionally been a place where ideas and creativity are nurtured, where anything is possible, where revolution, free love and change is born.

But those days are gone and there is a new San Francisco on the rise. Even the incoming residents to the city have probably noticed that they can hardly browse their Facebook wall or Twitter feed these days (on their iPhone while waiting in line for a skinny latte and $4 piece of toast at the Mill) without reading about the rising rents, evictions and how the history that has made San Francisco great, is crumbling around us.

There have been a few creative actions so far from the grassroots 
getting press, like staging an altercation with a Google employee or holding a block party in favor of diverse neighborhoods, but by and large the news is all doom and gloom as usual. Here's a few creative ideas for the artists, students, firemen or women, service workers, etc... who are getting shut out of the city due to rising rents:

1) Coordinate a Tantrum Flashmob

Let your anger out by throwing a tantrum. Tantrums are deeply satisfying and if nothing else they will let everyone know exactly how you feel about what's going down in San Francisco. It SUCKS to be evicted or priced out of your neighborhood.
Take a cue from the movie, "Network," and open up your window and shout, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Turn this action into a flashmob.
If everyone started throwing a tantrum, and shouting out of their window:

 "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore," 

it would be so loud in the city that the noise pollution alone might cause those with power and influence to lobby on behalf of those without, for affordable housing options. (If for no other reason than to shut them up.)

2) Drown your Disappointment in Pie

Who doesn't love pie? Pie tastes good. It's celebrated in the classics like Little Jack Horner and American Pie. 
If you don't eat much pie then use your morning cereal or muffin or sandwich as a meditation on mulching away your disappointment in humanity. That's right. Set aside some time each day to imagine yourself chewing up disappointment and eventually pooping it out. You'll feel much the better for it!

In addition, there is a long tradition of pieing as a means of protest. Let's revive this tradition and begin a campaign called "PIES for GENEROSITY!!" We love generosity and dislike greed. Our campaign  would use the power of pies to shock people into remembering their innate generosity. Humans want to be generous, but it might take pie to get back in touch with that. 

3) Cast a Magical Spell*

Here's an example:

Don't be shy about creating your own. Print them out and leave them as offerings around the city, especially in places where dark energy lurks.

* Some may feel more comfortable with the term prayer, others may prefer the word, curse to describe this magical spell. 

4) Encourage your friends to take over the hashtag #douchebag 

Then regularly post with friendly irony, the things you love most about your favorite greed curmudgeons like developers, real estate speculators and tech companies that dodge taxes. 

5) Ask: What Would Quentin Tarantino Do?

By that I don't mean to advocate for violence, I mean to rewrite history taking principles from Gandhi and MLK while borrowing the brashness of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained.  Reach out to local storytellers at Porchlight or the Moth Radio or Snap Judgement and flood them with your stories, but here's the catch, add on a Tarantino Twist. Rewrite the narrative arc to how it should go.  For example:

Johnny is on disability checks and lives in a rent controlled apartment. His checks are $900 and his rent is $500. One day Johnny was evicted...

What happens next? 

Maybe a GIANT wave of tantrum flashmobbers flood the city for days until City Staff and Council are so pressured they decide to make affordable housing a top priority and clarify strategic ways to do so?
You decide.

Is this a pipe dream? Maybe, but dreaming alternative scenarios is the first step towards bringing them into reality. Let's tell stories to dream alternative scenarios for the future of our city.

6) Rent a Bed or Rent a Bed?

If you happen to see a spare patch of sidewalk in your neighborhood and can spare a few extra blankets, why not put it on the market for rent! 
Think of all the housing you can provide to poor artists, while still making a cool $2100/month on the side.

Post your new offerings on Craigslist. Every week or Every day. Encourage your friends to do it too!
We can flood the market ourselves with affordable housing.