The Cause Of Conflict: Money, Entitlement, And Poor Etiquette

Team Photo At The Mission Playground, SF
Team Photo At The Mission Playground, SF

You might have heard about all the Google bus protestors in the Mission District as techies move in and cause rents to rise. Long-time residents are displaced by landlords who want to evict and sell their buildings to buyers who turn around and rent the same units for market prices. Multi-unit buildings are under rent control, which allows for rents to rise by no more than a small percentage a year, usually under 2%.

On the one hand, the landlord should be able to sell their building and maximize profits if they so choose. On the other hand, how do we take care of the residents, especially older and disabled residents who might not have anywhere to go because market rents are double their existing price? It's a messy, messy situation that is causing a lot of strife.

I'm a landlord, but I've never faced this problem before because I'm just buying property to live in. Only after living in the property for many years (10 years as is the case with my latest rental) will I put the property up for rent because I don't ever want to sell. I would feel terrible buying in an up-and-coming neighborhood with the idea of booting out long-time tenants for profit. Forget that. There are much more harmonious ways to make money than disrupting other people's lives.

Here's a video that is causing a lot of uproar in San Francisco that I'd like for you to watch. This altercation is a prime example of what happens when money, entitlement, and poor etiquette come into play. Notice the racial divide as well. Having tact and better communication skills can go a long way to avoiding conflict. 


A bunch of techies from DropBox and AirBnB (UVA hat and long dark hair) decided to take over the Mission Playground at the primetime hour of 7pm because they have a permit. My initial thought was, “Are they fucking CRAZY?” I play tennis at Mission Playground once a month and the rule is that everybody gets to play so long as they wait their turn.

For tennis, the rule is 45 minutes of playing time for singles and 1 hour 15 minutes for doubles. If I'm 30 minutes into my match and some guy says I've got to get off because they have a permit they'd get laughed at. This is a public park and not a private club. And if they continue to impede our play because they can't wait 15 minutes, danger will be imminent.

I'm very surprised that a fight didn't break out on the field. I've seen many fights happen on the playground due to poor sportsmanship. Yes, if Parks & Recreation provided a permit these techies technically have the right to the field. But common sense dictates that if the field is packed with tons of people who probably won't react positively with you booting them off, then you find a more cordial way to approach the situation. 

Here's one approach:

“Hi guys, we have a permit to play from 7pm to 8pm, but we feel bad kicking anybody off the field. Do you think my friends and I can just play a pick up game for 30 minutes? This permit was such a PITA to get and cost $27 bucks. After 30 minutes, we can resume playing king of the field so everybody can play?”

This approach does the following: 1) Highlights the permit holder's rights, 2) Empathizes about the situation, 3) Compromises by cutting the permit playing time in half, and 4) Acknowledges the rules of the playground so that everybody can play with a short wait time. And if this approach still doesn't work, offer to buy some of the players some drinks from Cancun Taqueria or El Farolito close by. And if this still doesn't work, then simply wait your turn.

The playground is all about RESPECT. We respect the rules, and we respect the winners who get to keep on playing if they win. It's been like this ever since we were kids. There is no way the existing soccer players are going to give way if some techies who they've never seen before come in and just say “get off” due to a lousy piece of paper. The large majority of players at Mission Playground are Hispanic. Imagine if you were one of them and saw a group of guys who never come around try to kick you off. How would you react? All the more reason to respect the rules if you are an outsider.


But can we really blame the techies for being so clueless about public playground rules? If they work at DropBox and AirBnB, it's likely they went to good schools, many of which are no doubt private with their nice and orderly rules. If you go to Columbia University and then Harvard Law School like one of the main characters in the video, of course you're not going to be able to relate with the rest of the world who can't afford $65,000 a year for 7 years! They've hung around with the same people their entire lives. Their mistake was bringing their rules to a different setting and expecting other people to follow. It doesn't works this way.

A lot of people wonder why diversity of all kinds is important in schools and in the work place. This playground example is a perfect example why. If you only speak one language, never see the world, and only hang out with people who look and talk like you, it's no wonder why there's so much damn conflict in the world. Respect the local rules.

The good thing about this incident is that at the end, the techies and the locals ended up playing together. And I'm sure if they see each other again, things will be much more harmonious.

Update 4/27/2015: A reader writes in, “I dealt with another entitled guy from DropBox named Jan Senderek. He couldn't make it to my open house, and asked if I can have a private showing for him instead on another day. I obliged, and drove 40 minutes to the open house and he cancels 15 minutes before the showing. I gave him another chance when he asked for a 7:30pm open house on a Monday the following week. I drove back again to the house and he even confirmed the time an hour earlier. He ended up not showing up, and not even apologizing! He is the rudest person I've ever met and it seems obvious techies from DropBox are entitled and selfish. Thanks for letting me vent.”

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95 thoughts on “The Cause Of Conflict: Money, Entitlement, And Poor Etiquette”

  1. I dealt with another entitled guy from DropBox named Jan Senderek. He couldn’t make it to my open house, and asked if I can have a private showing for him instead on another day. I obliged, and drove 40 minutes to the open house and he cancels 15 minutes before the showing. I gave him another chance when he asked for a 7:30pm open house on a Monday the following week. I drove back again to the house and he even confirmed the time an hour earlier. He ended up not showing up, and not even apologizing! He is the rudest person I’ve ever met and it seems obvious techies from DropBox are entitled and selfish. Thanks for letting me vent.

    1. Tech Overlord

      Funny you should say that because Jan Senderek made a special appointment and flaked on me too! He sold his iOS photo app to Dropbox for stock a year later, but that’s not going well. The reason why he’s renting is b/c he’s not liquid, and we all know that DropBox is a bad investment at $10 billion and will get crushed by Google’s free file sharing service. Then there’s Apple’s file sharing service as well. Jan is an inconsiderate jerk.

  2. It sounds like the San Francisco government is the problem. They issued a permit. Maybe they could raise the taxes a little more and everything will work itself out.

  3. I have a strong opinion on this topic because I was a kid who lived “on the other side of the tracks”. Due to school zoning in the city I lived in, I was required to attend the public school the well to do kids went to in elementary school. I probably got a better education overall as a result – but I got harassed and treated badly far too often by those pampered, entitled children. These were the years 1970 to 1976. I’ve been around a while. I am Caucasian. The poor white neighborhood I grew up in bordered the poor black neighborhood. While I can never truly know what it feels like emotionally to be black in a predominately white community, I can empathize and know extremely well what it feels like to be the poor kid amongst the arrogance of wealth, privilege and entitlement.

    I am impressed with these kids in San Francisco for the way they handled the situation without violence. By the time I reached fifth grade, I was fed up with the rich kids mouth running and I discovered the most effective way to end it was with a swift fist into the mouth of the abusers. I do not advocate violence – but if you push the wrong person too far – you might pay a heavy price, up to and including your life.

    Too many people in the upper income echelons disrespect the hard working people in the blue collar working class and absolutely do not understand what life for them is like. This is clear reading the replies here as well as my firsthand life’s experiences. I have read many commenters here in this and other threads throw around the term “jealously” when describing the cause of conflict between the “haves” and the “have not’s.” That is seldom the true underlying issue. The real issue is the lack of respect between human beings. When these moneyed interests enter an old neighborhood and begin the gentrification process and heartlessly begin dislocating longtime residents, conflict and resentment is the natural result.

    I escaped my childhood poverty by joining the United States Marine Corps, serving from 1982-1986. I traveled the world and learned life, trade and work skills that support me to this day. I witnessed poverty overseas that probably 99% of Americans have no comprehension of. Until you have put your boots on the ground, walked among the poor and smelled the poverty, you cannot fully understand. Sam mentioned how world travel is a very good thing and expands ones understanding – it is true. I will never forget where I came from and I will always empathize with the hard scrabbling working classes of the world. These arrogant men in the video were out of line in the way they acted toward the residents of the neighborhood surrounding the park and apparently are clueless as to how lucky they are to have not been severely beaten down. There are far better ways to handle situations like that. Again, I am very proud of the way the locals took the high road. There is much we all can learn from this discussion.

    1. Thank you John for sharing your story. I’m impressed with how the locals handled the situation too.

      It’s all about respect at the end of the day. It is interesting how some cannot see this.

  4. “If you go to Columbia University and then Harvard Law School like one of the main characters in the video, of course you’re not going to be able to relate with the rest of the world who can’t afford $65,000 a year for 7 years!”

    Sam, do you really believe this?

    1. What are your thoughts?

      I’m trying to find an angle where perhaps we can empathize with the privileged in being so clueless in properly interacting with others who haven’t spent $500,000 of their parent’s money on education.

      1. Sam, I know that the school one goes to doesn’t independently drive their attitude or arrogance. If anything a good education will cause someone to be more open and aware to the differences between people, economies, religions, races, cultures. If you believe that someone who went to Harvard can’t relate to the rest of the world it’s not because they went to Harvard, it’s because they were raised that way. The fact that they went to Harvard or an ivy league school isn’t causing someone to not relate to the world, it’s (at best) an ancillary opportunity from coming from a wealthy family.

        I feel like you’re trying to find an conclusion that supports your theory but you don’t have any data or facts to back it up, which is dangerous. That’s how stereotypes get started, e.g. American’s are uncultured because I met one once and he was ignorant to other cultures, or someone who went to a state school can’t be successful.

        I appreciate you encouraging the open discussion about it!

        And for what it’s worth the guy in the video (at the end with the long hair) who’s acting like a he’s never had to deal with any confrontation or conflict in his life (he’s looks like he’s about to cry) is wearing a UVA hat (not Harvard or an Ivy League school).

  5. This is a good example of how sometimes right and wrong are vague concepts, and really don’t matter in that they actually involve subjectivity. What matters is being able to work together with others – and to that end, the techies could have done a better job.

  6. Interesting situation. I am unsure whose side I am on. And I have a very similar incident to share that happened a couple years back. Except the races are switched. Bunch of brown Indian techies and white kids. This happened in a wealthy suburb of silicon valley also in San Francisco bay area. Some of my friends and I decided we should start a cricket league. Since baseball is kind of similar, a base ball field is used to play cricket. We called the city to check if they allowed cricket on base ball field in the park and they said yes. So we asked what do we need to do and they said go to xyz website and book the field for couple of hours for $30. So we booked the field for couple hours on friday evening and went there. There were some white kids playing base ball there. So we waited for a few minutes and then I went and talked to an older kid who seemed in charge. I asked him if they were finished playing and he told me that they just got there. I told them I was sorry and that we had booked the field for the next 2 hours. He was surprised and said he had never heard of field bookings before and that they always played there. I said you can book it on the city website. He said OK and called the other kids and left. I said thanks and that was the end of story. Next week we decided it was not fair to ask kids to leave so we found a different park which was not as crowded. We started practicing there from next week on. After playing for 3 weeks, we decided it was too hard for us to make it every week because of our jobs etc. The league permanently closed door after 3 weeks ;)

    1. outsidersintheirowncountry

      The difference being the “white” kids were reasonable while the “not white” kids try to pull some ghetto rules typical of “not white” kids.

    2. Thanks for sharing your example.

      Here’s the thing. You showed empathy by saying “I’m sorry……” That’s a great first step in communication. The other thing is, how many people were you kicking off the baseball field? The less people already playing, the easier. If the field was taken by two teams, it would make for a much more delicate situation.

  7. I can’t believe the city is selling permits. I think it is a problem that welcomes confrontation and the results could be disastrous.

    With real estate values so high in SF, many people (young, old, poor etc) will be squeezed out. Landlords only play a part in this outcome. The market will squeeze them out. Where do they go? The next step will be legislation that guarantees 10% or so of all properties for lower income tenants. The other tenants subsidize the poorer tenants.

  8. Some of you keep saying race has nothing to do with it and that should be true but it isnt. Money, class and etc., are tied to race in America. Read a book or something, it’s not that hard to understand this. Only people who tend to not get this are people who rarely seek to eduxate themselves on race and class in America, dont jave many if any friends outside of their race and class and yet always have an opinion about it. Ninety percent of the time that person is white and when they arent they usually subcribe to the construction of “whiteness.” Go read about that before getting bothered and labeling me racist because if youre educated on what “whiteness” is then you wont be offended. You might be challenged though.

    1. Assuming the pic next to your post is you, do you have a lot of white, asian, indian, hispanic, european, latin american, or native american friends?

      I hear a lot of assumptions and projection about one race in your commentary but not much support that you have facts or experiences to back up your assumptions.

      On a different issue, do you think that any talk about race is racist? (i’m not leading this into anything, just genuinely interested.) I wonder if race talk will ever end if we literally don’t stop talking about race.

      Enjoy your day.

  9. Are the techies the ones who are clueless about the rules? If the Parks and Rec dept allows people to make reservations, ie through permit, then the techies aren’t clueless about the correct process.

    The first to hold blame is Parks and Rec if there isn’t a specific list of rules on a sign at the court, which should (in this case) say a permit holder takes precedence over any waiting for the courts. They’re also responsible for managing the people’s use of the court. It’s bad management to take reservations (issue permits) but not allow the “walk ins/ups” know that there’s a permit holder coming in at 7pm.

    I didn’t watch the video (at work, shhh) where did the entitlement or money angle come from, do the AirBnB guys make that part of the talk?

    I think the parks and rec group shouldn’t offer permits for tennis court use, it should be first come first served with general acceptance of time limits.

      1. Ok, good point. I just watched the video.

        I LOVE the fact that the 20 year local with the blue zip up appears to be the only person trying to find a solution that will suit everybody, and he does it! AND he’s like the oldest kid among his crew so what a great example for all those kids on how to deal with confrontation.

        The dropbox and AirBnB kids are trying to follow the cities rules, which is fair and fine. It’s OK for them to try to do that and paying $27 to reserve the court is not at all some outrageous fee that implies entitlement, wealthy, or elitist access. Further, I don’t hear the techie crew mention their job, income, or anything that implies they feel entitled to the court based on their position in the world. They just want their hour and rather than talking to the daily court users on how it works they went to a website to see how the city defines rules of use – this is fine, not elitist.

        What becomes clear here is that some of the Techie kids don’t have much experience dealing with people. The guy in the UVA hat looked like he was about to cry at the end of the video. These techie guys probably ALSO live in the neighborhood they just need to do a better job earning some rapport (which will be followed by understand and respect) with the kids that have been using the court for over a year.

        I used to live a few blocks from that court (up until three months ago). It’s tiny. There are courts at a school near Church and 30th St (a ten minute walk from the spot in the video) that are EMPTY all the time…and are surrounded by the homes and apts that more of the tech crowd have moved into.

        I agree with you more now that these guys need to understand and respect the rules of the court. The Mission is densely populated and low on parks and rec space, the Techie kids should have anticipated that walking in with a piece of paper wouldn’t get them far. After all, are the tech companies supposed to have the best and brightest?

        Perhaps the biggest thing this video proves is that the tech companies aren’t always hiring the best and the brightest.

        Perhaps it proves that maybe pedigree or one’s school has an influence on where they get hired (over actual intelligence).

        Perhaps this video just proves that the mix of culture and so-called “gentrification” that’s happening in SF right now is something that both sides of the debate can work through, that we CAN live happily together with a little effort to communicate, understand, and respect each other…which is what the local kids demonstrated best in this example.

        1. I’m very glad you watched the video! Thanks for your updated response and seeing the angles and things that are going on.

          The guy from UVA did really look like he was going to cry at the end. And it’s b/c he’s never experienced how to interact in this situation, which is the point of why diversity is so important.

          The techies might be the best and brightest on resume, but not necessarily on EQ, emotional quotient. A lot of the techies are engineers, who may be more awkward than normal.


  10. What most people don’t realize is that Park & Recs is the most inept department when it comes to informing the community about any changes in the parks. Take the example of Mclaren Park and the fact that they were ready to allow ultimate frissbee players to take over the park without notifying the community that used it the most such as the dog walkers. Fortunately the Mclaren Park community got wind of this just in the nick of time but Park & Rec had already received monies from the ultimate frisbee community who also happen to be rich techies to allow a new ultimate frissbee 18 hole course through the park. It would of ruined McLaren for all. The community fought back and won!! I’m sure Park & Rec was not happy but it is typical Park & Rec behavior to not communicate with community people.

  11. maybe they were not allowed to play so they resorted to getting a paper? Does it justify the situation? It all depends on perspective…..

  12. So what this really illustrates is just another example of how an inept government can put people in uncomfortable situations (i.e. implementing a new reservation system at the park and not telling anyone). Couple this with our “everything-is-about-racism-culture” and once again, a bunch of white males get tricked into looking like elitists, on video. My only regret is that I spent 5 minutes of my life participating in the discussion.

    1. This post is not about race. It’s about money, entitlement, and poor etiquette. The video just so happens to highlight white guys and an Asian guy acting clueless about long-time local customs and showing now empathy.

      1. What does money or entitlement have to do with this scenario? Are you sure you’re not taking two independent characteristics and finding a way to correlate them? Or at best it seems like you’re trying to turn what MIGHT be correlation into causation.

  13. Some people just lack common sense. Just because you have a piece of paper it doesn’t mean you can be an A-hole about it.

    The apartment flip that you mentioned at beginning of the article was very common here in Vancouver. The local municipalities have put a stop to it by cracking down on these landlords.

  14. I don’t think the techies were the right people to let the locals know of an apparently new system of booking a public area. Parks authority should have let everyone know that they would now need to make a reservation and not just turn up and play like before. I wonder why the techies did not first ask about the rules of having access. Is it because they, and their landlords who could have advised them, do not associate with any locals?

  15. Guess I am so white I don’t even understand what the conflict is? If I buy a ticket to a movie and some guy is sitting in my seat, I ask him to leave. If he tries to turn it into some kind of class warfare debate, I either kick his butt or get the manager. Its really not complicated.

    1. Except that a movie theater is built specifically within a model based on that expectation. A park, which has always been free, isn’t. Horrible example you used. Anyone that’s ever played sports at a playground understands this code.


        All public parks have a permitting system. As someone alluded to earlier the city should make people better aware of this. These people should not be faulted for following the rules of the system. I am shocked people that are regulars of this blog do not follow the logic.

  16. Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income

    If we raise children, give them everything they want when they ask for it. Argue with the coaches when they don’t get to play. Fight their fights for them instead of letting them go through their own struggles in life and then pay for their schooling. How do you expect them to turn out when they are adults and move out and come in to situations on their own. You’ve had decades to develop them in to responsible adults and now it is left up to bosses, supervisors, managers at corporations to try and raise your children to be responsible and accountable for their own decisions. We’ve developed a “me” generation instead of the traditional “us” as in the past and we’re seeing the results nationwide in our politics, civility, and corporate profits. What else would you expect?

  17. Actually, for those who refer to the law and the permit being the ultimate decider, imposing the permit on the regulars may actually give them a legal case against the city. Under many public right of way type laws, you can’t just go and suddenly randomly interfere with something that people have been doing for years. These laws have even prevented buildings from being put up because one person had been using a certain walking path forever. I think in a class action lawsuit the regulars just might smash the city’s permit-issuing capability on the park.

  18. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    If they have a permit, they paid for the space and should be able to use it. I fault the parks system. If they’re going to sell the space, they should make it clear what the rules are what the rights are and have someone on site who can enforce both.

  19. Wow what an embarrassment to Dropbox and Airbnb, and quite the awkward situation that it was all recorded. The interaction could have gone so much better. To barge in as an outsider, especially with kids there, and not be more sensitive to the situation is poor form. They definitely learned their lesson with the amount of publicity this video is getting!

  20. I thought the locals did a great job standing up for themselves. It was pretty awesome how well the tall guy carried himself and had a great argument. The rich white entitled techies didn’t know how to react and it’s sad.


    I had to watch this several times before making a comment, my observations are as follows:

    1) I think both sides had individuals acting rationally and making rational arguments. For example some from the “neighborhood” were open to seeing the permit and understanding that this may be allowed. While some of the “non-neighborhood” guys appear as if they would have been fine to run a dual game.

    2) Everyone is coming down on the guy with the UVA hat. Perhaps I missed it, but he came in to this a bit late (which added to the problem as he had the permit). With that said, while only assumption, he wasn’t working with all the information up to that point and may have handled it differently if he did.

    3) I am not from the Bay Area but this looks like a very nice park that was clearly funded by the city (i.e. tax payers). As such, there should definitely be a “permit” process in place. For those that argue this, ask yourself if you ever practiced soccer, football or baseball in a public park growing up. If you answered yes, then your team likely had a permit. I can attest to this as my Dad coached and had to obtain practice fields. I can still remember the numerous trips we had to make the City Hall to get permits. Something I am still thankful for.

    1. It’s a nicely redone park in a VERY dense area in a neighborhood that had some history of gang violence and crime. If someone was stabbed or shot due to this altercation, I don’t think many people would be surprised.

      I come to the Mission Playground once a month and there is a gang of us since it’s team practice. We are always respectful of the players and the rules, and we will wait our turn or leave if we can’t wait any longer.

      The guy in the UVA hat is the clueless one. “This is crazy,” he says. No, he is the crazy one for not realizing that this park and its people have been here long before he ever came waving a permit.


        I understand what you are saying, but market forces are at play here. People of a different demographic are moving into this area and these people play by a different set of rules. As you allude to rents will are rising in this area and with that a whole new demographic and therefore set of rules are moving in. Rules over time change. People can debate whether this is right or wrong but these individuals went through a process that they were entitled too. I find that hard to argue as tough as it might be.

        Perhaps the landlords should decide who plays….They are the ones paying the property tax on the buildings that that the apartments the majority of these people ultimately, rent, perhaps they should decide.

  22. I think people need to understand that just because something is legally correct or a city ordinance doesn’t necessarily translate into being right and decent thing to do all the time. I’m glad these guys were able to resolve their differences and not let it escalate into any violent behavior. Another example of a dumb tech move I can cite in the news recently which riled the local community is that of Vinod Khosla acquiring a property and then closing the only accessible road to a public beach to the general public. Although it was within his legal right to do so at the time, it’s a major asshole move on his part in my view.

  23. Even Steven

    They brought Harvard rules and permits to a playground, that only works if you have a cost associated with the field/park or if you have a supervisor. You don’t come into someone’s park and tell them the rules, so Kids 1 Tech Guys 0.

    1. Can we really blame a kid who went to Columbia for four years, and then to Harvard for three years and spent $500,000 on his education to empathize and interact with people unlike him? Hmmmm…

  24. Great post, Sam. You’ve laid out a great perspective in a way that people from both sides of the situation can understand.

    It’s funny – you can have an education from the most prestigious schools in the world, but there is still so much we can learn from experiencing the world around us and interacting with people. A huge part of the current issues in the bay area boil down to lack of empathy (or just being naive and too caught up in our own little world), I think.

    Of course if you did all your research online and found the “right” way to book a field via the Parks & Rec website, and showed up at your allotted time – I can understand how you’d be weirded out by being lectured by a group of local kids and feel wronged – after all, you did the right thing! But if you’re new to the neighbourhood, maybe just walking around, getting to know some of the locals, and even stopping by the field to check it out sometime would’ve prevented this mess from even happening.

    Same goes for the “google bus protests” – it’s easy to dismiss it as people just being jealous and wanting a piece of someone else’s pie. But if we actually talk to some of our neighbours, see how different and difficult their lives are – how much they’ve been through to get to where they currently are (which to a lot of people is barely being able to make ends meet), while we make 6 figures fresh out of/not too long after college (which, sure was difficult and a lot of work – but wasn’t it opportunity that got us there in the first place?), that many people truly are in very difficult places where they’re scared for their future.

    Yes, the problems are very complicated, as are the solutions – but just being open to the world around us, and listening to what others have to say about their experiences gets us a very long way and doesn’t take much effort. A current rule I’m trying to live by: you (meaning me, my fiancee, or whomever I’m with) don’t get to judge or talk shit on the the person asking for help/food/money/protesting something unless you’re willing to respectfully talk to them, hear them out, and make an informed decision.

    1. I agree. It’s about being empathetic and hearing someone out first. If you want something, and you’re new, you’ve got to earn their trust and respect.

      There’s such a huge disconnect between the haves and the have nots. Like Mitt Romney joking he’s willing to bet his opponent $10,000 on live TV, when some of the people he’s trying to win over don’t even have $10,000 to their name.

      1. Sam,

        I think Mit Romney would be an ok president…. But anyone taking an honest look at him, could see how disconnected he was(is) from normal Americans

        His gaffes were quite amusing! LOL! Anyway…. I’m sure he’ll run again.

    2. The Google bus protesters are doing exactly what you claim is the problem – they’re not being empathetic to the people they’re harassing (Google employees and the shops around the bus stops) nor are they talking to the people causing the problems (Landlords).

      The only benefit from those protests is that it makes the news. But guess what, the landlords don’t work and Google and probably don’t care much about the protests, for them it’s about the money and they’ll do what the market can bear.

      The Google employees don’t WANT to spend half their paycheck on rent, but they do want to live a good multi-cultured, diverse neighborhood in a world class city. The Landlords set the price…it’s as simple as that. (And it IS that simple.)

  25. for tennis permits, the rules are you have to post them on the fence for 1 week. Otherwise, you would have to wait until the residents finish their games.

    now, what your video doesn’t show are some of the “locals” dominate the courts or fields and never let other people play.

    it works both ways. there are reasons why people want or need to get a permit in the first play.

    1. It can definitely work both ways. But if you have some skill and some respect, such conflict does not arise.

      It’s like paddling out for waves and you’re the newcomer. You let the guys and gals who’ve been dropping in for years get the best one. In other words, you earn your place with respect and time.

  26. Robert Guiscard

    “…the rule is that everybody gets to play so long as they wait their turn.”
    “The playground is all about RESPECT. We respect the rules …”

    Wait, aren’t the actual rules that if you pay for a permit, you’re entitled to use the field for the specified time limit? What’s so hard about understanding and abiding by that? I didn’t watch the video, but it sounds to me like the people refusing to give up the field are the ones refusing to respect the rules.

  27. “I transcend race, hombré! – Kenny Powers, Pure Swagger

    This didn’t seem like a big deal watching it at first, except for the opening sequence of the video voice-over “6:55. Homies are playing. They’re waiting for the field at 7. It’s about to go down.” According to the SF Parks & Recreation, there have been a number of disputes about this field, which is available for permit use from 7-9pm Tuesday and Thursday (a total of four hours/week). This was a very organized ‘resistance’ with everybody with the Homies aware they were going to be taped. Very Mel Gibson/Donald Sterling, taped with an outcome in mind.

    Gotta say, my absolute favorite part of this was when the clearly illegal immigrant smirkingly addresses the white techie loudmouth, and demands to see his papers. If you look at his smirk, you can tell he is enjoying the moment and the only one who knows he is being funny. Nice~!

      1. Come on, FS! You know the dude I’m talking about, right? Of course you do. Did my description not make you laugh, even a little bit? Him, of all the Homies, asking to “see papers”? Awesome.

        What do you think about the rest of the info in my post (i.e. the field is available for permit four hours/week, there have been problems in the past according to the Parks & Rec, the recording set-up to provoke) that hasn’t been discussed in this thread but is available in legit news sources?

  28. I’m sorry but you have to wait your turn just like everybody else. You can’t just come to the court and kick people out because you have some sort of permit. Unless there’s a sign that says “The field will be closed today from 7-8pm for a private match” I’m not getting off that field.

    1. We have this same convoluted system where I live. They are public parks, but you can also “rent” them by going online to the municipal website and booking ahead for a nominal fee. Problem is that the city isn’t going to eat the money for having someone go to the park to post a field schedule and no one is going to go online and look at the timetable before having a pickup game.

      We run into this scenario all the time when we book fields for our touch football league, but never get the reactions seen above. Truthfully most people once they see all the cars pull up and people start milling around come over and ask if we booked the field and then, if they don’t accept our invitation to play, leave. But yeah, I’d never walk up to a group of people playing the same sport we were about to and say “hey, you guys gotta go, we booked the field,” as it’s just stupid and begging for a negative response.

  29. I think I missed something which is entirely my fault, but I don’t understand why one group had to pay for a permit to play for an hour but the other group played for free as long as they wished. If the rules changed, my interpretation is that the techie group is following the rules and the other group is disobeying the rules. I’m sure that is not the conclusion you wanted us all to reach.

  30. There are missing facts in this situation that create unknowns. When there are gaps like this, often people will fill them with negativity and come to their own conclusions that further divide us as human beings. First and foremost, it’s important we understand how the guys came about getting the permit so they can fix what caused the confusion to begin with. Both parties were legitimately sincere. Soccer is an awesome sport. At it’s best, it can teach us to all grow up and be adults and fix the issue.

  31. Lost And Found

    The techies treaded a fine line. They have no diplomacy. They had the right according to the City, who just wants their money, but they didn’t have tact.

    The UVA hat guy from AirBnb saying the situation was “crazy” shows how out of touch with reality he is. But, what do you expect from a guy who went to UVA?

  32. I don’t understand how it seems that the people that followed the system are the troublemakers here. They followed the rules and booked the field. Just because there are ‘regulars’ that seem to think they own the field and are the police that enforce their rules on a public field, that doesn’t make them right. Seems like there is a bunch of white guilt on this forum consistently noting that the majority that use the field are hispanic. What does that matter? If they had just offered to let the people that booked it be up first and if they win, they keep going it probably would have been fine. But the ‘regular’s seem to think that if it isn’t their way, then forget it. They don’t need to follow the rules, they make their own rules.

    1. Lost And Found

      I’m pretty sure if the white techies were Hispanic, there wouldn’t be as much of an argument because 1) People tend to understand and associate with more people like themselves, and 2) the newcomers wouldn’t have been such poor communicators about their right to play with a permit.

      You don’t understand because you probably don’t play sports at a neighborhood playground and encounter such situations in housing and in play before.

      Where are you from?

      1. I guess I don’t understand. I spent some time in Wisconsin and some in San Diego through age 25. I spent a lot of time at public grounds especially in San Diego where open space is pretty much limited to public grounds. It seems like it was very much like this situation in San Fran where pick-up games at the basketball court and also within some gyms (centers which had indoor facilities) were the norm and there were ‘unwritten’ rules as to how it worked if you just walked up to play. I also know that at certain times on certain days the courts and gym could be reserved, and I don’t recall that ever being a major issue.

        There were also some public courts that we knew not to go to because there were essentially a group of people that had made it clear that they were ‘their’ courts and anyone outside of their group was not going to be allowed to play. If you were not in their gang, no matter where you came from, you didn’t get to play and they were obviously able to back that up and dominate the area.

        I am a generally inquisitive and suspicious person, and my antennae went up when I saw the video. It seemed staged from the standpoint of the ‘locals’ who had the video ready to go and knew it was being recorded.

        Funny how if you think i’m white that my only experience is suburban living. My point was what difference would make if I am hispanic or white, we are talking about a court. It seems it makes quite a difference to the Financial Samurai and his built-in bias based upon race.

        1. What is my built-in bias on race Rob? This article is about how money and entitlement disrespects local rules. It so happens that the techies are all white except for one Asian guy, and the locals are Hispanic and Black.

          But imagine if there was more racial diversity at tech companies. I’m pretty positive the communication between the two groups would have gone much smoother. The techies lacked an emotional quotient.

          It’s nice you spent time in Wisconsin and San Diego. Where do you spend time today?

        2. Hmmm, “my antenna went up” when @Rob made his comment about the video. Even the crappiest phones today have video capabilities and you can always find someone in a crowd willing to videotape. Where have you been the last 10 years? You may be unaware that there is this thing called You Tube and it is primarily used by the average person walking around with their cell phone and capturing a moment. If that’s your best shot at defending the entitled, you better get back to work.

    2. Curious to know where are you from and what sport do you play? Maybe the public playground rules are different where you are.

      Given you brought up “white guilt,” are you white? Things are very different when it comes to big city living and suburban living too. I’d love to learn more about your background to understand your perspective.

  33. I’m sorry – I have to disagree with your argument. If there was a permit to be issues, then that is the local rule. Just because it had never been issued before does not make it valid. If there is an issue with the permit process, that needs to be changed, not assuming that unwritten rules are right just because the official ones have never been enforced.

    1. The public park is for the public where the majority rules. Money has little to no place to dictate the rules in a public playground.

      I admire your courage to go walk up to 15-20 guys who are having fun and tell them to get off because you have a permit. But I advise you not to do so in San Francisco.

      What sport do you play and where?

      1. I don’t play sports. One of the reasons I left San Francisco was exactly these types of arguments. If this had been a teen’s birthday party, would you be having the same argument? It is because ‘they’ are seen as the ‘them’ and not ‘us’.

        So a group decides to have a one time event, and they say they want to use a field to do it, they contact city hall and find out that they can reserve the field. I don’t understand why that is so wrong.

    2. Perfect example of what’s wrong with the world right now. We care more about “the written law” than the person. “I have a permit,” never mind the culture of the community and how it makes people who have been living and playing there for years feel. The letter supersedes the culture? Sorry Amy, just don’t think that would be an emotionally intelligent move on my part to do that. That seems like pure logic but not very empathetic and at the wrong place and time it can be deadly.

      1. We are still a nation of laws, right? Just because we don’t agree with the law doesn’t mean we can ignore it. There is a long culture of some really awful stuff that is against the law. And what is considered awful changes (discipline vs child abuse vs apathy).

        Many public parks have rules I don’t agree with but have to adhere. I’ve played baseball pickup games at a public park only to be asked to leave because another group had reserved the field. It would be hard to give gruff to church little league team but easier to do so if they appear rich/snobbish.

        What seems to get everyone going in the video is tact and the lack there of.

      2. The law is driven by the culture. To ignore the laws is to ignore the culture and community that created them.

  34. I think we can all agree that sometimes group think can render extremely bad ideas. In this case group think = daft. Often the sum is lesser than it’s parts. Gentrification is alive everywhere.

  35. Jay @ ThinkingWealthy

    That…is… absurd. A permit at a public place? That should never be allowed. Even with sportsmanship I’d probably laugh at them! Danger would indeed be imminent.

    Money sadly breeds entitlement when it shouldn’t. I think I said this on your last article but it’s about power at the end of the day when you have stupid amounts of money, not the money. (Btw – what’s with the giant font?)


    1. Permits for public places are appropriate in some instances. Take pavilions… there needs to be a process and order to reserve public pavilions. If I’m planning a party at a public park, I don’t want to have to wait my turn and only have an hour of time…

    2. You can get permits for almost EVERY public park in San Francisco.

      Imagine it… It’s your son’s birthday and you cannot bear the thought of 15-20 7-year olds running through your 900 sf ft house. The best alternative is to have it in a park. If you want to have his birthday party at Golden Gate Park, you need to be able to put a time, date, and place on the invite several weeks in advance because people are busy. The Parks department sells permits to make sure this can happen.

      This happens for adult parties, weddings, and corporate events.

      And now, apparently, this happens for this soccer field.

      The guys with the permit could have handled this better, but be more mad at the elected officials who changed the rules and didn’t bother to tell anyone.

      The longer I live in SF, the more I see our “leaders” making decisions without any community involvement.

  36. Neither the techies nor the regulars are at fault here. It’s the government imposing regulations while ignorant of the spontaneous order that’s arisen to manage a commons. Voluntary action found a solution to a ‘market failure’ and government action only makes it worse. Kind of ironic since AirBnB is all about voluntary action solving an allocation problem without government regulation.

  37. Sam,

    Thanks for the video.

    Interesting…… There are many things going on there.

    People with “entitlement” attitudes…… And no understanding (or respect) for the local culture.

  38. Hmmmm….well I’m not sure where to side on this one. I think the “techies” have a point in the fact that they do have a permit and the other guys have a point in the fact that is never the way it has been done. I think that perhaps the city should also not issue a permit like that for such a heavily populated public park.

    In the end I think that an agreeable solution was reached and it was probably what I would have done if my group of friends and I had been in either situation. Playing any is better than not playing at all.

    1. The only way to not figure out who to “side” with is to not understand the real issue. Why get a permit? And how come they didn’t know what the rules were? Why the reaction? I’ll tell you why, it’s just like what’s going on in Brooklyn, Oakland, LA and everywhere else. Neighborhoods get “improved” by gentrification but these newcomers don’t interact with the locals who have been there for years. They don’t usually speak and they are standoffish. When they open a business, they don’t hire the locals, they hire people just like them (techies, hipsters and etc.,). Siding with the permit is just legalism. It’s like siding with cops who beat (or kill these days) a black guy who talks back to them because he doesn’t understand why he’s being harassed. “he should’ve just complied,” you’d say. That’s legalism. It ignores the bigger issue. In a balanced situation, sure, the permit wins but this isn’t balanced and it’s great that it’s floating around on Columbus Day–how apropos. So when you say you don’t know who to side with, it shows that you don’t really understand the real issue.

      1. Mark Lancaster

        They dont ‘speak to the locals’ because they are afraid they will get stabbed, robbed, and beaten if they do.

        “locals”, in gentrification situations like this, often implies poorer people. And more often than not as statistics will bear out, poorer people have a higher predilection to violent crimes. They are just trying to make sure they aren’t going to get hurt.

      2. I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that they showed up, realized their cubicle-nurtured athletic abilities paled in comparison to a bunch of locals who grew up playing each other on that field, and collectively thought “this would be much more fun if we just got a permit and played with ourselves”.

        Life’s a lot more interesting if you’re open to getting an education from time to time. Don’t they teach that at engineering school?

  39. No one’s ever accused an engineer of being street savvy…

    Seriously though, this is a great lesson in leadership and diversity and I’m glad this is making the rounds. In fact, I may show this to the group of executives I work with.

    I’d like to know why they pursued the permit in the first place. Was it because they came to the field, found it too crowded and wanted it to themselves or is how it works where these techies grew up?

    I, for one, would have scoped it out first; watched how things work or found a “leader” of one of the games and said “hey man, my friends and I just moved into the neighborhood and would like to play, how does this all work?” Simple.

    Completely agree with you, Sam. You need to respect the rules of the neighborhood. They really are lucky things didn’t go down.

    For being brilliant, these techies sure are lacking in common sense.

    1. There’s definitely a huge LACK of savviness and social skills displayed by these techies here. If they are engineers, then I guess it’s more understandable. But if they were in sales or marketing, I must believe they would have dealt with the situation better, because sales and marketing create more empathy with the other side.

      Engineers focus much more on process. “This is crazy,” said the one guy who can’t believe he doesn’t get to play with his permit. Different world.

      1. How do the rules or laws fit into this?

        Are you saying that the neighborhood crew determines how things work in the neighborhood? That sound like the mob!

    2. I have to agree with this person, things could of gotten real ugly and I am proud of the way the kids handled it because they were the first to offer to play with the techies. I’m a native San Franciscan that grew up in the Mission, I’ve seen huge fights break out over far less. The thing is that the city is no longer the same, there is an aura of stress, rudeness, entitlement, that I see as an obvious affect of too many techies moving in and not respecting the city, it’s people, it’s communities. As I go out and about the city it is clear they do not want to interact with the locals only themselves. They clearly do not respect the rules of the neighborhoods or the people that live there. They are ugly and as a property owner in S.F. it concerns me greatly what will happen as more come into the city with their same entitlement issues. What a mess.

  40. Permit or not, I would feel like a HUGE JERK in this situation. I think these people are coming off as extremely entitled and insensitive. On the other hand, I’m not sure how you can assume they have never seen the world or experienced other cultures. Many “worldly” people I know are huge assholes, and it’s not because they have never been exposed to other cultures. Some people just feel they are better and more important than others.

    1. That’s true. Although I believe the world would be a much more harmonious place if more people spoke more languages and visited different countries. You begin to appreciate, respect, and learn about different cultures and traditions. This makes creating relationships much easier to do.

      Why else do you think at conferences people hang out with other people who look and talk like them? It’s easier to relate. But if more people can relate to more people, then there would be an even more unified society.

  41. I manage a team of software engineers as my day job, and this video has been making the round this weekend :-)

    I think your takeaways are solid, that workplace diversity would have lessened the chance of something like this happening in the first place. Does dropbox or airbnb employ anyone who grew up in that neighborhood, or a neighborhood like that one? I’m sure they do, but maybe not enough.

    I’m really glad they were able to work it out. There’s a lot that the executives of these companies could learn about being part of their community from the compromise shown here.

    1. I happened to play tennis with a Dropbox employee over the weekend who mentioned that the entire company was extremely embarrassed by the incident. But they were also miffed that nobody is talking about the AirBnB guy in the hat.

      There’s a huge tug going on here in SF w/ the influx of tech workers and their high salaries. Hard to blame them for taking good jobs and going after potential riches. But there is a right way to communicate with the local community, and this was the wrong way.

      1. “…they were also miffed that nobody is talking about the AirBnB guy in the hat.

        Interesting reaction. How would it change anything at Dropbox, other than distribute a little pressure? It changes nothing about the guys from Dropbox. This is a phenomenon I have noticed with increasing frequency. Recently, the Secret Service has blind-sourced complaints about the White House administration and the prostitution scandal in S. America; these unnamed sources have leaked to the press because they feel “unfairly singled out.” What does that have to do with their behavior? Taking down an administration advance-man, and embarrassing his fat-cat donor father, is all that was accomplished. People are constantly complaining about “the double-standard!” (in media, sports, judicial process, etc.) but never think that the solution is adhering to “the standard!”

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