Yesterday's blockade at 24th and Valencia in the Mission consisted of dancers in clown suit onesies celebrating the fake "GMuni" program. But the opposition in Oakland this morning was more crustpunk, less Marcel Marceau.
According to activists on Indybay.org, almost 50 "rebels" blocked a pick up zone for tech buses in front of the MacArthur BART station in Oakland Tuesday morning, including one protestor who supposedly vomited on the windshield from atop a Yahoo bus.
I've reached out to Defend the Bay Area—a more radical coalition which is organizing "a week of action against the destruction" of their home ending April 5th—to confirm whether it was one of their protestors . . . who could somehow magically hurl on cue.
Indybay says the action in Oakland delayed shuttle buses from Apple bus, Google bus and Yahoo bus for more than half an hour, until Oakland police and BART cops "pushed the demonstrators off the street." Photos show demonstrators jumping on top of the Yahoo bus and an activist swathed in black morbidly offering Google employees "a ride to Mountainview [sic] in a hearse."
Last night's vote from San Francisco's board of supervisors leaves the opposition with plenty to barf about. The board denied an environmental appeal designed to stall an 18-month pilot program that would "allow shuttles with permits to stop in certain red zones for $1 per stop per day," Ellen Huet reported in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Appellants were frustrated by what they saw as preferential treatment from the city toward tech interests.
When it comes to bike lanes, Muni and other city improvements, "we're told: this takes time. We need to complete an (environmental review)," said Tom Temprano, co-president of the Harvey Milk Club, one of the appellants. "But for this project, time is suddenly not an issue."
Tech workers also took to public comment - after almost five hours of waiting - to defend their side.
"The shuttles have definitely allowed me to not drive many miles a day," said one tech worker. "Please, as a resident, let this program go forward."
Opponents of the pilot program dubbed the large charter buses "pirate shuttles" but emphasized that they were against the policy, not against tech workers.
Residents often wonder why the shuttle buses, which reduce car traffic, have become such a lightning rod for the local backlash against unequal treatment. Part of it is because protestors initially demanded the risible sum of $1 billion in back payments for years of blocking public transportation stops. Protestors planned to put the funds towards pressing issues like affordable housing and eviction defense. Part of it is because they are such a hulking target, easier to point at than gentrification. And part of it is because it gets attention for the cause—even if that attention is a visceral aversion to whatever is dripping down Yahoo's windshield.
Update: A representative for Defend the Bay sent Valleywag the following statement:
Defend The Bay Area is a clearinghouse for actions resisting the disastrous effects of the tech industry on the Bay Area. As for this morning, it's pretty clear that someone who felt sick at the sight of the tech buses vomited on one.
We encourage all Bay Area residents to take action against the tech takeover's many manifestations: increased rents, exclusive access to transportation, and the intensified police repression that accompanies gentrification, which is literally killing black and brown residents in their own neighborhoods.
DtBA does not have members and does not organize actions, it is merely a framework for coordination.
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