Larry Page

San Francisco’s real estate and rental markets are going through tumultuous times, with landlords raising rents and evicting tenants in an attempt to ride a wave of rising prices as more and more people want to move into the City by the Bay.

Activists and protestors in the city have blamed the increase in gentrification on the tech industry in general, and have targeted a number of companies, including Google. But Google Co-Founder and CEO Larry Page says that protestors shouldn’t blame an influx of wealthy tech workers, but rather the City of San Francisco.

“This kind of thing is really a governance problem, because we’re building lots of jobs, lots of office buildings and no housing,” Page said in a fireside chat with renowned venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. “So, it’s not surprising that caused a lot of issues. You also have a lot of people who are rent controlled, so they don’t participate in the economic increase in housing prices. It actually hurts them. It doesn’t help them. I think those problems are more structural and very serious problems.”

His comments add to a growing canon of conflicting views from tech industry insiders about what can or should be done to deal with the rising inequality in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Last month, venture capitalists Ron Conway and Chamath Palihapitiya got into a shouting match at the Bloomberg Next Big Thing conference over their conflicting views on San Francisco’s policies.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like Google will be out of protestors’ cross hairs any time soon. Last month, the company’s keynote address at Google I/O was interrupted twice by people protesting different issues.

Watch the full chat with Page, Khosla and Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin below.

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  • guest

    Way to make friends there, Larry.

    • Guest Guy

      He told the truth. It is refreshing.

      • guest

        Refreshing perhaps, but the sheeple prefer not to hear the truth.

    • Guest

      Larry’s not here to make friends. He’s here to make money.

  • Guest

    I don’t get what Google is supposed to do… hire fewer people? Pay them less well? Move to another city?

    • rick gregory

      I don’t think there is much tech can do. If you live in the Bay Area and can afford to live in SF you likely will want to. The valley south of there is just strip malls and suburbs (albeit some very nice ones here and there), but if you’re young and want to live in an urban setting you’ll live in SF.

      The problem is that there might not be enough space to build reasonably priced housing in SF even if they allowed it. After all, the concern isn’t about tech people moving in, it’s about tech people who are making a lot of money moving in and driving prices up for everyone which drives out many of the same people who make an urban center vibrant – musician, artists, etc. You end up with a monoculture.

      Ideallly, places like San Jose should be trying to make themselves much more attractive to tech workers. SJ will never be SF but it’s much closer to many of the valley workplaces… so why do people choose to live in SF? Because SJ is a HUGE step down in terms of interesting, vibrant urban amenities.

    • Brad Barnhill

      move to Kansas City … already got google fiber here … we wouldnt complain about the job influx

  • NewAgeMeMe

    It’s really only good for those who are part of the early wave of gentrification cause once all the rich tech workers move in, all the vibrancy moves out and the place becomes doucheville (a.k.a. gentrified).

  • guest

    Maybe all the artists and musicians will move to San Jose and make it more vibrant…

  • Flex

    Not everyone has a right to live in a highly desirable city whose available space is constrained by geography. How else do you ration space if not by price? The lottery?

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