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.