GOOD

Tech Startup Dude’s Open Letter About Homeless ‘Rifffaff’ Sparks Outrage

The post went viral and has sparked another major public backlash.

It’s common knowledge that in San Francisco, tech companies and their employees have been pushing out low-income and minority communities. Rental website Zumper anointed San Francisco as the bedroom with the highest median rent in 2015. The figure for a one-bedroom in October was a record $3,670.

As the divide between rich and poor grows, a mini-genre has developed: “tech-bros” firing off angry letters and posts about homelessness in the city and how the government isn’t dealing with it. In 2013, startup founder Peter Shih ranted on Medium about “10 Things I Hate About You: San Francisco Edition.” Homeless people were number 6. A backlash ensued—posters with his photograph showed up around the city.


In 2015, startup CEO Greg Gopman posted a rant on Facebook.

He later apologized for it and has tried to make amends.

Last week, another tech industry professional, Justin Keller, posted an open letter to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr voicing his “concern and outrage over the increasing homeless and drug problem that the city is faced with … the city is becoming a shanty town …worst of all, it is unsafe.”

After citing a few examples of incidents, Keller writes:

“I am telling you, there is going to be a revolution. People on both sides are frustrated, and you can sense the anger. The city needs to tackle this problem head on, it can no longer ignore it and let people do whatever they want in the city. I don’t have a magic solution… It is a very difficult and complex situation, but somehow during Super Bowl, almost all of the homeless and riff raff[1] seem to up and vanish. I’m willing to bet that was not a coincidence. Money and political pressure can make change. So it is time to start making progress, or we as citizens will make a change in leadership and elect new officials who can.”

The post went viral, and has sparked another major public backlash. Not long after, Keller footnoted his use of the term “riff raff” with an apology.

Blogger “Broke Ass Stuart” responded with an Open Letter to Justin Keller: “I read that you’ve been here over 3 years, so I can imagine how hard it must be for you to see the city change from the clean, quiet tourist destination of 2013 to the vile, riffraff-saturated hovel of 2016.” And the Twitterverse lit up with disgusted tweets, including one from a person unfortunately also named Justin Keller.

Of course this will probably blow over for Keller, but not for homeless individuals who have to face negative treatment and judgment on a daily basis. But Keller’s indignant letter further shows how deep the divide between income levels is growing in our country, and how San Francisco has become one of its most polarized examples.

Articles
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics