Today, the proletariat faction of San Francisco’s Great Class War claimed another victory as Google announced a plan to fund San Francisco’s Free Muni for Youth program at a cost of $6.8 million. Via the Chronicle:
The donation is enough to cover the projected cost of the program for two years. It comes as tech companies are facing a steady backlash from city residents upset about rising housing costs and gentrification, which are often blamed on the large numbers technology workers living in the city but commuting to Silicon Valley on corporate shuttles.
The program, pushed forward by Supervisor David Campos and the Free Muni for Youth Coalition, gives San Franciscans ages 5 to 17 from low and moderate income families free Muni passes.
Of course, this is gravy for Google’s PR team. As Muni has, ahem, struggled with its finances over the years, the program has been criticized for its cost. Now Google can come in and celebrate funding a program that directly helps the city’s poor. What’s more? They’re children!
But let’s not be too cynical here. Good on Google for listening to their critics and stepping up—this program is good for San Francisco, and the money will undeniably help SFMTA’s budgetary woes. As the Chronicle summed up the collective reaction from the city’s leaders and activists, “they are happy to see the tech company getting involved but hope it’s just the first step in an ongoing dialogue with those most impacted by the city’s tech boom.” Word.