Justin Keller wrote an open letter to the mayor and police chief, demanding that something must be done. There are homeless riff-raff cluttering up his streets! They are howling and lying down and collapsing in despair everywhere; why, one even leaned up against his car! The horror…
I know people are frustrated about gentrification happening in the city, but the reality is, we live in a free market society. The wealthy working people have earned their right to live in the city. They went out, got an education, work hard, and earned it. I shouldn’t have to worry about being accosted. I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day. I want my parents when they come visit to have a great experience, and enjoy this special place.
Yes, something must be done. Only I don’t think the solution involves hiding the “pain, struggle, and despair” out of sight of smug dudes with lots of money. It’s got to involve deeper changes that give poor people a living wage and an opportunity to better themselves that might also require fewer luxury cars for the wealthy.
If you want to seriously address the problem, you might try reading an open letter from the other side — Talia Jane writes to the CEO of the company that used to employ her. She was working in customer service for one of those tech startups. She’s spending 80% of her paycheck on rent, is living on a bag of rice, and is pouring a big chunk of her income into the expensive commute. She has a car but can’t afford to repair it.
So she wrote and published a letter describing the deplorable way her company, Eat24, treats its wage slaves (ironically, her company is a food delivery service, and she can’t afford to use it). As you might expect, her wealthy CEO was quick to respond, with a Justin Keller solution.
UPDATE: As of 5:43pm PST, I have been officially let go from the company. This was entirely unplanned (but I guess not completely unexpected?) but any help until I find new employment would be extremely appreciated. My PayPal is paypal.me/taliajane, my Venmo is @taliajane Square Cash is cash.me/$TaliaJane. Thank you so much for helping my story be heard.
The very first comment on her letter demonstrates the deplorable moral state of tech dudes today. It basically says to sit down, shut up, and obey. Your boss is worth more than any of his employees.
Calling out the CEO because of his net worth is just stupid. The guy co-founded the company. He built it from nothing to what it is worth today. Of course he is going to be worth hundreds of millions if he is running a very successful company.
Nobody is worth hundreds of millions. Nobody. The life of the CEO making all that money is worth no more and no less than the life of the drunk homeless guy who offended Justin Keller by leaning on his car. The person who had the capital and the support to be able to go to college, make profitable connections, and get the investments to begin a startup is not working harder than the person who is doing two minimum wage jobs and getting periodically laid off by a volatile economy, and I am disgusted by these people who have failed to learn these basic lessons in life.
But greed and short-sighted selfishness and a lack of empathy seem to make up the recipe for financial success, which allows these oblivious parasites to foster more greed and short-sighted selfishness and lack of empathy.