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SF Mayor Disputes Link Between Soaring Tech Sector, Rising Rents

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A sign advertising an apartment for rent is displayed in a window in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has come to the defense of the city’s technology industry, saying the job growth in the tech sector should not be blamed for skyrocketing rents in the city.

The scarcity of housing in San Francisco is a systemic problem caused by generations of city leaders who have not done enough to invest in affordable housing, Lee said Wednesday.

“We are responsible, we being generations of mayors, supervisors, everybody who didn’t invest in building more housing in the past,” he said.

The wave of technology companies setting up shop in San Francisco has been credited with driving the city’s economic recovery, a level of success Lee said should not be vilified because of what’s happening in the rest of the market.

 

“People, stop blaming tech companies. They want to actually be part of the solution, and I think it’s unfortunate that some voices want to pit one economic sector that they view as successful against the rest of our challenge.”

Since even tech workers are having trouble finding apartments they can afford, the mayor reasoned, the problem must lie elsewhere.

“They’re only eight percent of our economy. The robust part of our economy has to do with hospitality, has to do with biotech, has to do with manufacturing, all sectors on a high level of good performance.”

The city’s affordability crisis has gotten bad enough that Lee has issued an executive directive to put affordable housing at the top of the city’s priority list.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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