Strange Days Have Found Us: Annoying Tech Workers Invade Los Angeles
Tech Workers Flood Into West L.A. And Create Friction With Local Residents Losing Their Beachside Paradise To Inflated Housing Costs And Intolerable Traffic
By CHARLES C. SCHULTZ
Published March 21, 2015
It happened suddenly, but not without warning. For months, nay, for years I had read blurbs about “Silicon Beach.” It sounded like a term thrown around by yappy real estate agents with over-whitened teeth. I was wrong. It was much more than that.
Venice and some parts of Santa Monica once were like sleepy backwaters with sweet ocean breezes. Freaks, eccentrics, dreamers, drunks, artists, ex-celebs, former hippies and, yes, some professionals with normal jobs all enjoyed an unconventional vibe together. The denizens of this blessed patch of Earth – and it is blessed – carefully eschewed signs of status. Designer labels and garish automobiles were for the Persians in Beverly Hills, thank you. Famously, Venice Beach is where Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek met and where Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the weightlifting subculture.
To understand the paradise that Venice and Santa Monica were, imagine living along a Pacific Ocean beach where nearly every day was sunny, about 73 degrees midday with a cool breeze. A major metropolis is a relatively simple commute away. National parks set in the Malibu hills are a 20 minute drive. Rent was not cheap, but not big city expensive either.
Well, things hit home when I started looking for new rental space. My search forced me to visit parts of the Westside I had neglected in the past several years. Things have changed everywhere and in a very unpleasant way. For one, everything is twice as expensive. Spaces are smaller. Parking is expensive. Traffic piles up in what were once peaceful blocks. Car horns punctuate the ocean breezes.
So what exactly happened? The tech nerds have struck. And they have not just struck Santa Monica or Venice. They have struck all the way from El Segundo to the Pacific Palisades.
Why is this bad, you ask? After all more commerce is good for everyone, isn’t it? No, in fact, it is not. On top of the traffic and housing costs, nearly gone are the middle class people, the artists, the slackers, the old natives and the losers that made the place real. Those few that remain will get pushed out over time.