SF 'Tech Bro': Get Rid of Homeless 'Riff Raff'

'I shouldn’t have to see the ... despair of homeless people [going] to work every day'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2016 12:40 PM CST
SF 'Tech Bro': Get Rid of Homeless 'Riff Raff'
A man lies in a tent with others camped nearby near an overpass in Seattle on Feb. 9, 2016. Seattle has the third-highest number of homeless people in the US.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

What may have started out as a concerned citizen's plea to city officials to take care of an ongoing issue quickly denigrated into a case study of entitlement and privilege that's now being "crucified" across the Internet, per the San Francisco Chronicle. Tech entrepreneur Justin Keller, who launched the website Commando.io, penned an open letter Monday to the mayor and police chief of San Francisco, where he's lived for three years, to sound off about his "concern and outrage" regarding the city's homeless and drug problem, the Guardian reports. "The city is becoming a shanty town … Worst of all, it is unsafe," he wrote on his personal blog. He noted his parents had been in town over the weekend and had run into three intimidating situations involving homeless or seemingly high people. "What are you going to do to address this problem?" he asked. "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," he added. "They went out, got an education, [worked] 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." He noted the city had made the homeless and "riff raff" disappear during the Super Bowl. In addition to Keller being dressed down on Twitter, a homeless person interviewed by the Guardian simply said of such "tech bros" that "they don’t care about nobody but themselves." Keller updated his blog to apologize for using the word "riff raff," saying it was "insensitive and counterproductive." But in an email to the Guardian, he said, "I in no way meant to vilify homeless or drug users, my frustration was that we as citizens don't feel safe. … Instead of crucifying me, we all as citizens should be crucifying the city and elected government officials for ineptness." (More homeless stories.)

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