Alexandra Pelosi’s latest documentary, “San Francisco 2.0,” examines rapid gentrification in the city as tech companies and their employees have revitalized urban areas yet have driven out longtime residents.
Her project, debuting on Monday on HBO, sets up a vexing problem for the city’s leaders, who are reaping the benefits from an economic boom yet struggle to come up with solutions to displaced residents and homelessness. It’s a problem common to many cities, including Los Angeles, but perhaps most pronounced for San Francisco as it is at the center of the tech economy.
“Everybody is having a really good time in San Francisco right now if you are in the tech, media, new media world,” Pelosi tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel. “You’re not having such a good time if you have lived there for generations and your family is being pushed out. Those are the people who are getting hurt.”
The only way that some residents can afford to live there is by renting out their homes via Airbnb or by moonlighting as a driver for Uber. That has triggered a debate on whether such services should be regulated and, if so, what the rules should be. The city is at the center of the debate over the “sharing” economy and whether it helps or worsens income inequality.
“Ground zero right now for the conversation about the new American economy is going on in San Francisco,” she says. “Airbnb is going on the ballot, should people be allowed to rent out their rooms and for how many days. We need rules for democracy to work, and that is what they are doing in San Francisco right now is they are writing the rules, so the rest of the country is sort of looking.”
Pelosi talks about how there are parallels between San Francisco’s tech boom, the popularity of Pope Francis and even the candidacy of Donald Trump, as they are all symptoms of disruption.
Why Trump Comedy Isn’t Easy
Jon Macks, who was chief political joke writer for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” says that while the 2016 campaign has been a gold mine for comedy writers — he’s warning them of carpal tunnel syndrome — crafting jokes about Donald Trump isn’t so easy. The reason? “The key is to not go for the easy jokes,” he says. “The key is to go to another level.”
Macks talks about what is happening to the monologue, as late-night hosts set their sights on comedy skits or segments that will be viral hits.
Macks talks about the influence of comedy on politics, and why that will be one of the themes at the upcoming Politicon event in Los Angeles on Oct. 9-10.
Trump Vs. Fox News
Nikki Schwab of Daily Mail and David Cohen of Variety talk about how Donald Trump’s attacks on Fox News shouldn’t be much of a surprise given his campaign against the Republican establishment.
Variety’s “PopPolitics,” hosted by Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.