Debra J. Saunders

On the other hand, there's a D for Development after the C for Conservation. San Francisco styles itself as a leader of innovation. If some bureaucrats tell Google to pack up its Erector set and find someplace else to play, the corporation could take its gazillion marbles elsewhere.

Goldzband says one factor might be whether Google plans to moor Casper the Barge "for an extended period of time." If so, "it is considered fill."

What is an extended period of time? Quoth Goldzband, "Extended period of time is not defined in legislation."

And: "I don't think they're daring us. I think they're trying to do something and they've come to realize that there are rules on how you use bay resources that are different than the rules" on land.

Let's talk about envy for a moment. About a month ago, my husband and I went out to dinner before the opera. Our waitress was diligent at one thing -- avoiding eye contact, with us and another peeved middle-aged couple. A half-hour after we were seated, what we took to be a young tech couple sat down and quickly surmised how challenged the service was. The couple didn't bother trying to flag the waitress; the guy just walked up to a manager and told him what he wanted. The techies were served promptly.

All I could think was: Why didn't we do that? I know why we stayed. We wanted to eat before "The Barber of Seville." But why did we settle for letting ourselves fume and fret -- and pay for the privilege?

San Francisco sets up so many hurdles. Downtown has a shrinking supply of parking lots and a growing surfeit of Google buses and Town Cars. But don't try to buy a takeout lunch without paying for a bag, because bags are bad for the environment.

Everyone would be better off if Scold City treated the people who live, work and shop here more like Google and treated Google less like Twitter.

Somewhere, Larry Ellison's architects must be watching and salivating. They probably have one intern researching Cleopatra's royal barge and another computing how many square feet they can walk onto the water.

Debra J. Saunders

TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Debra Saunders' column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.