Youths, tech workers duel over San Francisco field

AP News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2014 3:58 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Teenage soccer players in San Francisco won an off-field victory over the city's technology workers after a videotaped confrontation gained national attention.

Parks officials have agreed to stop allowing adults to reserve a soccer field in the Mission District neighborhood, a decision that followed an August standoff pitting young, longtime residents against workers at online companies Dropbox and Airbnb, The San Francisco Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/1oeCS0b ).

The soccer-field confrontation heightened some people's resentment against the Bay Area's well-paid tech workers, who are seen as contributors to rising rents in San Francisco. The creation of thousands of new tech jobs in the Bay Area has helped give San Francisco the fastest-growing income gap between rich and poor in the country, according to a 2013 report by the Brookings Institution.

The video, posted in September, shows tech workers arguing with younger soccer players over the field. In the recording, tech workers show up at a Mission Playground soccer field to say they had paid $27 online to reserve the field for their soccer game.

The younger players said they had played pickup games there, without reservations, all their lives.

"You guys think just because you got money you can buy the field," a young man, who said he had played games there since childhood, told tech workers on the video.

Dropbox said in a statement that it was "disappointed to learn that a couple of our employees weren't respectful to this community."

The recording has received more than a half-million views on YouTube and spurred at least one protest at City Hall. San Francisco's parks department announced the policy change for the field after a meeting last week with some of the neighborhood soccer players shown on the recording.