Golden Gates And Its Heroes


Reading the "Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing In America" by Conor Dougherty is best from the back of the book, the acknowledgements section. His background is more than just reporting on economics for The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. But that is not disclosed on the sleeve of the book and the skepticism might creep up otherwise.

The book reads somewhat like a "Who's Who" list of San Francisco residents, only with fewer names and more opportunity to look at each one as an individual and understand where they are coming from. What have they been up to since the publication?

Looking up Sonja Trauss, one of the people mentioned the most in the book, on Google, she is still very much involved in the housing dilemma and has started a new nonprofit called YIMBY Law. The website features plenty of educational material as well as clearly defined steps for activism.

Jesshill Love continues to work as an attorney, with the last mention of him in the news being in the 2018 New York Times article on taxes and housing. Not much else is available besides his professional biography on the law firms' website. Getting a copy of Dougherty's book or scrolling through the court cases would be the best way to learn more.

Scott Wiener remains the State Senator for California representing San Francisco along with a few other cities. His Google rating is four stars out of five (rounded). The top comment is recent and thanks him for his accomplishments in the area of housing costs and overall infrastructure. His campaign to be reelected in 2020 promises to prioritize "the repair of California's broken down housing system" and the bills are summarized in the issues section of his website.

There has been no mention of Sister Christina Heltsley in the online news since about February/March 2020, mostly as part of the review of the "Golden Gates" book. She is probably one of the most vivid personalities from the exposé. The Business Insider article, very accurately, portrays her as a savvy player in the private equity game. She is on Facebook but not on Twitter.

David Goodmon, on the other hand, the gentrification activist, does maintain a Twitter profile. His nonprofit, The Crenshaw Subway Coalition, is working on housing issues in the Los Angeles area. Among them is a fundraiser to purchase an abandoned construction project.

Other names included an economist and a professor Edward Glaeser who is featured in an online Harvard podcast analyzing whether cities are the best place to live in; Tony Lagiss, a real estate agent; and families who were forced to move from one place to another due to pricing changes. Unfortunately, out of everyone listed - lawyers, politicians and real estate participants, no one is an accountant or a tax professional. That is one input that would have helped complete the story.


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