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December 6, 2013 at 6:03 AM
Seattle vs. San Francisco showdown: Which is the better city?
Seattle has for too long been labeled a “smaller San Francisco.” We see the similarities. Like San Francisco, Seattle is made up of neighborhoods on hills. Both cities are shrouded in grey. The politics of both are proudly left.
But Seattle is not a lesser San Francisco. It’s a better San Francisco.
A San Francisco editorial writer seems to think differently in a post that went up this morning. As if. We’ll still continue to proclaim our superiority this week as the Seahawks prepare to take on the 49ers. Seattle trounced San Francisco earlier this season at CenturyLink Field, when the fans broke the sound record. Two S.F. fans called for the NFL to punish a team for fan noise in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle. I called the letter-writers wussy babies in an earlier blog post. We’re not only louder, Seattle is better in a number of other ways:
San Francisco, we have news for you. You’re no longer the leftiest city on the left coast. In 2012, our state voters legalized same-sex marriage with Referendum 74. (California voters rejected same-sex marriage with Proposition 8.) Washington state also legalized recreational marijuana with Initiative 502. Eat your liberal heart out.
Seattle summers are sublime. Our 70-degree days don’t end until the sun sinks at 10 p.m. S.F. summer? Whether Mark Twain said it or not, the coldest winter we ever had was summer in San Francisco. Granted, there is more rain in Seattle during the other nine months of the year. Stay tuned. Our winters will be warming up over the next century with climate change.
If you claim the Bay Area’s music is better, you’re living in the past. Gone are the days of Jefferson Airplane and hippie rock in Haight-Ashbury. And the Hyphy music scene from the late ’90s isn’t cool anymore, not even in an ironic way. Sure, a Seattle music newbie might only name Nirvana and Heart and say we peaked years ago. But we’ve blossomed again and are on the national conscious, again. Ever heard of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis? And our indie rock scene is just as strong as our great local hip-hop: Death Cab for Cutie, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, The Head and the Heart. The list goes on. Advantage: Seattle.
The Bay Area has the better nationally recognized beer brands, such as Anchor, Lagunitas and 21st Amendment (what’s up with that watermelon beer?). They’ve got distribution, we’ll give them that. But need a draft in Seattle and it’ll likely come from a local microbrewery, or even from some guy or gal brewing in a garage. We take our hyperlocal microbrewing seriously and support the startups among us. One stat sums this up nicely: capita per brewery. Granted, we’re using the statewide data, but Washington state has a capita per brewery of 41,767 in 2012 according to the Brewers Association. Compare that to California’s, which is 114,628. Stay thirsty, my friends.
We’ll give you this one. In San Francisco, one can hail a cab on the street. We’re waiting for Seattle City Council to end the monopoly it’s running for the taxi industry. The Bay Area also has BART.
Congratulations on Twitter’s initial public offering. We wish you well, as all your paper millionaires drive real-estate prices even more out of reach. Seattle has Amazon.com and Microsoft, but we’re proud to note that our city also still makes things, like airplanes. We still ship things, because we still have a port. In other words, we are a city that supports jobs for all, not just software engineers. The success of your Internet companies has spawned a war between the artists and the “entitled” engineers, as reported in this New York Times story “Backlash by the Bay.” That entitled attitude is a region-wide problem, according to a Wall Street Journal column “Silicon Valley Has an Arrogance Problem.” People are leaving your city in droves, according to an Atlantic Cities article, “The San Francisco Exodus.”
That Atlantic article doesn’t even mention the most notable departure of all: the 49ers. Your football team has also decided to leave San Francisco. Next year, it’s moving to Santa Clara.
What do you think? Which city is better? We want to hear your smack talk leading up to the Seattle-San Francisco Sunday showdown. Leave a comment in the form below and it might be used to proclaim the virtues of your chosen city in a follow-up post. You can also participate on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #SEATTLEorSF. Reader responses are pouring in, collected in this post.
Nikolaj Lasbo, Web producer/editor for opinion digital engagement, contributed to this post.