Karthaks from Horsehead Nebula have three heads, while Itrieans from the Andromeda Galaxy have none. The two races have been at war for centuries over the use of transitive verbs. But there’s one thing that they, like every visitor from a galaxy far, far away , can agree on: having a second home in San Francisco.
As they come to visit the All Worlds Fair, hundreds of visitors from across the universe who never gave Earth a second though are liking what they see in San Francisco and putting money down on houses, condos, and T.I.C.s.
That’s good news for the city’s tax base and economy, said Mayor Ed Lee.
“San Francisco is famous around the world, and now I guess the universe, for being a diverse, exciting, city full of life and energy,” Lee said at a press conference. “That reputation has once again paid off.”
According to a report Lee commissioned from his Economic Development Task Force, each silicon based life form that purchases a San Francisco home brings an annual $6,000 to the economy in addition to the property taxes, while sentient clouds of poisonous vapor that purchase a condo bring in $3,500, and reptiles that take on the form of attractive humans in order to lay eggs in members of the opposite sex each bring in an average of $2,000, plus an additional $500 per hatchling.
“That really adds up,” said a beaming Lee. “That’s good for our economy, and our chronic homelessness problem.”
Not everyone welcomes our long-distance residents, however. An increasing number of tenant groups say that space aliens purchasing expensive, high-end, units are pushing rents up across the city. The result, according to a recent report from the Comptrollers office, is that extra-terrestrials are driving artists, minorities, and middle class families out of San Francisco.
“The people getting kicked out are the people who make our city so great!” said Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. “Who do you want living in your neighborhoods, making decisions that affect your lives, and deciding what kind of stores open and close? People who have made a real commitment to civic life, or space monsters who are going to fly in four times a year to eat Gary Danko and see Alcatraz?”
“They say they come in peace,” Shortt added, “but as a Valencia Street resident I can say first hand: they’re Weapons of Mass Eviction.”
A recent article in the SF Weekly by Albert Samaha also suggested that the economic benefits the aliens bring are sadly down to Earth.
“In fact, the average alien in San Francisco costs $24,000 annually in services like fire crews, toxic clean-ups, and hospital visits caused by monsters that leap out of the chests of people who work in the tech industry,” Samaha wrote. “That’s far in excess of the money they’re projected to bring to the city each year.”
A spokesman for Mayor Lee called those numbers “skewed,” and said the whole city can be excited about new, alien-friendly, development projects. The controversial 8 Washington project, for example, is being re-tooled to focus on extra-terrestrial buyers, and will now include amenities such as balconies with private radio-telescopes, a rooftop death ray, and a garage for cars that transform into robots.
Prices will range from studios with a Murphy-bed that can double as a cloning lab, for $1,200,000, to two-bedrooms with nitrogen atmosphere and industrial frozen carbonite chamber for $1.800,000.
One of the alien buyers, Tarmok of the Feldian Hive, said San Franciscans shouldn’t be threatened by creatures like him living here. “We’re buying because we love this city just the way it is. We don’t want to change anything,” he said through a translator. “Except for all the coffee. We don’t like that. We’re hoping to replace coffee shops with tungsten bars. You’ll never notice that, right? Also, too many bridges. And too much water.”
“SF’s perfect as it is,” he added. “But wouldn’t it be even better as a frozen wasteland? I’m just thinking out loud.”