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Activists Target San Francisco Tech Award Show With 'Crappie' Alternative

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - Activist groups Monday plan to protest a San Francisco tech awards show which gives out so-called 'Crunchies' by holding their own version - the 'Crappies' - to call attention to what they say are the negative effects of the tech influx.

The groups are set to protest outside Davies Symphony Hall Monday night where industry publications TechCrunch, GigaOM and VentureBeat are holding their annual "Crunchies Awards" to recognize startups, apps and innovations in the tech world.

In a statement, an alliance of groups claiming to represent the poor, seniors, and housing rights,  along with Service Workers International Union Local 1021 say they will 'honor' companies who have 'exacerbated disparities in San Francisco.'

The increase in the number of tech firms in San Francisco is credited with bringing new jobs and improving formerly blighted areas, but critics say the tech influx comes at the expense of the working poor who get priced out of the city because of high rents.

Protesters have frequently railed against the transformation of San Francisco neighborhoods through gentrification and against tax breaks given to companies such as Twitter amid a lack of affordable housing.

In last month's State of the City address, Mayor Ed Lee said the limited housing market is a crisis, but said the backlash against tech firms was "scapegoating."

The activist groups say some of their 'Crappie' awards will include the 'out-of-control enemy of rent control' award, and the 'eyes wide shut tinted glass transportation' award, the latter referring to companies such as Facebook and Google providing shuttle buses to their workers.

The city and companies say the private shuttle buses, which to critics have become symbolic of the gentrification and rising rents, remove thousands of vehicles from roads while reducing carbon pollution.

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