Los Angeles Times

Bay Area falling behind on quake safety despite booming tech economy

SAN FRANCISCO - Property values are soaring to stratospheric levels. The tech economy is booming, fueling fast-paced development and spending on home renovations that ranks among the nation's highest.

But at a time of unparalleled prosperity in the Bay Area, there is growing concern that the region is not using more of its largesse to prepare for its greatest natural threat: a major earthquake.

The Bay Area was once the national leader in seismic safety. Just five years ago, San Francisco made history by becoming the first of California's largest cities to require property owners to retrofit wood-frame apartments at serious risk of collapse in a major quake, like the one that destroyed much of the city in 1906.

Since then, however, new efforts have stalled in San Francisco and other surrounding cities, while communities in Southern California have expanded mandatory seismic retrofitting efforts. Some quake safety experts worry the Bay Area is missing a key opportunity to take advantage of the booming economy to make more fixes.

There are an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 brittle concrete buildings in San Francisco - a building type that

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