Beyond the Protest: What Does SF Want from Twitter?

Beyond the Protest

En Español.

On the day of Twitter’s Initial Public Offering, protestors rallied outside the tech company’s headquarters on Market Street. Moving past the symbolism of protesting the newfound wealth of some of Twitter’s employees and investors, Mission Local asked protestors what they want to see the company do for the community.

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45 Comments

  1. John

    Seems a rather diffused and ill-defined set of objectives. Generic complaints about homelessness and evictions doesn’t really translate into tangible and quantifiable things that it is reasonable to ask Twitter to do.

    A better approach would be for a carefully selected, smaller group to be tasked with negotiating with Twitter on perhaps some charitable donations and volunteer hours. Or of course have the city do that.

    And as the piece notes, Twitter were in fact required to do this as part of the tax deal and have, according to another account I read, been diligent about fulfilling that commitment.

    So I think this protest was more symbolic than goal-oriented. Given how the whole Occupy movement fizzled out because it was too broad and vague in its objectives, these protesters might like to develop some more focus if they wish to have any impact.

    And let’s not forget that the use of the word “subsidy” here is highly misleading. Twitter is paying less tax but they are still paying a lot of tax. And the reason the city gave them a break was precisely because of the benefits of the city, both tangible and intangible, of having businesses like Twitter here rather than somewhere else.

    • C. Russo

      So what do we get for Twitter’s nearly $2 million tax break? Apparently, not much. See “Twitter, Other Tech Companies Get S.F. Tax Breaks but Show Little Progress Hiring in Neighborhood” at http://bit.ly/1i836eo

      Also, Occupy Wall Street did not “fizzle out.” It was violently repressed by concerted national law enforcement actions.

      • You mean a tax break on a payroll tax that no other municipality in California charges? That’s what they got. And it’s only for a limited time. If SF tries to stupidly re-assert that tax, then you can bet Twitter and many others will start looking elsewhere. There’s sane public policy (fixing the housing crisis by encouraging high, dense buildings around company HQs like Twitter that are required to include affordable units) and insane (a CITY tax on payrolls that no other city or state govt. in their right mind would try).

        • John

          Yeah, all states and cities try and attract businesses, and particularly successful businesses, through a variety of tax and regulatory breaks.

          Often these are in rundown areas, which get called “Enterprise Zones”, and where incentives and inducements are given because they are repaid many times over.

          I think what we are seeing with these “protests” (was it all of 40 people?) is that there is always a small element in SF who hates anyone who is successful and feels far more comfortable with failure.

          With the IPO done and dusted, this will fizzle out and really isn’t newsworthy.

      • John

        Occupy camps were only broken up by the cops in a few cities. And even there they could have set up elsewhere. Ed Lee even offered them a place.

        No, Occupy fizzled out because it became cold and started to rain, so they all went home to mom for a cup of hot chocolate and a shower.

        It turned out that a few people not washing didn’t change the world. Who’d have thought it?

        • two beers

          The only people not bathing are the filthy rich you shill for.

          • John

            Is there no room for political differences in this town?

            Or do we all have to be mindless kneejerk liberals?

            The city is changing as people tire of the failure of so-called “progressive” politics, and the new wave of jobs and housing is a part of that transformational demographic..

            Smart people adapt and evolve; the rest whine passively.

          • two beers

            John,

            You’re the one who rants and rages about the unwashed Occupy horde, and Now you’re just gushing non-sequitors.

            But to answer your non-sequitors:

            Just like the Democratic Party, SF has liberal and tolerant social policies.

            Just like Democratic Party, SF is run by powerful corporate interests that use those liberal and tolerant social policies to disguise the reality that, apart from the masquerading social tolerance, the important laws are written BY and FOR bankers and large-holding landlords.

            Gay marriage, marijuana, black presidents, et al: it’s all focus-grouped smokescreen for the economic rape and pillage which the wealthy are now conducting.

          • John

            If the US is run for corporations, then why do many of them complain that their competitiveness vs foreign companies is compromized by, for example, the very high rate of US corporate tax? Or environmental and employee regulations that other nations do not have?

            And it is even worse in high-tax and high-regulation CA and SF? Which is why we had to bribe Twitter to stay in town.

            Even if I accept there is pro-business bias, so what? Most people work for large businesses and so benefit from that employment as well as the products and services they provide. Moreover, those business are huge earners of foreign revenues – US brands are global and addictive.

            “The business of America is business” was said 100 years ago but remains true today.

        • Mark

          Have you seen the recent mayoral election returns in New York City? Did you see the campaign deBlasio ran? Seems like the kids went home, took a shower, had a cup of hot chocolate and went out, worked their asses off, and won a historic, make that Historic, victory. Best fizzle we’ve seen in a long time.

          • John

            Mark, why is a Democrat winning in New York significant? And what does that have to do with San Francisco, let alone the Mission?

            My point was simply that protests that are not focused tend to be ineffective. Nothing you have said changes or refutes that.

  2. Bob

    How dare they bring high paying jobs to San Francisco!?!

    They have a lot of work to do to make up for blighting the community with their success, and making all those grim old people feel sad.

    At a minimum, Twitter should build houses for all the homeless, build me a hot tub and find me a boyfriend, not necessarily in that order. OK GET GOING.

  3. This ongoing “these techies are evil” and “screw you Google bus” BS is ticking me off. Because it’s pointing fingers at the WRONG CULPRIT. The City government has the power to encourage more affordable housing: cut the red tape and tell the NIMBY’s to take a hike so that buildings can be built higher where they are already zoned to be so (e.g. SoMa, Mid-Market, Van Ness, etc.), force developers of these bigger buildings to create actual affordable UNITS – not just contribute to some pie in the sky housing fund, and encourage more rental stock (make it easier to be a reasonable, rational, fair landlord – not treat all landlords like boogeymen like the current Rent Board does). But, we got the government we deserve – we prefer to point fingers to justify our special causes versus pragmatic solutions to actual problems.

    • two beers

      Oh, please. The developers run this town and get 99% of what they want. Like entitled wealthy crybabies everywhere, if they aren’t given 100% of what they want, they whine that they are being oppressed by a communist government tyranny. San Francisco is being run as a piggy bank for vulture capitalists and their Wall St backers; this welfare for the wealthy is destroying the country.

      • John

        I’d be willing to bet that your home was built by an evil “developer”, that you are employed by an evil “capitalist” and that most of your food, energy, healthcare and recreation is provided by evil “private enterprise”.

        • two beers

          Well, you lose, then. My house was built by the homeowners after the Great Fire, and I own my own business.

          Private enterprise isn’t inherently evil. I do oppose government-sanctioned oligopoly. which constitutes most of Big Business today.

          • John

            Just because you rebuild a house that was burned down using a (private sector) insurance company claim doesn’t mean that that building wasn’t originally constructed by a developer.

            Back then the government didn’t build many homes, and they don’t now either. It was speculators and developers.

            But my point was to show the contradiction of many here who use the word “developer” as a slur, while enjoying the fruits of the risks that developers took.

            Nor do I buy the other flawed dichotomy that small businesses are “good” but if they do well and become a big business, then they suddenly become evil.

          • two beers

            “risks”??

            ha ha, that’s a good one.

            Privatize the profits, socialize the losses, it’s the new way.

            When this bubble crashers, the banks and VCs will be bailed out once again,. The developers will have long vanished,.

            Is there no end to the stream of banal, cliche, and hypocritical libertarianism you spew, superman?

          • John

            TwoBeers, if you think there is no risk to real estate investment then you clearly have no experience of it. There are any number of things that can go wrong that will leave you with a loss, especially in a place like SF where the laws are complex and tricky, and juries think nothing of sticking owners with six figure awards for things that would be a non issue almost everywhere else.

            Or, again specific to SF, you can be stuck for decades with the “tenants from hell” paying a low rent and endlessly crowing about their “rights”.

            Or the market can whipsaw you. And so on.

            Why don’t you actually talk to a landlord rather than spewing hatred at the people who provide you with a home?

  4. Bob

    The City payroll tax has been driving jobs out of SF for years and should be abolished for everyone, not just temporarily for some tech companies. It drives all the jobs to the suburbs. This is what people should be protesting about.

    • John

      I agree, Bob. But what it makes it worse is that the Balkanized nature of the Bay Area means that it’s not just low-tax Texas or Nevada that is stealing our jobs. It’s cities just a few miles away like, in this case, Brisbane.

      It’s no coincidence that most of the larger tech companies are in the lower tax and more business-friendly counties of San Mateo and Santa Clara.

      Only in San Francisco is success and prosperity viewed as somehow suspect and undesirable.

      • two beers

        Yeah, some of us don’t look kindly on “success and prosperity” when that “success and prosperity” is achieved through destroying families.

        • John

          More emotional twaddle. No families are “destroyed” when someone achieves success. What happens is that that successful enterprise typically employs members of that family, or provides products and services that help their lives.

          Your myth is the old socialist myth that if one person prospers, it can only be because some other person fails. But a rising tides lifts all boats and the poor in SF are still wealthier than the poor in most other places. Trickle down may have been discredited but it is real enough in practice.

          Some of us do not buy the saccharine, maudlin victim card that you are playing.

          • nutrisystem

            While it is theoretically possible for a “rising tide to lift all boats”, that is surely not what is happening in the USA where the rich have captured the legislative and regulatory mechanisms of the society.

            Instead, we have a grotesque and worsening disparity of wealth and income, with a tiny minority getting all the “lift” while everyone else works harder to just barely pay the bills (if they have a job).

            Yes, John, greed does destroy families. a little at a time. That $50M CEO payday doesn’t come from outer space, it comes from the paychecks of the little people.

            Make no mistake: class war is being waged by the rich upon everyone else. It’s waged in stealth mode – its success being dependent on invisibility, patience and relentless propaganda.

            This war has been remarkably successful at neutering the political consciousness of the masses, but there are limits. Eventually the disparity between the “our greed is good for you” propaganda and the grim reality of a person’s diminishing purchasing power grows too great, and he realizes he’s been had.

            Right now, millions of hard working Americans are having such realizations. And further, they are realizing that course correction through democracy no longer works – because bribery is now legal and universal. There are massive strains building up in the brittle structure of society.

            Twitter, and it’s “newly minted millionaires” and the resulting hyperinflation of housing costs for everybody else, is one little piece of the troubling pattern – a footnote in the story of America’s decline.

          • John

            Again, you trot out the myth that if one person is rich, it can only be because he somehow “took” that wealth from lots of much poorer people.

            The reality is that someone like Bill Gates did not make anyone poor, and in fact made a lot of other people rich. If he had failed, you and I would not be richer.

            And the poor in the US are still much richer than the poor in most other places. That’s because they get buoyed up on the tide of prosperity created by others.

            Finally, all this talk of “inequality” is just so much class warfare rhetoric. If Bill Gates moves in next door to me, my block becomes more unequal, but how van you infer from that that I become poorer as a result? If anything, I will become wealthier as he spends his wealth locally.

            The sooner we lose this petty politics of ency, the sooner people will realize that Twitter etc. make us all richer, not poorer. Ask people in Detroit what they think about that.

          • two beers

            there’s no rising tide.

            there’s only the Titanic, swamping everything in its path.

          • John

            I’m sorry our booming knowledge economy isn’t working for you personally. And that you respond to that by lashing out at those who have the skills and aptitude to flourish from it.

            But envy is always an ugly thing, even when it is dressed up as “social justice” in one of those “lipstick on a pig” tactics that the more bitter elements of our society routinely resort to.

          • Mark

            Speaking of our booming knowledge economy – Google is rumored to be planning a campus in SF!

            http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2013/11/13/google_eyeing_mission_bay_for_san_francisco_move.php

  5. ThatGuy

    John — keep fighting the good fight brother.

    • John

      Thanks, ThatGuy, but I’m not fighting anyone or anything.

      It’s those who protest who (I presume) don’t like this or that or the other.

      Overall, I think the world operates fairly well and fairly, so I invest my time in describing reality rather than prescribing alternative realities.

      If one envy-ridden whiner sees the light as a result, my journey will not have been in vain.

  6. Native Born

    I find it fascinating that John needs to always get in the last word. It is almost like s/he sits in front of a computer all day representing “a small element in SF who hates anyone” who stands in solidarity with the workers who make the coffee and clean the streets and teach the children. What a fascinating case study this John represents.

    • John

      Au contraire, NativeBoy, I frequently cede the last word to others. But it amuses me that you think I cannot multi-task, and so squat here all day. It really doesn’t take much effort to periodically check in and proffer a few modest words.

      I don’t hate “workers” at all. In fact, I am one.

      But since I “fascinate” you, you will surely be delighted to know that my rates for one-on-one tuition and cultural alignment are surprisingly affordable.

      • Native Born

        Yawn.

        • John

          With a useless, snide throwaway comment like that, you might as well admit that you lost the debate and have no argument to offer.

          • debate referee

            Your “last word” about thirty minutes after Native Born’s comment (after a four day break) proves his or her point beautifully.

          • John

            But he didn’t have a point. That was my point.

            Comments should be made about the topic and not about other posters. If you think my posts aren’t valid, then either refute them, ignore them or complain to the hosts of this space.

            Snide personal attacks aren’t cool.

          • debate referee

            His or her point was about your obsessive need to get in the last word. And you keep proving it.

          • John

            You’re the one sounding obsessed, “referee”.

            With me. Why?

    • godzuki

      I believe that’s called “trolling”. Which is sad because, while I disagree with most of John’s comments here and hesitate to give him the attention he apparently really wants/needs, I do think hearing his rationale and opinion is valuable.

      • John

        Thank you for the observation, godzuki.

        Note that it isn’t “trolling” which is in any event usually just an allegation made by someone who is losing a debate and/or cannot stand to hear any contrary opinions.

        Since this site has no political bias or agenda, the default position is surely that all political viewpoints are equally welcome and valid here. As such, trolling isn’t possible in any normal and reasonable sense of that word.

      • ignoring john is bliss

        37 comments in this thread.
        16 comments by ‘John’.

        Definite troll and likely astroturfer.
        The C.W. Nevius of MissionLocal.

    • ignoring john is bliss

      Not only the last word but often the first, too.

      His pinhole-perspective point-of-view is patently predictible.
      It’s easy enough to skip past any post authored by ‘John’.
      He, she or it add nothing to any discussion here.

      • ignoring john is bliss

        “John needs to always get in the last word.”

        He’ll respond here just to prove the point.

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