On Monday, Oct. 8, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff enthusiastically threw himself behind the effort to pass homeless measure Prop. C, less than one business day after Mayor London Breed, Sen. Scott Wiener, and Assemblyman David Chiu’s coordinated Friday announcement saying they were against it.

Benioff pledged some $2.5 million of his and Salesforce’s money — essentially sextupling the Yes on C campaign’s war chest overnight. He also came out firing: He dropped a dime to CNN, noting that Breed asked him to kick down $8 million to fund a homeless shelter, but is fighting a tax on the city’s wealthiest/highest grossing corporations that would extract some $10 million from him — automatically and without the need for any fanfare.

“If she had Prop. C, she wouldn’t have to call for that money,” Benioff told CNN. “It would already have been given to her. Seems pretty straightforward to me.”

Oof. Insert meme here.

It wasn’t so long ago that left-wingers were protesting Salesforce’s contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But who can remember that now?

Spiking the football, Benioff characterized his fellow San Francisco tech billionaires to the Guardian as miserly ingrates who are “hoarding their money” and turning their backs on a city that helped make them rich — and which they helped to make a bastion of income inequality on par with a developing nation.

As you’d expect, where billionaires and politics and San Francisco meet, few matters are straightforward. And, far from serving as a coup de grâce in the Prop. C battle, Benioff’s massive donation seems to have served as a call to arms.

This city was treated to the spectacle of Benioff and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey jousting over Prop. C via competing tweets — something of the present-day San Francisco equivalent of Godzilla v. Mothra. But it’s not Dorsey who has emerged as the most ardent funder of the No on C campaign. That honor goes to 30-year-old Irish-born Patrick Collison, the CEO of Stripe (and yet another billionaire).


Stripe put $19,999 to the Chamber of Commerce’s anti-C committee back in September. That odd tally put them just below the donation threshold that must be displayed on campaign materials. That delicate concern seems to have gone by the wayside; Stripe dropped $100,000 into No on C’s lap Oct. 11, and followed that up with $300,000 more on Oct. 13 — a total give of $419,999. So far.

But wait, there’s more: On Oct. 15 Michael Moritz — the Sequoia Capital partner and man who has all but certainly been burned in effigy and crafted as a voodoo doll by city left-wing organizers and unionists — put $100,000 into battling Prop. C.

The downtown power structure’s usual suspects have also donated: The Hotel Council on Oct. 10 gave $50,000 toward vanquishing Prop. C; the Committee on Jobs on Oct. 15 gave $30,000; and the Chamber’s own “SF Forward” political action committee put $35,000 more in the pot this month (it has disgorged $90,000 in total). Downtown-leaning PACs tend to donate money to one another as well, so No on C money can travel a circuitous path, obscuring its origin.

Benioff is not without company, however. One Spencer Hudson quietly put $100,000 toward passing Prop. C back in September and, on Oct. 5, donated $25,000 more (Hudson is listed as “retired” on city forms; he was, we are told, also the top signature-gatherer in the effort to get Prop. C onto the ballot).

How will these warring campaigns spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in less than a month? We are told to not worry about that — it’ll get spent. Billionaires’ dollars will be converted into signs, mailers, online ads, and even TV ads.

How will it turn out? Stay tuned. Rather literally.