I lived in San Francisco for four years and the little city had some tech startups, but its clear that the South Bay is the heart and soul of Silicon Valley.
SF, in my opinion, is controlled by old money (ie Pacific Heights), but those folks support and fund various constituencies, leading them to believe they are in control.
In my time in SF, Gavin Newsom (a product of the establishment) was fighting to end twice monthly $250 cash payments to people ‘registered’ as homeless (Newsom figured out that drug over doses spiked in the days following the cash pay outs! Imagine that.)
San Francisco, unlike most other cities in Silicon Valley, has a 1.5% payroll tax. And even more stunning is that they consider gains on stock options part of payroll, meaning that any San Francisco based company going public or being acquired could get hit with a massive tax bill in the tens of millions of dollars.
They’ve got Twitter jumping through hoops to avoid the tax. The company will be forced to move to a new location in order to get a six year payroll tax break. But only if the Board of Supervisors votes to approve the legislation on Wednesday. The upside is that Twitter employees will have immediate physical access to prostitutes, drugs and weapons – the qualifying area isn’t exactly an up and coming neighborhood.
The city isn’t thanking Twitter for bringing all these high paying jobs to San Francisco, either. Rather, some supervisors don’t want the tax break at all, and seem quite willing to see Twitter bail to tax-free Brisbane. Says Supervisor John Avalos: “Who are the [Twitter] investors? Probably some of the wealthiest people in this country. And we are giving them more wealth.”
The stupidity of that statement is self evident.
Well said Mr. Arrington. Thanks for highlighting the divide between those who build the future and those who try to bleed them.