Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

#ThrownOutByTwitter: Upset San Franciscans Plan IPO Day Protest

Many newly minted millionaires will be tweeting all the way to the bank come Twitter’s IPO kickoff. But at least a few San Franciscans won’t be celebrating.

Activist group San Francisco Rising has planned a protest to occur outside of Twitter’s Bay Area headquarters on Thursday morning, an attempt to remind the company of the “severe crisis of affordability” other non-millionaire San Francisco residents face. Twitter plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, and could raise up to $1.75 billion in the offering.

The group’s biggest beef: Twitter received a nice tax break from the city of San Francisco in 2011, a deal that ultimately kept the fast-growing company from exiting the city and relocating to another, as it threatened to do years ago. But because of that break, the city stands to lose up to $50 million in possible taxes.

That’s a massive amount of cash that, according to San Francisco Rising, could have been funneled into the city’s general fund and used to promote social services and public health initiatives. (Counterpoint: Were Twitter to have left the city, San Francisco would have seen no payroll taxes from the company whatsoever.)

Not to mention the part that Twitter may play in San Francisco’s staggeringly high property rental rates. “An average one bedroom apartment here is $2,800 a month,” the group wrote on its website. “The city has seen more than 400 more evictions this year than last.”

San Francisco Rising, which describes itself as a “young electoral alliance that builds the political power of working class communities of color in San Francisco,” plans to be out in front of Twitter’s mid-Market Street headquarters bright and early Thursday morning.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald