Liberal billionaires duel over who wants to help San Francisco homeless more
At the midterm elections next month, residents of the ultra-liberal city will be asked to vote on Proposition C – a new tax amounting to approximately 0.5 percent on revenues above $50 million for businesses headquartered in the city.
The tax, which would affect Twitter, Uber, Wells Fargo, Gap, and dozens of other major multinationals, could bring in $300 million per year, doubling the city’s homelessness budget.
But Jack Dorsey, an avowed liberal, spoke out against the idea.
“I want to help fix the homeless problem in SF and California. I don’t believe this (Prop C) is the best way to do it,” he tweeted.
I want to help fix the homeless problem in SF and California. I don’t believe this (Prop C) is the best way to do it. I support Mayor @LondonBreed and @Scott_Wiener’s commitment to address this the right way. Mayor Breed was elected to fix this. I trust her. https://t.co/EsxapfDvtI— jack (@jack) October 12, 2018
Instead, Dorsey asked residents to support the newly-elected Democrat mayor of the city, London Breed, who has not endorsed the proposal. Breed has promised to audit the money that is already being spent, to see if it is actually tackling the problem, which has worsened in lockstep with the city’s wealth.
The tweet caught the attention of Benioff, one of the main ideologues of Proposition C, who is spending over $1 million of his own money to lobby and advertise for it.
And right off the bat, he made it personal.
Hi Jack. Thanks for the feedback. Which homeless programs in our city are you supporting? Can you tell me what Twitter and Square & you are in for & at what financial levels? How much have you given to heading home our $37M initiative to get every homeless child off the streets?— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) October 12, 2018
Dorsey argued that he was simply being reasonable.
Scroll up, B: I’m supporting the Mayor’s plan. The one you've decided to ignore. She's simply asking for accountability and control. Let's listen to her and let her lead. If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it, and work with you to fix. I trust her. Thank you!— jack (@jack) October 12, 2018
Benioff, also a liberal, countered that the benefits from the tax would be specific and tangible.
San Francisco Office of Economic Analysis concluded that the Prop C funding would reduce the homeless population, providing housing for 5,000 people, creating 1,000 new shelter beds, & pouring as much as $75 million into the city’s mental-health programs. https://t.co/TsZ4VFXVWm— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) October 13, 2018
In the end, rather than continuing the fight online, the two men, whose combined wealth exceeds $10 billion, decided to take it offline.
Marc and I talked on the phone. Also talked with Mayor London this afternoon. We’re all talking now and aligned to fix this issue as fast as we can. Will keep everyone updated. pic.twitter.com/3dg5dkkQP6— jack (@jack) October 13, 2018
The internecine warfare split those online.
History will not be kind to you, Jack.— Adriel Hampton #Yeson10 (@adrielhampton) October 12, 2018
How is this open, honest, and transparent? He's asking voters to trust that he knows best (and coincidentally, that a tiny tax increase on his business is definitely bad) without putting forth any alternatives.— Kill-y Ellis 🔪🎃 (@justkelly_ok) October 13, 2018
ugh benioff is peak virtue signaller— Riva (@rivatez) October 9, 2018
On behalf of San Franciscans who know this is a binary issue — and support the homeless — thanks @Benioff for verbally schooling @jack on his own social media platformhttps://t.co/q1lJ1yPGZDpic.twitter.com/KQMcfObKvf— Joe Fitz Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) October 12, 2018
But while some insisted that the vote is a straightforward pro or anti-homeless referendum, whatever the decision in November finding the right combination between compassion, toughness and effectiveness, is going to be a challenge for the Democrat-dominated city hall, where every new administration has come in with the best of intentions.
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