By Tim Redmond
The email out of the Mayor’s Office was very explicit: “This invitation is for CEO’s (sic) and senior executives only and is not transferable.” The lucky few, all from the tech industry, were asked to join the mayor for a private, closed-door lunch meeting at the offices of Salesforce at One Market to discuss “the future of San Francisco and the tech sector.”
It was signed by Carl Nicita, who works in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. I was handed a copy by union activists; the likes of me clearly aren’t invited to this stuff.
The meeting, the invite said, would be co-hosted by Salesforce and Ron Conway, who is tech’s biggest lobbyist in the city.
So I wandered down to One Market at noon; at the very least, I hoped to catch Mayor Lee on his way in and ask him who the other guests were, what was on the agenda – and why he was holding this meeting, in secret, when he’s never held an open town-hall meeting on housing and gentrification, or had anything more than a pre-planned, canned discussion with the supervisors in public. It seems that the future of San Francisco, and the role of the booming tech industry, is something that doesn’t involve the rest of us.
I can guess, though, that a lot of what the mayor and his tech buds talked about is politics and PR. The tech folks aren’t all that popular in San Francisco there days, in large part because of the wave of evictions flooding through the city, and to some extent due to their own arrogance. So the mayor’s trying to figure out how to turn things around, and I suspect he suggested that maybe these wealthy companies start doing more charitable work. Or something.
But that’s not the message that SEIU Local 1021, which represents city workers, was sending. (more after the break)