Screw you Jack Dorsey. You probably haven’t heard that very often in your life, at least not in a meaningful way. Sure you probably get anonymous strangers and bots trolling you, you know, the way that your platform Twitter emboldens, but this is not me trolling. This is a well thought out and meaningful middle finger.
You should be ashamed of yourself. The nerve of coming out against Proposition C, a measure that would get 4000 homeless people off the street, is disgusting. Especially considering that we are in the depths of a homelessness crisis exacerbated by a tax break that your company is most closely associated with. Yes, the Twitter Tax Break, that Pandora’s Box of hyper-gentrification, the corporate giveaway that’s helped ruin America’s greatest city, has allowed you to build a personal fortune of something like $5.4 billion, and yet you feel no compunction.
The thing is Jack, some of those people who sleep in the streets each night do so because of you. As your company, and others like it, were able to rapidly grow on account of these tax breaks, thousands of new jobs were created. The problem is, those jobs didn’t go to the folks who lost employment in the Great Recession; people were imported from all over the world to fill these positions, and they needed places to live. So landlords raised rents and evicted people and those who had nowhere else to go, ended up on the street.
According to the San Francisco homelessness count, over 70 percent of The City’s homeless population had SF addresses before they lived on the street. Some of those people are homeless specifically so you could amass a $5.6 billion fortune, and yet you think it’s unreasonable for companies that make over $50 million a year to kick in $1750 for every million dollars made in order to fix this problem. It’s a .175 to .69 percent tax; it’s virtually a rounding error.
Your reasoning for opposing it is just as ridiculous. You’re very obviously not a dumb man, and I imagine you’re not naïve either, so when you chalk it up to “I trust Mayor Breed, State Senator Weiner, and State Assemblyman Chiu to fix it” something seems off. All three of these politicians have had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars donated to their campaigns from the tech and real estate industries. And as a result, they’ve used legislation to help smooth the way for these industries to make billions. Of course they are going to come out and fight against this tax, that’s literally why you and your cronies paid so much to get them elected. They are continuing to curry favor because they want to make sure you’ll continue to fill their coffers the next time they run. But you knew that already, didn’t you Jack?
Now I know there are a number of other big business folks who are acting just as despicably as you are by giving money to fight against Prop. C. – which I will reiterate puts a tiny tax on any companies that make over $50 million a year. Lyft, Stripe, the SF Hotel Council, the SF Chamber of Commerce, and venture capitalist Michael Mortiz are just some of the folks who should be ashamed of themselves.
But the reason I’m coming after you Jack is because, while fighting against Prop C. is inhumane, what you allow to occur on Twitter every single day is monstrous. Building your fortune off the displacement of communities is bad enough, but making billions off empowering authoritarianism is unconscionable.
Jack, I know that you know that Donald Trump violates Twitter’s terms and conditions all the time. He regularly spreads disinformation, stokes racial animosity, encourages unconstitutional activity, disparages private citizens, and propagates hateful and damaging conspiracy theories. People get suspended and banned from Twitter every day for far less, yet nothing happens to Trump’s account. And look, I get it from a financial point of view; Twitter was doing really poorly until Trump made it his weapon of choice, but come on! How much is the destruction of Democracy worth to you? Isn’t $5.6 billion enough?
I’ve heard your arguments that Twitter functions as a town hall or a town square, and it certainly has the wonderful capability to spread important information and facilitate discourse. Unfortunately it’s used far more powerfully as a pulpit for badgering and bullying, where hidden networks of trolls and bots can be turned upon an individual and make their life hell. This isn’t the information superhighway Jack, it’s the disinformation gridlock traffic jam where vicious conspiracies are passed off as truths and people are misled into undermining their own Democracy.
And not only did you build this Weapon of Mass Disinformation, you are doing nothing to combat the harm it’s doing to our country and our world.
So once again screw you Jack Dorsey. Screw you for helping ruin San Francisco and screw you for emboldening fascism. And oh yeah, screw your weird ugly strappy sandals too.
And, Mr. Benioff, while I commend you for taking on Jack for his homelessness hypocrisy, don’t think that I won’t be discussing yours regarding ICE some day soon.
For everybody else: Vote Yes on Prop C.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his awesome mailing list to stay up on the work he’s doing: http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the Examiner.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An error in the amount of the tax was initially corrected in print, but not online. This story has now been updated to include the correct amount.