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Dear Airbnb, We’re Dumping You. Love, San Francisco Tax Payers

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Air BnB: Last night, you had a little too much to drink and told me how you really felt…

air bnb library

A couple days ago, signs and large billboards appeared throughout our beautiful embattled city. A few sentences and a simple white text lying atop a very astringent red. I haven’t seen so few words speak with such volume in a long time. Signed Air Bnb – addressed to the public of San Francisco. Public workers, public libraries and public schools. Air Bnb is but one of the many of the companies doing their part in the erasure of San Francisco. With many participants in this front, from Conway and Lap Dog Lee to many heads of these companies, we’ve only been able to speculate and surmise the breadth of their intention. Until now.

At first the signs seemed just passive aggressive, essentially telling the public of San Francisco to be thankful for the new tax revenue and to spend it wisely. Once you look beyond the simple white text and take a minute to consider everything, we see deeply into the soul of the sociopath, which in itself is a bit oxymoronic. Please consider…

The sheer unmitigated arrogance for even demanding credit, acknowledgement and gratitude for something that all citizens already do and all companies should be doing, but for some reason (cough Lee cough) many of the large companies receive tax breaks and circumnavigate paying them altogether. I’ve been told that the only things certain in life are death and taxes, and if that is so, then the last goal for these people is immortality. Side note: If people argue all these new companies and new money make San Francisco better, but if none of the money goes back into the infrastructure of San Francisco for the public of San Francisco, then who is the benefactor?

Wow.

A photo posted by Eric Eberhardt (@idontlikewords) on

Consider that San Francisco is the most expensive city in the US and is in a desperate housing crisis with Air BnB rentals taking away over 5,000 units and also the disruption and damage that come from many of the renters disregard for long established neighborhoods. Given that, the ONLY measure we have to bring any semblance of regulation and obstruction to the current housing hemorrhage is Prop F. Air Bnb has spent $8 million to fight it using fear and paranoia propaganda. They literally are taking roofs from over people’s heads and are deviously convincing them to distrust each other. Please notice that they paid for billboards shamelessly promoting the $12 million they reluctantly paid in taxes, which is almost the same amount as the money they’ve spent fighting a measure just to ensure that they don’t have to spend that tax money again.

NoPropF

Airbnb’s 8 million dollar ad campaign to use scare tactics (and bs) to stop prop F and avoid real regulation of their business model

Consider how one of the public employees felt seeing those signs -someone who deals with low city budgets and underfunding and low wages. I don’t want to imagine how that smack in the face feels. Imagine a teacher or librarian leaving an apartment they could easily be evicted from, in a city they can no longer afford to live in walking to a bus stop and seeing one of these signs from a company who contributes to their hardship patting themselves on the back about how they’ve “contributed” to San Francisco. Let’s examine the word contribute. Not contributing taxes and to the city, taking many needed housing units and contributing to the house problem isn’t what we need. We need public workers to keep the city moving, librarians to keep the city reading, thinking and imagining and teachers keeping the children engaged and learning. That is the contribution that is necessary to a city’s success. What many of these companies and what the city officials, more importantly, have forgotten is that this is not just about a community, neighborhood or city, but an ecosystem and for it to function properly, it needs every part present or else you have an unsustainable imbalance ie: San Francisco.

vice air bnb
Air Bnb is speaking to you very honestly San Francisco and they are speaking on behalf of many others. They are telling you what they feel about your housing crisis by spending millions to keep it a crisis, they are telling you how, with an air of self-anointed benevolence, they view public jobs and when they advertise them finally paying taxes and actually adding something to the city with such acidic condescension, they are telling you that they are not a part of the city nor do they want to be. I was slightly perplexed when I first encountered these signs. I thought to myself that with the upcoming elections, that they were shooting themselves in the foot for sure. But, when a company feels the confidence and feels secure talking against a city in such a way, it only says that they have the okay from its city officials. The election is near and I hope San Francisco has been listening.

See why voting Yes on Prop F is good for our city and its housing shortage
Please remember to vote 1-2-3 to replace Ed Lee and remember to vote FAIR…

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Jamal Frederick - Second Hand Scribe

Jamal Frederick - Second Hand Scribe

Born in all the jazz that is Fillmore, San Francisco, Jamal has moved all around the beautiful Bay Area. Currently living in the SF diaspora, the married Jamal raises babies, makes cocktails and writes. He is currently working on multiple projects with the most recent being his San Francisco-centric cocktail book: Souvenir. Follow him online, find him, try his drinks, read his writing and have a good conversation with him, he needs adult company...

38 Comments

  1. Jeff
    October 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Where do I even begin:

    1) the startups that employ the tens of thousands of tech workers might be getting tax breaks, but it’s because they employ highly paid employees who ARE getting taxed at a horrifically high rate to prop up the gutters of San Francisco and the welfare state that is California.

    2) affordable housing is great – I support it. But it shouldn’t be in San Francisco. Supply and demand – ever heard of it? Or rather – do you understand it? If I am a landlord, I will lease to the highest bidder 10 out of 10 times. That’s the free market at work.

    Prop F will fail, and hopefully you and the rest of the “keep SF down” crowd will move to Oakland.

    • Leeroy Jenkins
      October 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      No, you should start with a pistol, then you should grab a round…should I finish this? or do you get the picture?

      • inrealtime
        November 2, 2015 at 9:29 am

        yeah, got it, shared. We don’t want people with extreme views like yours to be any part of our City.

    • M Roy Clark
      October 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you for laying bare your perspective, @disqus_ssnJUI7cds:disqus. If I had any doubts before now, you’ve helped me decide to vote Yes on F. Seriously. And by all means, *please* shout this comment from the rooftops. I want everyone to hear this. I believe the more people finally understand that the No on F perspective believes people have no right to remain in their own homes, the closer we will get to returning San Francisco to the people who have loved it all along.

      • harshestreality
        October 28, 2015 at 10:49 am

        You should actually read the text of F before you let some random person’s rant on a website sway you. Read the Chronicle’s rejection of F article. Read Medium’s well researched article. Read the prop text. If you think F is about “affordable housing” you’re grossly misinformed.

      • inrealtime
        October 31, 2015 at 9:16 pm

        wrong. While it many not be the prevailing issue F is a direct contributor to the housing crises. Leasing multi units across the City as a primary tenant and then renting those units as short-term only for hotel services is illegal. So is failure to register those units. There are thousands of units off the market illegally and that is commensurate with unavailable housing.

    • Darf Nader
      October 28, 2015 at 10:09 am

      SF needs affordable housing as a matter of its survival as a healthy city. One example: Do you expect EMTs and cops to all live over in Oakland when the Big One hits and they can’t cross the Bay Bridge because it’s damaged so there is no one there to extract you from the rubble of your crumbling apartment? These are real problems. It’s not a matter of “rights” or “entitlements”. A city is a system and all the parts need to be there for it to function properly.

      • scott_lewis
        October 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        Cops make more than techies. Firefighters make even more than cops. Seriously–most cops are pulling down $150K a year. Get two cops living together and that’s $300K. Nothing to sneeze at.

      • inrealtime
        November 2, 2015 at 9:27 am

        Scott, the starting salary for cops in SF is $81K inclusive of benefits, not net income. Top salary is $113K. Firefighters are $30K. The average tech worker’s salary in Santa Clara County is $211,000; in San Francisco County it’s $157,000. That’s average – not median – and it’s the highest in the nation.

      • Darf Nader
        January 14, 2016 at 11:22 pm

        Seriously? That flies in the face of everything that I have read. Is this adjusted income when you account for pension and so forth or actual salary?

    • inrealtime
      October 31, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks for your remarks. Me and my contact list of 2200, and theirs, and theirs, all SF natives, will definitely vote YES.

  2. Asheville Glamping
    October 26, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Brilliant article.

  3. david
    October 26, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Dear “keep sf down” people.
    Thank you for creating a unique and interesting city. Now please get the fuck out so people with money can enjoy it.
    I’m right there with you Jeff.
    These liberal socialists can go off and die someplace.
    On a sidenote. Many local merchant associations seem to be having a tough time finding retail workers. This fact has gone unnoticed or unreported by the local media (perhaps because it’s relevant news). If anyone knows someone who is willing to travel from an affordable housing area to San Francisco for a shitty retail position, please let them know. A small crisis seems to be starting.

    • cris
      October 27, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Dude, I feel ya…I’m dying to quit my job and take a job working in an LGBT foster group home in the Castro…but, if I do what my heart would love to do, I’d be taking a $5.00/hr pay cut. I simply can’t justify risking my own ability to pay rent, cut my commute time by half, AND do something important to help children who are at a higher risk of abuse and degradation…I imagine this might also be the case with everyone from retail workers to bar tenders and restaurant workers and just about every other service-based employment.

      • inrealtime
        October 31, 2015 at 9:08 pm

        David and Cris, San Francisco was a small cosmopolitan city world famous for its gateway to north and southern California and its historic place in the West. It thrived as a center for hospitality since 1880, look it up. As soon as types like you, who would say something as cold and narcissistic as “now please get the fuck out so people can enjoy it,” think it would be better if it was all about big business and corporate dealings – the “jewel box” of the Pacific is suddenly in trouble.

      • cris
        November 2, 2015 at 8:19 am

        Excuse the fuck outta you, but what do you mean, “As soon as types like you, who would say something as cold and narcissistic as “now please get the fuck out so people can enjoy it,” think it would be better if it was all about big business and corporate dealings “? Are you high? Please, tell me some more about how I’d say something so callous as ‘now please get the fuck out so people can enjoy it”? Progressives MADE the City what it is today, and people posing as progressive claim gentrification is making it ‘better’ here…nothing was wrong with the place! It was beautiful when it was full of artists and various cultures living WITH each other instead of one ‘class’ doing everything in it’s considerable power to flush the City of the other ‘class’…I’d love to know how it is that Broke-Ass Me is the one shitting on What-Used-To-Be?! Bitch.

      • inrealtime
        November 2, 2015 at 9:10 am

        Chris, you’re taking the comment to David as meant for you; which it is not, those were his words. Maybe tomorrow’s vote can mitigate some of the damage that this Mayor has inflicted on the City.

      • cris
        November 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm

        I also think you have an issue understanding David’s sarcasm. HE’S not saying ‘nice city, now get the fuck out’…read it again…still don’t get it? Read it AGAIN!

    • Sergey
      November 1, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      It’s a common misconception. Nobody cares about your unique and interesting crap. Ok, maybe some people are mildly entertained. I want to take a bus everywhere, walk to stores and bars, have convenient services from barbers to music venues, and most importantly have a concentration of people with variety of hobbies from rock climbing to boardgames to drinking. That’s what you get in any well-planned, dense, mid- to large- city. That’s the kind of stuff that what most people want from a city. You didn’t “create the interesting city”, you just lived in the urban area while it was cheap and did whatever stuff you find interesting. Urban poor/lower middle class in Chicago did their thing, in Brooklyn they did their things, in SF you did your thing that is “interesting” to you. Now suddenly the flight to the burbs is over and everyone wants to live in cities. Your interesting stuff doesn’t add much to the city. The “bohemians” (as someone called them above) are just another kind of urban lower middle class that is getting gentrified out. Not pleasant, but inevitable.

      • inrealtime
        November 2, 2015 at 5:24 am

        Sergey, ridiculous, or very shortsighted. “No one cares about your unique and interesting crap,” yeah right. 5 Million people visit San Francisco annually because they don’t care? They come to the City to climb rocks…I don’t think so. My family was (and still is) very influential in “creating the interesting City” and honored in SF landmark buildings. We play an influential role in SF after 75 years. The rest of your reply is nonsense and not worth answering. Your personal likes are obviously simple, college campus style without much of an aesthetic, which is fine, but that makes you the least likely to understand that great cities are inspired by visionary people who strive for more than board games and drinking. If you don’t recognize the historic value in a city like San Francisco than I have no expectation that you have any understanding of this topic.

      • Sergey
        November 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        I am talking about the “bohemian” crowd that is getting priced out because of airbnb and lack of affordable housing, in response to the comment above. What are you talking about I do not know. What do landmarks have to do with that? Nothing. What do influential families have to do with that? Influential families don’t need affordable housing.

        Now as for your off-topic point, let me answer that. So that you know, the city is primarily for living, not for visiting. People MOVING to SF don’t care about the aesthetic as much as they care about transit, roads, businesses and other such amenities. Vancouver is a good example, it’s built exactly the way I’m describing it, and it’s by far the most livable city in North America. Also, it gets 8+mil. visitors a year. Or, Palo Alto downtown rents are almost as high as in SF even though it has a character of a suburban wasteland, simply because it has a fraction of the amenities. So I’m basically right. You didn’t even make any counter point about anything that matters 😛

        And, back to visiting, do people who visit give a crap about some obscure art gallery in Mission or hippie bums in Haight, or some stupid landmark Victorians in Cole? My bet is they go to Alcatraz, or to Golden Gate bridge, or to the cable car, or to Napa or Yosemite, which are not threatened by any changes in SF “character” that will result from the displacement of the “interesting” people as per the original comment above. Do you have stats to prove otherwise? If you drop Yaletown smack in the middle of SF, reinstall the cable car and the tourist flow might even increase.
        So, these people are barely relevant to an outside visiting, or an outsider moving in. The entitlement of “we made an interesting city” is nonsense. The ones who did are not being priced out 🙂

      • inrealtime
        November 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        well, there’s a lot of stuff in your reply as in the previous which is why the discussion got off point. I can’t speak for anyone else but I’d find it hard to believe people who move to SF don’t care about the aesthetic…if it doesn’t matter what the City looks like you could almost be anywhere. Yes, people “give a crap’ about obscure art galleries in the mission and in the alleyways of London, and especially hippies in the Haight. You do know the history of Haight/Ashbury, right? That’s legendary, just like sitting on the lawn there and watching the Grateful Dead, when they were young, or all nighters at Fillmore West…this is history of one of the great old cities of the US, and there’s so much more. But I get that these aesthetics don’t really interest you…so since we like to share our thoughts and make our points, we better just agree to disagree on this one. BTW – hope the results of the election cools things off…

      • Sergey
        November 7, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        I am aware of the H/A history, although I only have a cursory understanding of it, because it doesn’t really interest me, unlike e.g. you. I may be more aware of the history of climbing in Yosemite because I’m into that. To me the city is mainly a substrate where people that are into vastly different things can gather. The market pressure appears to confirm that – it’s not just in SF, also Seattle, Austin, Denver, even e.g. Palo Alto – cities with less history have housing shortages. The real estate prices seem to depend mostly on economy size and space/zoning restrictions. We’ll have to agree to disagree on what’s important.

  4. Sergey
    October 27, 2015 at 7:33 am

    This is great! I actually moved out of SF because most of it plain sucks and it’s not changing for the better fast enough. But these ads are great, as is anything that inflames the rightful indignation in any one um, let’s say misguided, demographic. Indeed, you guys should kick airbnb out and convert these 5000 units to affordable housing. Do you think the tenants could scrape together maybe $12 in taxes? Think of the possibilities, they could afford to clean up vomit off one WHOLE bus, or I dunno, fix A POTHOLE. That would be much better than with $12m, when, god forbid, the “rickety ancient houses, dirty streets and yelling homeless”-character of some the most of the SF neighborhoods could be altered by the addition of things that do not suck!

    • inrealtime
      October 31, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      SF did it for 100 years before this problem showed up. The intrinsic historic value of San Francisco and its bohemian culture is what made it one of the top 5 cities in the world most visited since 1880. Back then it was rich with gold and international travelers…look it up. Why do you think the population remained 700K? Because it was a place of hospitality and beauty, and a centerpiece of California both North and South for its farms, rivers, and mountains. It’s always been a small town, always, with a fantastic history. As soon as someone got the idea it should be a big town with corporate interests its in trouble…

      • Sergey
        November 1, 2015 at 9:32 pm

        I didn’t find it in any most visited in the world list… there isn’t that much to do in SF, the only reason people come is because most places in the US, for visiting, are even worse. So it’s NY and SF, you have to come to those two. The best visit to SF is where you fly into SFO and drive straight to Yosemite 🙂 But that’s not really SF is it? Napa also doesn’t count. But, ok, SF itself is not bad for visiting, I can grant you that. It’s just not a great place to live, thanks to the “culture”. The best city in North America is Vancouver BC, and it has very little of this bohemian culture nonsense. It has lots of high-rises, though. I bet it would be as good of a place to visit too if they’d paint Lions Gate bridge orange.

      • inrealtime
        November 2, 2015 at 4:35 am

        Sergey, you’re welcome to your limited point of view which is irrelevant to the greater subject. Enjoy Yosemite. Don’t feed the bears…

      • Sergey
        November 3, 2015 at 5:27 pm

        Oh, it is very relevant. I have actually lived in both Vancouver and SF, and can readily compare. I’ve also seen livability rankings which strangely barely account for bohemian culture. You need to recognize that these aesthetics are a hobby, a fringe interest. It’s a big one, bigger than many others, but it’s not more important than say “access to great skiing”, which is another hobby for another group of people (I don’t ski). It does not define a city and is a minor concern for people moving there, unless they happen to share the same hobby.

      • inrealtime
        November 3, 2015 at 6:21 pm

        I get that your interest is about your lifestyle insofar as “access,” which is fine, different from mine. As far as defining a City, without its 150 year old bohemian culture SF would be a blank slate, devoid of its unique setting. The architectural range alone, Golden Gate Park design, the Palace of Fine Arts, Legion of Honor, it’s restaurants… after growing up in SF I couldn’t live in a City that didn’t have historical meaning, world class beauty, or one that didn’t attract renowned writers, sculptors, photographers, designers, musicians, filmmakers, etc to leave their mark. If you really believe that aesthetic “hobbies” are of minor concern than you may not have noticed that SF looks really different from Detroit? Or, Minneapolis, Kansas, etc…unless you don’t notice it. I realize that an entire generation or two has come to view urban life as being lots of glass cubes with open parks and recreation…less intellectual or creative stimulation which is what the real attraction to SF has been as a destination City. Though, as you point out, that has changed. I see the recent top 5 cities includes Disneyland and Vegas, which says a lot 🙁

  5. cris
    October 27, 2015 at 9:39 am

    San Francisco IS listening…and they love Airbnb…$$$ Just look at Jeff down there…

  6. Darf Nader
    October 28, 2015 at 10:03 am

    “Air Bnb (sic) is but one of the many of the companies doing their part in the erasure of San Francisco.” So it is written, so it be true, I guess. Way to just drop your bad grammar in there there without any qualifiers. “…Air BnB rentals taking away over 5,000 units…” What orifice did you pull that number from? There is no way they have ever had that kind of inventory. They don’t have 1/10th of that number of units available in SF at one time except maybe for Labor Day weekend (Burning Man) when SF turns into a ghost town. I don’t stand up for AirBnB because I work there or hold stock in them or anything, but they provide a service to people who need extra scratch renting out a room for week or a house when they are out of town travelling. I personally cant do that because of the present laws already imposed as I rent in an HOA-ran building, but for the people who still can do this, they are helping pay for their high rents and mortgages with that money. It’s part of subsistence. If you want to make fuck you money off of furnished apartments in SF there are a lot easier ways to exploit them than playing mega-concierge with AirBnB. It seems self-evident that a service to make it possible to more safely rent temporary vacancies than with Craigslist does more to put money into regular people’s pockets then banishing it with heavy-handed regulation over a “crisis” that is conspicuously overplayed without a lot of evidence to support it’s level of existence. I can’t help but wonder how much money behind Prop F comes from actual hotels. SF denizens are just supposed to lap this sort of stuff up along with the rest of the anti-techie hate? I get it- I want to keep the soul in SF too and it’s easy to blame “brogrammers” for the lack of affordable housing, but vilification for vilification’s sake doesn’t stave off the real problem or raise any form of meaningful awareness. Don’t be the guy with the bullhorn: http://sfist.com/2015/10/26/when_a_random_mission_district_stre.php

    • Darf Nader
      October 28, 2015 at 10:16 am
    • inrealtime
      November 2, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Airbnb used to provide a simple, quality service but they are now a billion dollar corporation competing in the hotel industry from an unregulated position. Only a corp of that size would spend $8M on a campaign to remain unregulated. There’s a guy with his name on 40 leases that he operates as a revolving door. That’s one guy…and yes, there are actually more than 5000 units off the market. If you’re a tenant vote carefully tomorrow because its tenant’s rights that need protection across the board. No one’s dumping airbnb, just regulating business according to the law.

    • brbsix
      November 16, 2015 at 8:50 am

      In many ways, Craigslist is better AirBnB. It can definitely be safer. AirBnB does no screening of renters. In fact, AirBnB is so concerned about losing out via side-channel deals that they won’t give you customer details until after the transaction is complete. At least with Craigslist, there is no presumption of due diligence or security (on the part of Craigslist) and you are able to mitigate this. You can selectively screen your clients by any means deemed necessary. As I mentioned previously, this is not the case with AirBnb.

      AirBnB provides a great marketplace, but this comes at a cost. That cost is 9-15% (3% + 6-12%) of the rental as well as a lack of transparency and autonomy.

  7. harshestreality
    October 28, 2015 at 10:45 am

    What a load of shit this “story” is. Stop reading between the lines and making assumptions. Maybe you should actually go read the text of Prop F before you open your mouth…err keyboard. Or perhaps you’re just a Hotel industry paid-for blogger. Or maybe you’re just a poorly informed irrational person. Which ever it is you’re certainly not helping solve anything with this drivel.

    I highly suggest anyone thinking of voting yes on F read a much better researched article over on Medium https://medium.com/@emeyerson/prop-f-is-worse-than-you-think-17e395ca8761. Then go read The Chronicle’s rejection of F as well http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-recommends-No-on-Prop-F-6546763.php. If you can’t get enough details on why F is a TERRIBLE idea from those two excellent articles maybe you should read the proposition text yourself first. You can find it at http://sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/candidates/Nov2015/ShortTermRentals_Text.pdf.

    • inrealtime
      November 2, 2015 at 9:30 am

      the Chronicle is in with the Mayor. Nuff’ said…

  8. scott_lewis
    October 29, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Have lived in SF all my life but the entitlement mentality wears on me after awhile. The idea that cities should never change and just because you’re 40 and spent your life smoking weed that those who didn’t take the easy path are obligated to give you a cheap place to live is absurd. Add to that the irony of people endlessly complaining about tech–while using tech to do it. If no one tweeted, Twitter would be gone.

    • inrealtime
      November 2, 2015 at 9:19 am

      So all 10,000 of the evicted are only 40 and just lazy stoners? I guess that suits the narrative. No one’s complaining about the existence of tech, just the lousy deal the Mayor made to bring tech headquarters into a small city without working up an impact report on how that would effect housing. You can’t increase the population of a small city by 12% overnight without negative consequences.