When the Bay Area's techie-elite got richer Nov. 7, its poor refused to get poorer.
San Francisco-based technology company Twitter went public. By the time the New York Stock Exchange closed, more than 13 million shares of the online social networking and microblogging company had been traded, bringing Twitter's value up to $31 billion.
But there are serious doubts those riches will make it out of the company's office at 1355 Market St., as expressed by the nearly 100 local workers and residents who gathered outside the Mid-Market office building to express their outrage at this possibility.
The rally was organized by a coalition of activist groups including South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), Senior and Disability Action, Eviction Free San Francisco, and the San Francisco Housing Rights Committee. At noon, the protesters held a press conference to articulate their concerns.
Organizer Angelica Cabande from SOMCAN opened the press conference by asking, "We are here today to ask Twitter, 'What is their public offering to San Francisco?'"
Several speakers decried the estimated $22 million payroll tax break that city leaders gave Twitter in 2011 after the company threatened to move to Brisbane.
"We have Twitter on a tax-free perch," organizer Tony Robles from Senior and Disability Action explained, "not engaged in the community they've set up shop in. It's like a virtual thing—they're here, but they're not here."
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