Pando

SF Mayor: New Airbnb ballot will "pit neighbor against neighbor"

By Dan Raile , written on July 28, 2015

From The Sharing Economy Desk

The question of how Airbnb is best incorporated into the city’s regulatory framework will next seek its answer in November at the ballot box, when voters will decide whether to pass a measure that seeks to curtail abuses and misuses of the home-sharing platform.

Now that a coherent approach to regulating Airbnb in San Francisco has slipped off the lawmaking table, the company has begun next phase of its public-relations effort to secure its right to do as it pleases.

On Monday, Airbnb received the support of Mayor Ed Lee, Supervisors Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener, and state Assemblymember David Chiu, in the form of a joint press release circulated by San Francisco for Everyone, a “coalition of home sharers, elected officials, small business owners and civic leaders united to protect home sharing and strengthen the middle class in this city.”

These leading lights, lobbied hard by Airbnb these past months, have now turned around and started lobbying the public on Airbnb’s behalf. Here you have San Francisco’s vaunted homegrown progressivism, telling corporations exactly where to put it – in the collections box, of course.

The statement features some smoking rhetoric in its five short paragraphs.

The four men “announced their opposition to the extreme, anti-home sharing ballot initiative that circumvents the sensible regulations adopted last year.”

“In a joint statement, Chiu, Farrell and Weiner added, “And we should give the current law time to work before adopting dangerous measures that would encourage neighbors to spy on one another,”” reads the presser.

A statement attributed to Lee says of the measure, “The new proposed rules ban sharing in-law units, threaten data privacy and pit neighbor against neighbor.”

The word ‘extreme’ is used five times. The word ‘the’ is used fifteen.

Airbnb is currently canvassing the city’s airwaves and physical adspace with similar messaging. It takes two to tango, and Airbnb has itself some blue chip dance partners this election season.  

Here’s the full press release:

Mayor Lee, Assemblyman Chiu and Supervisors Farrell & Wiener Oppose Extreme Anti-Home Sharing Ballot Proposal

SAN FRANCISCO ---

Today, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Supervisor Scott Wiener, Supervisor Mark Farrell and Assemblyman David Chiu announced their opposition to the extreme, anti-home sharing ballot initiative that circumvents the sensible regulations adopted last year.

“Last year, we passed short-term rental regulations that made it possible for thousands of San Franciscans to occasionally share their homes. Earlier this month, we created the Office of Short-Term Rental Enforcement to streamline the application process and more effectively apply these regulations,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “The new proposed rules ban sharing in-law units, threaten data privacy and pit neighbor against neighbor. This is an extreme ballot initiative that circumvents our common sense reforms.”

In a joint statement, Chiu, Farrell and Weiner added, “And we should give the current law time to work before adopting dangerous measures that would encourage neighbors to spy on one another.”

According to a recent analysis by Airbnb, the extreme measure would cost the city more than $58 million in tax revenue over the next decade and cost Airbnb hosts -- the majority of whom are middle class -- more than $405 million over the same period.

Mayor Lee, Assemblyman Chiu and Supervisors Farrell and Wiener are joined by a range of civic organizations, local leaders and long-time San Francisco residents who oppose the extreme measure, include: the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce; Consumer Watchdog; JP Leddy, Vice President of the Pan Hispanic Forum; Carlos Solorzano, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco; Gwyneth Borden, Former San Francisco Planning Commissioner; and, small business community leader Scott Hauge.