Two weeks ago, SF Weekly reported that the Twitter tax break deal reeked of former Mayor Gavin Newsom -- and now we know why.
City supervisors had proposed legislation with sweet tax breaks for microblogging giant Twitter that would entice the company to remain in San Francisco and move into a building in Mid-Market.
It appears, all along, Newsom has been behind that deal.
A Bay Citizen story today leaves readers wondering whether the Twitter tax deal on the table was the result of a political favor cut by Newsom before he left office in January.
Back in October, Newsom started negotiating with Twitter to find
ways for the company, which was outgrowing its headquarters on Folsom
Street, to relocate to a new location in the city. Twitter recently
announced it was considering a move to Brisbane at the former Walmart
site in San Mateo County.
This was happening as Newsom was running
his statewide campaign for lieutenant governor. He opened his
campaign headquarters at 1355 Market St., receiving discounted rent, which was
later reported in campaign finance records as a political contribution
from the building owner, Alvin Dworman.
This building just so happens to
be the same spot that the city has offered to Twitter.
The deal already had progressive supervisors feeling weary, but now learning Newsom's this closely attached to the proposal has confirmed any suspicion about the potential arrangement, which some have dubbed corporate blackmail.
Supervisor John Avalos said: "You have to wonder, is there a connection between the donation and
efforts to bend the payroll tax to accommodate Twitter and bring a
tenant to the building?"
Jennifer Entine Matz, the mayor's economic adviser, said there is absolutely no link between the political donation, which was valued at $11,000, and the tax breaks. The tax breaks are merely a way to move new companies into a vacant building and renew the rundown Mid-Market area, she said.
Newsom promoted Matz to her current position in September.
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