In a phone interview, Avalos described the encounter as a battle of opposing world views. He'd invited two Uber drivers and the company's public policy director, Jordan Condo, into his office to discuss future transit legislation. Avalos says that as soon as he brought up the specter of regulation -- something to make the industry a little more fair to all players involved -- Condo recoiled.
I have heard the word DISRUPT 5x today & met with Uber just so they couldnt say I'd left anything undone. Uber had a prob w/the word "fair"— John Avalos (@AvalosSF) March 21, 2014
"This guy, who's making money off the drivers, said 'When you use the word 'fair,' we think of protectionism," Avalos recounted. "And we believe in letting the market decide."
From that point, the dialogue devolved into a war over semantics. To Condo, Avalos' conception of "fair" seemed equivocal; to Avalos, Condo's use of "free market" actually meant a market rigged in Uber's favor. They parted with those arguments unresolved.
"We just ended with, 'Hey, nice to meet you,' and 'I'll look into this,'" Avalos said. "And I felt kind of like the doorman in Franz Kafka's The Trial."
So he took the fight over to social media, where followers expressed surprise that Uber had arranged to meet in the first place. It seemed uncharacteristically fair.