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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Zipcar to Put 30 San Franciscans On 'Low-Car Diet'

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 12:59 PM

click to enlarge Didn't get the memo...
  • Didn't get the memo...
With great fanfare, Zipcar and a consortium of folks who use the term "green" unironically have unveiled a contest meant to wean folks off of rampant automobile use. Sadly, they've out-clevered themselves by adopting the title "Low-Car Diet" -- thereby likening the laudable goal of driving less to a faddish, hellish diet that would have us give up our sourdough. 

In any event, the contest challenges around hundreds of participants in 13 cities nationwide to give up their cars for a month. This might well be hellish for those who have long commutes to work, little access to public transportation, and no money for Zipcar. But apparently, most of the participants do have money for Zipcar as, according to the press release, at least half of San Francisco's 30-plus participants will be employees of the company, Virgance, whose insanely wealthy CEO, Steve Newcomb, will speak at the kickoff event on July 15 at City Hall.

A representative for the event told us in a phone interview that Virgance

and Zipcar have no business ties. Newcomb, meanwhile, is something of a poster-child for green entrepreneuership in San Francisco. In

addition to his day job(s), Newcomb is also the founder of SF Green,

and he sits on the city's policy committee at the Chamber of Commerce.

As if that didn't make us look bad enough, his latest startup,

Virgance, helps activist campaigns grow via various social networks

(ever heard of Carrotmob? Yep, that was Newcomb).   

Also speaking at the event will be Wade Crowfoot, Mayor Gavin Newsom's

Director of Climate Initiatives (which, by the way, is an entirely different position than the Mayor's "Director of Greening" ... we think). We tried to follow Crowfoot on Twitter to get the latest, but he hasn't given us any updates so far -- which is probably a good sign. This is why we pay Crowfoot the big bucks, folks.

Photo   |   Elliot Cowan

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