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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Newsom Behind Deal to Keep Twitter in San Francisco

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 7:38 AM

click to enlarge Our very own wizard of oz
  • Our very own wizard of oz

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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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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