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Thursday, April 7, 2011

San Jose: How Deep Does the Inferiority Complex Go?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

click to enlarge Do you know the way to San Jose? - GREG DEWAR/FLICKR
  • Greg Dewar/Flickr
  • Do you know the way to San Jose?

In its never-ending quest to be San Francisco, it's so clear that San Jose will go to great lengths to take away anything or anyone that makes the City by the Bay, well, the City by the Bay.

Funny as this faux rivalry might seem, there are two politicians on the different sides who are well-positioned to temper or fuel that competition -- San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo and San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu.

And since they are both ambitious pols who are running for mayor in their respective cities, it's obvious that they are going to make politics personal.

That was evidenced on Tuesday when San Francisco supervisors signed off on legislation that would grant Twitter a six-year tax break. Specifically, on payroll taxes. But before the supes went on record about this controversial issue, Liccardo and his colleague, City Councilwoman Rose Herrera, pulled a shifty, last-minute move to try and get Twitter to think about moving to San Jose.

Sam Liccardo was better dressed when he lived in S.F.
  • Sam Liccardo was better dressed when he lived in S.F.

They sent out a missive: "Twitter this: San Jose has no payroll tax."

You can guess what the rest of the e-mail said.

But we know how close Chiu and Liccardo are. The aspiring mayors have a longtime friendship dating back to the early '90s when they attended Harvard Law School together. After graduation, they shared an apartment in San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood, where they reportedly had some good times. (Liccardo admits he drank wine then, and was a way better dresser.)

Knowing all of this, SF Weekly called Liccardo to ask him who the hell he thinks he is, trying to poach Twitter from his old buddy Chiu!

"We appreciate that gamers may be drawn to the north, but San Jose is for grownups who are looking to build companies in a city that welcomes job creation," Liccardo says, tongue firmly in cheek, we assume.

Twitter is being offered the tax break, but there is no contract signed that says the company will stay in San Francisco. Liccardo swears he has made no phone calls to the microblogging giant, and is not courting the company in any way. But he says he would love to see Twitter move to San Jose.

We called Supervisor David Chiu to ask what he thought about his old buddy's move, but we haven't heard back yet.

Liccardo admits the competition is par for the course. "There's always been a healthy rivalry between San Francisco and San Jose, and that will just gain momentum when the San Jose A's beat the San Francisco Giants in the 2015 World Series," he says. 

We were afraid to ask who made better grades in law school.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF

and @SFWeekly

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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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