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Friday, March 21, 2014

Supervisor John Avalos Slams Uber for War on "Fair"

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Supervisor John Avalos - TWITTER
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Taxi drivers beset by the undisputed Boss Tweed of car-hire apps have a new ally in San Francisco politics. Or at the very least, they have the ear of a Supervisor who's grown disenchanted with Uber's ideological line. "I have heard the word DISRUPT 5X today," District 11 Supervisor John Avalos groused, in an exasperated tweet following his meeting with Uber's corporate brass on Thursday. The company seemed steadfastly committed to its free-market credo, Avalos concluded. But it had a problem with the word "fair." 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.

"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.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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