San Francisco's second largest tech employer, Uber, won't take sides on the controversial homelessness measure that the city's tech execs are fighting about

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty ImagesUber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
  • Proposition C is a ballot measure in San Francisco that would tax the city’s largest corporations to provide relief in the city’s ongoing homelessness crisis.
  • San Francisco’s biggest tech employer, Salesforce, and its CEO, Marc Benioff, have been the biggest advocates in favour of Prop C.
  • The city’s second largest tech employer, Uber, has been nowhere to be found in the debate.
  • A company spokesperson told Business Insider on Monday that “Uber remains neutral on Prop C with no plans to engage.”

San Francisco’s biggest tech employer, Salesforce, is not mincing words when it comes to the city’s homelessness crisis.

The cloud computing company, and its CEO Marc Benioff, have donated a combined $US7.9 million to Proposition C, a ballot measure in San Francisco that would tax the city’s largest corporations to help fix San Francisco’s ongoing homelessness problem. Benioff has spent the past few weeks openly clashing with other San Francisco tech bigwigs, including Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, who is opposed to Prop C.

But one important voice in San Francisco’s tech establishment has been silent in the fiery debate over Prop C. That would be Uber, the ride-hailing company that ranks as San Francisco’s second largest tech employer and which is no stranger to controversy itself.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed with Business Insider on Monday that “Uber remains neutral on Prop C with no plans to engage.”

Uber is staying away from controversy

The decision not to take a side in San Francisco’s most argued ballot measure may seem odd for such an important company in San Francisco. In addition to Uber’s 5,000 full time San Francisco employees (that’s excluding drivers), the company’s gig-economy business model plays an important role in the individual welfare and livelihood of many San Francisco residents.

Of course, after getting battered in a series of scandals in 2016 and 2017, including former CEO Travis Kalanick’s presence on a Trump advisory board, Uber is trying to stay away from anything that carries any risk of controversy.

Opposition to the corporate tax would have also put Uber in the same camp with companies like Visa, Stripe, and Square, as well as industry thought-leaders like Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, Sequoia’s Sir Michael Moritz, and Charles Schwab.

And Uber’s biggest competitor, Lyft, also opposed Prop C with a $US100,000 donation.

Uber, however, is staying neutral on the tax that’s opposed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed who argues that the city’s homelessness crisis can’t be solved by throwing money at it.

An Uber spokesperson did tell us that the company decided to donate $US10,000 in support of Prop A, which would help retrofit and replace parts of the seawall that holds the San Francisco Bay waters back from flooding the city’s downtown area.

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