Monday, May 29, 2017

Stupid mayor is stupid

In this cautionary tale, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto slowly realizes he's made a huge mistake by giving Uber everything it wants from in return for nothing besides a momentary claim to being an "Innovation!" guy.  Here's a timeline with emails and stuff, My favorite part is probably where Peduto goes on the radio and lectures his critics as though they are children.
The emails I obtained showed that Peduto was both eager to impress the Silicon Valley hotshot and was happy to carry the company's water in public. In May 2015, Peduto and his staff fought hard both in public and behind the scenes to get the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to reduce a fine levied against the company for operating in the state without permission. After we published our story, Peduto railed against us on local radio.

"I have an opportunity to talk to the CEO of Uber on a semi-regular basis. And they're committed to creating over a thousand jobs in this city that are well-paying jobs," Peduto told Pittsburgh radio station WDVE after our story ran. "To say 'Oh my god, he's trying to help this horrible company, he's defending this horrible company. When we are creating an entire industry that brought the White House here to talk about autonomous vehicles, robotics, and everything else and will bring other companies and spinoffs for decades to come … it's unbelievably ridiculous."
Uber goes on to deliver none of the jobs, data sharing or any of the obligations of the "partnership" Peduto imagined they had agreed to because, of course. He seems frustrated about this now but then maybe next time he'll remember that when you're getting to be text buds with a billionaire venture capital creep, you're probably doing the opposite of serving your constituents well.
The takeaway here for politicians is that Uber—nor any other major corporation—is not your friend. The company has shown time and time again that it will ignore regulations, lobby ferociously, promise the moon and stars, and then act as it always has: in whatever manner is best for Uber. Uber has always done this; it's long past time for local politicians to stop handing the keys to their cities to the company.
Or any company, really.  Will your local politicians to learn this lesson, though. Not unless there's a slideshow about it at the next Entrepreneur Week.

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