Billionaire tech investor Sean Parker responded to an article that appeared in last week's issue of the Guardian, writing in an email that he is not "some conservative a*hole."
The Napster founder, former Facebook president, and Spotify investor was mentioned in the story "The Billionaire's Mayor" because he contributed $100,000 to an independent expenditure committee created on behalf of Mayor Ed Lee. (Not the same independent expenditure committee that's landed Lee in the hot seat in the past couple days.)
Parker told us he'd like to see a network of rooftop public parks "in order to kickstart the 'greening' of the former industrial parts of the city ... creating one seamless, green and beautiful 'common' space in a formerly desolate industrial part of the city. I would like to have a mayor who supports this vision."
And, rather significantly in this new era of rebellion against the concentration of wealth in the hands of the one percent, he advocated for taxing the rich. "I believe strongly in higher taxes, in particular for the wealthy and super wealthy," he wrote. "I think capital gains rates are much too low and should be increased both at a state and federal level. I am paying far too little in taxes at the moment, in particular on capital gains which should have been increased after the Bush era."
On the question of affordable housing, Parker said, "I think we need more affordable housing in San Francisco — it is very difficult for young people to come here and start their life with all the real estate locked up by generationally wealthy facilities who are out of touch with what it means to live in the city."
Parker balked at the mention of the film The Social Network, calling it a "quasi-fictional and borderline libelous film," and told us he's dedicated himself to "raising money for various charities including multiple cancer-related projects, Charity:Water, and anti-malaria groups such as Malaria No More."
So what's up with that six-figure donation to Lee, who's also drawn support from conservatives, wealthy landlords, and major corporations doing business with the city?
"I have never met Ed Lee or anyone from his campaign," Parker wrote. "Everything I know about him comes from the conversations I have had with Ron Conway who has made a very good case for the mayor as someone who will preserve San Francisco's progressive political culture while also advancing technology job creation in the city. Given my extremely progressive political positions I wanted to be certain that the mayor was NOT the sort of conservative pro-business leader that you are making him out to be."
Would that we were blessed with Conway's powers of persuasion.