Protesters to gather outside Twitter on IPO day


Those who stand to become instant millionaires from Twitter’s initial public offering might as well be worlds apart from a coalition of senior advocates, students, tenant organizers and union members planning to rally outside the tech company’s San Francisco headquarters on the day of the IPO.

Beginning at 6:30am on Nov. 7, when company shares will officially be open for trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the group will hold a press conference and rally to “call attention to corporate tax breaks and the tech company’s role in the San Francisco eviction crisis,” according to a media advisory.

At noon, the activists will stage a rally outside 1355 Market Street, where the company has its offices in a landmark Art Deco building.

The rally is being sponsored by a host of community-based organizations including Manilatown Heritage Foundation, Jobs With Justice, POOR Magazine, SEIU United Service Workers West and others.

“As Twitter readies to profit millions from its IPO and continues to benefit from tax breaks, people left behind – dealing with widespread evictions, cuts to vital services, diminished public transportation resources and underfunded schools and colleges will join together to ask Twitter: what is your public offering to the people of San Francsico?” The event announcement notes.

Among investors, Twitter’s highly anticipated IPO is a source of intrigue and speculation, with demand on the rise and the high end of its price range increased in response to a high level of interest.

Twitter’s presence in mid-Market has encouraged real estate developers to descend on the neighborhood surrounding the company headquarters, to entice tech company workers with nearby housing. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Miami developer Crescent Heights is building the area’s largest new residential high-rise right across the street:

“After Twitter announced it was moving to the area, the developer scrapped its original plans and tailored the apartments for the tech workers who would be employed nearby. Residents of NEMA, short for New Market, as the development is called, will have amenities like a saltwater pool, landscaped terraces, valet parking and dog-walking services.”

Yet the company’s presence has intensified a debate about the tech industry’s role in an ongoing housing affordability crisis that is rapidly changing the cultural feel of San Francisco. As the Guardian has recently reported, evictions in the mid-Market area coupled with higher-than-anticipated revenue losses from the city’s mid-market payroll tax break have led many to question whether the company’s presence has brought the benefit that was promised or just resulted in harm by driving displacement.

With a hint of irony, activists titled the media advisory about the Nov. 7 rally #ThrownOutByTwitter.