The meeting’s purpose, according to the email invitation obtained by The S.F. Examiner, is to have a “discussion on the future of San Francisco and the tech sector,” and to “ensure we sustain our economic recovery and extend this prosperity to all our City’s residents.”
News of the gathering comes at a time when San Franciscans are increasingly troubled by the growing cost of living that some blame on the highly paid employees of technology and Internet companies opening shop in The City. Guests who come to the meeting — only CEOs and executives were invited — should expect more than lunch. At least one labor group who got word of the meeting plans to protest.
“Decisions about San Francisco’s future should be made by all of us, not just corporate CEOs and senior executives of San Francisco new tech companies,” noted the protest announcement from Service Employees International Local 1021.
But the meeting, which will be hosted by Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway and Salesforce, whose CEO has received recognition for his local philanthropy, is not meant to plot a counterattack to the growing backlash on the tech industry, according to Christine Falvey, the mayor’s spokeswoman.
“I don’t think the mayor’s interested in what the tech sector’s image is,” Falvey said.
That may be the case, but Conway’s involvement with sf.citi, a new sort of tech chamber of commerce that hopes to give tech a unified voice, seems to indicate that some believe the industry needs an improved image.
“He wants to start a conversation with these new folks,” Falvey said about the mayor’s meeting. The luncheon is being held at Salesforce, she said, because CEO Marc Benioff has been a role model for how the sector can be more socially responsible.
The email, which was sent with an RSVP request, opened with the following:
“Just a few years ago San Francisco struggled to emerge from the Great Recession, suffering from 11 percent unemployment, $500 million budget deficits and deep cuts to vital services. But with our robust economic recovery come emerging challenges in housing, transportation and affordability for our City — and together we must respond to these challenges to ensure we can sustain our economic recovery and extend this prosperity to all our City’s residents.”