Apparently, the ridesharing company UBER, has been hiding a secret core value. But thanks in large part to a former UBER engineer, Susan Fowler, the world learned, UBER’s stated “14 core cultural values” are only followed by those whose integrity prevents them from putting even one foot on the company’s ladder, which leads to their 15th core value of sexism.
UBER, the current king of ridesharing is dealing with a public relations nightmare. And quite frankly, I believe it will take a miracle medical team to perform the world’s first backbone transplant for company CEO Travis Kalanick to deliver on his promise to change the culture of a still young, $70 billion business Kalanick co-founded in 2009.
I admit it, I admire Travis Kalanick and his partner Garrett Camp for their creativity for putting together UBER. In fact, as a Black man who has been the victim of cab drivers who believe most potential Black customers are to be passed by, I should have been thinking like these two gentlemen. But when I heard of UBER’s latest move just prior to, the culture change announcement, I knew there would be no chance of me activating my phone’s UBER app.
SF Business Weekly reported that UBER was buying into the Golden State Warriors new arena/office tower in the Mission Bay district of San Francisco. But I’m sure Kalanick does not know what he just bought into.
Imagine being the CEO of a multi billion dollar business. Then imagine waking up to charges you and your employees were creating a culture of sexism, sexual harassment and other arrogant behavior. Then imagine you cleaned up your company’s ugly act. All the negative images of your business were gone just in time when you moved close to 3000 employees into your new office tower in the beautiful Mission Bay district of “Everyone’s favorite City.”
You cleaned up so well, you have not even one racist in the company. Then a blogger exposes the fact; with proof, San Francisco City Hall has a hidden core value of racism. You read story after story that makes you just as sick as when your secret core value came to light. Surely, Travis Kalanick can’t do anything to clean up San Francisco City Hall dirt or can he?
Byron Gill works for San Francisco Recreation and Park. This Black man is the “Go to guy” by many at Rec and Park in his 23 years as a gardener. Gill applies for a higher position and it goes on filled for two years. One day he comes into work to discover the White female employee he had trained for two years is now his boss. If you read court transcripts of how his now White boss Treated him, you might come to the same conclusion as I did: She was treating this Black man as if he was her slave.
Dewayne Kemp is a Black man walking up the street with his girlfriend. A White transgender women, Samantha Hulsey bumps Kemp as she passes him.
Kemp responded, “People don’t even say excuse me no more.”
Hulsey replies, “Get out of my city nigger.”
Kemp’s girlfriend throws coffee onto Hulsey in reaction to the nigger reference. Hulsey then throws a punch at Kemp’s girlfriend. Then Kemp; protecting his girlfriend begins to swing on Hulsey and even calls Hulsey a “Fag.” The police are called and Kemp is arrested along with his girlfriend. The story ends with Kemp and his girlfriend are only released from jail after both agreed to plead guilty to a “Hate crime.”
Thomas Willis once worked for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (SFHRC). Feeling that he was discriminated against he sued. The SFHRC was first formed in 1964 for the purpose of fighting discrimination mainly against Black residents of the City. The person Willis claimed discriminated against him was a White female executive director named Theresa Sparks.
The City Attorney’s office reviewed the matter and recommend the SF Board of Supervisors pay Willis $210,000.00. But what happened to Theresa Sparks? Was this White transgender fired by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee? No! Sparks was promoted. She was employed by the City at a salary of $180,000.00 and had approximately 20 employees under her. She still makes $180,000.00 and reports directly to Mayor Lee but has no employees at all.
San Francisco has an annual budget of $9.6 billion. Oakland, CA has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. San Francisco pulls in $9 billion from tourism per year. Oakland pulls in $800 million a year from its tourism. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wants the Warriors arena to be his “Legacy project.” But to do that I offer this analogy: Two twelve-year-olds live next door to one another. Ed, has ten nice looking marbles. His next door neighbor, Libby, has just one marble but her’s is just gorgeous. Not satisfied with his nice marbles, Ed, with some help steals Libby’s gorgeous single marble just to make his collection of marbles shine brighter.
UBER’s Travis Kalanick could surprise many and clean up the sexist culture of which he is CEO. But my advice to him would be, read between the lines of how SF Mayor Ed Lee and other City leaders treated women in the four true stories above. Then compare them to the September 2015 commitment, he made to the City and mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaff concerning UBER’s office expansion for the old Sears building UBER purchased.
To announce the breaking of a big promise to, a woman one day, and come back the very next day and announce a big promise to women everywhere, is foolish planning. And only a fool would take Travis Kalanick at his word, when it appears his word is as useful as a used condom.