The Little Rock City Board tonight will consider and likely rubberstamp an ordinance to allow the Uber car service to operate in the city. Actually, it’s already operating without permits to carry people for hire, which it has been doing at least for three days and probably longer when individual customers exceeded their free ride initial offers.
The Uber fellows move fast, pushing an ordinance through the city board in a couple of months and being impatient about that. They have $15 billion or so in market capitalization. They think they’re the smartest guys in the room. And critics? They don’t like them.
A senior executiv e[Emil Michael] at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.
Say what? Oppo on journalists? I’ve said before and I’ll say again: Users of the Uber app sing its praises and the Little Rock taxi franchise was badly in need of competition. But the more I see and hear of this bunch, the more I get a feeling that isn’t warm all over.
That woman thing?
Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.” She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote.
Hey. I have an idea. Let’s do some oppo on the Republican lobbyists Uber hired to jam this thing through the city board. What fun! Up in Fayetteville, of course, they didn’t even make a pretense of legality. They just started operating illegally. It’s a measure of the conservative crowd that loves this disruptive force that violation of the law is no problem when it’s something you like.
A woman get a morning after pill over the counter without hassle? Whoa now. We need some laws to stop that sort of thing.
I’m not in a position to say whether the Uber guys are sexist or misogynists. They might simply be the south end of a northbound donkey. Of that, there’s growing evidence.
PS, Vickery: My life is an open book.
UPDATE: Here’s another my-way-or-the-highway ultimatum from Uber and similar companies in Salt Lake City. They didn’t like the way that city’s ordinance was written on driver background checks and vehicle inspections. The proposed Little Rock ordinance requires a State Police background check if the company doesn’t have a 24-hour office in the city. It allows a vehicle inspection on request, but doesn’t set a regular schedule of them. It merely says cars may not be older than seven years old.