Google to pay for SF free Muni for youth program

John Coté and Marisa Lagos, reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Tech giant Google has agreed to donate $6.8 million to San Francisco to fund free Muni passes for low- and middle-income youth, under a deal brokered by Mayor Ed Lee, city officials said Thursday.

Good on them. This probably won’t do much to stem the animosity many in the city have for Google, but it’s a start. Still, it highlights a cascading series of civic problems.

  1. This sort of thing should probably be covered by the city’s budget, which should be funded by taxes. 
  2. Problem is, Google isn’t based in San Francisco and so doesn’t have to, or actually can’t, pay taxes to the city. So they donate. But in donating they get to pick and choose which parts of the city they support. Not saying this is a bad choice, but still, they have that luxury.
  3. What this really reveals are the shortcomings of local governance. Cities are increasingly smaller parts of regions that have much bigger problems. Regional governments aren’t designed for the way we live today.

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