Planning Commissioner Changed Airbnb Vote After Text from Mayor's Office

Planning Commissioner Christine Johnson changed her vote on an important regulation over Airbnb last month after she received a text message from Mayor Ed Lee's office, The San Francisco Examiner reports. Johnson was appointed to the commission by the mayor. 

According to the Examiner, the regulation in question—Recommendation No. 6—”would prohibit any home-sharing platform like Airbnb from listing a unit without a city-provided registration number, or the platform could face penalties.” When Johnson voted in favor of that rule, helping it pass 4-3, she was quickly texted by Nicole Wheaton, the Mayor's appointments secretary. Per the Examiner

“What happened?!? I thought we were in agreement on #6 and how that simply would be enforceable?” Wheaton texted, next texting “Wouldn’t*” to correct her previous sentence.

At 9:01 p.m. Johnson then texted Wheaton: “We have the opportunity to go back on our votes on these items, which I will likely do.”

Johnson then asked the commission for a revote. Recommendation No. 6 failed on this second vote, with the three supervisor appointed commissioners voting aye, and the four commissioners appointed by the mayor voting nay. “Thank you for taking that revote,” Wheaton texted to Johnson at 10 p.m. to which Johnson replied, “You are welcome.”

Two competing versions of a new Airbnb law will be heard at the Board of Supervisors' Land Use Committee today at 1:30 p.m. 


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