Airbnb is making it clear this week that not only does it oppose efforts by city councilors to regulate the apartments and condos it advertises, it will take the low road to do it.
In e-mail to its "friends," the company writes:
Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu has a proposal that would place unreasonable restrictions on home sharing in the city and we need your help to stop it. She has aligned with big hotel interests against the interests of regular Bostonians.
The e-mail continues the companies set up an online tool for sending pre-written complaints to city councilors and Mayor Walsh
The company claims the proof that Wu is in bed with Big Hotel is that her proposal (which City Councilor Lydia Edwards is also working on) would bar renters from subletting their units to Airbnb customers, would bar individuals from staying more than 30 days in a unit and would probably be worse for your privacy than even a poll on Facebook by requiring owners of Airbnb units to notify their neighbors and supply information to the city - although much of the information, including rental prices, would have to be supplied by Airbnb to the city, not by the unit owners.
Airbnb does not point to a large influx of campaign cash from Big Hotel to Wu, probably because state campaign-finance records show no such thing in 2018. It also doesn't note that Wu has proposed banning investor-owned units from the rental-share market completely, possibly because that would not fit in with Airbnb's alleged theory that Wu is going after the little guy.
Wu and Edwards, and before them, Sal LaMattina, argued that an unfettered room-share market in Boston is making it more and more difficult for actual Bostonians to stay in the city, as investors buy up entire buildings to rent out on Airbnb and similar platforms.
The complete Airbnb e-mail follows:
Hi [Recipient name],
Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu has a proposal that would place unreasonable restrictions on home sharing in the city and we need your help to stop it. She has aligned with big hotel interests against the interests of regular Bostonians. Will you use our speakout tool and send an email to Mayor Walsh and City Council today asking them to support responsible home sharing in Boston?
Send an email
The Wu proposal would place unnecessary restrictions on home sharing by:
• Placing a restrictive 30-day cap on unhosted stays.
• Prohibiting renters from sharing their homes, something not done anywhere else in the United States.
• Requiring notification of neighbors and that platforms like Airbnb collect and share an invasive amount of personal information putting your privacy at risk.
We know that when the collective voice of the Airbnb community is heard by lawmakers, we can stop restrictive and unnecessary laws like this from passing. That’s why sending an email to the Boston City Council today is so important.
The Airbnb Team
Sent with [love] from
888 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The Supreme Judicial Court today dismissed a Revere man's conviction for possession of a stun gun, because the state's current complete ban on their ownership violates the Second Amendment. The ruling could spur legislation to regulate the weapons, similar to the way more traditional guns are.
The state's highest court said the US Supreme Court left it no choice: Stun guns are "arms" under Second Amendment and that:
Therefore, under the Second Amendment, the possession of stun guns may be regulated, but not absolutely banned. Restrictions may be placed on the categories of persons who may possess them, licenses may be required for their possession, and those licensed to possess them may be barred from carrying them in sensitive places, such as schools and government buildings. But the absolute prohibition in [current state law] that bars all civilians from possessing or carrying stun guns, even in their home, is inconsistent with the Second Amendment and is therefore unconstitutional.
Prosecutors had argued for a six-month stay in the Suffolk County jail, followed by five years of probation - with a possible two-year jail sentence hanging over his head if he did anything wrong. Prosecutors had also requested 100 hours of community service and random alcohol screenings.
The Globe reports the judge declared the sentence after the victim said he did not want "the worst" for Doherty and expressed the hope he would get treatment.
A man who walked into a Convention Center hotel bar with his shirt covered in a red liquid one February night punched another patron hard enough to knock out one of his teeth and break his nose and the bone around one eye, police say. Read more.
The guy was just not doing well at West End Johnnies on Super Bowl Sunday: The Patriots had lost, the bar wanted him to leave because he'd had too much to drink and then the cops showed up when he refused to leave. Read more.
An investigation into a triple stabbing at the Burger King at 280 West Broadway on Feb 5 has reached a dead end because none of the victims - two of whom initially said they knew their stabber, with whom they'd started an argument - want to cooperate with police, Sgt. Det. Kenneth O'Brien told the Boston Licensing Board at a hearing today. Read more.
The Crimson reports that former Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will spend three days next week as a fellow at the Kennedy School's Institute of Politics, where he will attend “a number of events” and “engage with students." Last fall, you may recall, Sean Spicer took a turn as a fellow at the institute.