In October, soon after Uber began testing driverless cars in the city, I obtained about a dozen emails sent between Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. One of them stood out more than any other. In this email, Peduto is showing off how much he uses Uber, the company he had brought to Pittsburgh.
Strictly speaking, there’s no malfeasance here. But this email showed a very powerful man seeking the approval of another, far more powerful man. It was signed “B,” a signature that—in the emails I obtained—Peduto used only with Kalanick, copying the “T” signature Kalanick used with Peduto in other, earlier emails.
Experts who have studied Uber’s politics suggested to me that the saga of B and T would not end well for B . “The emails suggest Peduto is patient zero here, with him kind of carrying water for the company and enlisting other politicians,” Rick Claypool, research director at Public Citizen, told me.
Seven months later, the other shoe has dropped: Pittsburgh and Peduto are now finding that there are consequences for selling out long-established civic norms, processes, and […]