On Thursday, The Guardian published a report by Nellie Bowles in which Cupertino mayor Barry Chang went on a little bit of a rant against Apple, Cupertino’s largest employer.
Chang had some harsh words about the company spending $5 billion to build an office in his city, including, for example, that “Apple is not willing to pay a dime” and that “they abuse” the city of Cupertino.
Apple says that it pays tens of millions of dollars annually in property tax to Cupertino, and that it is the biggest taxpayer in Cupertino. Apple also says it funds millions in public improvements, such as adding sidewalks, bike paths, and infastructure for handling waste water, for example.
Chang responded to the Guardian report on the city of Cupertino website. The city wrote:
Barry Chang, Mayor of the City of Cupertino announced today several factual errors reported in a recent story by The Guardian.
“I was shocked and dismayed to see a recent article quoting me with words I never used and describing situations that never happened,” said Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang.
“I feel very strongly about combating traffic,” said Mayor Chang. The mayor has previously promoted the idea that large companies that contribute to traffic problems should also contribute to traffic solutions. The Mayor was emphatic that, “other situations reported in the article absolutely have no bearing on anything that I may have said or anything that has happened in this community.”
“The reporter clearly misunderstood. My concerns and the concerns of this city council are well documented.”
The Guardian article focused on Apple’s tax footprint, and its efforts to minimize the amount of tax it pays, which is obviously an issue for the company at the local, state, and federal levels – it’s the top issue Apple lobbies on.
However, from Chang’s statement, it sounds as if he thought some of his statements addressing the traffic issues that Apple’s $5 billion “spaceship” campus has caused in Cupertino were attributed to his frustration about Apple taxes – specifically, the “abuse us” quote picked up by hundreds of publications, including Business Insider. He is also accusing the Guardian reporter of making up quotes.
While the Guardian has not removed or added any quotes from Chang in its story, it did file this correction:
This article was amended 5 May. An earlier version of this article incorrectly suggested Barry Chang’s complaint “they abuse us”, which was contained in the headline, was a reference to Apple. Mr Chang has since clarified he was referring to frustrated local residents. Additionally, Mr Chang did not say he was escorted from Apple’s campus, but that he was asked to leave by a security guard.