Uproar in France Over Plans for ‘Steve Jobs’ Street

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By Nahema Marchal | 8:25 am, December 2, 2016
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French communists and ecologists are in a hissy fit over a proposal to rename one of Paris’ streets after the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, citing the tech entrepreneur’s controversial legacy and Paris’ lack of parity for women in street names.

The mayor of the XIIIe arrondissement (council) of Paris, Jérôme Coumet, submitted a proposal earlier this week to rename four of the streets surrounding the newly built Halles Freyssinet, a tech hub slated to open at the end of 2016.

For one of them, he decided on “Rue Steve Jobs”  to honor the tech visionary and iPhone inventor who died in 2011 — a nod to Jobs’ entrepreneurial acumen and his “impact on the development of personal computing,” according to a spokesperson for Coumet.

The other three streets will be named after gay English mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing, US computer programming pioneer Grace Murray Hopper and French engineer Eugene Freyssinet, the invention of prestressing.

But leftist members of the city council were dismayed by the Jobs pick and vocally expressed their opposition to a decision they said was pushed by “right-wing” elected officials.

The choice of Steve Jobs is controversial, members of far-left coalition Front de Gauche explain on their website, because Paris is trying to promote parity in street names.

“Too long women have been the great forgotten of history. This injustice can and must be remedied by giving them priority in new denominations” reads a statement on the website.

“But the choice of Steve Jobs is even worse considering the reality of his legacy.”

They denounced the working conditions and low wages of Apple factory workers in China along with the company’s alleged illegal tax optimization practices in Europe. (In August, the E.U. ruled that Apple would have to pay more than $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland, after it was found that the company paid close to zero taxes there for 11 years.)

They would instead prefer to see the street named after Ada Lovelace, the English woman and writer who’s been described by some as the first computer programmer.

The Paris city council will take a vote on the proposal next week.