"Solution: Steal" — read the anti-Airbnb ad removed from Craiglist

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The crowd outside a New Orleans Short-Term Rental Committee meeting on Aug. 6. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • The crowd outside a New Orleans Short-Term Rental Committee meeting on Aug. 6.

"Once in a lifetime opportunity," read an ad on Craigslist's "vacation rentals" listings. "STEAL from New Orleans Airbnbs! (Quaint Authentic Neighborhood)." Of course one clicks.

In the now-deleted post, a delightfully anarchic and satirical screed against the slightly regulated short-term rental company and its network of hundreds of rooms and houses throughout the New Orleans area, "stealing indiscriminately" — rather than wishy-washy enforcement, full-blown legalization or letting things be to help out struggling artists (which "some dull person is probably saying right now, whilst painting a jazz guy with wavy music-lines coming out of his music-horn") — is the way to go. "Because Airbnb is an invisible middleman, we have no choice but to attack its physical expression within our city. A diffuse and decentralized campaign of petty theft is the best course of action."

Airbnb recently made available its own New Orleans data, showing that 2,400 property owners used the website to host guests over the last year and on average made $10,900 annually from those transactions. Data-scraping projects like the New Orleans Short-Term Rental Report have argued short-term rentals' stress on housing stocks, their likelihood to reinforce housing discrimination and racial bias, and their appeal to property owners in a city infamous for its lack of renters' rights.

But hey, "who needs neighbors when we've got brunch?"

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