Apparently Dreamforce went well this week, and the city’s efforts to clean up the area around the Moscone Center so conventioneers don’t have to step over bodies or needles were a success.
Many people who go downtown regularly these days will tell you that the daylight hours are pretty good in most places besides the Tenderloin and Sixth Street. But an extra effort was made by the city to make sure the 42,000 people who attended Dreamforce weren’t confronted with too many homeless people, or any open-air drug deals on their way to and from hotels. And Mayor London Breed says the city does this before every convention. What drug problem?
“This is probably the cleanest I’ve ever seen San Francisco… Why can’t San Francisco be like this every day? Why does it take us saying (something)? What is that?” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said during a conversation on stage with Governor Gavin Newsom at Dreamforce. Benioff had given the city an ultimatum, essentially, in the days leading up to the convention, suggesting it might leave SF altogether if the city didn’t get rid of the homeless and drug markets.
“Yes, it can be,” Newsom said, and despite not being able to solve homelessness while he was mayor, he said it was up to city officials to do more.
London Breed pushed back, telling ABC 7, “It’s not just because of Dreamforce. There are other conventions. This is what we do for every convention that comes to San Francisco. San Francisco is changing, things are getting better.” Breed also fired back at Newsom by saying, “What I’m doing is not pointing the finger at anybody, but rolling up my sleeves to take full responsibility and do everything we can to address these problems (on the streets).”
Parisa Safarzadeh, a spokeswoman for Breed, tells the Chronicle that the mayor’s office was “a little surprised” when Benioff spoke up two weeks ago, threatening to move the conference. “By then, our work was already underway to make sure the place was welcoming and clean for the event,” Safarzadeh said, suggesting the city didn’t just jump into action because a billionaire CEO snapped his fingers.
San Francisco has been incredibly clean, beautiful and safe over the last 3 days of Dreamforce, and it’s great that the city can put its best foot forward for this huge event that brings in 40K people from around the world, and $80M to the economy. It is important to ask… pic.twitter.com/tO1zsUvnjC
– Marc Benioff (@Benioff) September 14, 2023
Phoenix resident Lura Whittier tells ABC 7, “Our hotel is about a mile away, and the walk back and forth feels really safe, and I feel like we’ve had pretty good experiences outside of Dreamforce.”
It shouldn’t be any kind of mystery to Benioff or to local TV reporters how or why the city was able to sweep a few square blocks for three days in the name of $80 million for the local economy. The unwanted ones, in this case, were simply pushed onto other blocks, out of sight.
As the Chronicle reports, the city’s effort essentially boils down to some power-washing and street ambassadors and cops waking people up every morning if they were sleeping or hanging out in places too close to Moscone or out in the open on Market Street, and told them to go somewhere else.
66-year-old Jan Weith, who was sleeping in front of the Walgreens on 4th Street on Wednesday night, told the Chronicle: “The police, security guards, those street ambassadors – everybody was telling me ‘get out of here’ this morning when I woke up at 8 o’clock “
Francis Zamora, spokesman for the Department of Emergency Management, tells the Chronicle that San Francisco’s Coordinated Street Response Program similarly sprang into action for Pride in June and for Fleet Week last fall. But, Zamora says, “we’re glad people are taking note of the investments the city has made over the years to help people in crisis and address street conditions.”
Previously: Dreamforce arrives on Tuesday, bringing celebrities, street closures, traffic, and breathless AI hype
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