Let's all bid Greg Gopman of AngelHack adieu from Baghdad by the Bay. This place, it seems, is just too gross for him. See, the noted maker could be the second coming of Peter Shih after posting an unfortunate screed against San Francisco's homeless and drug- and alcohol-addicted population. Gopman — an attractive hoodie-wearing type who wowed the likes of TechCrunch and Business Insider for creating something we're not entirely sure makes sense/is real — posted a Facebook rant against "crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash."
Just got back to SF. I've traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down market st in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.
While San Francisco's homeless problem is a serious one, it's important to remember that these are people. Just like you. Further, as Sam Biddle of Valleywag (who, by the way, was first on the scene here) expertly points out, "[H]elp doesn't come in the form of ugly Facebook remarks—it comes in the form of help." Gopman goes in for the kill (emphasis ours):
The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it's a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that's okay.
In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city. Like it's their place of leisure... In actuality it's the business district for one of the wealthiest cities in the USA. It a disgrace. I don't even feel safe walking down the sidewalk without planning out my walking path.
You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It's a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I'd consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn't made anyone's life better in a while.
After Valleywag ran with it, Gopman did what any CEO must do in these situations. He apologized ("apologized"):
Last night, I made inappropriate comments about San Francisco and its less fortunate citizens on Market st. I'm really sorry for my comments. I trivialized the plight of those struggling to get by and I shouldn't have. I hope this thread can help start an open discussion on what changes we can make to fix these serious problems. Again, I am deeply sorry.
Craig Montuori, Founder and Executive Director at PolitiHacks, however, doesn't feel an apology was necessary. He comments that Gopman echoes what others in the "the startup community" have been saying since they got here a year or two ago. His reply:
It isn't like you said anything many others in the startup community aren't saying. I'd rather you speak your mind and trigger a good, civil chat than self-censor as someone who strongly disagrees with your earlier post's tone.
Look, homelessness in San Francisco has been a complicated and pressing issue for years, long before the Mission turned into a haven for techies and bad attempts at political theater. Everyone new to the area feels this way for a short period of time, but then turns their ire toward Muni, the Wiggle, or people who wear shorts and flip flops to the symphony. But yes, Mr. Montuori, instances like Gopman's rant are good for jumpstarting civli discourse for everyone, not just for our deeply fellated startup community.
Upate II: We've got a slew of ways in which techies can donate money to local homeless causes of note. Homeless Youth Alliance, Larkin Street Youth Services, St. Anthony's Foundation, just to name a few.