In what seems an elaborate troll job, but managed to get published and promoted on Eventbrite, someone’s offering a chance to “view the open-air drug markets” at Civic Center for $30, which I’m pretty sure you can do for free.
San Francisco has a proud and still-vibrant history of notable outdoor walking tours: A Hitchock walking tour, Mission District mural walking tours, and “haunted” San Francisco walking tours. But the latest promoted walking tour is stoking fear of a different nature, offering a $30 chance ($33.50 with service fees) to “get close and personal to the Doom and Squalor of downtown San Francisco,” in what is being billed a s the Downtown Doom Loop Walking Tour in an Eventbrite invite.
This likely publicity stunt was flagged Tuesday afternoon on the Twitter account of Tenderloin activist and recovery advocate Tom Wolf. Whoever is hosting this 90-minute walking tour is simply described as “SF Anonymous Insider.” (Wolf expresses disgust with the event in the above thread, so it’s fair to count him out as a possible culprit here.) But the event description is written in the tone of someone keen to score an appearance on Fox News, or that low-budget thing Tucker Carlson is streaming right now.
“The tour will start at City Hall, and continue through Mid-Market, the Tenderloin, and Union Square,” the event promises. “We will view the open-air drug markets, the abandoned tech offices, the outposts of the non-profit industrial complex, and the deserted department stores.”
Clearly with an ax to grind, the host adds that participants will “Discover the policy choices that made America's wealthiest city the nation's innovative leader of housing crisis, addiction crisis, mental-health crisis, & unrepentant crime crisis.”
And who is this “SF Anonymous Insider?” According to the event invite, “Your guide is an urban policy professional, card-carrying City Commissioner overseeing a municipal department with an annual budget over $500m, and cofounder of San Francisco's largest neighborhood association.”
The speculation on social media is already going over which city commissioner this is. And there are hundreds of them. But the “card-carrying City Commissioner” descriptor is a possible red flag, I’m not aware that SF city commissioners are issued cards. Moreover, the invite says, “This event is the result of his own mental-health crisis.” So yeah, spend 90 minutes in the Tenderloin with that guy.
One obviously has to wonder if this is a take-the-$30-and-run scam on the part of the anonymous host. Eventbrite has done a fairly decent job of cleaning up their platform, but shysters still manage to post sham events to that site.
So sure, pay money on Eventbrite for some August 25 event hosted anonymously by someone who won’t tell you who they are. And maybe your $30 investment will teach you a new lesson about “unrepentant crime” in San Francisco.