Apparently Dreamforce went well this week, and city efforts to clean up the area around the Moscone Center so that conventioneers didn't have to step over bodies or needles were a success.
Many people who go downtown on a regular basis these days will tell you that the daylight hours are pretty okay in most places besides the Tenderloin and Sixth Street. But an extra effort was put in by the city to make sure that the 42,000 people attending 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 is saying that the city does this for 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 single day? Why does it take us having to say [something]? What is that?" Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said during an on-stage chat with Governor Gavin Newsom at Dreamforce. Benioff had given the city an ultimatum, essentially, in the days before the convention, suggesting it could leave SF altogether if the city didn't clear the homeless and drug markets out of the way.
"Yes, it can be like this," Newsom said, and despite his not being able 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 pushed back on Newsom saying, "What I am doing is not pointing the finger at anyone, but rolling up my sleeves to take full responsibility and do everything we can to address those issues [in the streets]."
Parisa Safarzadeh, a spokesperson for Breed, tells the Chronicle that the mayor's office was "a little surprised" when Benioff mouthed off two weeks ago, threatening to move the conference. "By then our work was already under way 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 for the last 3 days of Dreamforce, and it is great that the city is able to put its best foot forward for this major 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's 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 some kind of mystery to Benioff or to local TV reporters how or why the city was able to sweep up a few square blocks for three days in the name of $80 million for the local economy. The undesirables, in this case, were just shooed onto other blocks, out of sight.
As the Chronicle reports, the city's effort essentially amounted to some power-washing and street ambassadors and police rousing people each morning if they were sleeping or lingering in places too close to Moscone or out in the open on Market Street, and telling them to go somewhere else.
66-year-old Jan Weith, who had been sleeping in front of the Walgreens Wednesday night near 4th Street, tells the Chronicle, "The police, security guards, those street ambassadors — everyone told me 'get out of here' this morning when I woke up around 8 a.m."
Francis Zamora, spokesperson for the Department of Emergency Management, tells the Chronicle that San Francisco’s Coordinated Street Response Program sprang into action similarly for Pride in June and for Fleet Week last fall. But, Zamora says, "we’re glad people are taking notice of the investments the City has made over the years to assist people in crisis and address street conditions."