New ‘save San Francisco’ gets $4million in funding from billionaires even as more than 40,000 crimes are recorded across the city this year and office vacancy rates at 34%

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Businesses and billionaires have funneled millions of dollars into a new campaign to ‘save San Francisco’ and improve its image, even as the crime-ridden city falls into a ‘doom loop’ spiral of economic collapse. ‘It All Starts Here’ is a $4 million civic pride campaign financed by chairman of the cryptocurrency company Ripple, Chris Larsen, and Gap board member Bob Fisher. ‘We are frustrated by the negative national narrative of our City and instead of complaining about it, a group of leaders have come together to do something about it,’ said the campaign website. Gap Inc., Levi’s, Lyft, OpenAI, SF Giants and Uber are involved in the effort, while the city has reported more than 40,000 crimes this year and is experiencing a mass exodus of businesses. Crime, homelessness and empty buildings have all been named as contributing factors to San Francisco’s demise, with businesses closing shop and leaving downtown. Mayor London Breed has ordered city departments to make budget cuts, including police and public health in a desperate attempt to address the lack of funding. The law enforcement budgets in the city, which is ravaged by homelessness, drugs and a business exodus, face cuts of $27.6 million, while the public health department could lose a further $25.9 million. Ads from the campaign highlight the city’s companies, innovators and institutions – especially in tech and entertainment. One ad said, ‘Where neuroscience and artificial intelligence rub elbows.’ Another features the city’s colleges and universities including the University of California-San Francisco, University of California-Berkeley, Stanford and Pixar’s Monsters University from the Monsters Inc. franchise. Pixar has long been based in the Bay Area. ‘San Francisco has survived great fires, earthquakes and deep recessions, and it keeps coming back—stronger,’ said Larry Baer, president and CEO of the SF Giants and co-chair of the Advance SF board in a press release. ‘There is no doubt, we have real challenges to overcome, and we know the business community, along with the local community and government, must drive the solutions. With this campaign, we’re creating a spark so that people say, “Let’s do this together, because San Francisco is an amazing city and it all starts here.”‘ The campaign highlights the Bay Area’s successes, while hundreds of businesses have closed in the city due to crime, drug use and a homelessness epidemic. The San Francisco Police Department data shows robbery is up 15.4 percent, motor vehicle theft is up 8.9 percent and there have been 43,562 reported crimes in 2023. Data from the city said as of October 10, there have been 620 overdose deaths in San Francisco. Economist call the crisis in the Golden Gate city a ‘doom loop,’ referring to a city’s decline when tax incomes fall as residents and businesses leave, causing revenues to decline in a downward spiral that is hard to reverse. A recent CBRE analysis found San Francisco has a market-wide office vacancy rate of 34 percent. A DailyMail.com analysis found the city stands to lose $200M-a-year as major businesses leave the city. Starbucks closed seven stores in the Golden Gate city and Microsoft vacated its nearly 50,000 square foot office. In another push to improve the city’s image, officials are cracking down on street vendors and homeless people to clean up its streets ahead of the APEC summit in November. The conference features world leaders from the Pacific Rim countries to discuss economic development. According to emails from the San Francisco Port Authority, they are cracking down on unpermitted street sellers in popular tourist areas ahead of the gathering and hoping to improve the city’s image. They will also open up additional shelter beds to get homeless people off the streets. Earlier this year, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff slammed the city for only making efforts to improve the area during the company’s annual conference, Dreamforce. He acknowledged he asked for efforts to be made to make the area safer for his AI convention, which draws 40,000 people from around the world. But questioned, ‘Why can’t it be like this all the time?’

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