by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
San Francisco could lose a massive conference that brings in millions of dollars because of the city’s homelessness and rampant drug use.
Marc Benioff, cofounder and CEO of Salesforce, said his company may be hosting its final “Dreamforce” tech conference in San Francisco this year, pointing to attendees’ fears about safety in the city. Benioff said he projects the event, which will run from Sept. 12-14, will bring 40,000 people to the city and inject $57 million into the downtown economy.
“If this Dreamforce is impacted by the current situation with homelessness and drug use, it may be the last Dreamforce,” Benioff told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday. He has told the outlet in previous years that attendees have complained about the situation in San Francisco.
Salesforce has given tens of millions of dollars to fight homelessness and crime, but the city continues to struggle with public safety, an issue that has prompted dozens of businesses to close or relocate.
Homicides in San Francisco have increased nearly 40 percent from 2020 to 2022, and deaths from fentanyl have spiked.
Old Navy announced in May it will close its flagship store. Whole Foods and Nordstrom have shuttered businesses in the city over safety concerns. The downtown area of the city has lost half of its businesses since the start of the pandemic.
Office vacancies in San Francisco hit a record-high rate in the second quarter this year. Among the companies trying to ditch their office space in the struggling city that quarter were Uber and Airbnb.
It seems leaders of San Francisco and other high-profile West Coast cities — Portland, Seattle — have forgotten that public safety is the core issue of local government. Get public safety wrong, and your city suffers.