These days, when we hear about San Francisco in the news, it’s usually about how Silicon Valley has been pouring money into the city. However, one wouldn’t know it by just walking around the streets of this historic city. If anything, the city’s homeless problem has only grown worse within the past few years. People with mental illness and major substance abuse problems have taken to the streets, making certain areas of the city inhospitable at times. The paradox of money and power, in a city that is plagued with problems, is not lost on those charged with the task of promoting the town to tourists. The rent has risen exponentially, but the quality of life has never been worse. Residents report rampant heroin use in the streets, with addicts shooting up in public view.
Even the president of the city’s visitor bureau has reached out with a public plea for help. Noting that he has never seen a city as bad as this, anywhere in the world, Joe D’Allessandro stated that many visitors have reached out to him after their trips to San Francisco. A recent convention led to many techies tweeting about their unsafe experiences in the city, and now others hosting conventions are unsure of whether or not they want to come to San Francisco. With an idyllic image, it seems as if the city has a lot going for it. However, if unable to conquer these recent difficulties, its glamour may reside only in a bygone era.