San Francisco may lose its largest annual convention next year if this month’s Dreamforce is dinged by the city’s homelessness and drug crisis, according to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Hailed as the “AI event of the year,” Dreamforce is slated to bring 40,000 movers and shakers from the world of Artificial Intelligence to the Moscone Center from Sept. 12 to 14.
The Foo Fighters will even be on hand to rock the event, in a charity performance that will benefit UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.
It’s a big deal.
And according to Benioff, if attendees are “impacted” by the city’s ongoing struggle with drug-addicted destitutes, it may be the last time San Francisco will benefit from all the convention has to offer.
“If this Dreamforce is impacted by the current situation with homelessness and drug use it may be the last Dreamforce” in the City by the Bay, Benioff told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday.
It’s not that Benioff isn’t sympathetic to the plight of San Francisco’s homeless.
Salesforce just made a $1 million donation “to a Salvation Army’s program that aids homeless people,” according to The Chronicle. “Benioff and his company previously poured money to support San Francisco’s 2018 Proposition C tax on major companies that now raises millions of dollars per year for homeless services.”
As BizPac Review has been reporting, San Francisco’s progressive policies have prompted many of the city’s iconic businesses to close their doors and head for safer pastures.
Most recently, after three decades in the anchor position, Nordstrom finally closed its flagship store in the city’s Westfield Mall location.
— BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) August 28, 2023
Yet the city and its liberal supporters continue to deny that homelessness and drugs are driving the businesses away.
Sarah Dennis Phillips, Executive Director of the Office of Economic & Workforce Development, blamed the empty Nordstrom shelves on the way young consumers like to shop.
“What we are seeing out there is that younger people particularly when they come to the city they want to see new concepts,” she said. “They want to see pop-ups and exciting things that are here for a short period of time.”
But viral videos showing mobs of thieves smashing and grabbing goods from high-end stores within the Westfield Mall tell a different story.
“Woman steals purse from luxury store inside Westfield Mall, is immediately caught, then released, and less than 5mins later, goes next door and attempts to rob the Walgreens…” reported the popular World Peace Movement account on X. “No wonder the Nordstroms is closing down.”
#SanFrancisco BREAKING: Woman steals purse from luxury store inside Westfield Mall, is immediately caught, then released, and less than 5mins later, goes next door and attempts to rob the Walgreens… No wonder the Nordstroms is closing down. pic.twitter.com/h3cnd8mwdC
— World Peace Movement (@darren_stallcup) August 28, 2023
Benioff says the success — or potential failure — of Dreamforce to keep the convention free from incidents will serve as a litmus test for another big conference, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which, according to the Chronicle “will bring world leaders, including President Biden, along with corporate CEOs to Moscone Center in November.”
“We’re working hand in hand with the city as we always do,” Benioff said. “We’ll bring a significant number of people to the city — 40,000 people — and it will generate $57 million in the downtown economy.”
“So it’s in all of our interests for it to go well, and for APEC to go well,” he said. “This should be the focus of the city.”
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