Local Business Owner Describes San Francisco as Being Unrecognizable

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Dec 15, 2023

A San Fransisco-based gym owner claims the city is “unrecognizable” and has returned to a dismal state filled with drugs and homelessness.

This comes less than a month after the huge undertaking to clean up the city in preparation for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders.

Untimely Downfall of Golden City

In recent years, San Fransisco has been the center of attention on numerous occasions due to its drug-infested streets, the ever-increasing homeless population, and a surge in crime.

A woman sitting in a homeless camp within San Francisco

Source: Santiago Mejia

However, residents of the city were ecstatic last month as they watched state officials begin to tackle the problems and clean up the city in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC).


Clean Up for Chinese President

Before the event, San Francisco was given a thorough makeover, with portions of the city being repainted and covered in beautiful murals. The event would mark President Biden and Xi Jinping’s first face-to-face meeting since November 2022.

Two people wearing hi-vis jackets clean up a local park

Source: Freepik

California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, was heavily criticized on social media after he admitted the clean-up was specifically timed ahead of the important U.S.-China summit.

Things Have Once Again Spiraled Out of Control

Unfortunately, it appears things in the city have returned to how they were before the clean-up, according to one local business owner.

Danielle Rabkin joins Fox Newcast to explain the situation in San Fransisco

Source: Freepik

Danielle Rabkin, owner of Golden Gate Gym, said, “It’s recognizable. San Francisco, same as before. Anyone they pushed out of important zones has just slowly crept right back in.”

Just for Show

The Gym owner continued by saying, “I know folks are saying, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town. That’s true, because it’s true.”

Gavin Newsom speaks as Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass listens on at a press conference following a pallet fire

Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Governor Newsom admitted to this last month during the unveiling of a new state program that will begin to plant trees in urban areas. This comes as part of his Clean California initiative launched in 2021.

Newsom Explains the Clean-Up Situation

The California governor explained during the unveiling that they had already spoken about the clean months before the APEC came to town.

Governor Newsom smiles away from the camera

Source: AS USA

He added, “It’s also true for months and months and months before APEC, we’ve been having different conversations, and we’ve raised the bar of expectation between the city, the county, and the state and our federal partners.”


Efforts Appear to Have Been in Vain

Despite the recent makeover and clean-up efforts, the city has returned to its old ways, according to business owners like Rabkin.

Homeless man sits at the side of the street in a city and enjoys an instant meal

Source: Freepik

She added its back to “buissness as usual,” and people like her are left to deal with a “tremendously difficult” reality. “I have vagrants lying in front of the business all the time,” the gym owner said. “It’s unpleasant. People don’t want to live here.”


Exodus From the Once-Popular City

In recent years, San Fransisco has experienced a rise in the number of people leaving the city, and Rabkin alludes to the fact that “People don’t want to live in a city that’s this expensive with such a high cost of living, in such a low quality of life.”

Numerous cars sit in traffic as they wait their turn to drive on the road out of the city

Source: Freepik

She continued, “Nobody wants to be subjected to dodging human feces and needles on sidewalks and exposing their children to open-air intravenous drug use. It’s really unpleasant.”


City Tries to Fight Back Against Homelessness

San Francisco officials have considered employing a non-profit organization to help put homeless outreach programs into place, spending roughly $37 million.

Homeless man begs for spare change as he sits at the side of a busy sidewalk

Source: Freepik

Since 2021, the city has spent a whopping $1 billion trying to fix the persistent problem.


Where Is the Money Being Spent?

Rabkin is suspicious of the claim that the California government has spent $1 billion on the problem at hand.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at sunset

Source: Extra Space Storage

The city has a $14 billion budget. It’s only seven by seven square miles, 49 miles. I don’t know where this money’s going. I don’t know how it’s going to be spent. But it’s unfathomable that the problem is as bad as it is with the money that is spent,” she said.


Rabkin Believes She Has the Answer

According to the local gym owner, a fix to the problem is easier than most people think. Rabkin believes the city should no longer allow the homeless to pitch their tents in and around the city center.

A homeless person sleeps at the side of a street on a blanket beside his meal

Source: Freepik

“It’s not an option to pitch a tent and sleep on the street. It’s not hygienic, it’s not humane, and it’s not right for the law-abiding taxpayers.”


The War Continues

As it stands, the war San Francisco has been waging for years against crime, drugs, homelessness, and unaffordable accommodation looks set to continue.

Man stares at a black car, which he will soon try and break into

Source: Freepik

Paul Boden, director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, explains that forcing people to move in, so-called “sweeps,” will never solve the problem. He believes the real problem is there’s simply not enough affordable housing.