Tony Bennett, had he rolled out “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” today, would have it all wrong.
The glory that was Rome doesn’t belong to another day.
It’s the glory of San Francisco that does.
And it’s not because the homeless are getting high on the hills in broad daylight.
Nor is it because the homeless are all over the City by the Bay.
It’s because of tech with an unhealthy dose of government heavy handedness.
Credit the pandemic — and the subsequent response to how much of the nation handled it, thanks to Zoom and the Internet.
Hardly any workers are returning to downtown office towers.
In fact, San Francisco is dead-last among major urban cores for workers returning.
Add to it that San Francisco is not the only starfish in the sea when it comes to convention trade and such.
Having Las Vegas fairly close by and as an option certainly doesn’t help.
Yes, Vegas has a significant homeless problem.
But here’s the real inconvenient truth: There aren’t many places where the homeless can be invisible in San Francesco.
That’s always been the case even harking back to the 1960s when homelessness was a relative novelty elsewhere in much of Northern California but signs of it still popped up on the streets of San Francisco.
It is why day tripping — or weekend excursions — by those in Northern California have fallen off in recent years with all the subtlety of an unreinforced brick building crumbling at the epicenter of a 7.1 earthquake.
Signs of the homeless are everywhere in San Francisco because there are no vacant lots or nooks and crannies off the beaten track for those among them that would prefer to be invisible to be invisible. They are all out in the open.
Makeshift encampments lining and blocking the sidewalks complete with the use of adjoining walls to do the No. 1 are prevalent because they have nowhere to go.
Add to that the well-deserved reputation San Francisco has of viewing the committing of property crimes essentially being a form of social justice reparations.
It’s a miracle Union Square has any businesses left.
Clearly, there is still a lot left in San Francisco.
But it is going to take tough love — and not star-crossed love — to pull it out of its nose dive.
The news of the latest business moving to call it quits should shake even the most adherent deniers that San Francisco is in deep trouble to their core.
The lifeblood of the city — reflected by Bennett’s signature song — the romantic appeal of what San Francisco is (or perhaps once was), is being drained.
All forms of tourism — vacations, conventions, weekend trips by those seeking to escape the valley heat in the summer — are continuing to plummet.
Parks Hotels and Resorts — the proverbial 900-pound gorilla in San Francisco’s hotel business — plans to flee for their financial well-being.
They essentially announced they are going to default on a $725 million non-recourse loan to reduce their exposure to the San Francesco market.
The loan is secured by two of San Francisco’s biggest hotels. The two account for 9 percent of the city’s hotel rooms. They are the 1,921-room Hilton San Francisco and the 1,024-room Parc San Francisco.
And while Park Hotels and Resorts exit stage left announcement has garnered minuscule coverage compared to firms such as CVS shuttering stores and Nordstrom’s getting ready to say hasta la vista, ‘Frisco, this is an earth shattering development.
It’s because the No. 1 economic driving force and tax generation in San Francisco isn’t the export of hard left social justice initiatives contrary to popular belief. It’s tourism.
There is a fallacy that San Francisco repels visitors that disagree with its social initiatives.
That is not true.
Back in the mid-1960s, when San Francisco was “the” hotbed” of the so-called counterculture movement with hippies, the Summer of Love, open use of marijuana et al, people from the Central Valley that at the time were somewhere to the right of Florida today.
Yet, they still beat a path to San Francisco for day-long family outings, weekend excursions, shopping sprees. or special date-night dining experiences.
Today, the crime, filth, and highly visible homeless population has dulled the luster.
But equally important is the high cost of doing anything in San Francisco that has left annual inflation rate price gains in the dust.
It is more expensive in San Francisco to do a lot of things not because it is a big city, but because of how the city chooses to tax business essentially to death.
It has always been more expensive to live, work and do business in the city.
Rest assured, San Francisco is far from being dead.
There’s still a lot of life and appeal to it.
But it is clear its on a seriously downhill slide.
San Francisco’s decay can’t be laid at the feet of its liberal tendencies.
That’s because today San Francisco — while still clearly liberal — is now to the right of cities like Portland, Seattle, and possibly even Minneapolis.
It is the blatant dismal of the fact it takes two to tango — business and government — to make a city work for people.
And while one has to lead, that doesn’t mean the other dance partner is bludgeoned into submission and pulled across the dance floor like a ragdoll.
What happens next is anyone’s guess.
In many ways, San Francisco rebounding from the April 18, 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire was a less daunting fete to pull off as no one — liberal or conservative — was debating whether the city was in ruins.
This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at email@example.com