Benioff Pronounces from His Tower: San Francisco’s Little People Must Adapt

In what comes across as a desperate plea for help, a San Francisco art gallery owner, Collier Gwin, writes in the Wall Street Journal today about his experience with a mentally ill homeless woman who repeatedly defiled his place of business, until he lost his cool and sprayed her with water:

For weeks we had done the right thing. We called the police and social services 50 times over 25 days—exactly as instructed by Mayor London Breed. Everyone who showed up told us they couldn’t move the woman, no matter what she was doing to herself and the community.


In my city, shoplifting, drug dealing and drug abuse aren’t treated as crimes, but my act of frustration earned me 35 hours of community service. This is another reminder of how broken San Francisco has become and how inhospitable the current laws are to small business owners and taxpayers.


After the incident, some city leaders claimed they had sought ways to support the woman. Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle that she wasn’t “disruptive or unpleasant,’’ fueling the public’s wrath against me. But in the police report of the incident, local merchants described her as “severely mentally ill” and noted that she often “steals food from restaurants, defecates openly in front of their businesses, performs sex acts upon herself publicly, screams at merchants and passersby and spits on people when they get close to her.’’


It was only because of media attention that she was quietly picked up and taken to the hospital. I hear she’s now back on the street.

Meanwhile the top dog of the largest employer in the city, Salesforce Chairman/CEO Marc Benioff, says the little business owners just need to get used to it, as Associated Press reported on Sunday:

Empty storefronts dot the streets. Large “going out of business” signs hang in windows. Uniqlo, Nordstrom Rack and Anthropologie are gone. Last month, the owner of Westfield San Francisco Centre, a fixture for more than 20 years, said it was handing the mall back to its lender, citing declining sales and foot traffic. The owner of two towering hotels, including a Hilton, did the same…


Mayor London Breed recently announced $6 million to upgrade a three-block stretch by a popular cable car turnaround to improve walkability and lure back businesses.


But Marc Benioff, chief executive officer of Salesforce, the city’s largest employer and anchor tenant in its tallest skyscraper, said downtown is “never going back to the way it was” when it comes to workers commuting in each day. He advised Breed to convert office space into housing and hire more police to give visitors a sense of safety.


“We need to rebalance downtown,” Benioff said.

The obsessive progressive, who never met a political fight he didn’t want to wage in red states, has surrendered in his blue city and largely evacuated Salesforce’s occupancy of several large buildings downtown:

This led to the announcement that Salesforce would be completely leaving Salesforce East, the building that bears its name. All 104,051 square feet currently leased is now up for sublease. With the announcement, Salesforce currently has 709,000 square feet of office space for sublease currently available in San Francisco, leading Airbnb by over 200,000 square feet due to Salesforce having space available in two of San Francisco’s largest office buildings.


“This is not great news for many people,” Michelle Duggan, a building occupancy researcher, told the Globe on Wednesday. “The city is screwed because this is just more empty office space with no one coming in and supporting downtown businesses. Office vacancy is still around 30%, which is really bad, especially because it was under 1% before the pandemic. The city is not doing anything, despite trying, to keep these businesses downtown either.”

Last month NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty criticized Benioff at the Salesforce annual meeting for the urban policies he has advocated for years, which led to San Francisco’s descent:

The owner of two…[San Francisco] hotels — the Hilton San Francisco and the Parc 55 — is going to stop paying the mortgages, the latest step in a once-beautiful city’s descent into hell, brought about by the so-called progressive policies so favored by Marc Benioff.


When the same person is both Chairman and CEO, that individual apparently feels less constrained to impose their personal political views on the whole company, as Mr. Benioff has done. Is there any destructive, left-wing initiative to which he hasn’t attached Salesforce’s name? …


When you have billions and live in a bubble, you never have to worry about your own personal security.


You don’t have to step over used needles or human feces on the sidewalk.


And best of all, you don’t take responsibility for the nightmare you have created.

And small business people like Collier Gwin can just suck it up, or leave.




Tags: homelessness, Marc Benioff, Salesforce, San Francisco, woke corporations