San Francisco Losing Its Lucrative Convention Industry Because Of Streets Filled With Needles And Feces

Ben MarcotAP Images

San Francisco’s poop problem is costing it a lot of money.

The city has been dealing with an epidemic of dirty streets filled with feces and syringes, one that is now putting a major source of revenue in jeopardy. As NBC Bay Area reported, the city’s trouble with its homeless population and dirty residents is now leading the lucrative convention industry to find other places.

“It’s already hitting San Francisco in the pocketbook,” Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association, told NBC Bay Area. “We don’t want San Francisco to be seen as a dirty, unsafe, unfriendly city, and we need to do what we can to counter that.”

D’Alessandro said conventions are put off by the city’s dirty streets and unsafe atmosphere. Conventions are a major source of tax revenue for the city, as San Francisco hosts between 40 and 60 major conventions a year that attract as many as 650,000 people in a year.

As D’Alessandro noted, many of the organizations holding these conventions are growing wary of traveling to San Francisco, including some major medical conventions.

“They just said that the conditions of the streets, in their mind, had gotten to the point where their delegates don’t feel safe coming to San Francisco,” he said. “They see harassment on the street, and it’s not a pleasant environment, so they have reconsidered all future years in San Francisco.”

The city’s dirty streets have gotten a lot of attention lately. Viral reports this week focused on the city’s online 311 system and the 16,000 that have been lodged about feces found on city streets. The Fresno Bee noted that one of those complaints was clear garbage bag filled with 20 pounds of poop that someone had left at a curbside.

A city representative told the San Francisco Chronicle that they have no idea how the bag of poop got there or exactly what kind of poop was inside of it.

“I don’t know the source,” Rachel Gordon told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It could be people. It could be dogs. It could have been picked up from the street. It could have been from someone’s house. I’m glad it was in one place and in a bag.”

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While San Francisco officials work to take care of the poop (and syringe) complaints, there are greater efforts afoot to bring back conventions. As NBC Bay Area reported, the city is undergoing a $500 million project to renovate and expand the Moscone Convention Center in the hopes of attracting more conventions.