San Francisco mayor hoping APEC summit shows city in a new light

San Francisco mayor hoping APEC summit shows city in a new light

Long before world leaders landed in San Francisco for APEC, Mayor London Breed knew the biggest gathering of world leaders since the UN charter was signed here in 1945 would be a perfect opportunity to boost the city’s tarnished image.

With a smash-and-grab crime epidemic on the evening news shows, open-air drug markets, people camping on sidewalks and a downtown-turned-ghost town. San Francisco, some claimed ,was caught in a “doom loop.”

SCRIPPS NEWS’ CLAYTON SANDELL: Have you broken the doom loop? 

LONDON BREED: The doom loop is a narrative created by — I believe — people who may not even live in San Francisco. I mean, San Francisco does have its challenges, but what is not being told is the real story of San Francisco.

The real story, Breed says, is that the City by the Bay is still a thriving, creative innovator, leading the way in tech such as artificial intelligence.

“We have over 80 new AI companies in San Francisco alone,” said Breed.

APEC week hasn’t been perfect for the city’s public relations. A foreign TV crew was robbed at gunpoint, and some restaurants report diners are staying away. At Cole Hardware, store manager Renato Geslani Jr. says the store is on the edge of the security zone and business is down.

“I think just the media was telling everyone to stay away from the area because of the traffic and everything else,” said Geslani. 

The city did a massive cleanup for APEC, but Geslani doesn’t believe it will last.

“I don’t think the city has the resources to just keep it up,” said Geslani. 

Breed says the San Francisco she loves deserves a chance to shine.

“There’s a few technical glitches here and there, but at the end of the day, we are just loving every moment of it in San Francisco,” said Breed.