San Francisco's Facade Fades: The Hypocrisy Behind the APEC Clean-Up and the City's Reemerging Crises

San Francisco's Facade Fades: The Hypocrisy Behind the APEC Clean-Up and the City's Reemerging Crises

San Francisco's Post-APEC Struggles: A Return to Pre-Conference Challenges.

After hosting the prestigious Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference, San Francisco is grappling with returning issues of drug use and homelessness, much to the concern of local business owners. This shift follows the city's extensive clean-up efforts in preparation for Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit.

Tony Pankaew, a restaurant owner, expressed his observations in a CBS News Bay Area interview, noting the city's transformation for the APEC conference. “They cleaned up the people, they cleaned up the streets," Pankaew said. "They made the city look good and look impressive for the foreigners, for the politicians."

However, this makeover appears to be short-lived. Pankaew remarked, “Now they have started to come back. Slowly but surely. [In] a couple of weeks [the city] will be back to where [it was] before." Despite these challenges, he remains hopeful, citing a new skating rink near his business as a potential attraction for more customers.

Governor Gavin Newsom faced criticism for admitting to a timed massive clean-up ahead of the summit. During the unveiling of a new tree-planting program under his Clean California initiative, Newsom acknowledged the efforts: "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." He also pointed out that discussions about raising cleanliness expectations had been ongoing for months prior to APEC.

Adding to the discourse, Danielle Rabkin, owner of CrossFit Golden Gate gym, shared her insights with Fox News. Initially perceiving the media coverage as overblown, Rabkin changed her view upon realizing the extent of the cleaning operations, which went beyond high-security zones. The emerging narrative suggested the clean-up was more about optics than security.

As the post-conference reality sets in, San Francisco faces familiar challenges. The city's efforts to present a polished image to the world during APEC have sparked a debate on the sustainability of such transformations and the underlying issues that persist in urban settings.