An iconic Bay Area gem might be on the verge of shutting its doors in San Francisco, according to its owner — pointing to rising crime, prevalent drug use, and a "litany of destructive" policies as the culprits for the untenable situation.
John Chachas, the proprietor of the upscale department store Gump’s, voiced his apprehensions in a letter sent to Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Mayor London Breed (D-S.F.), and the Board of Supervisors overseeing the city and county of San Francisco. This letter made its public appearance as a full-page ad in The San Francisco Chronicle.
OPEN LETTER from a San Francisco legacy business. This letter, a full-page newspaper ad published today. It summarizes what majority of residents lament. pic.twitter.com/2WlcSHTrxR
— Richie Greenberg (@greenbergnation) August 13, 2023
“Gump’s has been a San Francisco icon for more than 165 years. Today, as we prepare for our 166th holiday season at 250 Post Street, we fear this may be our last because of the profound erosion of this city’s conditions,” Chachas noted that some challenges might be residues from the COVID-induced lockdowns, coupled with the fact that many employees from neighboring offices were advised, if not directed, to stay home.
“Equally devastating have been a litany of destructive San Francisco strategies, including allowing the homeless to occupy our sidewalks, to openly distribute and use illegal drugs, to harass the public and to defile the city’s streets,” Chachas continued, calling these policies a “tyranny of the minority.”
“Such abject disregard for civilized conduct makes San Francisco unlivable for its residents, unsafe for our employees, and unwelcoming to visitors from around the world,” Chachas said, adding that “San Francisco deserves better.”
Yet, Chachas did more than just express his concerns about the city's trajectory – he also proposed measures he believed would reestablish the city "to its rightful place as one of America’s shining beacons of urban society."
He urged the elected representatives to begin by addressing the homeless encampments and ensuring cleaner streets. Moreover, he emphasized the importance of letting law enforcement uphold existing local and state statutes, remarking, "We will continue to support the compassionate efforts of helping those in need. But we believe failed public policies must be abandoned and a renewed focus must be brought to restore the city we all love.”
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