I took another walk around San Francisco today. I refuse to hide under a rock like everyone else, so I go out and walk around with the mentally ill, the homeless, the addicted, and their drug dealers. I headed to Whole Foods on 4th Street to buy things that I don’t need like Kettle & Fire Coconut Curry Lime broth and fresh cilantro. People in cities like to shop daily if they can because it’s interesting to walk down the street in big cities. San Francisco is just more dangerous than other cities. My route to Whole Foods was less perilous today than my trip to Market Street yesterday. There were no police cars, but the streets and the store were largely empty. This is the case with much of San Francisco now that we are in the Doom Loop scenario. The current vacancy rate is at 30% and climbing. It did not look like a normal Whole Foods. The food on the shelves looked slightly unorganized and the packaged goods had that forlorn look of inventory that had been sitting there for a long time. They have the coffee next to the cleaning supplies. The baby food is crammed in next to the dog food. It didn’t feel right. I was happy to leave and return to my apartment where I am obsessed with the news.
I’ve spent the last six years working for myself, but also teaching, coaching and consulting, but I’ve not had this much unstructured time since the kids were little. I’m taking up new projects in the near future and won’t have as much time to read but maybe that is a good thing. Apart from the books I’m reading, I’ve become a news junkie. For a while, I refused to watch or read the news. I would start my UC Berkeley classes by asking the students what was happening in the world and that was how I got my news. Then, I started to get a newsletter every morning with the major points because I felt I should be more informed. Now, I read articles for hours. I recommend not reading the news if you can help it because you can learn some scary things reading the news. For example, an animal tranquilizer called xylazi also known as “tranq,” “tranq dope” and “zombie drug” is being used to bulk up illicit fentanyl to make it even more addictive. There are some devastating effects associated with its use that I won’t go into (you can read about it here if you really want to), but I am obsessed with learning everything I can so I can somehow save my city. I’ve always been this way taking on impossible issues and fighting for human rights and environmental causes. Plus, I can’t lose the city that my company Ocean SF is named for.
Today is now sunny after a blanket of fog covered the city earlier. In the early morning, my windows are almost solid white, but the fog burns off by mid-morning. I woke up at 5 a.m. and worked on my business plan for Ocean SF. I have an investor in Chicago who is interested in helping me with funding. Ocean SF has always had this certain magic. People reach out to me and ask if they can help me. Peakstone is a middle market investment bank that I met with while I was in Oregon. We will see where it leads, but a lot of work goes into a simple 10 slide presentation and more into the financials in the appendix. I’ve done all of this before of course, but everything has changed and an update was needed. I even taught the Canva presentation software which took some time, but was not difficult, it made the slides really beautiful. I am now working on a deeper business plan.
I know at some point I will have to turn away from the topic of the downward spiral of SF and focus on more positive things and leave these enormous problems to the experts who have experience governing and working to solve these complex problems. Although my confidence is low in April Governor Gavin Newsom made a surprise visit to San Francisco and took a walk around the Tenderloin. Two days later, he called in the National Guard. What else could he do? The situation calls for drastic measures and it appears the current leadership has tried everything else. Maybe a little tough love is in order.
“The city often seemed to operate like an incompetent parent, confusing compassion and permissiveness, unable to maintain boundaries, and producing the exact opposite result of what it claimed to want.”
This is a quote from Elizabeth Weil, who recently wrote a features for New York Magazine on the topic of San Francico.
If the National Guard can’t make this better I don’t know who can.
Love and blessings to all.