Pier 39 business owner to San Francisco leaders: Stop ignoring issues of homelessness, dirty streets

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Businesses at Pier 39 say city officials can no longer ignore the problems of high costs and dirty streets. Those issues have already prompted others to take action, including Oracle. The tech giant announced on Tuesday that it's moving its annual mega-conference away from San Francisco.

RELATED: Are dirty streets, homeless driving business away from San Francisco's Pier 39? Your opinions here

Pier 39 is a top destination for tourists. Though the area had big money-making years in 2016 and 2017, that has changed.
"We saw a pretty sharp decline since then," said business owner Brian Hayes. "A lot of it is attributed to the homeless."

Hayes owns two small shops and five kiosks at Pier 39. He says foot traffic is down and some businesses have responded by hiring external marketing companies to bring in tourists.

Simco owns five restaurants at Pier 39.

"So we've had to go outside and have an outside sales marketing person to book tour groups to come in and fill up the restaurants because we just don't have the walk-in business anymore," explained Sandra Fletcher, president of Simco Restaurants.

Fletcher disputes the city's claims that the high costs of hotels is driving tourists away.

"I know myself I'll go on vacation, I'll spend more money but I have to have a good experience and I don't want to have to look at the homeless and I don't want to have to see needles on the ground and human feces, it's not where you want to go on vacation," added Fletcher.
On Tuesday, when Oracle announced it would be moving its conference to Las Vegas, San Francisco Mayor London Breed painted a different picture.

"They love the restaurants, they love the shopping, they think it's one of the most beautiful cities in the world," Breed told reporters.

Tourists on Thursday told ABC7 that they come here already knowing what to expect.

"There's a lot of homeless people, a lot of poverty in certain areas, that's mostly what I heard," said Kevin McKee, a tourist from Indiana.

Margot Meinerzhagen, from Germany, added, "You ask yourself, 'why is it in this city with so much money and the luxury stores?' There are all these homeless people who seem to suffer a lot."

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