A San Francisco small business owner shared frustration with the city government and California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom after a thorough cleanup was ordered ahead of this week’s APEC summit.
The city has undertaken a significant effort to glam up streets ahead of a vital U.S.-China meeting, including the removal of homeless camps around the city.
“At first I thought… the media was making a way bigger deal out of this than it needed to be,” CrossFit Golden Gate gym owner Danielle Rabkin told “FOX & Friends First” Tuesday. “Of course, we needed to clean high-security zones. But then I realized they were cleaning outside those high-security zones. And then that Newsom clip surfaced, and it was abundantly obvious that they were cleaning because of optics and not security.”
Newsom admitted to the cleanup Friday at the unveiling of a new program to plant trees in urban neighborhoods.
“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 — but it’s also true for months and months and months before APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit], we’ve been having conversations,” the governor said.
“It is extremely frustrating,” Rabkin said of the remarks. “He doesn’t care about having clean streets for the constituents he serves. But at the snap of the fingers, things are clean. Just in time for this conference.”
“If it wasn’t abundantly clear before, it is abundantly clear now that our leaders at the local and state level aren’t totally incapable of and incompetent, they just choose not to serve the people.”
President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jingping will meet face-to-face in the city this week — the first since the two leaders met in Indonesia in November 2022.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the conference could help the city with an anticipated $53 million injected into the economy, according to FOX affiliate KTVU, adding that “tourism is our business here in San Francisco.”
“It’s funny,” Gabkin said. “The city’s always gotten away with being really poorly run. But with work-from-home policies, people are starting to leave… the tax base is shrinking. Small business owners are the ones suffering. So it’s really difficult to see that things are getting cleaned up right as this conference is coming in and world leaders are about to come into the city.”
Gabkin, who has been operating her small business for over 11 years in the city, said the homeless crisis and drug epidemic has been squeezing residents for years.
“People don’t have to be here anymore, and they don’t want to live in a place that doesn’t feel clean and safe,” she said.
“We feel the pain tremendously. It’s no secret that stores are closing left and right. This is not a media ploy. This is the real truth on the streets.”
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FOX News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.