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News + PoliticsEconomyOpposition grows to Breed's APEC boosterism—and the massive security plans

Opposition grows to Breed’s APEC boosterism—and the massive security plans

Small businesses, seniors, hotel workers, Soma residents say the billionaire party will hurt them badly.

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Opposition to the APEC conference—both the logistics and the content—is starting to emerge around the city, although most of the news media coverage remains boosterish.

My favorite Chron columnist, Soleil Ho, pointed out that a lot of Soma businesses fear the conference, with its tight security perimeters, will be devastating. John Elberling, who runs Todco, says that seniors who actually live in the security zone will be at risk.

At the Board of Supes meeting Tuesday, Mike Casey, a leader in the hotel workers union, said that security arrangements may make it difficult for folks to get to work—and a missed shift for people who are already on the economic margins is a big deal.

Mayor Breed is all in on APEC, but the supes are concerned.

“APEC is going to further highlight the huge gap between those with power and money and those of us who are just trying to get by,” Casey said.

Advocates for undocumented immigrants testified that many workers who have jobs in the security zone will be afraid to go to work, because San Francisco’s Sanctuary City policies don’t apply to the Secret Service. “They are worried about being arrested,” a representative of PODER said.

“There are a lot of people who don’t have ID and can’t get through the checkpoints,” one speaker said.

“Immigrant communities are bracing themselves to stay home for seven days,” a speaker from PODER noted. That means kids won’t go to school, parents won’t go to work, food won’t be available for seniors.

And yet Breed, in an appearance before the Board, talked about “a tremendous amount of support from our business community” for an event that is, frankly, a party for the very rich and powerful, organized to help promote trade agreements that have historically harmed labor and non-rich countries.

She said that her office is doing outreach to residents and small businesses, although many of those folks say they haven’t heard much at all. “Let’s not lose sight of the major opportunity for our city,” she said.

It’s going to be a major lockdown that will impact thousands of Central City residents; in San Francisco, the convention center is part of a residential neighborhood with a lot of low-income people.

This is, as far as most speakers could recall, the first time San Francisco has faced this level of security since the end of World War II and the formation of the United Nations.

The supes—unanimously—approved a resolution that not only takes issue with the whole point of the event but calls on the mayor to use the $10 million the board has set aside for APEC to help small businesses who may be throttled by the Secret Service rules.

Breed can, of course, decide not to spend that money to help anyone facing impacts from the event.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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