Friday, 1 September 2023

San Francisco Commissioner, Creator Of ‘Doom Loop’ Tour, Resigns In Scathing Letter To Mayor

 The San Francisco commissioner who created the “Doom Loop” walking tour of San Francisco’s most decrepit and drug-infested areas resigned this week in a scathing letter to Mayor London Breed.

Alex Ludlum, San Francisco’s land use commissioner, resigned from the city’s Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure on Monday. Breed appointed the 35-year-old real estate professional to the commission last year.

In his resignation letter to the mayor, which he shared with the San Francisco Chronicle, Ludlum pointed the finger squarely at San Francisco’s drug crisis for the city’s deterioration.

“The unchecked drug dealing is plainly the root of our current problems,” Ludlum wrote. “As Mayor, I hope you will continue to address these dire issues, and will have my full support in doing so.”

“As long as the open-air drug markets continue their daily operations, we will continue to witness the misery of suffering addicts, the withdrawal of pedestrians and office-workers, the ongoing closures of small businesses, and the stagnation of our rich cultural life,” he said. “All of downtown will suffer until the markets are closed.”

Ludlum apologized for creating the “Downtown Doom Loop Walking Tour,” which was advertised as a look at the “worst of San Francisco” and the “doom and squalor of downtown.” The tour was canceled less than 24 hours before it was to take place.

“I regret that my attempt to bring attention to the deplorable street conditions & rampant criminality in my neighborhood has been misconstrued as a mockery of suffering individuals,” Ludlum wrote in his letter.

“Satire is a poor way to address the grave issues we face as a city,” he added.

The $30 “Doom Loop” tour, which reportedly sold out, attracted media attention and backlash before it was canceled. The tour promised to show people the city’s open-air drug markets, empty office buildings, and the “urban decay” in the Tenderloin, Mid-Market, and Union Square.

A spokesman for Mayor Breed called Ludlum’s decision to organize and publicize the tour a “deep error in judgment.”

“We are working every day to address the city’s challenges, and our focus remains on doing the work to move this city forward,” the mayor’s spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Initially, it was not clear that Ludlum was the “Doom Loop” organizer, but his involvement reportedly came to light when refund notices for the tour listed a person with his email address as the organizer.

San Francisco has been in the throes of a homelessness and drug crisis for years now.

Homelessness has only gotten worse since before the pandemic. About 38,000 people are homeless in the Bay Area on a given night, up 35% since 2019. More than 7,000 people are homeless in San Francisco itself.

Crime and open-air drug use often accompanies the homelessness issue, causing businesses to flee San Francisco’s downtown, where foot traffic has thinned.

The drug crisis is still raging as well — although overdose deaths have dropped from their all-time high in 2020 during the thick of the pandemic.

In 2022, San Francisco saw 620 fatal drug overdoses, down from 640 overdose deaths in 2021. In 2020, overdose deaths spiked to 725.

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