[Hpn] San Francisco, CA - San Francisco hotel group's ads call for action on city's homeless - San Diego Union Tribune - July 19, 2002

H. C. Covington H. C. Covington" <icanamerica@bellsouth.net
Fri, 19 Jul 2002 13:44:57 -0500


San Francisco hotel group's ads call for action on city's homeless:
33 giant billboard ads posted throughout the city - "I want to know why
homelessness is still a problem after we spent $200 million last year."

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By Olga R. Rodriguez - AP - San Diego Union Tribune - July 19, 2002


SAN FRANCISCO, CA  Tired of political rhetoric that hasn't reduced the city's
homelessness problem, tourist industry leaders are trying to shame local
politicians into cleaning up the streets.

In one of 33 giant billboard ads posted throughout the city by the Hotel Council
of San Francisco, a businessman holds up a cardboard sign that reads "I want to
know why homelessness is still a problem after we spent $200 million last year."

Others hold more direct messages: "I want the Board of Supervisors to stop
playing politics and actually do something about the streets."

Hotel Council member Paul Ratchford, who is directing the campaign, says the
ads, which will run for six months, reflect the tourist industry's frustration
over the failure of the board and the mayor to solve the problem.

"It's a call to action to the residents of San Francisco to call their elected
officials in their districts and let them know we need reform," said Ratchford,
also managing director of the Argent Hotel.

The Hotel Council, which represents 55 city hotels, sees homelessness and
panhandling as a huge social issue that is becoming a deterrent for business
travel and tourism, he said.

"Our business levels are down and our business meetings are down," said
Ratchford.

But City Supervisor Chris Daly said the campaign is a political move by
supporters of Gavin Newsom, a city supervisor whose plan to cut homeless welfare
checks will be voted on in November.

"What the Hotel Council wants, and they got Gavin Newsom to propose, is to get
people out of sight . . . but that doesn't solve the problem," said Daly, a
longtime advocate for the homeless.

Newsom, expected to run for mayor next year, said San Franciscans are more fed
up than ever with homelessness, and the ad campaign reinforces that sentiment.
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source page:
http://www.uniontrib.com/news/uniontrib/fri/news/news_1n19cleanup.html

Copyright 2002 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

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