Home>Articles>San Francisco’s 165-Year Old GUMP’S CEO Scorns Politicians for Crime, Homeless Drug Addicts

GUMP'S storefront, Union Square. (Photo: Sebastian for California Globe)

San Francisco’s 165-Year Old GUMP’S CEO Scorns Politicians for Crime, Homeless Drug Addicts

‘San Francisco downtown as we know it is not coming back… and you know what? That’s OK’

By Katy Grimes, August 14, 2023 8:20 am

Gump’s is a luxury American home furnishings and home décor retailer, founded in 1861 in San Francisco, California. Except today, Gump’s is under siege. Homeless drug addicts, thievery, ramifications of COVID policies, harassment of the public and the defiled city streets, together with bumbling incompetent city leadership, the company just published a full page letter warning they may have to close if the city doesn’t immediately reassess its “failed public policies.”

“San Francisco now suffers from a ‘tyranny of the minority’ —behavior and actions of the few that jeopardize the livelihood of the many.”

My mother-in-law, a 1934 Cal Berkeley graduate, took a job right out of college at Gump’s as a hat designer. She would be heart broken today at the vast decline of San Francisco.

“In an astounding full-page open letter in the San Francisco Chronicle, a venerable San Francisco business that’s been open for 165 years warned it may have to shut down because of deteriorating street conditions, crime, and inept city leadership,” Golden Gate Media reported.

Gump’s letter to San Francisco officials. (Photo: Sebastian for CA Globe)

Crime, homelessness, a lack of foot traffic, and lawlessness have plagued San Francisco’s recovery from a long COVID shutdown. And San Francisco’s elected class seems either incapable or disinterested in addressing the plague in its city.

Gump’s CEO John Chachas ended his letter assessing where the blame belongs: “But we believe failed public policies must be abandoned and a renewed focus must be brought to restore the city we all love.”

From the closure of San Francisco’s flagship Whole Foods supermarket, to Walgreens closing more than a dozen store closures, outdoor clothing company Cotopaxi, outdoor brand Decathlon, to the Gap, which closed their flagship store in the city in 2020, myriad reasons have led to the departure of many businesses. As the Globe reported, record low office occupancy, tens of thousands being let go from Bay Area tech firms, open drug use and sales, more workers deciding to work from home, high rents, and the escalating crime wave have all led to these business departures.

In February, when San Francisco Mayor London Breed gave her annual State of the City address, she outlined her latest plan to save the Downtown area of the city:

  • An economically diverse and resilient job engine
  • A welcoming, clean, and safe environment
  • A dynamic destination active at all hours, every day
  • A world-class transportation experience
  • An equitable economy that supports full participation by all

Breed’s slickly produced marketing plan thus far is just words and pricey photos, and clearly the result of lots of brainstorming sessions, and roundtable meetings with affected PR flaks free associating strategies…

San Francisco, as well as all of California’s cities cannot have vibrant and thriving business districts while catering to the drug addicted, mentally-ill homeless, and criminals. How many more generational businesses have to close or move before Mayor Breed and California’s politicians choose to act?

Mayor Breed shut the City completely down during the COVID pandemic, ordered residents to lockdown while wearing masks, and ordered all San Francisco City employees take the COVID vaccine. It’s not a stretch to believe she and other politicians knew full well the economic devastation that would occur. And if she didn’t, she should be replaced.

“San Francisco downtown as we know it is not coming back. And you know what? That’s OK,” said Mayor Breed in February. “It’s a call to action, to reimagine what our future holds.”

Tell that to Gump’s Mayor Breed.

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22 thoughts on “San Francisco’s 165-Year Old GUMP’S CEO Scorns Politicians for Crime, Homeless Drug Addicts

  1. Gump’s CEO John Chachas implored the Governor, the Mayor and City Council Members to take immediate action? Good luck with that? Democrats have controlled California and San Francisco for years and San Francisco has become a hell hole under their watch? While San Francisco descends further into dystopian chaos, wasn’t Democrat Mayor London Breed last seen enjoying a lavish vacation in Maui where she had to be evacuated to the island of Oahu because of the fires? Destruction and death seem to follow where ever Democrats are?

  2. These losses and this destruction in our CA cities, and maybe most especially in the one-time jewel San Francisco, affect all of us in one way or another, don’t they? I think most of us who aren’t even S.F. residents know of Gump’s and its wonders and its reputation and we also feel rather sickened by the threat to its continued existence. This, and other actual and potential business closures, as well as S.F.’s general degradation over recent years, have been entirely avoidable all along.

    Gump’s was said to be director Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite store in the San Francisco he loved so well. Two of his finest pictures were situated there: Vertigo and The Birds. There may be more that don’t immediately come to mind. (According to actress Tippi Hedren in a documentary about the making of “The Birds,” Hitchcock bought a lovely gold pin showing three birds in flight at Gump’s which he presented to her when informing her she had won the lead role of “Melanie.”) Although most of these pictures were filmed on set, the photography of the city seen in Vertigo is some of the most breathtaking you will ever see.

    The demise of this once-beautiful city was avoidable —- it is 100% due to TERRIBLE Dem/Marxist policies. But even now the “leadership” is unwilling to admit they were wrong and correct themselves. As you know.

    1. You are so correct, Showandtell, it does affect us all.
      CA voters have a blind spot when it comes to electing officials, or they are idiots, or they don’t care.
      Leaders such as Senator Anthony Weiner have done their best to make this chaos happen. And now everyone suffers.

      1. Do California voters actually elect these Democrat leaders like weird Sen. Wiener…or are they installed with deep-state Democrat voter fraud and rigged voting machines?

        1. It makes me sick but unfortunately it’s true. Election cheating in California has been increasingly shoved in our faces by these scoundrels with a kind of bully-on-the-playground glee.
          To cite just ONE example, what else would explain the eager reporting just minutes after the polls closed in Sept 2021 that Gov Gruesome had beat the Recall “in a landslide”? Huh?

        2. Mandated district elections, under pain of massive fines, created de facto jerry-mannered rotten burroughs all over California.

          They are created by raw population numbers; not registered voters nor even legal residents. Some districts have almost no legal registered voters, but they get a full seat at the table which is where the powerful public sector unions swoop in and install their favored candidate and can control an entire district with only a few hundred votes..

          I suspect Scott Weiner’s constituents are very happy with his representation -everything revolves around getting SEIU and teacher union endorsements/benedictions if you run for office in California.

  3. Are you asking to be policed harder? Because that’s what’s coming for you by focusing on low level crime rather than the highway robbery that occurs through taxation.

    They’ve caused the problem of crime in order to present the solution. Which will be more facial recognition cameras, increased traffic fines, more traffic cameras, more militarized police, and robo cop dogs.

    They’ll have it all in place in time for the next “absolutely necessary” shutdown. Authoritarianism is the problem. It’s made possible by us willing tax payers who focus on the wrong things. Crime would go down if taxes went down, that’s the only fact about crime that matters.

  4. “Breed’s slickly produced marketing plan thus far is just words and pricey photos, and clearly the result of lots of brainstorming sessions, and roundtable meetings with affected PR flaks free associating strategies…”

    This is how many city governments work these days. Look at products from the Sacramento city government. For example, the not yet finalized 2040 General Plan. It is rife with bullet points of nonsensical frothy prose. Strong adjectives, but few verbs. And little if any mention of the COSTS that we will all have to bear to pretend that the city can achieve the illusive goals of, say, carbon neutrality or equity (whatever that is).

  5. Like S.F., Sacramento currently has a massive problem with crime, homelessness, and vacant buildings. And at the helm of the City is a derelict City Manager, Mayor/City Council and City Attorney.

  6. Applying “broken windows theory,” or even considering it, would be a good start. It worked under Mayor Giuliani and Police Chief Bill Bratton in New York in the early 90s and there is no reason it wouldn’t at least begin to improve the situation in S.F. (and other cities). But the present S.F. leadership refuses to follow such models. Application of “broken windows theory” dramatically cleaned up New York City, making it safe again in the 90s after an era of sky-high crime and other ills.

  7. I had hoped by now that Mayor London Breed would have come to the realization that she simply has neither the knowledge or experience to be able to put together a solid strategic plan to address SFs numerous problems, and with this realization, step away from office to allow someone more capable to manage SF’s recovery. As this obviously will not happen, can we please remove her and her Democratic compatriots from office next year, and put in place a true leader and leadership team who can first, rescind the failed Democratic policies that have contributed to SF’s current problems, and second implement effective strategies to put SF on the road to recovery.

  8. You get what you vote for. Elections have consequences. No sympathy and honestly getting tired of of the “elites” whining about how tough it is. Welcome to the real world
    Foxtrot Golf November

  9. As a kid growing up in they Area in the 1950’s/60’s, a trip to Gump’s was like visiting a foreign country -just dazzled my young imagination. Is that what turned me into an obsessive globe trotter?

  10. Community standards vs tyranny by the minority.

    Which option punishes more people, costs more money and destroys the community as a whole?

    Not everyone meets community standard for public behavior – they lose their freedoms.
    No community standards punishes everyone else. Don’t let perfect get in the way of the good.

    Lifestyle choices have consequences. Compassion is a misused term. Drop it from any discussion about our current urban rot. Re-insert personal choice, accountability and responsibility. Tell ACLU you are re-opening state care institutions, and they can go fly a kite.

    Follow the Swiss “sanitarium” models, or even our prior TB sanitarian isolation communities. We can do this. Urban rot is an infectious disease.

  11. Coincidentally, my mom worked for a while at Gump’s after WWII.

    As far as San Francisco (or any other other shithole metropolitan city in the US) is concerned, the only realistic solution is forced confined detox for addicts and lengthy incarceration for all drug dealers. Worldwide bombing of drug manufacturing facilities would also help. That would be a legitimate “War on Drugs.”

    1. If this country (or state) wants to afford the “compassion” they show for their brother, then your solutions are somewhat admirable, except we are past “lengthy incarnations”, “forced detox”, and bombing of drug facilities.
      The forced detox and Incarceration of criminals has fallen by the wayside, as it turned into an industry, or money laundering.
      Look to Singapore or Indonesia, or the Philippines as examples for places that got out of control and fixed it.
      Deterrence and maybe the resurrection of the Vigilantes of the 1800s in SF would make progress, however the body count would dramatically rise so much the Bay would become polluted by the homeless taking baths at the shores all around it.
      You may only keep what you can defend, and the City is preventing you from living a healthy life (isn’t that the 5th amendment?)

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