A major Chicago-based medical association has abruptly cancelled future bi-annual conferences at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, explaining that many event attendees no longer feel safe walking on the sidewalks in public in downtown San Francisco due to high crime rates, open drug use, and unsanitary conditions.
The medical association has not cancelled its conferences scheduled for Moscone Center in 2019 and 2023, but has decided to host future conferences after those years in Los Angeles. which are valued at $40 million each due to the attendance of 15,000 people.
Leaders in San Francisco seemed astonished by the sudden loss of a big event due to safety concerns, even though business groups have been warning the city for years. In a 2015 letter to late Mayor Ed Lee, a coalition of business groups including the California Dental Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association predicted that “your city will see that citywide conventions will not re-book San Francisco and will choose other cleaner and safer West Coast destinations” if public streets could not be made safe and clean.
San Francisco estimates it spends $30 million per year cleaning needles and human feces off sidewalks and homeless encampments. Photo: AP
“It’s the first time that we have had an out-and-out cancellation over the issue, and this is a group that has been coming here every three or four years since the 1980s,” Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO of S.F. Travel. “There was a time when the biggest obstacle to having a convention here was that it can be expensive, but now we have this new factor.”
S.F. Travel declined to share the name of the medical association with People Powered Press, although the agency did confirm that it was not the American Medical Association, as rumored on social media.