SAN FRANCISCO — Technology entrepreneur Greg Gopman has inflamed already tense relations between San Francisco and its growing population of upwardly mobile techies with a full-throttle takedown of the city's homeless population.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Gopman said San Francisco had been overrun by "crazy, homeless, drug dealers ... and trash..."
"There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us," Gopman wrote.
Gopman deleted the post and on Wednesday he apologized for it, but not before being engulfed by controversy for his elitist comments and fanning the flames of the class war in San Francisco. (He also apparently made this video about a homeless box monster on the streets of San Francisco).
"Last night, I made inappropriate comments about San Francisco and its less fortunate citizens on Market St.," he wrote. "I'm really sorry for my comments. I trivialized the plight of those struggling to get by and I shouldn’t have. I hope this thread can help start an open discuss on what changes we can make to fix these serious problems. Again, I am deeply sorry."
But Valleywag's Sam Biddle grabbed the post before Gopman deleted it, needling Gopman for not contributing anything of value to the world (Gopman runs hackathons) and calling on Silicon Valley to "disrupt" homelessness, not disparage it.
"Help doesn't come in the form of ugly Facebook remarks — it comes in the form of help," Biddle wrote.
Wrote one commenter on Biddle's post: "I think many San Franciscans would say it's the hackathon organizers, not the destitute, that should be dragged off the sidewalk and pushed into the Pacific Ocean with a bulldozer."
Here is Gopman’s original Facebook post:
"Just got back to SF. I've traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down market st in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.
"The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it's a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that's okay.
"In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city. Like it's their place of leisure... In actuality it's the business district for one of the wealthiest cities in the USA. It a disgrace. I don't even feel safe walking down the sidewalk without planning out my walking path.
"You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It's a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I'd consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn't made anyone's life better in a while."
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times