by Frank Holmes, reporter
One of the most liberal cities in America has admitted its boycott of conservative states has backfired spectacularly, hurting its own citizens while having little to no impact on its enemies.
San Francisco may have wrapped itself in the rainbow banner, but it’s now waving the white flag of surrender.
In 2016, the far-Left city by the Bay passed a city ordinance known as Chapter 12X, banning any city-funded travel to states that had a more conservative position on gay/transgender policies.
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San Francisco didn’t want to do business with any city or state that had laws recognizing people’s religious rights not to participate in gay weddings — or the rights of doctors and nurses not to take part in transgender surgeries. “These new laws represent an affront to progress and to the recognition that the LGBT community is entitled to equal treatment under the law,” declares Chapter 12X.
“San Francisco is also a city open to the free expression and protection of religious views of all kinds,” it adds.
But that wasn’t enough for the city’s elected officials. They expanded the statute twice in the last four years, in 2019 and 2021, to condemn whole other categories of their fellow Americans: states that passed pro-life laws opposing abortion and/or adopted such voter integrity legislation as requiring voters to show a government-issued ID before casting a ballot.
“Every day in this country, women’s reproductive rights are threatened, and we have to fight back,” said Mayor London Breed in 2019.
Each time, the city’s progressive Democrats sat back and waited for red states to cry uncle from the economic pressure.
Now, they’re the ones throwing in the towel.
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The policy has cost the city huge amounts of money, according to a new report from City Administrator Carmen Chu.
“While it is difficult to quantify the exact cost of 12X to the City, the Budget and Legislative Analyst notes that a loss in competition is likely to increase the City’s contracting costs by 10-20% annually,” notes the report, released on February 10. “These costs could continue to increase and compound over time as the City’s potential contractor pool shrinks if the list of banned states grows.”
Aside from the economic cost, “12X has created additional administrative burden for City staff and vendors and unintended consequences for San Francisco citizens, such as limiting enrichment and developmental opportunities,” the report states. (Emphasis in report.) For example, students in sports “ must travel to tournaments, some of which are in banned states. This travel may be banned or require additional administrative steps due to 12X restrictions.”
While the measure has cost San Franciscans dearly, there’s no indication that the city’s boycott has caused other states to change their policies—at least, not to make them more liberal.
The City Administrator’s Office “was not able to find concrete evidence suggesting 12X has influenced other states’ economies or LGBTQ, reproductive, or voting rights,” the report candidly admits.
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When San Francisco enacted its red state travel ban in 2016, it boycotted eight states; since then, the number of states the left-wing city boycotts has ballooned to 30, more than half the country.
“This increase suggests that the City’s threat of boycott may not serve as a compelling deterrent to states considering restrictive policies,” the report says in understatement. “Only 1 state has ever been removed from the list.”
Officials should admit failure and change course, the report admits.
The city could retreat from its culture wars by editing the ordinance, removing certain contracts from consideration, or just scrapping the travel ban completely.
“It’s an ineffective policy that complicates the business of San Francisco government and makes it very likely that we pay more than we should for goods and services,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman told the San Francisco Chronicle, saying he’s bucking for complete repeal. “The most effective pressure San Francisco can apply on red states is showing that San Francisco can be effectively governed.”
Competence would be a stretch for San Francisco, the Democrat-dominated city clogged with drugs, homelessness, and looters whose reign of terror was ignored by then-D.A. Chesa Boudin. The city slipped so far out of hand that it had to hand out a map telling people how to avoid clumps of human feces…and the city pays sanitation workers $185,000 each to clean it up.
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“San Francisco is slowly realizing that performative liberalism is no substitute for competent governance,” wrote Zachary Faria at the Washington Examiner.
“Everyone should be pleased if the long rehabilitation of a great city is finally underway.”
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”