San Francisco’s Touted Ban on Doing Business With Red States Has Collapsed Into a Ball of Failure

Note how the press is far less eager to report on this change in San Francisco politicians after raving over the initial announcements.

The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes the activist left once again. Recently I covered how Texas A&M University has shown that its DEI policies, in place for years, have led to a result that is the polar opposite of announced goals. The college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies have led to a drop in student satisfaction with the school across all demographics, with black students negatively impacted the most.

An internal study shows that campus satisfaction with all ethnic backgrounds has dropped since the DEI initiatives have been employed, with blacks seeing more than a 30 percent drop. Today, barely half of the black students at TAMU feel as if they are welcomed and included on campus. Now, in a very similar fashion, a quiet announcement has come out of the hyper-partisan city of San Francisco. 

The City Administrator Office of San Francisco has recently issued a report looking into the celebrated plan, enforced years ago, that stipulated the city would curtail doing business in states that passed laws that the civic leaders were opposed to. Issues such as abortion and gay rights being legislated were the focus, with SF executives declaring they were suspending doing business in those states. On a larger scale, the State of California has issued similar decrees, stating how it would no longer do business in highlighted states and would ban government travel as well.

(Governor Gavin Newsom found himself ensnared in this very legislation. After being celebrated for banning government travel to select red states, he was found to have flown himself to Montana, with security and other state assets in tow.)

The media reactions to the original announcement were praiseworthy, but today, the coverage is far less enthusiastic. Now that it has been looked into, this red-state ban has been not just ineffectual, but it has become a strain on the city itself. The original intent was to segregate those “offensive” states and punish them by refusing to conduct business therein. This edict has not altered a single state’s policies, the list of disapproved locations has only grown, and in the end, this mandate has meant an increase in expenditures for the city.

Initially drawn up in 2016 in reaction to the North Carolina Bathroom Bill debate, San Francisco announced it was restricting business to states that restricted LGBT𝜋 rights. A little over a handful were listed out, with language leaving it open to include other states in the future, all while it was implied that this would become a severe drain on the revenue for those states and provoke legislative change. Instead, over the years, the city has only lengthened its aggrieved list as gun laws, voter rights, and other factors were included.

In 2019, the list of contract bans grew to include opposition to abortion laws. Last summer, four more states joined the banned list due to transgender legislation. Today, over half of the country is deemed to be off-limits to San Francisco legislators and city operations, and the effects are being felt – by San Francisco.

The boycott backfired. A Feb. 10 report from the City Administrator’s Office found that the ban on contracting with red states has hiked San Francisco’s annual contracting costs by up to 20 percent. The boycott has also failed to make red states change their laws, as evidenced by the fact that the blacklist has grown from just 8 states in 2017 to 30 states today.

This official policy, entitled Chapter 12X of the municipal administrative code, was analyzed and found to have no discernable impact on the targeted states, all while the city is incurring a significant spike in expenditures as a result. From the Administrator’s Report:

In response to this inquiry, this report finds that: 

  • 12X’s policy impacts are not clear; the CAO was not able to find concrete evidence suggesting 12X has influenced other states’ economies or LGBTQ, reproductive, or voting rights. 
  • 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. 
  • Few, if any, other jurisdictions implement travel or contracting bans as expansive as the City’s. 
  • Potential alternatives to 12X range from administrative revisions of the existing legislation to repealing the entirety of 12X.

A rather full and succinct repudiation of this virtue-signaling endeavor. To see just how deep the hubris can run in the politicians of this state, their abject refusal to look at this in a sober fashion is rather evident. Without any evidence of this being effective, they have only broadened the scope of the ordinance, all to their own detriment. 

But give them some credit. It only took them seven years before anyone thought to look into the efficacy of this policy. Now we sit back and see just how long it takes them to admit defeat and repeal these mandates.

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