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Small Business Commission: Super Bowl 50 A ‘No-Brainer’

Photograph by Neil Ballard for the Ingleside-Excelsior Light

In contrast to the Board of Supervisors, the Small Business Commission expressed mostly praise and support for the Super Bowl 50 celebration at its Jan. 25 meeting.

Commissioner Stephen Adams put forward a three-page resolution supporting municipal accommodations for Super Bowl 50 celebrations for its benefit to small businesses.

Todd Rufo, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, gave a presentation about how Super Bowl 50 would affect the city’s economy.

“We looked at the economic impact data from past Super Bowls and the data’s pretty clear,” Rufo said. “Hundreds of thousands of people come to host cities and spend lots of money on local restaurants, small businesses, restaurants, hotels and others, driving sales and creating and sustaining jobs.”

(Outside the Commission Chamber, Super Bowl 50 has ignited debate about public expense and small vendor displacement at the Embarcadero.)

Rufo speculated that nation-wide municipal demand for “host city” status validates the sporting event’s economic value. “[Cities] host the Super Bowl, and they compete again for the opportunity to host it again, which highlights to me, at least within those cities, that they’ve done analysis and said it is worth it for them to continue to host the Super Bowl,” Rufo said.

The Super Bowl 50 Host Committee and OEWD to promote activity in the City’s commercial corridors, according to Rufo. He added that “we worked with the Super Community program at the [SB50] Host Committee to promote several neighborhoods” including the Excelsior, Fillmore, Bayview, Castro and Chinatown.

During public comment Of the 26 person audience, 14 people showed up solely to speak in support of the Super Bowl’s impacts on small businesses in San Francisco.

The First Tee of San Francisco, a nonprofit providing youth golf instruction, received a $10,000 grant from the 50 Fund, a charity effort organized by the Host Committee.

First Tee Executive Director Dan Burke said, “Although you really won’t see stories in the local paper or maybe a segment on ESPN, the reality is that hosting events such as this really do provide resources to organizations whose mission is to help those in need.”

Jim Lazarus, senior vice president of public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said, “We knew in 1985, we knew in 1999 and we know for 2016 that Super Bowls are net economic engines for the cities that they are hosted in, and that San Francisco investing $4 to $5 million will more than recoup that tax revenue to the general fund.”

Twelve other speakers praised Super Bowl 50, from nonprofits who had received grants to businesses like Alcatraz Cruises which could offer extra work to seasonal workers in the otherwise slow month of February.

Wilma Pang spoke about her hope for Super Bowl 50’s benefit to Chinatown’s tourism industry, which she described as “number one” though many businesses including restaurants are struggling.

“Chinatown is an independent planet,” Pang said, referring to public outreach efforts. “Nobody knows what’s going on” due to many business owners and residents being monolingual Chinese speakers.

Pang requested a public solution for more small business assistance in Chinatown.

After public comment ended, the commissioners unanimously adopted the resolution.

“This is a no-brainer,” Commissioner William Ortiz-Cartagena said.

Commissioner Mark Dwight returned to the Super Bowl 50 discussion at the close of the meeting, urging the need for a post-event “discussion about the successes, key learnings, any room for improvement—there will certainly be some.”

“We never really did a particularly good post-event review of the America’s Cup,” Dwight continued. “There was a lot of axe-grinding over it because it was costly. […] Clearly the Super Bowl is a totally different class of event with a totally different appeal to the general public than very expensive yachts a mile off the shore.”

Other Business

Greg Kato of the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector gave a comprehensive presentation on a new online filing system for businesses and tax preparers to electronically file their annual gross receipts and payroll tax returns before the Feb. 29 deadline.

Commissioner Dwight was elected commission president for a second one-year term. Commissioner Adams, who had been acting as vice president was elected to the position.

Regina Dick-Endrizzi, executive director of the Office of Small Business and acting secretary of the SBC, informed commissioners that the Historic Preservation Commission has begun receiving applications for Legacy Business status, after which the candidates will be reviewed by SBC.

Commissioner Adams suggested holding a special meeting to address storefront vacancies, stating that the issue was once again beginning to “raise its ugly face” in the Castro.

Commissioner Miriam Zouzounis said that she would be following up on the Health Code amendment to raise the age restriction on tobacco sales to 21 by attending the next Health Commission meeting and would report back to SBC about how the legislation has been tweaked to minimally affect tobacco license-holding small businesses.

Meeting Recap

  •         Commissioners passed resolution supporting public expenditure on Super Bowl 50
  •         Treasurer and Tax Collector presented new online system
  •         Commissioner Dwight called for objective post-event review after conclusion of Super Bowl 50 celebrations

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