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San Francisco official behind doom loop tour resigns

Alex Ludlum, who serves on the city’s Commission on Community Investment, resigned over his involvement with a Downtown Doom Loop Walking Tour. | Source: Courtesy The Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure

Alex Ludlum, a San Francisco land use commissioner who anonymously promoted a “Downtown Doom Loop Walking Tour,” has resigned.

Ludlum, a vice president at real estate investment firm SPI Holdings, was appointed by Mayor London Breed to the city's Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure in March 2022. He also serves on the board of the SoMa West Community Benefit District.

"Alex has informed us he is resigning from the [Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure] Commission. The decision to organize and publicize the tour was a mistake and a deep error in judgment," said Jeff Cretan, a spokesperson for Breed. "We are working every day to address the City’s challenges, and our focus remains on doing the work to move this City forward."

Earlier this month, an event billed as a tour of "open-air drug markets, the abandoned tech offices, the outposts of the non-profit industrial complex, and the deserted department stores” started making the rounds and quickly attracted scrutiny.

According to an Eventbrite invitation, tour guides were described as “an urban policy professional, card-carrying City Commissioner overseeing a municipal department with an annual budget over $500m, and cofounder of San Francisco's largest neighborhood associations." The organizers charged $30 for the walking tour.

The event sparked controversy, coinciding with a regular tour of the Tenderloin organized by the nonprofit Code Tenderloin. On Saturday, the planned date of the doom loop tour, the organizers failed to show up.

Participants who requested ticket refunds were shown an email address with Ludlum's name, according to screenshots viewed by The Standard.

In a resignation letter shared with The Standard, Ludlum said the stunt was his "attempt to bring attention to the deplorable street conditions & rampant criminality in my neighborhood," describing it as "satire." In the letter, he urged Breed to "continue to address these dire issues."

While many public officials derided Ludlum's messaging as insensitive, at least one of his colleagues offered support.

Adam Mesnick, proprietor of the Deli Board sandwich shop and a fellow board member of the SoMa West Community Benefit District, described the stunt as "a form of protest."

"He works his ass off for a better city and expects leaders to follow suit," Mesnick said.

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