SF Political Group Shares Stock Photo of LA Encampment in Call-to-Action for San Francisco

Not-so-shockingly: It’s the same moderate (read: conservative) group behind the incredibly tone-deaf, pastel-colored “That’s Fentalife!” ads.

San Francisco’s not in a state of entropic decay.

(This isn’t, however, mitigating the city’s issues in regards to overdose deaths, housing insecurities, and ever-growing cost of living; mind you, all those issues stated above aren’t unique to San Francisco; they exist on some scale in virtually every large metro in the United States.)

TogetherSF, one of a handful of moderate political groups in San Francisco that have emerged in recent years — most of which are significantly funded by outside private donors and “tech elites” — has made it a mission to slant with the City’s more conservative political leanings. Michael Moritz, the same multi-billionaire who contributed initial funding to The San Francisco Standard, has financially buoyed the aforenoted political group through its non-profit model; it’s unclear the exact amount of capital Moritz has contributed to TogetherSF.

Like all these fresh moderate PACs — we’re looking at you, GrowSF, too — TogetherSF keeps on screwing up in spectacular fashion. For example, TogetherSF recently used a stock photo of an encampment in Los Angeles in a call to action to “fix” homelessness in San Francisco.

(Remember: Organizations like TogetherSF don’t actually want to solve San Francisco’s housing crisis or commit to creating sustainable networks and policies to address homelessness. They just want to sponsor legislation that allows them not to see, say, an incredibly vulnerable cohort of human beings outside their domiciles, no matter how high off the ground those homes might sit. They don’t want to unravel homelessness; they want to push people experiencing it out of their perceived realities. And these PACs and moderate nonprofits do so by historically supporting surface-level policies that criminalize homelessness — legislation created under the guise of enforcing “help” or shelter access, never mind that shelter residents themselves often feel like they’re being “thrown into shelters and then forgotten.” 

California’s Project Roomkey initiative, a pandemic-born initiative that connected unhoused individuals to vacant hotel rooms, was lauded for its intention to connect unsheltered people with permanent housing. Only about a fifth of the 55,000 people who exited Project Roomkey went on to secure permanent housing — leaving an estimated 9,000 individuals to return to the streets.)

Moreover, TogetherSF shared this stock photo of tents along a street in Downtown Los Angeles in a post on X that includes the following lines: “You know something’s wrong. Just look at any San Francisco street.” It’s a face-palm that seems fictitious, but you really can’t make such a misstep up… because it appears too idiotic that anyone could overlook such a glaring problem around cohesion in the first place.

But someone at TogetherSF did.

We weren’t the only ones to point this out, either. Public transit enthusiast, talented designer, and the biped behind a number of free local San Francisco election maps poked fun at the mistake on X. 

“Just look at any San Francisco Street,” Arvin writes, wielding the nonprofit’s own words against it for sharing a picture of an encampment that’s, ironically enough, not found on any San Francisco street. “Like this one in Los Angeles!”

This apparently wasn’t the first time TogetherSF has blundered in such a way. District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston shared on X that “the billionaire-funded astroturf group” has used maligned stock photos in the past to fan the flames around SF’s perpetuated doom loop narrative.

“Beware of this pattern of deception and disinformation from billionaire-funded political o[organizations,” Preston continues on X. “Fake stock photos are just the tip of the iceberg.”

He’s not wrong. Given TogetherSF’s track record, don’t be surprised if you see an image of the Brooklyn Bridge in a social media captioned with “always feels good coming home.”

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