Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle
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The battle over a homeless navigation center being built in San Francisco’s Embarcadero reached another level on Friday when opposing GoFundMe campaigns for and against the center surpassed their fundraising goals.
Over $250,000 were raised through the dueling campaigns, which had San Francisco residents and members of the city’s business community on opposite sides of a proposal by Mayor London Breed to build the city’s largest navigation center in Embarcadero.
“Happy Friday y’all! We did it. This city is so goddamn rich, no one should be sleeping on the streets,” said William Fitzgerald, who started the GoFundMe in favor of the construction of the navigation center. “Thanks to everyone who donated and supported. Let’s keep supporting @TheCoalitionSF and looking for ways to house everyone.”
Fitzgerald started the campaign “SAFER Embarcadero for ALL” at the end of March as a parody of the campaign “Safe Embarcadero for All,” which was started by a South Beach resident to hire San Francisco-based real estate lawyer Andrew Zacks to oppose the creation of the navigation center. The anti-navigation center campaign surpassed its fundraising goal about eight hours before Fitzgerald’s pro-navigation center one.
But as of Saturday, Fitzgerald’s campaign raised more funds than the campaign to hire Zacks, and in less time. The campaign opposing the navigation center raised $100,930 in 23 days, and the campaign in support of the navigation center raised $175,000 in 15 days. If it’s any indication which push is more popular — at least on the Internet — Fitzgerald’s campaign received over 1,500 more likes on the GoFundMe platform and there were over 1,500 more donors to his campaign, too.
The pro-navigation center campaign was backed by a pair of tech CEOs – Marc Benioff of Salesforce and Jeff Lawson of Twilio – both of whom donated $10,000 to the campaign. Those and the rest of the funds raised by Fitzgerald will go to benefit the Coalition On Homelessness, a SF-based nonprofit.
The fight over the proposed navigation center is as contentious in the streets as it is on the web. SF residents shouted at Mayor Breed at a community meeting on Wednesday at the Delancey Street Foundation where the proposed navigation was being discussed. “I’m sorry this issue has divided this community. My role is to hear all of you today,” Breed told the crowd.
But people at the meeting interrupted her remarks, shouting “Take it somewhere else!” and “Build it at City Hall!”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/GoFundMe-navigation-center-Breed-Benioff-Lawson-13764659.php.