San Francisco –The Write Off

I don’t what it is, but time and time again, I keep encountering businesses in San Francisco that are losing money and either propped up by another company that is out of the area, or about to go out of business and be replaced by the same exact kind of business, run in the same way, and soon to go out of business as well.
It seems that there are some large companies that don’t mind this right now, since San Francisco is a really appealing town and I’m sure it’s nice for the outsiders who own these other companies to be able to come into town for just about anything and have it be a complete tax write off.
But, there must be something more to it, since you never really need all that many losses, except if you’re wildly successful and even then, you’d probably want to invest in your mainstay to keep it profitable. I guess this something more can be summed up best in Cafe Niebaum-Coppola in North Beach, which is owned by Francis Ford Coppola and is as well-known by others, a complete monetary loss. It will probably never be profitable, since the food is bland and undercooked, the prices are exorbitant–not only for what you get, but also given the location, and the service is, as best, appalling. But, when asked about this culinary atrocity, Francis will always say that he loves his Cafe and that he’d rather have it and have it losing money, rather than buy something fancy for himself. Cafe Niebaum-Coppola is Francis’s Ferrari.
But, beyond the charm of ownership in SF, I also think that a lot of the companies that have a stake in businesses here would very much like to see them make a profit. The only glitch in this is the dot-com mentality that is still lingering in this city, despite a recession for the last four years and the fact that the boom was really only about 3-4 years. People, it seems are more interested in having fun here, than making money, which is fine, except for the part that making money is what allows you to have fun.
I fear that in some respects, if the economy starts turning around (come on John Kerry, win damn you!) then SF will face a second recession, since a lot of the losing businesses here will be sold off, due to the perception that the economy is good and the people owning these places will be able to get more for them. This will in turn create an artificial inflation to the already high prices again and cause a second bubble that due to the complete falseness of it and the cynicism of the dot-com era, will be extremely short-lived and actually plunged the city into a deeper recession than it has seen already. That, my firends, is when cautious people like me who get poo-pooed for not buying a house when the interest rates are low, but the prices are too high will make our move and get homes at a reasonable cost.
If Kerry doesn’t win and dumb-hole stays in office, then I think the above scenario will happen much, much faster, since the economy won’t be turning around and these big companies with their write offs will attempt to dump their holdings in San Francisco as soon as possible. A grim scenario, but hey, that’s what happens when people vote for Ralph Nader, so knock that crap off already!
Just my 1.5 cents, but something like this is definitely on the horizon. Needless to say, I’m saving my money right now to really be able to ride out the storm the next time around.