Mayor: The City's economic outlook shaping up

Despite the nation’s economic downturn, the financial future of The City is shaping up in a “positive way,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

Businesses such as Google, MySpace and Wikipedia are moving into San Francisco because of the local talent available to companies and the growth “spirit” of The City, Newsom said at a breakfast in Oakland for Bay Area business leaders.

“None of these companies came in and complained about our payroll tax,” the mayor said.

The challenge for The City, Newsom said, was to strike a balance between the revived technology sector — which crashed in 2000 with the dot-com bust after a period of wild growth — and the support services needed to sustain companies in town, which can be hampered by the high cost of doing business in The City.

“We’ve really become a back office to Silicon Valley,” said Newsom, adding that companies are attracted to San Francisco values found in such programs as Healthy SF — The City’s affordable health care program — and its support for gay marriage.

“Those are the reasons Riverbed moved in,” he said, referring to the data service company.

San Francisco is not a cheap place to conduct business, Newsom acknowledged. However, if a company wanted to be competitive in its market then it needed to be in The City, he said.

“If you guys are looking for the best deal, go to Nevada,” Newsom said.

Along with Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, Newsom addressed roughly 1,000 people.

Before Newsom spoke, Richard Weiss, the chief investment officer for City National Bank’s investment branch, said the average amount of time between the peak of an economic cycle and the trough was 10 months. The economy peaked in mid-2007 so the low point of the expected recession would be near the middle of 2008, Weiss said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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