Image - Michael Shellenberger against a red skyline

San Francisco

Michael Shellenberger: How Progressives Threaten Cities

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As 2021 came to a close, questions about crime and homelessness in San Francisco dominated headlines locally and nationally. In addition to high-profile smash-and-grab robberies in San Francisco's Union Square and malls outside the city, the publication of Michael Shellenberger's new book, San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, also drew attention to increasing disorder on San Francisco's streets; the book and its arguments received attention across the political spectrum from media around the World.

A Bay Area resident for more than 30 years, Shellenberger says progressive policies are, in good part, the reason for homelessness and crime in San Francisco (and similar cities on the West Coast). From homeless encampments to open-air drug markets and retail robberies, he says progressive leaders have gone beyond merely tolerating these issues and now actively enable them through specific public policy choices by urban lawmakers and district attorneys. Shellenberger believes that urban problems such as homelessness and drug dealing aren't primarily from a lack of housing, money for social programs or other "root causes." Instead, he feels the real problem is an ideology that designates some people, by identity or experience, as victims entitled to destructive behaviors and a hands-off approach to law enforcement that coddles them. The result, he says, is an undermining of the values that make cities, and civilization itself, possible.

Please join us as Shellenberger makes one of his first local public appearances to discuss his controversial book and the new crime policies launched in San Francisco.


This program has 2 types of tickets available: In-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Safety Protocols for in-person attendance:

• We follow best practices laid out by the CDC and state and local guidelines.
• All guests, staff, and volunteers must be fully vaccinated and boosted (14 days after receiving the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine series or 14 days after receiving a single dose vaccine and received a booster dose). Guest must show proof of full vaccination with photo I.D.
• N95 Masks (or equivalent) are required at all times indoors (If you do not have one, one will be provided).
• In-person capacity is limited.
• Elevators are limited to a maximum of four (4) people at a time.

Our LEED Gold-certified building is designed to cool with outside air, using digitally controlled moveable windows and large ceiling fans. We are deploying additional HEPA filters inside to scrub the air. This is all in addition to increased cleaning of surfaces throughout the building.

We welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our programs.

This program is supported by the Ken & Jaclyn Broad Family Fund. Complimentary copies of Shellenberger’s San Fransicko will be available to in-person attendees thanks to their support.

Ken & Jackie Broad Family Fund

Photo by Gabriel Harber.

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Mon, Jan 24 / 6:00 pm PST

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Michael Shellenberger
Michael Shellenberger
Founder and President, Environmental Progress; Author, San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities
Moderator TBA

5:30 p.m. doors open & check-in
6–7 p.m. program
(all times PST)