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Our S.F.: Tourists heart S.F., and our disdain is only a posture

Tourists visit San FranciscoJapanese tourists take pictures at cable carPhoto taken 06/09/1977Photo ran 09/16/1984, pg. 6 Photo: John Storey, The ChronicleThe argument probably made sense at the time.

When Alcatraz Island was being converted to a federal prison in the 1930s, opponents spread fears that it would negatively impact tourism. Who will want to visit San Francisco when it gets a reputation for housing violent criminals?

“Most San Franciscans have long wished that a prison on Alcatraz did not have to stand right in the eye of the Golden Gate,” a 1933 San Francisco Chronicle editorial began. “Alcatraz is too close in for a bad man’s summer resort.”

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And let’s be honest, that’s pretty darn gay.