397 Comments

I can understand how craven politicians can allow this to go on, but what about the

"normal" people who see their city being destroyed like this and still vote for the same people and the same party? Just don't get it, the blindness.

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The exact same thing is happening in Philadelphia, the birth place of the Constitution; so just stop lying about so-called liberal San Francisco as some sort of anomalous epicenter of progressive horror. This is America; all of it.

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Michael, are you sure you want to soil yourself with public office? Your writing is so good (including apocalypse never)!

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$57,000 per tent per year, $100,000 per year per homeless person, $1 billion a year--question where is that money really going?

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Feb 12, 2022·edited Feb 12, 2022

Been a lurker for a while, but I'll pony up a month's subscription to make a post and then we'll see.

I'm a left of center Gen X liberal, and I have appreciated the recent outpouring of critiques about some of the more disturbing directions that "woke" (sigh, hate the appropriation of that term, but it's the shorthand we all recognize to describe what it is, so fine, I'll use it) ideologies and movements have taken, particularly in reaction to the Trump era. But for a site priding itself on "investigative journalism", you're long on grievance and very short on solutions. Take this article for example. OK, homeless friendly policies may be creating some real quality of life and safety issues for SF city residents, and may not be in the best service of the homeless population itself. So what are the proposed solutions? Because I'm not seeing any, other than yet another post in the long catalogue of this site offering up the Progressive Boogeyman of the week to bash for the Two Minutes Hate Fest that the (majority) right wing paying subscribers are clearly getting their money's worth for, and getting such satisfaction from. What are the "conservative" solutions that don't involve a bus pass to export their city's and state's homeless population to "homeless friendly" climes in blue states - which is then of course used as a cudgel to bash blue cities for their massive (imported) homeless problem? Doesn't seem like much of a solution, IMO, or proof of the validity of conservative "solutions" one way or the other over progressive solutions, other than efficacy of sweeping out "problems" for other people to deal with, and then bitching about how they're doing it.

What are the other solutions I've seen offered in the comments here? More Drug War/border enforcement over fentanyl and other substances? Yeah, because that's worked so well for the last 60 years of the Drug War, in which we've spent way more money than SanFran will spend on homeless tents in 1000 years to prosecute a "war" that at current tally, has resulted in more, not less, hard drug use, pushed the manufacture and distribution of various hard drugs (like meth and other synthetic drugs) domestically, and essentially ruined the central and southern hemisphere of the Americas - a consequence of which is a major push factor in the immigration patterns conservatives will also complain about in another post. Oh, and the elevation and strengthening of seriously criminal gang elements that took over "distribution" and accelerated violent crime as a result, a lesson from Prohibtion and the rise of the mafias that so many seem unable to correlate in the rise of the modern drug distribution based territorial gangs.

More policing/incarceration/forced institutionalization? That costs money too, possibly more than the lamented tents and encampments. Recall it was Ronald Reagan who ended federal funding for state mental institutions that unleashed the waves of mentally ill and addicted homeless onto the streets back in the 80s and we’ve been dealing with that ever since. And of course, there are issues of abuse of these solutions to simply “lock up” and institutionalize an inconvenient population, out of sight out of mind, and many of the conditions in those facilities were third world worthy of themselves, so I’m not going to hang this all on Reagan’s neck either, in that involuntary commitment didn’t have major civil rights and humanitarian problems. Or that there’s no social cost to filling up the prisons with addicts and indigent homeless, and putting policing right back into social servicing.

And nary a whisper about the real root cause for the decade recent spikes in heroin and Fentanyl addiction, which came via our good ole' home grown capitalist corporations like Perdue and Oxycontin, of which not yet one single family member that sat on that board and approved the manufacture and distribution plans to purposely addict vast swaths of Americans on their poison pills and then blame the addicts for the result, has been jailed. Or the many politicians, many of which were Republicans hailing in those states, that looked the other way and in many cases, actually eased the deregulation and lack of oversight of this industry, while it was Ground Zero for their constituents in those states (and yes, there were Democratic hands on this as well, but the initial epicenter for Oxy was in red states/communities and actively enabled by the Republicans that dominated those regions - and often as a consequence of Republican deregulatory ideology to boot, and yet the fallout is being presented almost entirely as a consequence of *progressive* ideology, fuck that! There are many avenues of responsibility here to be given but I'm only hearing what the Devil Left is responsible for, the Angel Right is not even mentioned in a freaking footnote!). Not a coincidence that one of the heroin addicts Shellenberger interviewed in SF actually came from Alabama, the red and working class states and communities being the epicenters for that distribution when it began. What are the conservative answers to policing this industry, given conservatism/libertarian preferences for "laissez faire" policies when it comes to corporate oversight? Apparently civilian lawsuits (the preferred remedy) has not actually put the Sackler family into penury, nor slowed the copycat industries and distribution chains, to serve as the "disincentive" from legally mass producing a highly addictive substance, pushing it under the guise of "patient first" care, gaslighting and bullying doctors into prescribing, and lying about the studies and risks. Oh well.

Look. Again. Go forth with the left critique. It is badly needed. But I am a bit disconcerted about how much this site has become a haven for right wingers who are not forced, in the slightest, to confront their own house demons, where they are even mentioned, they are laughably minimized. Does anyone actually think the Republican Party, as currently run by the Gaetz/Greene/Boebert/Ghosar/Cawthorn caucus is at all capable of "solutionizing" any of these issues? That they will do anything more than "own the libs" via conservative media and social media when in power? Even the "stars" DeSantis/Cotton/Hawley are still little more than professional trolls, albeit with more erudition.

So, is there a point where you move past repeatedly describing the problems (and overwhelmingly attributing a one sided story and blame for those problems) and onto solutions, as I would guess a site that bills itself as “non partisan investigative journalism” may have an interest in doing, beyond providing red meat for a rapidly expanding subscriber base hungry for grievance and finger pointing against their “enemies” it seems?

And if the implied solution is “vote against Democrats”, which is a default vote for Republicans in our structurally binary party system, then what are the Republicans proposing to address any of these woes? If the answer is not a Republican infestation of some truly scary and nutty GOP politicians and all the anti-democratic/authoritarian/nihilistic/conspiracy laden baggage they are bringing, then what should we be looking to do instead to fix the Democrats, or elevate Independents, particularly for those of us for whom voting Republican to fight the "woke" is akin to shooting off a foot to spite the big toe?

Or what about non-political solutions to addressing homelessness, drug addiction, etc? Please move past the “woke boogeyman” bashing to attract more of the readers that you *really* need to hear these things (us center leftists who are uncomfortable with the loud minority in our Party, and some of the spates of very ill considered policy and the reaction to "debate" over it is to shut it down by "racism") to actually fix what’s going wrong in our party, but who are absolutely turned off by the right wing circle jerk going on in here, unless of course, the right wing circle jerk and its subscription dollars is the point. Then just be up front about that so us “politically homeless” can support more productive outlets. I'd like to fix these problems and move towards a more civil debate and policy making space, but I don't see that happening given your commentariat who are mostly engaged in old fashioned 'lib bashing and smug superiority, which I strongly feel is enabled by the editorial slant and preferred "narrative" of this site. Prove me wrong or tell me to piss off, either way, it would be nice to know where you stand regarding the "right wing yay! libs suck boo!" sentiment you are creating, intentionally or not, within your readership.

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Oh god, all those luminous, beautiful human brains, existing only once finitely and never again, with unique hopes and ambitions, and they're just being burnt through and thrown out like used charcoal briquets. What the hell can be done, though? How does one START using heroin and other irresistible drugs? How does one stop?

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Really excellent article. It is a really fine line - between the compassionate desire to help those in need, and the recognition that undermining another human being's autonomy, and fundamental sovereignty, can be profoundly damaging. Mix in the external sociopathic manipulations and ambitions of the powerful in the name of 'compassionate society ', and you have modern San Francisco it seems. And unfortunately many other places in the so-called 'Western democracies '... I believe we will fix this eventually- but definitely not like this.

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Isn't there a distinction between "not enforcing drug possession laws" and "helping homeless drug addicts use drugs"? I think there is.

The U.S. has been trying to enforce drug possession laws for the last century. If that worked, we would long ago have declared Mission Accomplished in the War on Drugs. But despite the passage of thousands of laws, the funding of enforcement and punishment that must by now run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, we're just winding down, very slowly, from an opioid crisis that was created by an immensely profitable pharmaceutical company, several enormous pharmaceutical retailers (their names are known to you all), and tens if not hundreds of thousands of MDs: all the very businesses and people WHOM THE LAWS TRUSTED WITH REGULATING THESE POTENTIAL HARMFUL SUBSTANCES. If they couldn't prevent their own activities from becoming a lethal scourge, then who could? And the opioid scandal is merely the latest in a long line of various drug crises extending all the way back to the heroin epidemic of the 1950s.

I don't see how you could need better evidence than that this record the problem isn't whether some pathetic people do drugs on the streets. The problem is that there are unimaginable amounts of money to be made, illegally and legally, from drugs. Is there anything that can be done about that? Only two things: (1) Stop subsidizing criminal enterprises by prohibition. (2) Impose meaningful penalties on legal purveyors who violate stringent standards. (Yes, this means sending the Sacklers, and others of their ilk at all levels, to jail.)

Should I have added "education" and "treatment"? No. They don't work. As, once again, the status quo illustrates.

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Feb 12, 2022·edited Feb 12, 2022

Agree. It's, for one, absurd that a "legal" drug pusher like Perdue was allowed to operate as it was (and many "Perdue clones" still are) to push opiods without consequence through the medical system and not face any personal consequences, while your average heroin street dealer selling dime bags of the stuff that their customers are most likely seeking as the alternative to the cost and difficulty to obtaining the "legal" stuff that likely got them hooked in the first place will face years in jail. There's no question heroin usage (and the follow up of Fentanyl) followed the absolute saturation of the American public of "legal" opioids to begin with. Heroin use was on the downswing before Oxy, spiked after. But our "War On Drugs" is only interested in prosecuting a certain "distribution/manufacture" angle that also allows it massive civil liberties breaches, massive amounts of unaccounted for money, and a subversive foreign policy that doesn't require actual Congressional Acts of War to prosecute outside of our borders. Oh, and of course there's money to be made. All the local policing units that got free military toys to play with, the (absolutely illegal) seizure of cash and assets from *suspected* drug dealers to be given out.. however.. lol..

And then there's the "squashed balloon" effect of prosecuting certain drugs that creates markets for other, and often worse, ones. Squashing cocaine led to crack (sells of quicker, more potent), squashing crack bred meth (can be produced domestically with domestically available materials, etc), squashing heroin bred Fentanyl, etc.

And so it goes. We refuse to learn anything from these prior passes at "Prohibition", and yet the "progressive" policies of enabling large tent cities in urban centers of open addicts is also terrible. I really wish we could learn from overseas examples, which is something progressives purportedly claimed to do, but they jump the shark almost all the time in service of this neo-"woke" BS that exculpates any sort of consequence or cost to these policies.

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We live on the peninsula just south of San Francisco. Two visits ago we came back to our parking spot - daylight, on a busy street, lot had an attendant - to find that 25 cars had been victims of smash and grab while we were in the museum. My kids were visibly shaken while walking by all of the broken glass, wondering what had happened to our car. The break-ins stopped at our vehicle.

Our last visit to SF was in January for a show at the Opera House. I’ve never seen such sadness on those streets before. My oldest said, “Mom, I know I should say hi to people, but it doesn’t feel safe here.” My kids are asking not to go to SF anymore.

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When bleeding heart doctrine is applied to the crowd instead of individual it always-AlWAYS- bring a disaster. It is easy to defend using demagoguery until somebody more cynical, who will not squirm of being called unsavory names and will do his/her duty. Would some entity to sue San Francisco's mayor and council for misappropriation of the funds?

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Is it sinking in now? This is all about depopulation, not about saving anyone. Every covid policy has made things 10 times worse, and the lame incompetence excuse is what allows these megalomaniacs to continue this agenda. Fill the country with fentanyl and then hand out drug paraphernalia to help them kill themselves off. Cynical? perhaps. I just live in the real world, I suppose. Then again big pharma and the government worked together to cause the biggest opioid crisis ever witnessed. But they are here to protect us from the scary virus that the US government also funded into existence. We are witnessing the implementation of technocratic totalitarianism.

https://christopherfalcon.substack.com/p/technocratic-totalitarianism?r=ylx40&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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"..The city is carrying out a bizarre medical experiment whereby addicts are given everything they need to maintain their addiction—cash, hot meals, shelter—in exchange for . . . almost nothing. "

There's a simple principle that seems impossible for some people to grasp..i.e. .if you subsidize something you get more of it; if you tax it you get less.

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I live in SF, I am watching this unfolding for the last 30 years and despair... "Housing first" with millions dropped into it is pure madness. May be it's my "tech" logical mind, but the first step I see is to sort homeless people out and proceed depending on their needs. Families "out of luck" - housing and help with finding jobs, mentally ill - evaluated and treated, drug addicts - given a choice of rehab or prison for all multiple laws they are breaking (SF is ignoring most of the crimes).

For years I see city gov people getting elected on common sense platforms like above, do you know what was happening as soon as any city hall discussion started? Those poor, harmless disfranchised homeless zombies were suddenly getting together with the help of multiple non-profits, of course, storming meetings and screaming "you cannot criminalize poverty!" and so on. End of discussion. Never ending cycle of dependency, self-serving NGOs and young unexperienced childless idealistic so called adults full of naïve ideas. They are voting for the worst candidates (progressives, of course) and moving away after few years to start real life.

And don't blame COVID - I was coming to downtown for work for decades, 2 years ago I realized that I saw homeless/drugged out/psychotic person while on public transportation every single day! How would you like to get stuck underground with someone screaming and jumping up and down right near you...

People are mentioning voting - some of disasters we have are directly related to rank voting, please read on it and never-ever allow it to happen. This is how we got out infamous DA.

Some people on the thread are asking for compassion (which includes giving pocket money somehow). We are taxed in CA and in SF beyond reason already.

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I've seen it and words fail at adequately describing the human misery that occurs there. Used to live on Cathedral Hill which is very near the Tenderloin (and getting nearer by the day as tents and their denizens slowly climb the hill) so I interacted with the Tenderloin regularly. After more than 20 years in the City hit the eject button and moved to - gack - Marin. Never thought I would do that and am still somewhat embarrassed that I did but it was the right call.

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The mayor has incentivized 88,000 to sign a petition for her recall in SF. I live in the Upper Tenderloin. I am a liberal who wants a war on drugs in SF. I saw 2 mayor quotes in Dec 2021 and Jan 2022, where Breed blames others for the problem she created. Breed cheerleaded “Defund” in June/July 2020. Breed mandated “Equity” for every city department on Oct 01, 2018. Equity from day 01 was about activist anti-police propaganda forced into departments from the outside world. Any professional or evidence voice to the contrary was aggressively monitored and silenced. Search RacialEquityAlliance.org

The city of restaurants is becoming desert (not dessert) in much of downtown as restaurants move to outer neighborhoods. Walk Market Street from Embarcadero to Castro and see.

From my apartment- 3 streets lead down to the subway station (Bart/Muni). All are dangerous and hold your nose.

Last night at Walgreens, the manager unlocked the razor refills for me to buy. We couldn’t hear each other’s voices because of the loud construction jackhammer 5 feet away inside the store. Building a partial wall to block thieves as they run towards exit. Store loses $1,000 in theft each day. That store may close. The 2 other Walgreens near me have already shut down. And I don’t dare tell my liberal friends of 30 years because they get angry that their political fantasy is disturbed by my reality. But after 5 minutes of silence, I tell them anyway.

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Oh Jesus wept, when I saw the photo on Twitter, I thought I was looking at a photo from a zombie movie; I thought this was a movie review or sth.

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