Tuesday, October 9, 2018

San Francisco: Land of the Living Dead

Effectively, there’s nothing in this news story that you don’t know already. Anyone who has followed the news and who reads this blog knows full well that downtown San Francisco has been given over to drug addicts and the homeless. In the most liberal blue city in America, Nancy Pelosi’s home town, you cannot walk the streets in many neighborhoods.

What’s news is the place it appeared: The New York Times. The paper of record sent a reporter and a photographer out to document the nightmare that is the streets of San Francisco. They did not pull any punches. They told it like it is. Plaudits for the Times.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

The heroin needles, the pile of excrement between parked cars, the yellow soup oozing out of a large plastic bag by the curb and the stained, faux Persian carpet dumped on the corner.

It’s a scene of detritus that might bring to mind any variety of developing-world squalor. But this is San Francisco, the capital of the nation’s technology industry, where a single span of Hyde Street hosts an open-air narcotics market by day and at night is occupied by the unsheltered and drug-addled slumped on the sidewalk.

There are many other streets like it, but by one measure it’s the dirtiest block in the city.

Just a 15-minute walk away are the offices of Twitter and Uber, two companies that along with other nameplate technology giants have helped push the median price of a home in San Francisco well beyond $1 million.

This dichotomy of street crime and world-changing technology, of luxury condominiums and grinding, persistent homelessness, and the dehumanizing effects for those forced to live on the streets provoke outrage among the city’s residents. For many who live here it’s difficult to reconcile San Francisco’s liberal politics with the misery that surrounds them.

Yes, indeed, the dichotomy makes no sense. The richest people in the world living in a city that is being overrun by grinding poverty and a thorough absence of civil behavior… beginning with the failure to use toilets. Could it be that our tech oligarchs do not care? Could it be that they have enough money to shield themselves from the horrors around them? Are they so arrogant that they do not understand that the enlightened policies they propose has produced this horror?

Times reporters were appalled at what they saw:

Walking around the neighborhood we saw the desperation of the mentally ill, the drug dependent and homeless, and heard from embittered residents who say it will take much more than a broom to clean up the city, long considered one of America’s beacons of urban beauty.

The streets have become toilets. The city has set up portable toilets. People do not bother to use them:

Human waste has become such a widespread problem in San Francisco that the city in September established a unit dedicated to removing it from the sidewalks. Rachel Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Public Works Department, describes the new initiative as a “proactive human waste” unit.

At 8 a.m. on a recent day, as mothers shepherded their children to school, we ran into Yolanda Warren, a receptionist who works around the corner from Hyde Street. The sidewalk in front of her office was stained with feces. The street smelled like a latrine.

The city has installed five portable bathrooms for the hundreds of unsheltered people in the Tenderloin, but that has not stopped people from urinating and defecating in the streets.

The San Francisco city streets resemble nothing if not a refugee camp… but a refugee camp inhabited by drug addicts:

Over the last five years the number of unsheltered homeless people in San Francisco has remained relatively steady — around 4,400 — and the sidewalks of the Tenderloin have come to resemble a refugee camp.

The city has replaced more than 300 lampposts corroded by dog and human urine over the last three years, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Replacing the poles became more urgent after a lamppost collapsed in 2015, crushing a car.

A more common danger are the thousands of heroin needles discarded by users.

Drugs, drugs and more drugs. Where are these drugs coming from? You know and I know. And yet, San Francisco proudly touts itself as a sanctuary city. A sanctuary for people who defecate on the sidewalks and are hopelessly addicted to the drugs that are entering the country through Mexico.

A number of people we met on Hyde Street distinguished between the residents of the Tenderloin, many of them immigrant families, and those they called “street people” — the unsheltered drug users who congregate and camp along the sidewalks and the dealers who peddle crack cocaine, heroin and a variety of amphetamines.

Disputes among the street population are common and sometimes result in violence. At night bodies line the sidewalks.

“It’s like the land of the living dead,” said Adam Leising, a resident of Hyde Street.

The land of the living dead… an apt description. It has been produced by the city’s policies, the city’s permissiveness. Former San Francisco mayor and current Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, is now running for governor of California.

Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco and the leading candidate for governor in next month’s election, told The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board last week that the city had reached the point of “enough is enough.”

“You can be too permissive, and I happen to think we have crossed that threshold in this state — and not just in this city,” Mr. Newsom said. “You see it. It’s just disgraceful.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for him or any other San Francisco mayor to do anything about it. But, do hold your breath while walking through the city. The people who are fighting against global warming and industrial pollution are presiding over a city where pollution has become a way of life.


Dr. Irredeemable Dreg said...

Land of the Living Dead... great title!

Yes, there are problems with revolting piles of human fecal matter and the glittering detritus of used needles... problems that could be solved by raising taxes, renewable energy, and clean eating!

But it's worth it to live there, in the lockstep Diversity of America's TechnoHive. Consider: for $8000, a piffling sum by local standards, over-40 Bay Area residents who are doing well by doing good can waltz over to Ambrosia, LLC and get "young blood" transfusions harvested from teens and young adults. According to Ambrosia founder Jesse Karmazin, MD, young blood relieves symptoms of depression, chronic fatigue, immune system deficiencies, and insomnia. Nancy Pelosi, National Spokeswoman for the Living Dead, call your office.

Sam L. said...

Clearly, the SF mayors of recent times have/do not believe in civic beautification.

LS said...

Resembles the socialists countries whose strong arm leaders the libs embrace. No surprise there.

Dean Gil Barry said...

Why can't they strategically place portapotties in the area? Wouldn't the druggies use them?

Sam L. said...

DGB, I say unto you, YEA, they would do that, and befoul them greatly, and make Frisco a more foul place than it already is.

LordSomber said...

To be doubly cynical, people probably aren't using the portable toilets because there's someone already inside busy shooting up.