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SAN FRANCISCO - City by the Sewer

Updated: Jun 23, 2023



Taking a break from the cultural reviews to lambast the "leadership" of my former home state and city.

San Francisco, California.

The linked Wall Street Journal article is a compendium of everything which will be ignored (As the author states) by the progressive "leadership" of San Francisco. Am hopeful the paywall will not stop what few graduates of California (America, quite frankly) public schools will be able to read.

It gives Yours truly no great joy to read these articles. We moved to the Bay Area in 1987 and had 25 incredible years. The last five, before leaving in 2017, were a depressing descent into social engineering as the progressives, emboldened by the election of the cool, hip, half-White dude, decided crime didn't need to be punished; taxes had to raised (13.3%? Are you joking?); and straight, Caucasian males needed to be the object of contempt.

If the article won't display, here it is in its entirety.


THE ROOT CAUSES OF SAN FRANCISCO'S DISORDER

Covid lockdowns hastened the city’s decline, but it won’t recover as long as it clings to progressive obsessions.

by Allysia Finley, Wall Street Journal

Author Shelby Steele and his son, Eli, were filming a documentary in San Francisco last week when someone broke into their rental car. “In the 10 minutes we were gone our SUV was broken into and nearly $15k of cameras stolen,” Eli tweeted. “Called 911 & they hung up twice.”

Welcome to another day ending in the letter Y in San Francisco. “Many Twitter employees feel unsafe coming to work in downtown SF and have had their car windows smashed,” Elon Musk tweeted in response. “They also got such a null response from the police that they rarely even bother reporting crimes anymore, because nothing happens.” It’s more accurate to say the police response depends on the identities of the victim and perpetrator. In January, Shannon Collier Gwin, a 71-year-old art-gallery owner, was arrested for spraying a hose at a homeless woman camped in front of his business. The woman often had been heard screaming in the middle of the night. “I completely broke,” Mr. Gwin said in an apology. “I am not equipped or trained to deal with a citywide problem like this.” Neither, it seems, are the city’s politicians. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Yet San Francisco’s leaders refuse to acknowledge how their own policies have caused the spiral of public disorder that’s driving away businesses and residents in droves. Add to this list the Westfield San Francisco Centre, whose owners last week handed their property to their lender. “A growing number of retailers and businesses are leaving the area due to the unsafe conditions for customers, retailers, and employees, coupled with the fact that these significant issues are preventing an economic recovery of the area,” the mall’s owner said last month after the center’s Nordstrom store announced it is closing. Nearly half of the mall’s retailers have closed since 2020 as San Francisco has lost some 7.5% of its population—a larger share than any other major city. Those leaving are by and large affluent. According to Internal Revenue Service data, about 14,700 San Francisco taxpayers with an average adjusted gross income of $415,000 moved to other states in 2020 and 2021. Tens of thousands more flocked to Bay Area exurbs. One could say that Covid lockdowns were the match that lit the city’s dumpster fire. Mayor London Breed joined five other Bay Area counties on March 16, 2020, in imposing the country’s first “shelter in place” order. “It’s the new normal temporarily in an effort to protect public health,” she said at the time. As the new normal dragged on, families and workers moved to places with more freedom, less crime and lower housing costs and taxes. Once the Bay Area’s lockdowns were lifted in May 2021, many former residents had no desire to return to San Francisco’s dirty, dangerous and deserted streets that were studded with tents, needles and human feces. The city has long been grungy, but the blight and crime worsened during the pandemic as city officials reduced the jail population by about 40% by releasing hundreds of inmates—never mind that they were far more likely to die of drug overdoses on the streets than of Covid in their cells. Meantime, the city encouraged the homeless to isolate in hotels by offering them free booze and marijuana. “They’re doing San Francisco a great service by staying inside,” one city official said. “We’re saying, ‘We’re doing what we can to support you staying inside and not have to go out and get these things.’ ”

Yet they still went out and got “things.” At least 18 homeless people died of drug overdoses in one hotel alone. Hotel damage from vagrants has cost the city roughly $44.5 million in settlement payments, which the city is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse. Some hotels have fallen into such disrepair that even many of the city’s homeless are refusing offers to be put up there. Is it any wonder that tourists and businesses are staying away? Hotel occupancy nationwide has returned to pre-pandemic levels, but not in San Francisco. Hotel owners are walking away from their mortgages. So are office-building owners. They don’t foresee an end to the blight or a return to the pre-pandemic normal. Public-safety problems are growing worse as the city struggles to recruit and retain police officers. The city pays officers an average $104 an hour in salary and benefits—or $216,320 a year. A third of police officers last year made more than $200,000, not counting benefits. Yet so did 38 retirees. Cops in their 50s can retire and earn nearly as much as they did working thanks to the city’s rich pensions, which are squeezing the budget as sales- and property-tax revenue declines. Businesses are being replaced by nonprofits that consume rather than contribute tax dollars, including social-service organizations and outfits like the Excessive Wealth Disorder Institute, a new think tank that seeks to remedy income “hoarding” by the rich. Therein lies the root cause of San Francisco’s public disorder. The city won’t recover unless its leaders get over their neurotic obsession with eliminating wealth.

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