Famously “liberal” and “tolerant” San Francisco is just about fed up with the armies of homeless stinking up the place and driving away the tourists:
“The trash, our homeless, the needles, the drug abuse on our streets, I’ve seen it all in our city and it’s gotten to the point where we need to really change course,” [Interim Mayor Mark] Farrell said in an interview. “We’ve gone away from just being compassionate to enabling street behavior and that, in my opinion, is a shift that’s unacceptable.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Farrell has “promised $750,000 to hire more people just to pick up discarded needles and $13 million over the next two years for more heavy duty steam cleaners and pit stop toilets. He also had workers dismantle sprawling homeless tent camps in the city’s Mission District.”
Took ’em long enough. The problem has been festering for decades. Only now that tourism is starting to suffer have city officials decided to act. Business owners, who have born the brunt of the problem (along with a punishing “living wage” law and other punitive rules), have had enough:
Adam Mesnick, who lives in the South of Market neighborhood and owns two deli shops there, said San Francisco is “finally kind of melting down” and that leaders have routinely ignored dangerous street behavior for years.
“I cannot have my family down here, I can’t have visitors. I can, but I don’t choose to, have my nieces come here,” he said. “It’s horrifying for my family to walk down the street here.”
Compassion is expensive—and has its limits.