The city of San Francisco, one of the most far-left cities in the country, took extreme measures to clear out much of the homeless population from its streets prior to a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Daily Caller reports that the city chose to clear out specific intersections that would be frequently traveled by Xi and other leaders as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit takes place over the course of this week. Areas that were cleaned up included the neighborhoods of Tenderloin and South of Market (SoMa).
Police presence was greatly increased on many busy streets, while tents and other homeless encampments were relocated from the area surrounding the Moscone Center on Howard Street, set to be one of the main venues of the APEC summit. Over 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the summit, including Xi and Joe Biden. Massive fences were erected along stretches of city streets, and drug dealers and users were forced to other areas of the city.
However, some San Francisco residents have denounced the moves as temporary solutions to a much more permanent problem.
“They are just essentially herding the problem around but offering no long-term solutions,” said Adam Mesnick, a business owner and resident of the SoMa neighborhood. “I’m just outside what they consider the ‘containment zone’ for APEC, so the problem is getting pushed into my area, which is already pretty saturated with drug activity.”
“I don’t know if these tents will be in physical view during APEC, but it will be virtually impossible to eliminate all of that,” he added. “They are very good at creating an illusion and they are very good at performance art.”
San Francisco has become one of the symbols of the troubles that plague big cities in the United States, from out-of-control homeless populations to rampant drug use in public spaces. The city is expected to hit a new record of fentanyl overdose deaths this year alone, at about 800. Many major corporations, including Starbucks and Target, have closed multiple locations in the city due to the dangers presented to employees and customers by the high rates of crime.