Once popularized in song by Tony Bennett as the city where he left his heart, San Francisco is now singularly associated with ever-increasing cultural rot and dysfunction.
For those who have dreamed of living in this one-time jewel by the bay, they still can. The only hitch is that they will likely do so amongst squalid tents or cardboard shanties on feces-laden sidewalks. This is the legacy of a city which last had a Republican mayor in 1964 and has been ruled by Democrats ever since.
Yes, the legacy of Democrat-run San Francisco is impressive indeed. In fact the city’s human excrement problem has become so problematic, a phone app now exists to send pictures of it so that clean-up can be initiated by the hazmat-suited “poop patrol.”
And the problem is far from improving. In the last year alone, homelessness in the city has increased by nearly 20%. The problem is so bad, leaders have decided to allow those who live in their cars and recreational vehicles to park in a city-owned lot near a public transportation station for up to 90 days. A recent report indicated that 600 passenger vehicles, RVs or vans actually appeared to be inhabited in San Francisco.
The homeless are also taking refuge at the city’s airport; impacting the $9 billion tourism industry. And the problem is even forcing an increasing number of people to live in makeshift boats and barges, creating floating tent cities in violation of the law. Such activity will occur when median home prices sit at $1.4 million and median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,700 a month.
Present-day San Francisco is most assuredly an acquired taste; a place where hypodermic needles and syringes are easier to obtain than simple plastic drinking straws which were effectively banned there in July. Meanwhile, San Francisco, now the No. 1 city in the United States for property crime, and part of a state where nearly one in five individuals has a criminal record, proposes to “sanitize” crime language to deal with the problem.
Thus the board of supervisors approved new “person first” language; not yet binding without mayoral approval, but endorsed by the local district attorney. Eliminated would be such terms as “convicted felon” and “addict,” respectively replaced by “justice-involved person” and “person with a history of substance use.” A juvenile “delinquent” would now be known as a “young person with justice system involvement.” An “offender released from custody” would simply be known as a “formerly incarcerated person” or a “returning resident.” While we’re on the subject, perhaps “convicted murderers” could be referred to as “terminators” and “bank robbers” as “unauthorized withdrawlers.”
This effort is intended to assist San Francisco in confronting one of the highest crime rates in the nation by changing people’s views on criminals. The hope is that those convicted of crimes will no longer be forever negatively labeled and become contributing members of society.
Yet as lofty as the proposal may sound, it will ultimately do little to actually reduce crime or homelessness in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s backyard. The San Francisco Chronicle, which seldom gets it right, just might have nailed this one in noting that a person whose car is broken into could very well be known to police as “a person who has come in contact with a returning resident who was involved with the justice system and who is currently under supervision with a history of substance use.”
Maybe, just maybe, the Democrats who continue to run California into the ground will turn San Francisco around. And Tony Bennett will strike gold again with a song about it too!
Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a email@example.com.