Among the hidden hot takes on last week’s election is San Francisco’s Proposition C, whose passage by 60% will reverberate through the region and the country as a whole.

Proposition C was put together by the city’s non-profits working with the homeless who hope to tax companies making over $50 million to come up with $250 to $300 million a year.  They promised that the revenue, which would double their budgets, will be used to house the hardcore street dwellers.

These zombified sidewalk dwellers have made national headlines in the past several years.  As everyone knows by now, they defecate on public walkways and shoot up in plain view of toddlers hurrying to preschools.  They are not required to exchange their plastic syringes, so much of their contaminated plastic refuse floats away into the Pacific, where, I imagine, it gets stuck in the noses of hapless turtles.

I’ve recently discovered a subculture of fed up San Franciscans cataloging the images of their city’s new depravity on Twitter and asking the local authorities for help.  It’s what you think it is, plus a photo of a dead rat in a clear plastic bag.

An interview with a homeless girl, recorded by one citizen-activist last month, has gone viral.  The girl was very matter-of-fact about her bacterial woes (if you can’t get enough of that show of horrors, here is a link).  The interviewee sounded like an ordinary young woman, which is why the content of her talk was so hair-raising.  I want to highlight the part where she admitted that once she’s been released from a hospital with a prescription for antibiotics, presumably to treat the skin boils, but she wasn’t responsible enough to take them as instructed. That’s one way the homeless population endangers all of us.

There are others.  The situation on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) trains has been dire.  Junkies have been taking over certain entrances, and overdosing on trains; passengers have been accidentally pricked by hypodermic needles.  In May this year, BART board member proposed making drug use on BART a felony — as if it’s not already illegal, on paper at least.

In July, the Bay Area saw three BART-linked homicides within five days; one of them, the murder of Nia Wilson, a beautiful young black woman, by a white transient, has made national headlines.  One day before Halloween, a chainsaw-wielding psychopath showed up on a train and threatened a Texas chainsaw massacre.  He was restrained.  A few days later a frustrated San Franciscan posted a video of a decrepit man with a saw making cuts on a long wooden stick at a BART-connected MUNI platform.  “Not that anyone cares,” he commented “but here is a man with a saw”.  I couldn’t find that tweet — maybe it was erased.

A fire burned up a San Francisco homeless camp on the same day.

The day after we noticed the clouds of thick black smoke coming out of Oakland.  That was, you guessed it, coming from another homeless camp. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish it.  We were not so lucky in 1991, when the Oakland Hills Fire, started by a transient, killed 25 people and destroyed $1.5 billion of wealth.

In the area where home improvement projects notoriously run way over time and way over the budget because of the exotic permits requirements of the local governments, we no longer care if the homeless erect their tents as they please.  To the contrary, we accommodate them.  For instance, at the Berkeley/Oakland border on Shattuck Avenue, the homeless outpost is even supplied with a solar panel.  Yet their tent cities are obviously not built to our beloved code, hence the fires.  They attract rodents, too, and, therefore, diseases.

The opiate epidemic is a countrywide problem, and homelessness has been raging state-wide.  One of the reasons why it’s particularly insidious in San Francisco and the surrounding areas is obvious to anyone who’s ever checked out the feed of the Tenderloin Station of the San Francisco Police Department.

Here’s some jams:



And finally:

So how is it that an individual arrested ten times keeps ending up back on the street?  Because San Francisco judges don’t consider the sale of fentanyl-laced heroin a crime, so they never press charges, and the dealer is released on stay-away orders that he, of course, immediately violates.  Forget broken window policing; SFPD’s Sisyphean task is mild harassment of drug dealers.  Police officers keep the heroin and crack den confined to Financial District, and, especially, the Tenderloin areas, and that’s where many low-income San Franciscans live.

The homeless are going to stay there because San Francisco subsidizes homelessness.  Prop C was put together by the special interests who have been running the homeless service industry for decades, and they are not proposing anything new.  Many of us in the Bay Area realize that.  The measure was opposed by many in San Francisco’s political establishment.  Former Mayor (and Kamala Harris’s ex) Willy Brown opposed it, and so did the current mayor London Breed.  She wrote:

Our homelessness spending has increased dramatically in recent years with no discernible improvement in conditions. Before we double the tax bill overnight, San Franciscans deserve accountability for the money they are already paying.

This is especially true since the Proposition C’s new taxes will decidedly harm our local economy. The City Economist’s report estimates that Prop C will cause up to a $240 million loss from our city’s GDP every year for the next twenty years. And the report could not even quantify the risk that concerns me most: the inevitable flight of headquarter companies — and jobs — from San Francisco to other cities in the Bay Area, or other states.

Breed prefers homeless services to be funded through state and federal sources.  The Mayor deserves credit for stressing the primacy of mental health issues when it comes to homelessness.  I don’t think she has any workable solutions either, but, considering that it’s San Francisco, she could easily demagogue the situation with class warfare rhetoric, and she didn’t.

San Francisco Chronicle has come out against the measure as well, noting that money is not “the cure-all to homelessness”.  Preach.  We know from experience that the mentally ill and the drug-addicted may not want to stay housed.

On the eve of the vote, @Jack threatened to move Twitter out of San Francisco if the voters approve it.  He might be a hypocrite, but he’s not a fool.

Kraken co-founder Jesse Powell asked:

How do I tell my employees who are suffering from PTSD from being attacked by crack-zombies right outside our office that they need to keep coming in?

Before noting that San Francisco’s demise will be quicker than Detroit’s because there is nothing to keep tech companies in that location.  True: they can be based anywhere and everywhere; they are in the Bay Area solely for the mild weather and views of the Bay.  Fiscal incentives will put them over the edge.

Yet the measure passed, and although the new law is now tied up in courts, the money will be collected beginning January 2019.  So now @Jack will have to deliver on his promise, and take his little company out of San Francisco, and the grand exodus of tech companies out of San Francisco will commence.

I’m worried because of the effect on property values in the region.  Everyone should be worried because the decay of San Francisco will be felt everywhere in the country.  There is much talk about the “purpling of Texas” in the last week.  According to the CNN poll, the non-Texas-born vote turned out to be more Republican in Senatorial contest, but the pollster didn’t ask how those fleeing California, and, especially, San Francisco Bay Area have voted.  Former Californians have already ruined Portland (see above), and are in the process of destroying Utah and Colorado.

Meantime, ordinary people in San Francisco resolve to take the matter into their own hands.

I don’t know how many people street dwellers in San Francisco care to go back to their families, and whether their families want them back, but considering how little we can do otherwise, this is definitely worth a try.  So, if you have the relevant skills, please contact David.  I think he’s serious.


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