“I know folks are saying, ‘Oh they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town.’ That’s true because it’s true, but it’s also true for months and months and months prior to APEC we’ve been having conversations.” – Gov. Gavin Newsom (via ABC7)
The APEC conference in San Francisco started today, with tourists and dignitaries in abundance. It’s also where President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping will meet next week to conduct a high-stakes meeting to try and “stabilize relations” and “strengthen ties.”
Because San Francisco has become known, even in China, as one of the nastiest cities in the country thanks in no small part to its homeless epidemic, rampant open-air drug use, and public poop problems, the city has been rushing to hide all of its unsightly things – including painting over graffiti – ahead of the Biden/Xi visit.
On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, SF Mayor London Breed, and state Transportation Sec. Toks Omishakin, all Democrats, held a press conference announcing a street tree nursery where stunningly, the admission was made by Newsom that yes, they were indeed sprucing up the city precisely because important people would be visiting:
“We’re cleaning up this state!” said California Governor Gavin Newsom as he touted Clean California. He spoke during the unveiling of a street tree nursery in San Francisco.
“I know folks are saying, ‘Oh they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town.’ That’s true because it’s true, but it’s also true for months and months and months prior to APEC we’ve been having conversations,” said Newsom.
“I mean anytime you put on an event, I mean you have people over your house you’re going to clean up the house you’re going to make sure the kids make their beds,” said Newsom…
The full presser can be viewed below:
#HappeningNOW: Gov. Gavin Newsom, Secretary Omishakin, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed giving remarks on the opening of Street Tree Nursery in San Francisco. This nursery project is part of the #CleanCA beautification project. @CaltransHQ https://t.co/MLUTfWA5u0
— Caltrans District 4 (@CaltransD4) November 9, 2023
It is, of course, not just about planting trees. San Francisco has also been busy painting colorful crosswalks and scrubbing its subways and streets not just of poop and drug paraphernalia but also of its growing homeless population, which has mysteriously (and conveniently) disappeared in some areas:
Caltrans is repaving major roadways like the Harrison Street off-ramp from Interstate 80.
BART will have extra personnel at four downtown SF stations for APEC and has begun overnight deep cleaning more frequently.
It’s noticeable how clear the streets look and how few homeless encampments there are on major thoroughfares.
Public Works is installing decorative crosswalks in North Beach and Chinatown. The Webster St pedestrian bridge in Japantown was recently repainted. APEC attendees are expected to visit these locations.
The Yerba Buena Gardens at the Moscone Convention Center are decked out with new colorful landscaping and murals, paid for by the “Clean California” grant.
Watch the report from Fox2 below, where one San Francisco resident asked the question of the day: “What about the people who are here year round, local hardworking working class Bay Area folks?”
San Francisco magically "cleans up" the streets ahead of Xi Jinping visit. Homeless encampments have been cleared out.
Local man wants to know why it isn't always this way – "What about the people who live here year round?" pic.twitter.com/FgH2HjKCHn
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) November 11, 2023
It’s a sentiment shared by others in the city as well:
do you know how radicalizing it is to finally know for sure the government is capable of ending crime overnight, it just… chooses not to?
— Mike Solana (@micsolana) November 10, 2023
In another local media report, one homeless man who said he had been homeless for 30 years talked about how he was finally offered accomodations ahead of the APEC gathering. A city worker also talked about how he was finding “a lot of needles” during his clean-up:
San Francisco tries to "clean up" homeless problem before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. pic.twitter.com/KmEdwX5x2O
— Live Not by Lies (@Dana35300026) November 8, 2023
Unfortunately for Newsom and Breed, though, there are some things they cannot hide:
And San Francisco’s favorite cleanliness fixation, human or animal feces, continues to be a sore spot for the city: Almost half of the surveyed commercial areas observed feces.
🚨🚨🚨SAN FRANCISCO NEWS!!!!!!!
The most troubled corner in San Francisco: New images show zombified, homeless drug addicts congregating on street as city tries to clean up ahead of APEC summit. My Question why only help them when there is a summit and not because you care? pic.twitter.com/ymZywHUBeM
— LadyTasker (@TaskerLady89977) November 9, 2023
The City is so powerless that can’t clean up homeless encampments/drug dens from downtown SF. Junkies were right back after DPW cleaned the sidewalk. THIS will represent San Francisco during APEC 🤦🏻♀️(📍200 block Mason Street) pic.twitter.com/6KCAbJgHzJ
— Old Fashioned SF (@powellmarket415) November 10, 2023
And as the locals also understand, once APEC is over it will be back to business as usual, and with no end in sight:
“They started clearing the tents earlier this week and there is definitely a lot more police presence,” SoMa resident and community activist Ricci Lee Wynne told The Post.
“They’ve cleared out the tents that were near the Moscone Center on Howard Street, which tells me the city had the capability to do this all along — instead they just do the bare minimum.
“Once APEC is gone, police presence will start to simmer down again, the tents will return. And it will slowly flare up again. What we need is a permanent solution.”
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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