“San Francisco will begin cracking down this week on homeless people who commit quality-of-life crimes in a 15-block area of the city’s South of Market district – the tourist-heavy section that includes Bloomingdales, the Metreon and Moscone Center.”
SoMa patrols to shepherd homeless away from tourist areas [SFGate]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by High Rise Harry

    …Keep pushing them closer to Bayview…
    …Keep pushing them closer to Hunters Point…

  2. Posted by Mike

    What took them so long?!

  3. Posted by Bob

    It’s about time. This is exactly what the City SHOULD be doing. I’m 100% for being compassionate to the homeless. Offer them services to get them off the street – drug and mental health counseling – absolutely. But hand in hand with the services + counseling has to go some firmness – if the services are refused, and if the individual continues to commit crimes, then if we are going to have a civil society on our streets, law enforcement absolutely has a role. MORE OF THIS PLEASE!

  4. Posted by Spencer

    Can we protect the citizens as well and not just the tourists? This is a decent first start, but can we please expand this to the whole city and not just a small tourist area.

  5. Posted by Craig

    Had one homeless dude try to follow me into work at the B of A bldg today for walking too closely to him (I think). Security helped solve the problem. The sooner these people are gone, the better.

  6. Posted by Josh

    get them off all the SF streets. they are a nuisance and public safety issue. i get harassed almost every day in my neighborhood (Polk and California) by some overly aggressive, needy, bum. this city would become a much better global city if they could tackle this problem successfully.

  7. Posted by king of the beggars

    Let’s make a market in permits to bum change: $100 bucks a week for Union Sq., $25 a week for the Panhandle. If each bum has his own exclusive territory in which to practice his bummitude, then we can count on some hot bum on bum action to keep them dispersed.

  8. Posted by gh

    Why don’t they focus on Market at 1st in the center of downtown, where the business people of the City are concentrated? The Workman’s Plaza where the bike messengers hang out looks like a KOA for these bums and is infested with pigeons. The other day I was returning to my office for lunch with a turkey sandwich and a bum was stumbling around with his pants around his ankles projectile vomiting. I know SF is a liberal haven, but please! Needless to say, I skipped lunch that day.

  9. Posted by etslee

    I just hope this is more than just an election year tactic, and will be the beginning of something long term. Enough is enough. I haven’t had a single visitor to SF that hasn’t commented on how bad the homeless problem is here. And these are not suburban folks, but people who live in other large urban centers like Boston, Seattle and London.

  10. Posted by LG

    This is a great step. And, to be clear, this is not just a tourist area. There are thousands of people living in the area, including hundreds of senior citizens who live across from Yerba Buena Gardens.

  11. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “Can we protect the citizens as well and not just the tourists? This is a decent first start, but can we please expand this to the whole city and not just a small tourist area.”
    If you were to ask Chris Daly, the answer would be “NO.”
    I am embarrassed to say that I actually live in the district that he represents. Anyone have any thoughts as to how long I am going to have to put up with this ass clown before we can get him voted out? I did my part, I voted for Rob Black in the ’06 election but he ended up being pummeled by this bleeding heart bureaucrat, Daly.

  12. Posted by gh

    You mean worthless communist ass clown.

  13. Posted by anon

    This is great. Just as Bob said, we need to show some firmness while being compassionate.
    Looking at this forum it seems everyone is in favor of the action, but everytime I read an article on the homeless issue, it always mentions that the majority of San Franciscans oppose any stern action like this one. Is that really true, or this just false information spread by politicians?
    I have not been in this city long enough, but it seems Frank Jordan’s efforts in the early 90s was similar and made sense… why was there such a negative backlash?
    Diversity in economic, social and political backgrounds is a good thing for the city, but bumming around is not.

  14. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “Looking at this forum it seems everyone is in favor of the action, but everytime I read an article on the homeless issue, it always mentions that the majority of San Franciscans oppose any stern action like this one. Is that really true, or this just false information spread by politicians??
    Ask and answered. Correct.

  15. Posted by steve

    I agree with every comment above. I suggest we contact City Hall and voice our support for the mayor on this program. There are already too many social services offered in this city to help out the unfortunate; if theses services are still not enough to get these bums off the streets, then they are beyond help.
    I was talking to a SF developer recently, and he indicated that for each condo unit he builds, he has to set aside $275,000 for the BMR program, be it in the form of having off-site BMR units or reducing the prices for the on-site units. Guess who is paying for these subsidies? The money is all coming out of the pockets of the buyers.
    I am not lumping the issues together and equating people who are buying BMR units with bums, so don’t be jumping all over me. I am simply pointing out the abundant and generous wealth redistributing policies there are in this city.
    It’s time to recognize that there are those people who are just beyond help, and there is only so much this city can do. Let’s support our mayor and turn this into a true world class city.

  16. Posted by daly hater

    I am embarrassed to say that I actually live in the district that he represents. Anyone have any thoughts as to how long I am going to have to put up with this ass clown before we can get him voted out? I did my part, I voted for Rob Black in the ’06 election but he ended up being pummeled by this bleeding heart bureaucrat, Daly.
    Daly can’t run again – he’s in his last term. Term limits are occasionally good for something here and there.

  17. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “Daly can’t run again – he’s in his last term. Term limits are occasionally good for something here and there.”
    Absolutely. I’m going to see about getting permission to put up a huge clock on top of the ORH tower that will count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds that he has left in this final term.

  18. Posted by marc

    What happens when the cost of enforcement rises to the level of the cost of providing mental health and treatment services in the first instance?
    You can pay for it now, or you can pay for it later.
    In fact, if you elect to go the enforcement route, then you are going to have to pay for it twice because those people are going to get out of jail eventually.
    I agree that homeless social services agencies set the bar so low as to keep clients dependent by assuming they are all addicts or mentally ill, but that does not change the fact that there are three intersecting sets: poor, addicted and mentally ill, with 7 possible subsets that each needs its own kind of solutions.
    Part of this is due to Reagan’s closing of the asyla, but part of it is due to the expansion of the exurbs so that what had been the relief valves for urban America–the hobo jungles on the peripheries of cities–had become built up and not usable for those humans not domesticatable to cities.
    Once displaced from those sites, the only place left for them is the cities.
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Can't_Win
    which was William S. Burroughs’ favorite book growing up. It tells a story of western American and San Francisco which no longer exist and explains to an extent the role of hobo jungles in keeping “bums and vagrants” out of the cities.
    Truth is that not all humans are urban domesticatable but are not otherwise criminals.
    -marc

  19. Posted by jeccat

    Thanks Marc. I also agree that a night in jail won’t do anything to help the average schitzophrenic/alcoholic/desperately poor homeless SF person. Let’s start thinking creatively– London has made great strides in dealing with their homeless problem. They developed an actual strategy to get crazy and drug addicted people into supportive housing. It didn’t happen magically and it won’t happen without a well-funded plan.
    And to the person who suggested that we push them all the way to Hunter’s Point/Bayview, I am reminded of the Brooklyn parent who asked if they could “move the projects” farther away from the park. You don’t care where homeless people live as long as *you* can’t see them? Nice. I’d like to suggest we move the homeless to Cow Hollow– it’s not *my* neighborhood. Plus, I hate the richies. Who’s up for a class war?

  20. Posted by dan

    I’ve often joked that the lack of high school age children and the hippies are why we have a homeless problem. Where I’m from, the high schoolers don’t make it pleasant to be homeless and there are not a lot of services. If you sleep on a bench, you go to jail for a few days. So, does that cause them to get a job and join society, no, they come to SF. Maybe this change will make it slightly less hospitable and we can lose our status as a mecha for the crazy, druged up, and ill willed.

  21. Posted by Michael L.

    The references keep drawing me in – first it was the great music and today its William S Burroughs – I knew I liked this site for a reason – good people….Burroughs was good at being Burroughs…The reality is this issue can be solved – SF has the resources.

  22. Posted by marc

    The other contributing factor is that SF is one of the largest cities where for all intents and purposes it never freezes.
    Oh yeah, in the 1980s, Reagan cut off all junkies and alcoholics from SSI. $600+/mo was and would be a cheap investment to keep junkies and alkies off the streets.
    We have the resources, it would be a waste to squander them on criminalization when we need substance abuse and mental health treatment facilities.
    And don’t take that $200m figure too seriously. It was crafted by liberally taking any program that served any homeless and lumping their entire budget into what we spend on the homeless in the aggregate.
    -marc

  23. Posted by marc

    Aside from the policy issues, it looks like Newsom is using the homeless as a political pawn again to try to pick a fight with D6 supervisor Chris Daly.
    As Prop E is looking most likely to see victory, Newsom, along with Republican socialite Dede Wilsey, has formed the “Let’s Really Work Together Coalition” to spare hair gel boy the indignity of having to think on his feet before the coequal branch of government.
    With the Gavin and Chris homeless death match underway, that should rustle up contributions to coddle the mayor.
    -marc

  24. Posted by Josh

    I will also be happy when Chris Daly is GONE. Makes me sick to think he represents my Rincon Hill area. He is worthless and a waste of our time and tax dollars. I support the clock ticking away his term!!
    I back Mayor Newsom and his willingness to tackle the homeless issue. Enough is enough.

  25. Posted by h8_u_nimbys

    Anyone who is pretending that Mayor Newsom is “tackling the homeless issue” is so naive it hurts. He got the job pushing care not cash, swearing homeless reform was a priority. Since that time he’s done two things: jack and squat.
    It must be nice to be blissfully unaware of the fact that the prison system in the country has grown more dispicable and self-serving then the military industrial complex.
    But yeah, you and Newsom can rock on fixing the homless problem by arresting more of them.

  26. Posted by Rillion

    “I haven’t had a single visitor to SF that hasn’t commented on how bad the homeless problem is here. And these are not suburban folks, but people who live in other large urban centers like Boston, Seattle and London.”
    I find it interesting that when I go to other large urban centers I notice how bad the homeless problems are there.

  27. Posted by anonandon

    Would Chicago have a much larger homeless population sitting in front of hotels and shops on Michigan Avenue if they did not have freezing winters there. I doubt it.
    That city does not tolerate disrespectful behavior on public sidewalks, plazas and parks. You should see the way they patrol their new showcase Millennium Park. I was there recently and saw a woman sit down in front of a store and put out her sign while eating in a hotel across the street. Within two minutes police were there as well as an assistance van that checked to make sure she was all right and then walked her away. That city does not mess around when it comes to their downtown. They know that to compete against areas like this, they must make their city center attractive and desirable to everyone which could explain why suburban residents from that area still go to downtown Chicago to shop and dine. The only area that competes with us on the homeless taking over public spaces is Santa Monica which Harry Shearer calls “The Home of the Homeless” on his NPR show.

  28. Posted by gh

    Go to Vancouver…their downtown is pristine. I love that city, and it’s liberal. Enough with the excuses…certain cesspools in the downtown area (like the Transbay Urine Terminal) need to be cleaned up for the 99.9% of us that aren’t drinking beer in the morning and roasting pigeons for dinner. It’s not a political issue…it’s hygiene, pure and simple.

  29. Posted by view lover

    San Francisco likes to be known for its compassion. Problem is that compassion can cost alot of money which is the City collects from property taxes and other taxation. It is unfair that a person who works their entire life to buy property in this City, and works hard every day to be able to make the mortgage, then has to subsidize those that won’t lift a finger to help themselves. Yes, collectively we vote for help and compassionate programs, but since only 25% or so are home owners, the majority of the population just feels good about voting for the “right” thing, but does not have to finance it. I’m a liberal, but come on, lets call it like it is. Some of these people enjoy being free of responsibility and don’t deserve any more help. Who is helping the middle class in this City, or anywhere in America for that matter. Grow up San Franciso, it takes work and effort to survive, period.

  30. Posted by marc

    Housing is not at a premium in Chicago and surrounding Cook county as it is in San Francisco. The margin for error there is much greater than here.
    Downtown Vancouver might be “pristine,” but there are parts of town where there are junkies and homeless.
    Like NYC cleaned up the tourist areas, that simply resulted in pushing the problem to the outer boroughs.
    NYC also owns 20% of all housing units there, so a governmental solution is much easier there.
    -marc

  31. Posted by jeccat

    Also, since when is schitzophrenia a “choice”? A huge percentage of homless people are mentally ill and probably couldn’t work even if given free housing and a supportive environment. As for Vancouver, last time I checked it is actually part of Canada, land of socialized medicine. My guess is that crazy people and alcoholics are actually given the treatment they need to get off the streets there.
    As Marc put it so aptly, homelessness has many, many roots and causes– and “lazy” is not a catch-all description for alcoholics, manic depressives, teens running away from sexual abuse, and veterans suffering from PTSD. Have any of you actually ever SPOKEN to a person with severe psychosis? “Get a job” is not always a useful solution.
    I’m not denying that we have a homeless problem– we do. The question is: what should we do about the homeless problem? Locking people up for a day or two, and shunting them off into less desirable neighborhoods (read: neighborhoods where rich, employed, smug fatheads like many of us live and work) is not the answer.
    The answer to the homelessness problem is going to be complex and involve free or subsidized housing, substance abuse treatment, an extensive social services network to ensure people take their meds, runaway teen shelters… any of you people who think arrests and “jobs” will help have your heads up your lily-white a**es.

  32. Posted by Josh

    Again, go Newsom! I use to frequent this city about six years ago on a regular basis. It was so disgusting that I swore I would never live amongst the city filth and stench. Then, I was transferred here a year ago and was shocked at how much it has cleaned up. Yes, there is a long way to go but please, please don’t take us backwards to Chris Daly’s vision of SF!

  33. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “The answer to the homelessness problem is going to be complex and involve free or subsidized housing, substance abuse treatment, an extensive social services network to ensure people take their meds, runaway teen shelters… any of you people who think arrests and “jobs” will help have your heads up your lily-white a**es.”
    The problem with this statement is that it assumes every homeless person is someone that truly does need “help” because they cannot help themselves and because this highest common denominator thinking exists, people who could otherwise help themselves but choose to not join civilized society, piggy-back off of those that are truly in need of help so where does that leaves us? Exactly where we are now, stepping over bodies on the sidewalk and having to hold our noses to avoid smelling urine and feces all around us.
    Believe me, I know. I have to walk to and from work every day between Rincon Hill and the Financial District and I have to endure the same routine every day. Step over bodies, hold nose, step over bodies, hold nose.
    I’m sorry, but enough is enough.

  34. Posted by anom

    If you don’t think this is a severe crisis, go read the comments (over 200 and counting) at SFGate. People are posting about experiences they had to endure today alone. Vomit spit at pedestrians, public urination in front of the new Barneys, a man masterbating at the corner of Montgomery and Market, a woman being chased into Wells Fargo on Montogomery (The so-called “Wall Street of the West”).
    San Francisco can be for me the most amazing city in the world, but all I need to do is walk down the wrong block and it turns into the worst place on earth. Finally something is starting to be done!

  35. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “If you don’t think this is a severe crisis, go read the comments (over 200 and counting) at SFGate. People are posting about experiences they had to endure today alone. Vomit spit at pedestrians, public urination in front of the new Barneys, a man masterbating at the corner of Montgomery and Market, a woman being chased into Wells Fargo on Montogomery (The so-called “Wall Street of the West”).
    San Francisco can be for me the most amazing city in the world, but all I need to do is walk down the wrong block and it turns into the worst place on earth. Finally something is starting to be done!”
    Admittedly, I was trying to use a slightly gentler touch with my earlier comments, but this works for me.

  36. Posted by Mike

    The answer to the homelessness problem is going to be complex and involve free or subsidized housing, substance abuse treatment, an extensive social services network to ensure people take their meds, runaway teen shelters… any of you people who think arrests and “jobs” will help have your heads up your lily-white a**es.
    So why is this a SF responsibility? I understand that telling seriously mental ill people to “get a job” isn’t going to help. But how many of these people have any connection at all to SF? I don’t know the answer to that but I doubt it’s anywhere near 100%. SF has got the reputation for being an easy mark, so people flock here. Enforcing laws on the books for public defecation, indecent exposure, etc., is a good start. Not enough, but a start.

  37. Posted by Dude

    Anyone follow the Chronicle’s special on homelessness? Lots of good articles here.
    http://www.sfgate.com/g/special/pages/2003/homeless/
    “…the most chronically indigent, called the hard core, steadfastly refuse most help and stay outside.”
    The number of homeless people has gone down over the past few years, it’s true. Read the Aging on the Street and Daily Walk articles. With a median age near 50, many of these people have been out there since the 1980s. Many of the ones left are a static population, who do not want to go away, even if housed:
    “I’m basically just out here because I need beer,” said the panhandler, 41-year-old Jack Dreyfus. “I got inside a year ago, and now I just come out here a few times a week to get drunk.”
    Anyone remember the story about the bum in North Beach who inherited a few hundred grand and property when his mother passed away? He was back on the streets, drunk, within a few days. They eventually made him a ward of the state and institutionalized him somewhere.

  38. Posted by CameronRex

    It would be nice, when Mint Plaza opens, to be able to enjoy it without being harassed. For those of us working hard and paying taxes it is not too much to ask to enjoy the city we live in without the near constant harassment and lawlessness of the homeless. Those that are mentally ill need to be housed. (PERIOD) If laws need to be changed to make that happen then so be it.

  39. Posted by elephant man

    I’m starting a new political group called moveonmarc.org
    Anyone interested in joining?

  40. Posted by Mole Man

    Information is power. Giving homeless people a place and services at taxpayer expense may not be ultimate justice, but it is cheaper than frequent emergency responses and works better too.

    The homeless population goes down over time when the economy is doing well and grows quickly when markets are on the skids. There are a variety of lessons in that for future governance. The homeless are among us, and while the just move along approach does work wonders in the form of bus tickets out of the City, we need to start being sophisticated about this is there is to be any hope of making real and lasting progress.

    Also, to make bad City politicians fade away the main thing is to stop talking about them.

  41. Posted by Andy

    I have to say that I am happy about this initiative and want it expanded to the entire city. I have chosen to live in San Francisco, in downtown despite the many problems mentioned in the comments above and on SFGate. I have done this for ten years. But I have never understood why I have HAD to do it, to make this choice. The morning that my wife had to step over a strung out homeless person on our front steps to go to work was it. No other city that I am aware of, except maybe Santa Monica tolerates this problem like we do. Enough is enough, and I say enforce it city wide.

  42. Posted by Jamie

    As someone who has a close relative who would otherwise be on the street as an alcoholic paranoid schizophrenic, let me tell you with great certainty that we can do all the rationalizing in our minds that we want about their conditions – it doesn’t register in their heads.

  43. Posted by Dan

    Marc wrote: “Oh yeah, in the 1980s, Reagan cut off all junkies and alcoholics from SSI.”
    I must correct your history, Marc. Junkies and alcoholics were cut off from SSI in 1996, during the Clinton Administration. After the Republicans took over Congress in January, 1995, a big part of their agenda was to cut as many people as possible from government support. And much of this agenda was successful, with the help of Clinton triangulation. It should be noted that most junkies and alcoholics (who were notified that their SSI was to be cut off) were able to qualify for SSI under other diagnoses, so the impact was less than expected.
    Reagan’s biggest contribution to the homeless mentally ill on the streets was as governor. Deinstitutionalization, the closing of the giant state mental hospitals, was to be accompanied by intensive mental health treatment in the community. Under Governors Reagan and then Brown, deinstitutionalization happened in California without the concomitant commitment of resources to treat the severely mentally ill in the community.
    San Francisco has provided more community treatment than other counties, but also has been a draw for the State’s severely mentally ill, for whom the suburbs were a much more hostile place than the rural communities they replaced (as Marc pointed out).

  44. Posted by I'm right

    Give each homeless person $500 and the condition being that they board a bus that takes them to sacramento. Far enough away that they can’t just walk back to the city.

  45. Posted by marc

    Dan, I stand corrected.
    Here’s another reason to use “scarce” police resources in driving homeless from tourist traps to adjacent alleyway residential enclaves in SOMA:
    Three fatal shootings in SF today

    The first shooting happened around 1 a.m. Officers found Ramadan Smith, 29, face down in the bike lane on the 2300 block of Post Street in the Western Addition, police said.
    In the second incident, Reynaldo Cruz Hernandez, 17, of Oakland was fatally shot while standing at Ellis and Larkin streets in the Tenderloin a little after 4 a.m., San Francisco police said.
    The third fatal shooting occurred at about 7:40 p.m. on a Visitacion Valley street, police said.

    Mess with the homeless to make the tourists comfortable or address the rising tide of violence in our neighborhoods…
    Build luxury condos or housing targeted to San Franciscans…
    -marc

  46. Posted by steve

    The more San Francisco reaches out to societies degenerate the more will flock here from every corner of the country.
    It is like a fly trap. Does the city want to become so ‘sticky’ to bottom of the social barrel that they all flood in?
    I agree that there should be a balance but trying to solve everyones problem only makes those with problems arrive and those that support those programs with their taxes flee.

  47. Posted by marc

    Some of you moderates are as intolerant of other viewpoints as some of the most hardened, stalward, sectarian leftist progressives.
    The facts are that there are multiple etiologies for homelessness. Each needs to be addressed along with multiple diagnoses.
    Perhaps those junkies and alcoholics who were on SSI in 1996 were able to receive benefits under an different diagnosis, but that does not belie the fact that more and more people spiral into alcoholism and heroin addiction as time marches on who are not eligible to benefits.
    It is much cheaper to spent $600/mo than to pay cops $50/hr to bust and Sheriffs $40/hr to incarcerate them and the cost of maintenance for then time and again.
    Mark my words, Newsom’s crackdown will only force the homeless into the adjacent residential alleys in order to keep the streets pristine for tourists.
    And after the election, after Newsom has picked a fight with Chris Daly to try to forestall Question Time, Prop E, a press release will be issued declaring victory, the cops will stand down, and we will be right back where we started.
    Best practices indeed!
    Never mistake the careful management of appearances with the appearance of careful management.
    -marc

  48. Posted by amused

    It’s galling that we still refer to these vagrants as “homeless”. It’s also an unjust condemnation of the actual homeless to be grouped in with the chronically drug/alcohol dependent and/or mentally insane.
    The simple fact is that these people have to be taken off the streets, en masse and by force, to a place where they can do less harm to themselves. Much more importantly, however, they need to be taken to a place where they don’t impinge on the life, liberty and happiness of you and me. That’s right — the presence of these people is a fundamental violation of our rights. We obey the law, we pay our taxes, we participate in our democracy…and these people literally defecate all over it.
    As for Newsom v. Daly… war’s over. Lumpy lost. I live in his district, and email him with my point of view on this all the time. His email address is chris.daly@sfgov.org (editors – don’t get weirded out — he makes no attempt to keep his email address a secret). I would hope that Aaron Peskin’s constituents do the same.

  49. Posted by marc

    It’s galling that we still refer to these vagrants as “homeless”. It’s also an unjust condemnation of the actual homeless to be grouped in with the chronically drug/alcohol dependent and/or mentally insane.
    Yet you are supporting an expensive crackdown by cops that does not make the distinction between addict, lunatic and down and out.
    I guess we can’t count you people like amused putting their money where their words are and supporting an approach that is tailored to each specific instance.
    No, it is more effective to treat human beings like political pawns for short term gain by pushing them away from tourist centers into residential enclave blocks in SOMA.
    -marc

  50. Posted by amused

    “Yet you are supporting an expensive crackdown by cops that does not make the distinction between addict, lunatic and down and out.
    I guess we can’t count you people like amused putting their money where their words are and supporting an approach that is tailored to each specific instance.”
    You managed to misrepresent the facts and miss my point in crafting one of your hallmark posts.
    First, the facts: the only crackdown (your word) targets “anybody found committing a crime such as “littering, encampment, trespassing, urinating, defecating, dumping, blocking sidewalks, intoxication, etc.” will be asked to stop and enter into social services. If the person resists, the police officer would issue a citation.”
    First, this clearly targets only those making a public nuisance of themselves. It is in no way an unjust targeting of the “down and out”. If you aren’t taking a crap on the sidewalk (or similar), you’re not targeted.
    Second – you have no idea how I spend my money, or my time for that matter. So please don’t represent your mistaken assumptions as fact.

  51. Posted by kathleen

    The nerve of some people to be mentally ill! It’s their fault that they are alcoholics or drug addicts. How dare they self medicate themsleves in our presence. We treat homeless dogs and cats better then we treat our damaged neighbors.
    Is there some very small measure we could take to help them? Drop in day care for those willing to take shower and put on clean clothes? Some mionr respite from the elements that does not take away their sense of human freedom? How we treat our homeless is a reflection of the state of our soul as a society.

  52. Posted by marc

    amused, now do you really trust the SFPD to do anything other than avoid the dangerous work of confronting violent offenders and hard drug dealers by focusing their energies on the relatively safe projects of jacking up homeless people?
    This is not a law enforcement project, rather a political project. The goal is to mobilize SOMA residents for an upcoming recall of Chris Daly by pushing the homeless away from tourist areas and into residential neighborhoods.
    That is how Newsom and the SFPD roll.
    It is always politically easier for ambitious empty suits like Newsom, a politician who can’t think on his feet, to blame the powerless than to confront the powerful.
    -marc

  53. Posted by amused

    Actually, I do trust the SFPD. I think they’re generally good people hamstrung by political maneuvering and progressive dogma. I realize this will make me look like a fascist, but that’s how I feel.
    As for the violence in the Tenderloin, that’s the suppliers of the vagrants battling for turf. Things always heat up when SF taxpayers’ money is put into the hands of the vagrants to procure piles of heroin, crack and meth. It’s not like Suzy Marina is getting hit in a drive-by on her walk from A16 to the Grove.

  54. Posted by Dude

    Let’s be pragmatic. Research shows this city has a permanent homeless population of 5-6K people who have been out there for 20 years. In other words, the MAJORITY OF THEIR ADULT LIVES. Sorry, but some counseling and meds ain’t gonna turn this crowd into small business owners, software engineers, or bus drivers. Regardless of policy, these people will need societal support for the remainder of their lives. So what’s the most cost-effective policy? I think Amused is right on this one.
    A Daly recall? Be still my beating heart…where do I sign?

  55. Posted by Spencer

    “It’s not like Suzy Marina is getting hit in a drive-by on her walk from A16 to the Grove.”
    Suzy Marina probably uses the same “upscale” coke dealer than Newsom uses. But it does come from somewehere and she does contribute to the violence. I would love to see a large scale crackdown on drugs in SF, a zero tolerance policy.

  56. Posted by Amen Corner

    “Mark my words, Newsom’s crackdown will only force the homeless into the adjacent residential alleys in order to keep the streets pristine for tourists.”
    That’s certainly what I suspect will happen. Shove homeless out of one area and they’ll just reappear in another. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but I am sure I am seeing more homeless in the Van Ness corridor (even north of California) than I have in the past.

  57. Posted by marc

    Sorry, amused, but the POA runs the SFPD and it is they who call the shots on deployment. They fought legislation to implement foot patrols, legislation which has proven wildly popular with residents of a city under siege by violent crime, which would impact a grand total of 33 officers.
    2/3 of all cops live in the suburbs and they bring suburban sensibilities to policing in SF, policiing they prefer to do from the safety of their cruisers.
    Gang turf battles are in no way related to the problem of street people in GGP or SOMA. The Tenderloin is a low income neighborhood and people who are on SSI dull the pain with drugs, commuter dealers use the TL to sell drugs to commuter buyers.
    It is cheaper to pay for mental health and drug treatment or harm reduction services than it is to stage an enforcement episode that screws residents and homeless alike.
    -marc

  58. Posted by Bill

    Proving my addiction to Socketsite, I am in Rome and there are no homeless here. Surely we can do better with a problem that IMHO is primarily from addiction. Where did all that money that Chris Daly extracted from the Rincon Hill developers go? A previous post blamed the problem on Reagan closing the State Mental hospitals in the 70s, that was not all his fault. The closures resulted from a combination of the right and the left. Reagan wanted to cut the expense and the left felt that institutional care of the mentally ill was inhumane. So what should we do to clean this up? My suggestion is to make it more difficult for the addicted who refuse treatment to live on the streets. Jail time is not the answer. More cooperation between the City and groups who are experts in the addiction field such as Delancey may be the answer.
    Bill

  59. Posted by redseca2

    After working at the corner of 5th and Market since 1993, there is one aspect of this issue that I have come to understand that no one seems to want to address. Many of the so-called homeless people that degrade the quality of the downtown environment are not in fact homeless. They are living in the SRO’s and City housing programs already, and I am not including the shelters. I know because you come to recognize them and even find yourself on the same evening commute on MUNI with them. They are actually the people who are considered “successes” by the various organizations trying to help the homeless. Now that they have housing covered for free by the tax payers, they can watch TV all day in their room (as many probably do), but the rest have found it much more fun and profitable to spare change out on the street enough to stay high all day. Okay, some are probably clean a sober but panhandle for premium cable or something the city doesn’t give them for free yet. Although true homelessness is a big issue here, a lot of the visible evidence is just people who are lousy citizens and neighbors.

  60. Posted by missionite

    First of all I would like to see a return to the WPA (or if you prefer the Civilian Conservation Corps) model of public assistance, which essentially boils down to we find something for you to do, you do it, and *then* you get paid. A lot of great things were done under the WPA (think Hoover dam), and I think a lot of people would find more self worth and self respect if they actually had to perform some work to get their money.
    Second of all, a lot of the Daly haters are missing the point, which is that homelessness was a huge problem here before he was elected, and it will be a huge problem after he leaves. Same is true for Newsom, or any other politician you think would be better. Rob Black wouldn’t have made any substantial difference in the homeless population either, he just would have signed off on Newsome’s ideas which are already being enacted anyways, and haven’t yet made any significant change in the problems you are all griping about, except perhaps in a couple of blocks near SOMA, which just means other neighborhoods will get the runoff (which is SOP for Newsome homeless policies: take a look at what is happening to the counties surrounding SF). Addressing the symptomns do nothing for the disease.
    As for any recall of Daly, Peskin, or whoever else is the current hated politician du jour of the upper classes, trying to change the result of an election you didn’t like isn’t going to suddenly turn San Francisco into a giant Westfield Centre/Yuppie park and playground. It will just add one more distracting sideshow to a city that has too many already. If you want to do something about the problem then go do something about it. Go work at a shelter, or join the police academy, or pick up trash in your neighborhood, or run for office yourself. But whining on socketsite about a single supervisor isn’t going to do one damn thing to meaningfully affect the homeless problem.
    Sorry it has to be said.
    “Proving my addiction to Socketsite, I am in Rome and there are no homeless here.”
    Bill, you are a f#cking idiot. There are over 7,000 homeless people in Rome, and it has lately been getting worse.
    http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/news.php?id_n=3559
    My advice is that if you are going to opine on homelessness in Rome, you should leave the hotel once in a while.
    Good lord it drives me crazy when people just talk out of their ass.

  61. Posted by Spencer

    Rome has 2.6 million people. If there are only 7,000 homeless in Rome, then that only accounts for 0.27% of the population
    San Francisco has 744,041 people and there are an estimated 16,000 (i think this is low BTW) homeless people accounted for in San Francisco.
    They account for 2.15% of San Francisco’s population.
    In essence, there are 10x as many homeless people per capita in San Francisco as in Rome.
    If I were Bill and used to living in SF, I might also say that Rome has no homeless people. It probably appears that way compared to here

  62. Posted by marc

    Spencer, why does your world end at the Daly City border?
    The population of the metropolitan region is up to some 7.2m people. Most other jurisdictions aggressively roust the homeless.
    If one were to balance that 16K against 7.2m, the Bay Area CMSA would have a lower percentage per capita than Rome.
    If we compare the PAES workfare system with the WPA or the CCC from the Roosevelt era, we would find that PAES, like all welfare, is predicated on degrading people to the point where they get off of it. The WPA and CCC were pride in work accomplished kinds of operations that gave people a stake in what they were building.
    There is a CACC that operates out of Fort Mason, if memory serves, that is used as an incarceration substitute for at-risk youth.
    The problem, however, is the same one that prevents us from building the transit infrastructure that we so desperately need, an anti-tax mentality that socializes risk and privatizes profit and blames the poor for their plight.
    -marc

  63. Posted by legend

    Interesting read highlighting NYC’s crackdown on “quality of life” infractions as published by a former director of the NYC Urban Development Corp. Funny how progress is made when gov’t and law enforcement collectively work to enforce laws.
    “Mayor Abe Beame took the first hesitant steps to tame Times Square’s disorder in 1977, when he enacted nuisance abatement laws to shut down some of the neighborhood’s ubiquitous massage parlors. But the first really effective measures came courtesy of a now-retired deputy inspector named Richard Mayronne, assigned to the Midtown South precinct that includes Times Square during the mid-eighties. As former NYPD deputy chief John Timoney (now Philadelphia’s police commissioner) remembers him, Mayronne was “a big tough guy, a cop’s cop, and easily the most imposing police commander I’ve ever met.” He was also something more, Timoney stresses: an innovator in police tactics. Mayronne covered his office with neighborhood maps, and used pins to chart crime patterns in order to employ his forces efficiently creating a crude, pre-electronic version of Compstat, the computerized crime-tracking system that has since revolutionized New York City policing under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
    Even more important, Timoney recounts, Mayronne instructed his men to make arrests for low-level crimes such as prostitution and minor drug transactions that, when left unpunished, create a climate of lawlessness that encourages criminals to act on their darker impulses, leading to ever more serious crime. Such quality-of-life policing, as most observers now recognize, is a major reason for New York’s sharply lower crime rates, and the absence of it had contributed to Times Square’s decay. The new techniques paid off: as Mayronne’s Midtown South successors continued to monitor crime patterns and keep up the pressure on quality-of-life infractions, crime dropped. By the end of 1991, Times Square’s crime rate was 12 percent lower than in 1984—nothing like the 68 percent citywide reduction that Giuliani would achieve, but a healthy start nonetheless.
    With Giuliani’s election as mayor in 1993, the war on crime dramatically intensified. Together with his police commissioner William Bratton, the mayor completely transformed New York City’s approach to policing: Compstat soon allowed the NYPD to deploy personnel and resources efficiently, and quality-of-life policing became the norm throughout the city. Thanks to the new techniques—a quantum improvement over Mayronne’s early innovations—Times Square’s crime rate dropped to an infinitesimal level. Felonies committed on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth—the “worst block in the city”—fell from 2,300 in 1984 to a mere 60 in 1995, prompting a city official to enthuse that “crime has reached such a low level on that block that we don’t keep statistics anymore.” In the entire Midtown South precinct, felony complaints fell 50 percent, from 20,000 in 1992 to 10,000 in 1997. Giuliani and Bratton also sent a powerful message through their public rhetoric that the city would no longer tolerate crime and disorder, heightening New Yorkers’ and tourists’ expectations about safety and soothing the jangling nerves of the business community.”
    link below:
    http://www.city-journal.org/html/9_4_the_unexpected.html

  64. Posted by Spencer

    “Spencer, why does your world end at the Daly City border?
    The population of the metropolitan region is up to some 7.2m people. Most other jurisdictions aggressively roust the homeless.
    If one were to balance that 16K against 7.2m, the Bay Area CMSA would have a lower percentage per capita than Rome.”
    Are you being serious or are you just pulling my leg?
    The San Francisco border ends at Daly City. Last I checked, Daly City was not a part of the San Francisco City Limits.
    We are talking about cities, not metropolitan areas.
    The population I used for Rome is for the city proper.
    And for SF, I also did not count the homeless in san Jose, Oakland berkely, etc.
    I am trying to compares apples to apples and you are not.

  65. Posted by marc

    Gentrification drove both the sterilization of Manhattan and current drives to sterilize SOMA.
    If you wanted to exterminate progressive politics and interesting culture, you would pursue policies that raise the price of land and housing in the central cities.
    -marc

  66. Posted by redseca2

    Peoples, I travel a lot between SF and dear old Roma, and I look at “Wanted in Rome” each morning before or after I look at Socketsite, and you simply do not see the same degraded behavior on the Street in Rome that you see here, either in quantity or quality.
    If you actually read the “Wanted in Rome” article, it says that over half of Rome’s homeless have arrived since 2003, mostly from eastern Europe. These are economic refugees like all of europe is experiencing, not druggies and winos lying prone on the sidewalk for the 20th year in a row.
    You can play with figures all you want, but what we are talking about here is the perception of a problem and the perception is that parts of SF have been ceded by lax administration to the zombies and Morlochs. We did not worry about people messing themselves when they were locked up in DeWitt, only when they did it in Union Square.

  67. Posted by anonSF

    If you wanted to exterminate progressive politics and interesting culture, you would pursue policies that raise the price of land and housing in the central cities.
    Depends, of course, on how you define progressive. What passes for progressive politics in SF is really a socialist soak-the-rich-and-people-we-think-are-rich to pay for scheme to keep the “progressive” politicos in power (Daly’s extortion of money from ORH to fund his community slush fund comes to mind). That kind of politics is dying a slow death (the progressive community in SF couldn’t even mount a respectable challenge to Newsom this year).
    Most people (except for extreme lefties and republicans) have moved from this infantile view of politics are looking for more reality-based solutions rather than rigid ideological solutions.

  68. Posted by Spencer

    “Gentrification drove both the sterilization of Manhattan and current drives to sterilize SOMA.”
    I think most New Yorkers would disagree with you and say that this greatly enhanced their Quality of Life and their economics from tourism and new business. New Yorkers were really fed up before this happened and people were leaving. I lived there in 1996-1998 and this is THE FIRST time i have ever heard anyone say that the crackdown on drug dealers, criminals and chrinic homelessness was a bad thing.
    Are you a drug dealer?

  69. Posted by marc

    You should leave 42d street and get to the outer boroughs more often. Poorer neighborhoods now deal with what Manhattan kicked out.
    You lived in NYC for two whole years! How adverturesome that phase of your life must have been! Now you’re in San Francisco! How WONDERFUL for YOU! What world class city do you plan to amble onto next, pray tell?
    Just like 4th and Mission will become “clean,” while residential alleys like Clementina and Russ take on the brunt of what the cops “shepherded” out of tourists’ way.
    The best thing to increase business productivity would be a transit infrastructure that you all are too damn cheap to pay taxes to build. In NYC, the multiplier of productivity due to the subway is measurable.
    -marc

  70. Posted by Mike

    The best thing to increase business productivity would be a transit infrastructure that you all are too damn cheap to pay taxes to build.
    I’d gladly pay taxes to build a world class infrastructure if I had ANY confidence that the clowns in SF could actually do it. With the stuporvisors we have, however, forget it.

  71. Posted by marc

    The Mayor and the departments would do the building, supervisors are prohibited from interfering in administration.
    Poor administration the departments is the Mayor’s responsibility.
    I agree, that MUNI is neither capable nor invested with the confidence to build such a system. The BART is too expensive. I think we need to create a Rapid Transit Agency to do that, like the RER in Ile de France.
    -marc

  72. Posted by Mike

    The Mayor and the departments would do the building, supervisors are prohibited from interfering in administration.
    Is that true? Then why is Daly on the transbay terminal advisory panel?

  73. Posted by Dude

    I’ll second that notion. Don’t mind a tax hike to pay for subways at all. Unfortunately, only about 6 cents of every dollar in taxes would make it to subway construction. Of the remaining 94 cents, part would be used for multi-year studies of the effect of subway vibrations on the spotted salamander population of Telegraph Hill, part for a Daly-bred slush fund that ships people in from unaffected areas and finances subway protests, part to go to new-age artists for their concepts of what decorative subway murals should look like, another part to hire hundreds of mid-level bureacrats for a “Subway Task Force” that sits around all day doing nothing but going to meetings and arguing, idiosyncratically trying to justify its own existence…..

  74. Posted by Spencer

    Hey Marc (TROLL)
    I was in NY for work and I came to SF for the same reason. The difference is that I fell in love with San Francisco. In my mind, that means I am vested in making it the best place it can possibly be. If that means kicking out Ignorant uneducated dickwads such as yourself, then so be it.

  75. Posted by Spencer

    may i suggest reading the Tipping Point as to why people with a soul, and a lick of sense eventually stop putting up with loafing, slow anti-change, anti-culture nitwits such as you.

  76. Posted by amused

    “Gentrification drove both the sterilization of Manhattan and current drives to sterilize SOMA.”
    Load. of. crap.
    I’m in NYC quite frequently and have been for 15 years. I know it quite well. It is decidedly non-sterile. While there are those who equate “downtrodden” with “genuine”, this is nothing more than nostalgic revisionism. It’s a bit like claiming you bought your CBGB shirt at a Patti Smith show in 1976. Of course you didn’t.
    NYC is more vibrant and culturally relevant now than it was in 1980, and Soho was still “dangerous.”
    In an earlier post, you bemoaned gentrification for the displacement of SOMA’s “queer culture on the cheap”. As a proud resident of SOMA, that’s quite OK with me. In terms of *actual* sterilization, I picked up two syringes sitting on my street last night. Why? Because I favor action over contemplation and feeling superior behind a screen and a keyboard.
    Your faux-intellectual grandiosity is far funnier than you think.

  77. Posted by missionite

    Spencer, redseca2 et. al,
    The statement I took issue with was Bill stating flatly “I am in Rome and there are no homeless here.”. That statement is wrong in every measurable and quantifiable way. He was talking out of his ass. Period.
    I made no comment on the relative size of the homeless population in Rome to that in SF, nor did I discuss the quality of homeless people in Rome. All I said, was that Rome did in fact have a homeless population, and a growing one at that.

  78. Posted by ryan

    Bill, you are a f#cking idiot. There are over 7,000 homeless people in Rome, and it has lately been getting worse.
    I think what Bill meant was the amount of “in your face” homelessness that distinguishes San Francisco/Berkeley. Thanks to my employment I’ve travelled to several Asian and European countries and all of the major US cities for long periods of time, and though I find the weather in the Bay Area better than anywhere i’ve been in (except Oregon and Tahiti, dems some nice weather over there :-))
    Never have I seen the ultra-aggressive homeless like we have over here. I’ve had my car kicked by a homeless guy because I didn’t offer him a cigarette. I’ve had homeless guys walk up to me and rub my belly for good luck. I’ve had homeless folks follow me asking for change even after I declined them several times. I’ve seen, and i’m pretty sure you’ve all seen.. homeless push 3-4 shopping carts down a street blocking traffic putting critical mass to shame.
    (Btw, all of the above situations happened in SOMA)
    Its really sh*t i’ve never seen before in other cities/countries, and i’ve been in some dirt poor countries too..
    Heres a little perspective about our homeless vs say homeless in Asia…
    In Asia i’ve seen a guy give his lunch (probably his lunch for the day) to a one-eyed homeless guy (and possibly mentally challenged) begging on the street, it looked to be just some sliced mangos, nothing much, but the guy opened up the lunch and went at it like it was the first meal he had in 2 weeks.
    On the other hand in Oakland, while waiting outside a video store in the car, I saw a guy give a big bag of fries (probably a good $3 worth) to a homeless guy, fresh from the burger joint. What did the homeless guy do after the guy left? He threw the fries at a couple who refused to give him change.
    This is just one observation of many. After living here all my life I seriously think some if not many homeless (non-mentally ill) in our area are just plain spoiled rotten.

  79. Posted by pica1986

    Here’s another look at the politics surrounding the homeless issue…
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/10/17/BAE4SQVIM.DTL&type=politics

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