New SF mayor will try asking homeless to be nice, instead of penalizing them for pooping on the streets

San Francisco has a brand new mayor, Ms. London Breed, the result of the untimely death of Mayor Ed Lee, and it does not look good for the city coming to grips with a crisis on its streets.  The accumulation of human waste and contaminated drug needles posing a severe threat to the health of its residents and visitors is also a challenge to the survival if the city's biggest industry in terms of employment: tourism.  A huge medical convention has announced that it will no longer visit San Francisco owing to the health and safety hazards the streets now pose.

Mayor London Breed (KNTV screen grab).

Mayor Breed, who grew up in a ghetto and is the city's first African-American female mayor, granted an interview with NBC-owned and operated affiliate KNTV, which had telecast video of the street filth that drew national attention.  Her response to the crisis does not inspire confidence:

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, in her first one-on-one interview since taking office, said homeless advocacy groups that receive funding from the city need to better educate the homeless to "clean up after themselves."  

"I work hard to make sure your programs are funded for the purposes of trying to get these individuals help, and what I am asking you to do is work with your clients and ask them to at least have respect for the community – at least, clean up after themselves and show respect to one another and people in the neighborhood," Breed told the Investigative Unit, referencing her conversations with nonprofit groups aimed at serving the homeless.

When pressed about whether her plan calls for harsher penalties against those who litter or defecate on city streets, Breed said "I didn't express anything about a penalty."  Instead, the mayor said she has encouraged nonprofits "to talk to their clients, who, unfortunately, were mostly responsible for the conditions of our streets."

I guess the excuse here is "compassion" for the "victims" – people who shoot up drugs and endanger the public with their needles and feces are the "victims" in this way of thinking.  The people who get feces on their shoes (or worse) are not "victims," apparently.  And "talk" will be sufficient to get these irresponsible people to behave better somehow.

The station actually captured footage of the new mayor walking by a man openly shooting up drugs on the streets – and she doesn't take notice:



San Francisco already spends vast sums on the homeless: over $37,000 per estimated homeless person in the city.

San Francisco is slated to spend nearly $280 million this year on housing and services for the homeless – a roughly 40 percent increase compared to just five years ago.  Over that same span, however, the number of homeless in the city has largely remained the same at about 7,500 people, according to city counts.

And an additional $8,600 per homeless person cleaning up the filth they leave on the streets:

San Francisco spent $65 million on street cleaning last year and plans to add nearly $13 million in additional spending over the next two years.

Mayor Breed apparently  thinks this is money well spent:

"I don't think that the city is poorly spending what it already has," Breed said.  "I spend a lot of time on Fillmore Street.  I see the people who are part of a program, out there power washing.  They're out there doing what they can to keep the community clean, almost every day, and then right after they leave, maybe an hour or two later, the place is filled with trash again."

It's going to have to get worse before it gets better.



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