It's come to this: University of California law school sues over San Francisco homeless health hazard
San Francisco may have plenty of money to provide alcohol, cigarettes, and even marijuana to homeless people being housed in hotels, but meanwhile, the number of people living on its streets has multiplied by 300%, despite housing over a thousand homeless people in hotel rooms. Do you suppose that such lavish support might be incentivizing homelessness?
The situation has gotten so bad in the city's Tenderloin District, a swath of prime real estate just a couple of blocks from the city's premier shopping district around Union Square, that local residents and businesses, including the University of California's Hastings College of Law, have sued the city over the severe health hazard.
Tenderloin District homeless (YouTube screen grab).
Danielle Wallace reports for Fox News:
San Francisco is being sued by a law school and residents and businesses in the inner-city Tenderloin District who argue sidewalks are "unsanitary, unsafe, and often impassable" as homeless people crowd streets amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of tents and makeshift structures in the Tenderloin has tripled since January, as homeless shelters are forced to operate at low capacity in order to enforce stringent social distancing requirements, reports say.
The federal lawsuit, filed last week in part by the University of California Hastings College of Law, does not seek financial damages but instead demands the city clean up streets littered with drug needles and human waste. The litigants are also seeking help for people living in sidewalk tents, saying they are at increased risk of COVID-19.
"We are suing because our neighborhood has become a pandemic containment zone," David Faigman, chancellor and dean at UC Hastings, who is heading the case in federal court, told CNN. "The city has basically cordoned off our area. Tents are blocking the streets. Tents are blocking doorways. There are needles in the streets. There's open-air drug dealing."
Not just a University of California law school, but Willie Brown, the former S.F. mayor and longtime dominant figure in the state government, is fed up. He wrote in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle:
[S]o far, the authorities who have locked us in have yet to figure out how to get us out.
If they don't figure it out soon, the public is going to find a way to get out on its own.
In fact, some counties and some professions are already opening up.
And trying to keep businesses from opening with threats of suspending their liquor licenses or cosmetologist licenses won't work — not on a mass scale that would be needed if many people start to say: enough.
The goal of the shutdown was to curb the coronavirus and keep the hospitals from being swamped.
We kept the hospitals working, but we have yet to curb the virus and a vaccine is probably at least a year away.
In the meantime, we're headed over the economic cliff and facing unemployment numbers the likes of which we have never seen before.
It looks like we're going to be stuck in place until at least June 1, no matter what.
But June 1 may also be the boiling point.
When you've lost Willie Brown and the University of California and you're a San Francisco Democrat, you're in trouble.