In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on May 16, 2023 at 12:10 am

On November 3, 2021, National Public Radio’s website carried the following headline: “San Francisco’s new rapid response teams race to save lives as ODs dramatically rise.”    

From the story:

“‘Fentanyl is a game-changer,’ Dr. Hillary Kunins, the city’s director of behavioral and mental health services, says of the opioid that’s 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. ‘It requires a new way of thinking and resourcing.’ It also, she says, ‘requires people to learn to work across disciplines and sometimes across organizations.'”

And what is the ultimate result of repeatedly saving drug-abusers from their own self-destructive behavior?  

In his 2021 bestseller, San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, author Michael Shellenberger provides the answer. 

San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities: Shellenberger, Michael: 9780063093621: Amazon.com: Books

According to its dust jacket:

“Progressives claimed they knew how to solve homelessness, inequality, and crime. But in cities they control, progressives made those problems worse.

“Michael Shellenberger has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for thirty years. During that time, he advocated for the decriminalization of drugs, affordable housing, and alternatives to jail and prison.

“But as homeless encampments spread, and overdose deaths skyrocketed, Shellenberger decided to take a closer look at the problem. What he discovered shocked him. The problems had grown worse not despite but because of progressive policies.”

In a June 1, 2022 interview with The Spectator World, Shellenberger blamed liberal ideology for this epidemic:

“The first thing is that they don’t enforce laws. They don’t enforce laws against people that they consider victims, which includes addicts and the mentally ill. And if you don’t enforce laws it turns out people don’t follow them and you don’t have functioning civilization.

Michael Shellenberger.jpg

Michael Shellenberger

Michael Shellenberger, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

“The second is that they have pursued a radical de-incarceration, de-policing and decriminalization agenda, which has removed penalties for many laws, including shoplifting $950 worth of goods, or possessing three grams of fentanyl and meth, enough to produce paranoid psychosis. And they’ve pursued a so-called housing first anti-shelter policy.

“So they’ve defunded the shelters. The governor himself has established that housing should be a right. That anybody who comes to San Francisco or Los Angeles should have their own apartment unit in those cities. That is the state policy. It is so ridiculous. It is shocking to even say that that is what the policy is, but that is what it is.

“What we need is pretty straightforward. We need to enforce laws. We need a shelter-first housing-earned policy and you need statewide psychiatric and addiction care like they have in every civilized country.

“We’re reviving people from overdose six, nine, twelve times and then sending them right back onto the streets to smoke more fentanyl. It’s bonkers.

“Fifty percent to 75 percent of all fires put out by the San Francisco and Los Angeles fire departments are in homeless encampments. My own research, and the research of others, shows that most of these are arson fires, people just getting back at each other.”

And how did the city’s mayor, London Breed, respond to the closing of Whole Foods Market?  With a public statement that was pure boilerplate: 

“Public safety is Mayor Breed’s top priority and vital to the City’s work around restoring our economy and making our residents and workers feel safe. 

“Over the last several months, the San Francisco Police Department and the Mayor’s Office have been working collaboratively with Whole Foods’ leadership to address public safety issues at their 8th and Market location.

“We will continue to engage with them about the future use of the site. The Police will continue aggressively enforcing against open-air drug dealing, maximizing police response to urgent calls for assistance, partnering with retailers to address theft in their stores, and enforcing new street vending regulations to disrupt the sale of stolen goods.”

In short: Blah-blah-blah.

Nowhere in that statement is there any mention that from 2020 to July, 2022, San Francisco had a District Attorney—Chesa Boudin—who saw criminals as victims and sought any reason to excuse them for their crimes. 

Nor is there any mention that the current D.A.—Brooke Jenkins—remains stymied by the realities that, under California law: 

  • Theft under $950 is considered a misdemeanor.
  • As a result, many prosecutors prefer to free those charged rather than holding them in jail.
  • The maximum sentence offenders can get is six months. 

Also left unsaid:

  • Firefighters, police officers and schoolteachers are unable to afford the extortionate rents charged by San Francisco landlords. But city officials have thrown out the welcome mat for DDMBs—Druggies, Drunks, Mentals and Bums
  • Many DDMBs refuse to enter the city’s available shelters. Some claim these places are dangerous—understandably so, since they’re peopled with drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill and outright bums. 
  • Another reason why many of these shelters go unused: They don’t allow their “guests” to drink up or drug up.

The latest wrinkle in San Francisco’s “be kind to Untermenschen campaign is the creation of “Navigation Centers.” These are essentially holding pens for DDMBsuntil they can be “navigated” to permanent housing.

This is a triumph of misleading language over reality, since there is little available housing in San Francisco to “navigate” them to.

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