I’ve lived in the Bay Area most of my adult life and the crown jewel is San Francisco. Rich in history, rich in aggregate wealth, the most expensive housing market in the nation.  Tourists from all over the world come to The City by the Bay. So why is it such a dump?

Used needles and human feces are found littering downtown San Francisco as infectious disease expert warns the area is becoming dirtier than some slums in India and Brazil.

It gets worse;

How dirty is San Francisco? An NBC Bay Area Investigation reveals a dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces across a 153-block stretch of downtown San Francisco.

As the Investigative Unit photographed nearly a dozen hypodermic needles scattered across one block, a group of preschool students happened to walk by on their way to an afternoon field trip to city hall.

“We see poop, we see pee, we see needles, and we see trash,” said teacher Adelita Orellana. “Sometimes they ask what is it, and that’s a conversation that’s a little difficult to have with a 2-year old, but we just let them know that those things are full of germs, that they are dangerous, and they should never be touched.”

Not exactly the image the city wants promulgated to potential tourists and their expendable cash. But wait, no car parked on city streets is safe either. 85 break-ins on average a day and the cops don’t even come to take a report.

I know it is a cliche, a talking point to connect liberal policies with societal ills.  The argument made is that each city has its now-unique set of problems, and this is probably true, to a point. But attitudes about police involvement, what laws the city elders want ignored, what approach to take with drug abuse, indecent exposure, are erratic even when it comes to dangerous behavior in public. Each city creates polices within its boundaries, shaped by their belief as to what the citizens who live there want. For San Francisco it has created a filthy, dangerous, crime infested city that only the truly deluded could find appealing.

We used to go into The City around Christmastime but that was years ago. Now between the nightmare of parking, the not-so-appealing smells, and all of the “interesting” characters walking around that appear menacing, we spend our casual time in other Bay Area locales.

It’s sad, really, because I have so many fond memories of it from when I was growing up; a genuine affinity still requires me to call this place home and hope for a much-needed rehabilitation. Silicon Valley has brought great prosperity and wealth to the Bay Area. The funds are here to make this place great again. Of course, this requires that those in power have the vision to actually see a problem.  I’m not sure on this.


12 comments

  1. Never say never. My own city was in decline for most of my life. Downtown started coming back to life with new development plans and other community efforts. It’s amazing how much different it is compared to 20 years ago.

    San Francisco is amazing and I hope it gets its own Renaissance once it rediscovers its civic values. Won’t happen until the residents themselves decide that they deserve better than degeneracy and lawlessness.

  2. I’ve spent a decent amount of time in downtown SF over the last few years for work. And the first word I used to describe the city to my wife after my first trip there was “dirty”. I think it probably has something to do with the massive homeless population there – you see them everywhere.

  3. I could show you pictures of sunset junction down here in Los Angeles, or the encampments in the Santa Ana river and your eyes would bleed as a person who probably patrolled those areas in the past. It’s a California problem, not a partisan or San Francisco problem.

    If you want to talk about what’s causing it, or how a liberally centric government could allow these people to fall through the safety net, I guess that’s one way to go with it. As you addressed above, goofy liberal cities probably have goofy city councils (I deal with one myself) that set goofy liberal priorities for cops and firefighters, yeah I’d share a couple stories of that.

    The homeless issue itself has gone well outside of s partisan affair, and is something we should really be talking about, not blaming on each other. Los Angeles did what we always do, we set a vote to raise taxes to pay for them to get houseing. That means 30 city employees showed up to vote, and maybe the special interests that called for the tax increase told their employees to go vote for it, and no one else cared so here’s the tax.

    Now we’re finding out we were good komrades and taxed ourselves but the homeless problem is getting worse. Now everyone is mad, and the obvious answer seems to be needing a highly paid homeless czar to make sure our money is getting to the right hands.

    It never ends but it’s a real problem and needs real answers.

  4. I could show you pictures of sunset junction down here in Los Angeles, or the encampments in the Santa Ana river and your eyes would bleed as a person who probably patrolled those areas in the past. It’s a California problem, not a partisan or San Francisco problem.

    Yep, aware of them, for those that aren’t;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Z3Rd0rD_I

    not blaming on each other

    Um, I re read my post because I didn’t think I was blaming anyone, nope , no blame affixed anywhere. And my post was not just about the homeless problem, which deserves a separate post of it’s own, a very serious problem. Yes, homeless folks generate a lot of trash, of course, but San Francisco’s problems run deeper. Where in Orange County the homeless live in certain areas, in SF it’s everywhere, not confined. Walking down Market Street, the business hub of the city where millions of dollars of transactions occur daily, you have all the above things mentioned; trash, feces, hypo’s, cars double parked, debris in the roadways, some days it could pass for Beirut. Factor in a police force that is nowhere to be found, enforcing only those laws the city council approves of and you find yourself in a city that is unsafe and unhealthful.

    The stark contrast of the city of my youth and all the wonderful memories prompted the post, and a genuine hope that this city is not beyond redemption.

  5. Ok. My bad, I thought this was heading toward “see this liberal hellhole.it sucks here because Democrats” which I’ve found in politics has become almost unbearable. I’ve found out from my own experience in politics in these town council meetings there’s a few types of people that attend the meetings. There’s the town crossing guard that uses the podium to bitch about irrelevant solutions to problems (ie. “We should put together a fund to get the homeless guy on the corner a 401k with his coin jar”), there’s the people that go into any public issue to inject their party ideals right into everything, and there’s the huge unspoken masses of people that have a job and don’t have time to deal with the politics at all.

    That’s really problematic because, as you can quickly see here that means those rational (for the most part) people don’t make it to the meetings to get reasonable thoughts on the table and it leaves local politics to immediate polarization from the few nit jobs and grandmas that show up with more agenda than solution.

    Let’s also be fair here about the police and fire department’s role in this. At my town council I immediately noticed a structural problem. Our city is somehow under the jurisdiction of both the CHP AND the LASD. Now, they both do their due diligence and send someone to every meeting, and they always have their representative come with his/her homework under their arm with them. Of course, in my case, they show up with a list of traffic enforcement and talk about who got caught speeding and how many traffic accidents there are. There’s almost nothing in that stack that talks about how much crime they’re out there deterring or collars we should be made aware of.

    The structure of the meeting is also problematic because our chair brought the cops up right after the anthem, and left the public comment section of the meeting to the end when the cops are long gone. The cops and the people never get to speak to each other, and for the people listening, the only thing they hear is there’s only traffic crime in the city and the cops never hear the people complaining about the actual crime they’re there to tip off the police to.

    I talk to the Sherriff guys a lot at the meetings and I’ve called them for some issues. I’m sure you’ve heard about all the legal trouble the LASD has been facing under Baca and Tanaka’s watch, so maybe they feel their hands are tied, but the biggest complaint I’ve heard from them individually is that there’s not enough action. So, in my mind I feel like there’s a disconnect.

    There’s enough crime that’s happened here, even though it’s a reasonably wealthy area, to keep those guys adrenaline pumping, but they feel like they’re just there to pull cars out of trees, or that’s what they’ve been told to do. On the other hand, the town council attendees can’t get some of their complaints heard, like the new ordinances thatve reduces drug offenses to tickets essentially, greatly reducing their ability to enforce (if you pop these guys you vent out them in the steel bar inn for drugs, which they almost always have). That said, beyond them talking about traffic stops I don’t see the cops being too inclined to do anything much on their own:

    The specific problem you mentioned in the bay, to me, has more to do with homeless because that’s what I saw up there a few months ago. I went up to guerneville for a couple days and we stopped in the city for a night. I can only remember the place smelling like piss, and really low angekes is heading that way too.

    We’re just now getting some homeless here too, and I think the issues start there. They squat, they are mostly opioid addicts, they piss everywhere and they panhandle it steal amazon deliveries for money. Our cops are a little hamstrung because the one we’re debating about right now is a resident. His family won’t get conservatorship over him so we can get him into the system, he refuses help so the cops can’t do anything, and only the nutcases show up to the town hall and complain about him getting “vilified” (really? The dude is 6’3” and 250 solid pounds of naked bum that shits on the street in front of schools). One guy brought up the IDEA that he might be a danger and some old sjw cuck shouted him out of the town hall.

    In the middle here are the cops, driven to apathy by choice or by cause, and the apathetic no shows to the meeting that would happily let the cops roll this bum every three days for a mental health check but they won’t show up and all we’re left with are the sjw cucks that want to make him a millionaire dusting it up with our second amendment freaks that think we should load the guns up and shoot the fucker like it’s true grit.

    We’re a wealthy little area way up in the mountains. We are the last stop before the Angeles national forest, and nowhere near the ills of the big city (our neighbor is pasadena, we share the school system). However, we’re starting to get the problem spilling over and these divisive politics seem to instantly be what is applied to solve the problems, and it clearly doesn’t.

  6. I used to live in South Pasadena, loved it. It sounds like your little town is unincorporated, CHP does traffic and LASO handles criminal complaints. While working in L.A. I worked West Hollywood before it incorporated, a lot of fun. I found that those little towns that had both got better coverage over all. I knew many of the store and nightclub owners and they knew me, more personalized service.

    No, it’s not as simple as ,”Damn liberal cities, what do you expect?” California has a lot of homeless because of our mild weather. I doubt Seattle, Boulder, or Cambridge has an equal amount of homeless.

    What is more important is 1) does the city even see it as a problem, and 2) are the residence willing to pay higher taxes and put the council members feet to fire in coming up with solutions.

    Without going into details, we (my wife and I) do what we can to help those in a homeless camp by our local dog shelter.

  7. I think the opioids are a BIG culprit here too, Rich. These guys aren’t blowing their Uber paychecks on weed. Yes, of course being a bum in California might be about as temperate as bum life can be, but I see a lot of them are YOUNG. They should have their whole lives ahead of them but they’re on the street. That doesn’t sound like a cocaine problem, these kids are hooked on Charlie.

    If you know about the Santa Ana river encampment I’m sure you read about the tunnel sized underground bunker these homeless built to hide stolen bikes. They actually collaborated to dig a fucking BUNKER underground where the police recovered hundreds of stolen bikes, a couple guns, etc.

    Now, I want to COMMEND the police and the city of Santa Ana for doing something. On Monday they passed out city bought stipends to these bums to get motel rooms that motel owners accepted on behalf of the city. The cops gave them two choices, go to the motel for a couple days or go to jail and they were able to clean the park out enough to start picking up the trash and getting rid of some of the water borne diseases brewing. However, the people near this encampment have been complaining for months about stolen merchandise and the cops didn’t prioritize arresting the bums.

    That’s either because it wasn’t worth it yo them, or it wasn’t worth it to the city. Either way it’s becominv everyone’s problem real quickly. One of the four major fires we just had here was actually caused by a fire in a homeless encampment around Beverly Hills of all places. At an estimated 3-10 billion dollars in damage and resources its becominv a little big problem all over here.

  8. Before I answer the couple of questions you presented, Rich, I’d just like to throw out one solution to see what your thoughts are.

    I think California needs to repel prop 40(?) , 41 or whatever the prop was that put a hold on property taxes and tie them to the original sales price of the home. Now I know that will be hard, if not impossible burden to bear on our retirees and I’m open to hearing ideas on how to accommodate them. Maybe a lien on the value of the home. Something.

    We have to do something about it, though. Rummaging around through our city’s coffers and I am appalled at how much these homes are valued and how little property taxes get paid. The lady I bought my house from bought her house in 1963 for something obnoxious like 3 grand, and even my realtor pointed out to me that she was only paying 100 dollars a year in property taxes up until four years ago when I bought the house. A hundred fucking dollars? Our entire city runs almost completely on property taxes and that’s just absurd.

    My next door neighbor was talking to me a while ago and she was like “I’d sell my house for a lot of money but where would I go?” Wtf? I was like “lady for 800k in almost pure, unadulterated profit you’d go wherever the fuck you want!” She’s about 75 too. How long does she need to live here? And how long do we all have to suffer to keep her living easy?

    I’m not about kicking these people out on the streets but we need to scale property taxes or something because we have one age group that really can’t afford to live here being subsidized by one paying through the nose to pay for everything people in her sumituation can’t or aren’t willing to pay for.

  9. Yeeeeaaaahhhhh, I’m totally against repealing prop. 13. The percentage of homes in California where the original buyer bought it 30 years ago for a song is so small it is a non factor. California has more multi million dollar homes sold each year than any other state, Sacramento gets so much money in property taxes from the sales of these multi million dollar homes, it’s ridiculous. No, the problem is not that Sacramento is not getting the tax revenue, it is that they are not good stewards of that tax revenue and they spend on boondoggles like the bullet train.

    They have known for years now that the existing reservoirs and aqueducts were insufficient for the type of expansion that was inevitable, yet, they allowed the earth first crowd to dictate policy, thus nothing was updated, leaving us in this fine mess right in the middle of a killer drought.

    I’ve written before how in my little town filled with progressive types who believe that you can never throw enough money at education, I have 5 different school bonds on my property taxes that I pay twice a year.

    Jerry Brown has collected so much tax revenue, he is leaving office with a massive surplus. No, our taxes are already too high, taking away the benefit of paying property taxes based on the original purchase of a home is short sighted. Once you retire, if you are still in your current home, you will appreciate the fact that you can still remain there because your property taxes have not forced you to sell.

    As for your next door neighbor, California allows a one time first $500 K of any home sale to be tax exempt. And if she upgraded to a more expensive home, she could write off the entire amount of the sale. Are you in favor of doing away with these exemptions? Just think how much extra revenue the state would get.

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