By Johnnie Does
San Francisco, it’s been referred to as cutting edge, a dump, liberal bastion, Bagdad by the Bay, home of Michael Savage, and pretty much everything that you can name, so the Blog Father deployed intern “Johnnie Does” to report back on a myriad of topics. The following is his report.
While making my final descent across the Golden Gate Bridge (it’s more of a red-orange not gold but I digress), I saw a sign advertising the bridge toll of $12. Like any other proud American, I was ready to pay said toll for the right to enter San Francisco from this historic structure but to my dismay there was no attendant in the toll booth! I passed through; fearing the worst. Would I get a ticket? Was I now a criminal? A fugitive on the run even? Would I make it out of the City alive? My passenger assuaged my fears saying they are going to send you a bill via snail mail for the $12, they got rid of the toll takers years ago. Whoa! That’s Weird! Liberal San Francisco actually shrinking government payroll? Or was this an Amazon.com esque agreement where these bills are delivered at an extra cost to Joe Taxpayer? Maybe a third-party billing service owned by the nephew of a local bigwig? I couldn’t dwell on this; I had a job to do. I was finally here, and I needed to complete my mission; cranking out decent content for this blog.
I found a parking lot right near Fisherman’s Wharf. I was a little offended this wasn’t really anyone’s wharf; especially, considering this city believes anyone can use any place as a bathroom. Maybe if this was private there would be standards, public ownership means anything goes, talk about hypocrisy. I realized I had inadvertently selected a labor union’s parking lot, and at the rate of $20 a day I figured I did my part to re-fill their coffers which took a big hit following the Supreme Court’s Janus decision.
I then set off on my journey toward Golden Gate Park. It was a short walk, if by short, I mean the kill radius of a thermo-nuclear weapon, but I finally made it. The homeless issue had been reported on by a couple of real news stations, so I wanted to get a firsthand perspective on this. What I saw would stun everyone except maybe resident pantywaist Darrell Steinberg (idiot-Sacramento). Homeless people had taken over the park!
Literally every part of this once magnificent landmark was covered in trash, tents, sleeping bags, propane stoves, five-gallon buckets of…. (well, let’s call it human waste). I thought this was supposedly a tourist area. Really? Again, whoa, that’s weird! I needed to get answers, so I interviewed several characters inhabiting the park. The first, “Chief poo slinger” (no relation to “The Chief” correspondent on this blog by the way) claimed that the part of the park which he was residing in was actually his, given to him by God. Not sure I ever read that passage in the Bible, maybe it appears in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Authorized Version?
Pressed for answers, he and his counterparts; Jack Meoff, and fellow sister, Coke Meup, relented and answer several tough questions. None wanted to leave the park under any circumstances claiming they had a right to life under the Constitution, I agreed. None wanted to live in a state or city sponsored shelter, saying they didn’t want to give up drinking or doing narcotics. This is understandable, many a homeless person these days just wants money for said alcohol or narcotics. In a sense, they had formed a pack or herd mentality, and as a group, they took over what was once a proud tourist destination.
The homeless were ever present on the Embarcadero and the entire walk to Pier 39 and other tourist traps. The odd part here, was a security force shooed them off whenever one wandered into the tourist areas. I saw this firsthand several times. So, I interviewed one of the guards. He was actually quite a good interview! He said the businesses and landlord hired them to make sure the area is welcoming for visitors because the wharf is a worldwide tourist destination. I agreed but stated that the sidewalks were dirty and grimy and could use a re-vamp…more on this later. But the security force was very good at making sure the homeless knew that until after midnight, they weren’t welcome. Further on my journey, I encountered a worker in a yellow fluorescent vest picking up what I thought was trash…it was human feces.
Apparently, San Francisco has an “open door policy” meaning you can open the back door and relieve yourself wherever you wanted, and these “poop troops” were employed to clean it up…. WEIRD! Similar poop troop squads are deployed all over the city. They even keep a log of where they pick up all the “logs.”
Gross and upsetting, more on this later.
Both when I stopped to grab a bite for lunch and later for dinner, I was able to chat with the employees and managers alike. The attitude from the employees was that the homeless have overrun the place…. but it’s San Francisco and we have a “love all, serve all” attitude. Generally, they seemed happy, as the minimum wage is higher here than most places, and they have healthcare to boot! Yes, added on as a line item to my bill was a 5% tax to pay for worker healthcare mandated by San Francisco. That was somewhat unsettling as my ticket for Fish n Chips came to over $20 after tax, tip, and healthcare costs were passed conveniently on to me–the customer.
Talking to the managers gave me a fresh prospective on the homeless situation. They lamented the rising rents and minimum wage increases. These economic factors put continuously upward pressure on costs and as such are passed on to the customer. They spoke of the nightmare of trying to hire people, and constant turnover due to rising costs. Like the employees, they didn’t seem to have much animosity toward the homeless.
I walked down the Embarcadero toward the ballpark where the San Francisco Giants play. On my walk, I encountered more of the same homeless people littering the streets. These ones took a far more aggressive pan handling tone than any others I had encountered. Harassing of patrons was not even frowned upon by law enforcement.
I went into a couple of small businesses specifically to ask the owners what they thought of the situation. Predictably the business owners were fed up, the homeless create a blight, and while it’s easy for Pope Francis to say we need to take and provide for all these folks, the detriment on businesses is telling. The business owners lamented the lack of police support. The proliferation of homeless, coupled with the role-back and decriminalization of many things in the County, made business ownership in their part of the city difficult. A couple of business owners even said they would support a tax to build housing for the homeless, even knowing it won’t alleviate the problem. All in all, it painted a bleak picture of any prospect of a turnaround. I guess the City/County of San Francisco doesn’t care about the cleanliness or appearance of its streets but are more than willing to put a tax on the ballot.
Finally, I had a chance to speak to several police officers in the city. Their responses will blow you away! This is a very unhappy bunch, essentially nothing is a crime in The City anymore. Sure major violence is, but the DA has made so many crimes non-priority that enforcement is nil. It’s almost a lawless area. The police have been ordered to do nothing about public intoxication, urinating in public, or aggressive homeless people. It has created a culture of anything goes, and as a result tourism is declining. While I am sure the pay and benefits are great, it must be surreal to have gone through the academy and take an oath to uphold the laws of the land only to see them being decriminalized and make you a bystander.
It was an okay, but very average trip to San Francisco. Golden Gate Park is overrun with homeless, the City has an app showing where the “poop troop” has picked up a log, and sadly the entire city is covered.
The streets are dirty, the smell of human waste is everywhere, apathy has set in amongst the employees and police, and business owners are talking up supporting a tax to throw more money at the problem. The seafood was good but very overpriced due to high labor and benefit costs, I don’t think I will visit again anytime soon. It has become overrun by homeless and unless you visit the tourist traps it’s just not a fun experience. The politicians and local leaders don’t seem to care either as the only answer in their eyes is throw more money at the problem. Sadly more and more homeless have migrated to the city knowing full well they can get away with far more in San Francisco than any other surrounding area. I cannot say I would recommend a visit.