I’m not sure why I didn’t really notice it last holiday season (perhaps because it wasn’t there) but the level of homeless people on the streets and the level of harassment that myself and others are getting, is out of control. Everyday as I make the 15 minute walk to the Bart, I get hit up for change 10-15 times. On a nearly daily basis, I’m confronted by people who I actually fear because they are either insane or terribly violent and it’s all I can do to get away from them. Thankfully, I’m a large guy and so I don’t get confronted as others do. There have been several occasions where I have had to stand at the ready to do whatever the hell I thought I was going to do as I watched some homeless or just otherwise thug harass someone. And I get random tourists asking me what is the problem with our city. It’s not like they blame me, they’re just blown away by it.
I place the blame squarely on Mayor Gavin Newsom. Not because his attempts to solve the problem have obviously failed, but the fact that he is claiming so much success. I am simply personally not seeing a reduction in those on the streets. Yes, I live squarely in downtown, but three years ago, when I first moved to my area, it was not this bad. People weren’t panhandling at the end of my block. Now there are several daily. Is there a reason for this other than the fact that the current policies of City Hall are doing nothing to stem the tide of society running aground? Possibly. San Francisco is a mecca of kindhearted, giving souls. But much like feeding pigeons only to has them crap everywhere, the kindness is misdirected. I believe that it has in turn made SF to be a destination for those who are in dire straits and thus San Francisco has had to deal with more than its fair share of this issue. Then of course there’s the theory that NYC bussed a great number of their problems west, thus fixing this issue there. I’ve always bought in to that one since I think that Giuliani is a skeeze. Just try and run him in 2008… His “I was there on 9/11” line will run out of steam real fast.
Anyways, what’s a solution? First off, admit that the problem is still here and getting worse. Second, let it be known that we don’t want anyone else coming here just because there are so many social programs here that deal with this. I agree that it is untenable to let people starve in our streets, but a lot like the Swiss in WWII, you can’t let more people in out of kindness than you are able to handle. Talk tough. Go against what unpractical liberals say and go on record as not being up for homeless. I don’t really know what else to do. People are going to stop visiting, wanting to live, or be able to handle this problem and that would be a terribly shame as this is a great city.