Tag Archives: San Francisco

Anonymous San Franciscan’s full page ad warns residents to “watch your backs” because city can’t do anything about homeless crisis

san francisco ad


From Yahoo (via Business Insider): An anonymous resident of San Francisco placed a full-page ad San Francisco Chronicle Friday to draw attention to the city’s homelessness crisis after an alleged experience with a scissors-wielding homeless man in a downtown cafe left her feeling “horrified.”

The woman detailed her account in the ad, titled “Watch your backs — nobody else is.” You can read the entire ad above.

“The San Francisco city fathers and those who should be held accountable for our public safety have for years let us down by catering to the lowest common denominator,” the ad says. “We, the tax paying, responsible contributing members of society have had our quality of life as San Franciscans seriously compromised, dangerously so.”

In the ad, she says that she was trying to enjoy her lunch at a Neiman Marcus cafe in San Francisco’s downtown, when she had a run-in with a homeless person wielding scissors. She says that this “psychotic homeless person” was opening and closing the scissors “erratically,” making her fear for her safety. We’ve reached out to the Neiman Marcus in San Francisco for comment.

The ad claims to have been paid for by the “Fed Up Populace Campaign.” However, this campaign seems to have no online presence — Business Insider couldn’t find a website for the “Fed Up Populace Campaign” at the time of publication, nor does it appear to have any kind of social media presence.

Regardless, the ad comes at a time when the homelessness crisis continues to stoke tensions in San Francisco, as city residents increasingly complain that they don’t feel safe walking around highly-trafficked areas with large homeless populations. It’s started to take a toll on San Francisco’s tourism industry, too, as  at least one major medical conference reportedly decided to cancel its annual convention in the city, citing the homelessness problem.

The city’s homeless problem is attributed largely to the city’s lack of affordable housing, which has led real estate prices to soar. Now, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who was just sworn in this week, has pledged to take action on the homelessness crisis, even as she promises that the city will make way for more housing.

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Appalling street conditions in San Francisco drive away a major convention

san francisco

The streets of San Francisco…

SF is a sh*thole. Shocker, not.

From SF Gate: In a move that is alarming San Francisco’s biggest industry, a major medical association is pulling its annual convention out of the city — saying its members no longer feel safe.

“It’s the first time that we have had an out-and-out cancellation over the issue, and this is a group that has been coming here every three or four years since the 1980s,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of S.F. Travel, the city’s convention bureau.

D’Alessandro declined to name the medical association, saying the bureau still hopes to bring the group back in the future.

As a rule, major conventions book their visits at least five years in advance. So when D’Alessandro and members of the hospitality industry hadn’t heard from the doctors about re-upping, they flew to the organization’s Chicago headquarters for a face-to-face meeting with its executive board.

And with good reason: The group’s annual five-day trade show draws 15,000 attendees and pumps about $40 million into the local economy.

“They said that they are committed to this year and to 2023, but nothing in between or nothing thereafter,” D’Alessandro said. “After that, they told us they are planning to go elsewhere — I believe it’s Los Angeles.”

The doctors group told the San Francisco delegation that while they loved the city, postconvention surveys showed their members were afraid to walk amid the open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets.

It didn’t help that one board member had been assaulted near Moscone Center last year.  “There was a time when the biggest obstacle to having a convention here was that it can be expensive, but now we have this new factor,” D’Alessandro said.

In recent years, conventions have hired uniformed off-duty police and private security officers to patrol around Moscone and the nearby hotels.

Tourism is San Francisco’s biggest industry, bringing in $9 billion a year, employing 80,000 people and generating more than $725 million in local taxes — conventions represent about $1.7 billion of the business.

“You may not know it, but tourists spend more money outside of the hotel than inside the hotel,” said Hotel Council Executive Director Kevin Carroll. “Everything from restaurants to shopping to taking taxis.”

Industry leaders have been meeting with Mayor-elect London Breed to urge her to increase police foot patrols and mental health services — and to enforce the quality of life laws currently on the books.

In the meanwhile, D’Alessandro said, the rumbling of discontent continues from a number of conventions — “even from local tech companies who hold some of our biggest annual events.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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SF mayor-elect London Breed urges lawmakers to expand homeless conservatorship laws

london breed

Soon-to-be SF mayor, London Breed

Not sure how I feel about this. Yet something has got to be done for the homeless, especially the ones with mental illness.

Then again I’m reminded of that Reagan quote: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

From SF Chronicle: San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed urged state lawmakers Thursday to approve a bill that she said would give the city more power to help chronically homeless people suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.

In her first trip to the Capitol as mayor-elect, Breed joined state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Supervisor-elect Rafael Mandelman to support a bill, SB1045, that would expand conservatorship laws in San Francisco and Los Angeles County.

“We are talking about people who clearly need help and clearly can’t make good decisions for themselves,” Breed said.

Breed said those include people she has personally attempted to help, such as a homeless man well-known to law enforcement who is schizophrenic and abuses alcohol.

“There is a strong need to do something different that is going to allow us to help an individual like this,” Breed said. “Otherwise, he is going to die on our streets.”

Breed sponsored a resolution before the Board of Supervisors in April to support the measure, but it fell short of passage, with several members of the board’s progressive wing saying they wanted more time to review it.

Wiener said the presence of Breed, a member of the city’s more moderate wing, and Mandelman, considered an ally of progressives, showed there’s broad support in San Francisco for his bill. He noted that it is also backed by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco.

“We are all in unity,” Wiener said. “The city is in crisis when it comes to homelessness on our streets. People want us to solve the problem, and this is a tool that will help us get severely debilitated people off our streets and into housing and services.

The bill would allow the Boards of Supervisors in San Francisco and Los Angeles County to create five-year pilot programs that give them more control over their conservatorship rules, including expanding who can be involuntarily helped.

State law now allows county mental health professionals to hospitalize people for 72 hours against their will if they pose a danger to themselves or someone else or are gravely disabled due to mental illness — what is commonly known as a 5150 hold. A county can ask a judge for a 14-day extension to continue intensive treatment and repeat that process every 30 days.

The criteria on who can be stripped of their decision making is strict and often results in chronically homeless, mentally ill and severely drug-addicted people being returned to the streets. Wiener said his bill will apply to only about 1 percent of San Francisco’s homeless population, but that those are the people who cycle from the streets, to jails, to emergency rooms and back to the streets.

City officials said there are 40 to 50 people in San Francisco who fit this description and show no signs of being able to lift themselves out of it. “It’s beyond inhumane to sit back and let these people die when we have the ability to help them,” Wiener said. “Our current conservatorship laws are inadequate.”

The Assembly Judiciary Committee passed the bill Thursday, 9-0. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which is expected to take up the bill after lawmakers return from summer recess in August. The bill already passed the Senate in a 35-0 vote last month.

“No public policy failure is more obvious, painful and embarrassing to our city than our inability to provide care to so many obviously sick people on our streets and in our public spaces,” Mandelman said.

Opponents of the measure, including the Western Center on Law and Poverty and American Civil Liberties Union, said they worried that the bill would lead to further criminalization of homelessness and that expanding involuntary holds would affront an individual’s civil rights.

Jen Flory of the Western Center on Law and Poverty said the bill is misguided because it fails to address society’s failures that resulted in a person ending up on the streets in the first place.

“Taking away an individual’s freedom, even if for their own safety, is a serious matter in democracy,” Flory said. “We cannot go there if we are not honestly doing everything we can to avoid such situations.”


Liberal utopia: Chicago leads US in underwater homes


From MyFoxChicago: The U.S. housing market has been on the rebound in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, but one major city has thousands of homes that remain underwater.

A recent report from the real estate website Zillow shows Chicago leading the country with 254,000 homes in negative equity. Twenty percent of the quarter million people with underwater mortgages owe double the current value of the home.

Los Angeles, the only other U.S. metro area bigger than Chicago, had 74,000 underwater homes, while San Francisco had 20,000.

Cities that were hardest hit by the housing crisis have rebounded. Less than 10% of homes in Las Vegas are underwater, and Miami has an underwater rate of 8.7%.

The appreciation of home values in the Chicago area has decreased over the years in part by crime, unfunded pensions and taxes.


Liberal utopia: Nearly half of Bay Area residents say they want to leave


The streets of the Bay Area: Literally a sh*t hole…

bay area homeless kqed photo

The streets of San Francisco: Littered with homeless/KQED photo

This story largely speaks to the incredible cost of housing in the Bay Area and says that the big problems are “exclusively” the cost of housing.

Don’t forget the other issues: Public defecation, urination & drug use in BART stations as well as urination and defecation on public streets. That has become so bad that infectious disease experts warn that San Francisco is becoming dirtier than slums in India and Brazil.

After the death of American citizen Kate Steinle at the hands of an illegal alien, San Francisco vowed to remain a sanctuary city. And the state has unprecedented protections for those in the U.S. illegally.

The Bay Area also has one of the largest and least sheltered homeless populations in the country hence the streets becoming public toilets.

No doubt the soaring housing prices force some to live on the streets. But if you believe that the Bay Area politicians are going to solve their problems any time soon, then you haven’t been paying attention.

From Mercury News: Despite the Bay Area’s natural beauty and booming job market, nearly half of its residents now want to get out, citing a creeping disillusionment with the high cost of housing.

Forty-six percent of Bay Area residents surveyed said they are likely to move out of the region in the next few years — up from 40 percent last year and 34 percent in 2016, according to a poll released Sunday by business-backed public policy advocacy group the Bay Area Council.

The numbers show a disturbing trend in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets: Workers desperate for a better quality of life and without housing options will go elsewhere, potentially plunging the region into a financial downturn.

“They couldn’t be more clear what the big problems are — and it is exclusively about the cost of housing,” said John Grubb, chief operating officer for the Bay Area Council. “They don’t see…enough action coming, and so they’re looking at taking matters into their own hands. And unfortunately, what they’re going to take into their hands is the steering wheel of a U-Haul to go somewhere else where there’s a better combination of salary and lower housing costs.”

Bay Area home prices have been climbing for six years, setting another record in April, when the median sale price hit $850,000 — up 13 percent from a year ago, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic. Rents are soaring too, and workers are forced to move farther away to find affordable housing and commute on already crowded Bay Area roads and freeways to get to their jobs.

Meanwhile, recent efforts by policy makers, affordable housing organizations, developers and others apparently have yet to make a dent in residents’ concerns.

The Bay Area Council has thrown its support behind several housing-focused bills that it says will help, including SB 831, which eliminates some fees for building in-law units; SB 1227, intended to increase the supply of affordable student housing; and SB 828, which would force cities to rezone land to allow more homes to be built.

Researchers have been worrying about the Bay Area exodus for some time. A recent report from Joint Venture Silicon Valley found more people left Silicon Valley in both 2016 and 2017 than in any year since 2006. Still, Silicon Valley is gaining more residents than it’s losing — the region welcomed 44,732 newcomers between July 2015 and July 2017, and lost 44,102. But the ominous new data from the Bay Area Council suggests that could change quickly, as the out-migration shows no sign of slowing down.

When asked to pinpoint the most important problem facing the Bay Area, 42 percent of those surveyed said housing — a dramatic jump from 28 percent last year. Meanwhile, 18 percent said traffic and congestion, 14 percent cited poverty and homelessness, and 12 percent said the cost of living.

Those problems spell serious disillusionment for Bay Area residents. Fifty-five percent of residents polled said they feel the Bay Area has “gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track,” compared to 42 percent last year.

“It’s so expensive,” said 38-year-old software engineer Travis Dobbs, who moved his family from Berkeley to Portland last year. “My wife and I both make good money, relatively speaking, and we can’t afford a house there.”

Read the whole story here.


California moves to let schools, co-workers “red flag” dangerous gun owners

phil ting

Bill sponsor Phil Ting wearing his Planned Parenthood fighting gloves.

What could possibly go wrong?

From Yahoo: Lawmakers in the California Assembly voted Monday to advance a bill that would authorize employers, co-workers and school personnel to request the temporary confiscation of guns from individuals determined to pose a danger to themselves or others.

The legislation, AB 2888, would build on California’s existing “red flag” law, passed in 2014 following a deadly shooting spree in Isla Vista. The 22-year-old gunman in that case had reportedly exhibited a number of warning signs before killing six people, and then himself, in the rampage.

The current red flag law gives family members, roommates and law enforcement officers the power to petition the court to remove firearms from individuals who have displayed dangerous behavior. Judges then hold a hearing to determine whether to order the gun owner to surrender their firearms and stay away from all guns, typically for a year, although the restraining orders can be extended beyond that based on additional evidence.

The new bill would expand the list of people who can file for such restraining orders to include a subject’s employer and co-workers and the staff of a high school or college that the person has attended in the last six months.

“We’re grappling with this issue of gun violence as a nation,” bill sponsor Assemblyman Phil Ting (D) told HuffPost. “I’ve never said this is a panacea, but it’s just one of many solutions we have to offer.”

The state’s courts have issued around 200 restraining orders to prevent gun violence since the original law went into effect in 2016, according to Ting. He said his bill would provide additional opportunities to catch troubling behavior.

“Once you move away from home and you’re an adult, you may not spend time with your family,” said Ting. “You may not have much interaction with law enforcement, but chances are if you’re working, you see your co-workers every day for eight-plus hours a day, and you’re with them not just in the work environment but socially.”

Ting pointed to the February massacre in Parkland, Florida, as a case in which a red flag law ― and specifically this sort of broader statute ― might have been able to save lives. Although the suspect in that shooting, a 19-year-old former student at the high school, had attracted the attention of local authorities on numerous occasions before his attack, school staff had also reported concerning behavior as far back as 2016. Florida is among the nine states with a red flag law and one of the four to have ushered through legislation since the Parkland shooting.

In 2016, Ting filed a similar bill to broaden California’s red flag law, following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, which began at an office holiday party. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) ultimately vetoed the legislation, calling it “premature to enact a further expansion” even as the initial law was just going into effect.

A year later, Ting’s San Francisco area district faced its own mass shooting when a disgruntled UPS employee walked into his workplace and fatally shot three colleagues, before killing himself.

When it comes to school safety specifically, restraining orders aimed at stopping gun violence are only part of the equation, said Amanda Wilcox, legislative chair of the California chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She noted a California law that holds parents criminally liable if they leave their gun where a child can access it and mentioned other resources, like the Brady campaign’s Speak Up hotline, that allow students to anonymously report violent threats made by their peers.

“Practices and law and policies that make homes safer would also keep schools safer,” she told HuffPost.

Wilcox said she supports Ting’s bill and suggested that the relatively few restraining orders issued in the past two years under the original law show that it isn’t being overused, as opponents argued it would be.

“The standards of proof are high in the law,” she said. “It probably needs to be used more, but also under the law it’s supposed to be a last resort if there’s not another way to remove the guns.”

With more time to educate Californians on how the red-flag process works, Wilcox said she’s hopeful these restraining orders will be able to keep more guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. “What I don’t want is a case where it could have been used and should have been used and wasn’t, and someone is dead because of that,” she said.

AB 2888 passed in a 48-25 vote largely along party lines. The state Senate is expected to consider the bill in the coming weeks.


Why you need the Second Amendment: Six men storm into California home during early morning invasion

why I need an ar-15

Hey #GunControlNow crowd, please tell me why you believe one doesn’t need large capacity magazines to defend themselves against SIX intruders?

From SFGate: Six men armed with a handgun and prybar invaded a Bayview (CA) home early Sunday morning to rob three people, authorities said.

The incident occurred just before 1:30 a.m. on the 1900 block of Carroll Avenue, according to a San Francisco Police Department report.

The victims, two men in their 50s and one woman in her 60s, were reportedly sleeping when the suspects broke down the front door. Police said the suspects robbed the victims at gunpoint and made off with a purse, cash, cell phones, laptops and a tablet.

In addition to a handgun, police said the suspects were also armed with a prybar.

The suspects are described as six males between the ages of 25 and 30. At least one of the victims was injured, but none of the injuries were life threatening, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD 24 Hour Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. Witnesses can remain anonymous.