"...We're not some white, yuppie parents saying we can't take this...but...the other day Jenny is bringing the kids back from the park, and some guy is standing on the corner throwing up on himself."
Okay, just admit it: you can't take it. It's okay. There are plenty of people out there who don't like having bums around. Itinerants lower property values, smell bad, and panhandle. The ones which are sane enough to recognize their situations aren't interested in changing, and the insane ones aren't either.
"Homelessness, and quality of life issues, are dividing the liberals and the progressives in this city," says David Binder, a statistical analyst and founder of David Binder Research. "The liberals will say we've got to get tough on the homeless and the progressives are more old-line liberal."And this is just too funny! What's the difference between "liberal" and "progressive"? A progressive is an "old-line liberal"! What the hell does that even mean?
How that debate will come out is anyone's guess, but it is hard to disagree with Latterman's blunt assessment, which is, "People are just pissed. For the first time, even the left is saying they've had enough."
In an informal poll by SFGate.com, 90 percent of respondents said Mayor Gavin Newsom's crackdown South of Market was a great idea.
Latterman points to the neighborhood uprising in the Haight when it was proposed that a needle exchange program be moved to the Hamilton Methodist Church. When some 200 residents showed up, mostly to protest the idea, it was shelved.
"One sample doesn't make a trend, but it is telling," says Latterman. "C'mon, they live in the upper Haight. They're liberal by definition."
But they are also, in many cases, homeowners and thus have a sense of ownership and emotional investment. That's another part of what has caused this sea change in thinking. From TIC (tenants in common) units, to condominiums, to luxury townhouses, the city has created the potential for an influx of buyers, despite the downward trend in home sales in much of the country.
The funny thing about it is how much hypocrisy there is here. "We're so progressive, we're not going to be Hitler and make the homeless get jobs or anything." We're going to move a needle-exchange program closer to your neighborh-- "Don't you dare!"
What's especially hilarious is how the article demonstrates an assumption that a desire to crack down on vagrancy and such equates to being Republican. No self-respecting San Franciscan would ever be that, of course.
San Francisco has been a "sanctuary city" for the homeless for quite some time. I recall Limbaugh discussing the issue on his radio show a number of times. The equation of "rich liberals plus the homeless" always comes out one way: "okay, you guys need to stay away from us."
Rich liberals pretend that they're egalitarian and sophisticated, but when it comes right down to it, they're even less tolerant of differences than the people they accuse of being neanderthals, bigots, racists, sexists, and homophobes. They want to look like they're tolerant of the less-fortunate, but they don't want the less-fortunate to be anywhere near their homes. Such as: "We go out to drive the kids to school,...and there's human poop between the cars."
Well? Guess what: that's what people who don't have homes do. They go wherever they can. If there's not a public restroom around, they'll find a place.
But no, that's wrong! We paid a lot of money for this condo in SF and we have rights!
How do you fix the problem? You make vagrancy a crime. I realize that doesn't fit in with your ideals of the soi disant utopian society, but in a utopia vagrancy wouldn't exist anyway. If you don't like the idea of doing that, you're going to have to accept that one price of feeling good about how egalitarian you are is that occasionally you're going to see someone throwing up on himself, and you're going to have to watch your step, and deal with panhandlers and needle-exchange programs and....
You can't have it both ways, guys, no matter what your professors in college told you. Better get used to the real world, where everything is a trade-off.
They are upset because of a problem of their own making. They don't like the solution to the problem, which is why they're in the situation in the first place.
And so I laugh at San Francisco.