Last night I went to a bar in downtown San Francisco.

It looked like a dystopia.

I saw hundreds of people folded over (likely high on Fentanyl), or sitting on the sidewalks smoking.

Almost every person looked homeless.

I felt scared to park and walk two blocks. Image
I took a drive down Mission street and saw tent after tent, person after person sleeping on the sidewalk.

The Tenderloin & SOMA were the same.

FiDi didn't have any tents (probably because the high-end property managers send in power washers at night).

It was beyond sad.
Everywhere people were congregating, the surrounding area was littered with trash.

People were emptying bins onto the ground and rifling through them.

When I walked to my car a very large man came uncomfortably close to me, talking to himself in an angry, booming voice.
In the two block walk back to my car I walked past five homeless people.

Two were sleeping in doorways. The other three passed me on the sidewalk.

Nobody else was nearby. My heart beat a little faster. Would they approach me? Attack?

All men, bigger than I. Staring at me.
Most women my age don't drive downtown. Certainly not alone.

But I don't want to let fear rule my life. When in New York I walk alone in Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn. And I don't feel scared.

In San Francisco, I do.
The people on the streets here are not simply "poor". There are no migrants or families in the tents.

The majority are white, 20s & 30s men, addicted to drugs.

I believe that San Francisco government is luring them here and enabling them into early deaths.
Did any of the people I saw last night die?

How many of the multiple sirens I heard between 1 and 5am were for overdoses?

Did my tax dollars go to someone who spent them on Fentanyl?

If so, am I complicit in this by living here?
Recently a man in San Francisco was arrested for spraying a homeless woman with water.

She had been camping in front of his shop for weeks, screaming, defecating, scattering trash.

He lost patience and engaged in a cruel act.…
How did we get here and who is at fault?

Whose responsibility is the care of that woman? He had been allowing her to camp under his awning for weeks. But she clearly needed more.

Where was SF government? California? The Federal government?
Who owns the sidewalk? The city? The adjacent landlord? The public?

Should she be allowed to camp, and block passage into his store?

Was he defending his property? Is that allowed?

These are the questions on my mind this morning...
I personally believe that people should not be allowed to camp.

I think we should have a right to shelter law and require campers to move indoors.

Hospitals, treatment centers, shelter and jail.

Those, I think, are the options.
The status quo is unsustainable.

Businesses are shutting down and leaving.

Nobody I know wants to go downtown.

Honest people trying to make a living are going bankrupt.

The homeless, rightfully so or not, have taken over downtown SF.
That man who sprayed down the woman...

How different were his actions than those of the property managers who hire power washers to clear the tents?

The companies pay thousands nightly to have the sidewalks hosed down.

That gallery owner used a hose himself. He went to jail.
Who is allowed to hose down the streets & who is not?

If you had someone camping in front of your home or business, what would you do?

San Franciscans are reaching a breaking point. Their patience has worn thin.
Who are the criminals and who are the righteous?

Are the homeless responsible for anything? Required to put their trash in the bin?

How many hundreds of millions do we spend every year cleaning up trash and needles in the gutter?

I wonder what our street cleaners think...
I am deeply concerned about San Francisco and have been for years.

The situation here is a humanitarian crisis, and it's unclear who is responsible for addressing it.

I don't see anybody making this situation their priority.

Our government looks asleep at the wheel.
The citizens and businesses are exasperated. Many are actively seeking to leave.

As leases come up and people move out, what will become of our city?

Is this what the hard left activists wanted? To reverse gentrification..?

Well, it's working.
Mission street between 16th and 24th is filled with boarded up windows and vendors selling stolen goods out front.

It looks like a developing nation, not the United States.

This is a shameful state of affairs, and I don't see a plan in place to address it.
I fear that San Francisco is on the brink of vigilantism.

When home values fall people will follow their natural urge to protect their families and net worth.

It is time for new solutions, or perhaps federal intervention.

The anarcho-tyranny needs to come to an end.
The worst part of all of this is the unnecessary suffering in our streets.

How many thousands come here, only to sink further into their addictions, followed by an early death?

When our city provides cash, needles & a lack of rule of law - is that actually helping anyone?
The strategy is called "harm reduction" - but the term sounds Orwellian to me.

All I see is harm.

I see harm to the individuals suffering from mental illness and addiction. I see harm to the businesses and property owners. I see harm to the spirit and soul of this city.
What happens to a society that turns a blind eye to such suffering?

When we drive around the bad neighborhoods, so that we can pretend it isn't happening?

Have we hardened our hearts? What does that do to our souls?

Seeking any and all insights...

Thank you for reading.

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More from @michelletandler

Feb 2
Perhaps the real issue in San Francisco is a lack of leadership.

Our leaders need to lead.

Instead, they follow popular opinion - much of which is driven by flawed ideology.
For change to happen, I think we need two changes:
1) Stronger leaders who have experience managing & operating
2) Public will changes on certain issues (e.g., drugs, crime & mental illness)
In an ideal world, our government leaders would be guiding us - ethically and operationally.

They would be clear on the goals, the strategy & their plans for execution.

If the department heads were not aligned with the plans, they would be offered a path out the door.
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