There have been a lot of eyebrow raises amongst the media regarding the mayor's as-yet unexplained plan to clear all the homeless out of the vicinity of the Super Bowl fan village at the foot of Market Street come January. But C.W. Nevius, for one, applauds the bold and politically incorrect stance, echoing years of quality-of-life complaints about poop and n'er-do-wells on the streets saying, "If it’s good enough for the Super Bowl, it’s good enough for San Francisco."
Much like Rudolph Giuliani mysteriously removed a legion of street-dwelling homeless people from New York City in the 1990s, Mayor Ed Lee says the homeless will be relocated, somewhere, so that the national news media and scores of tourists will not be subjected to such evidence of economic equality in SF. But homeless advocates are enraged not just by the mayor's assertion that the homeless will have to "leave" the area, for the sake of better visuals, but also by the Chronicle's lack of compassion in recent months as they've been harping on the growing poop epidemic.
This week, the Coalition on Homelessness sent out a press release calling out The Chronicle for an “attack on homeless people.” It specifically lodges protests against columnists Debra Saunders, Matier and Ross, and me.
Saunders was knocked for the view that “San Francisco ... shouldn’t smell like stale piss.” Matier and Ross had the nerve to say, “San Francisco’s streets are becoming one big toilet ... with druggies, drunks and the mentally ill openly defecating on the downtown’s busiest boulevards.” And my sin was saying, “Well-heeled techies are wrinkling their noses at streets that smell like latrines.”
So public commentators don’t get to say those things? And if we do — despite the fact that they are demonstrably true — it is an attack on the homeless? Seriously?
Politically it's hard to say if the mayor's hard line on this issue will hurt him, and given the changing attitudes of San Francisco there may be a whole lot of people who are cheering this alongside Nevius.
People may be incensed, as he is that the city is spending $169 million on "the homeless issue" and yet our streets remain poop-filled. "But here’s the real disconnect," writes Nevius. "The message is that the problem is you. You’re not doing enough. Homeless people are peeing on the street? That’s your fault for not spending more money... So we haven’t provided enough funds for new restrooms."
Anyway, watch out, Daly City. You may suddenly find a whole lot of new inhabitants on your sidewalks come January.