At this point it's a tale as old as Glassholes. Tech guy who's lived here three years (!) has several awkward moments involving mentally ill and/or intoxicated homeless people while his family is in town and, most notably, has a movie interrupted at the Sundance Kabuki by a homeless guy who somehow invaded the cinema and he's not going to take this sitting down, insisting that something something! be done about this at long last and for god's sake.
In an open letter to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr, self-appointed San Francisco expert Justin Keller has shared some Big Opinions and Important Thoughts about San Francisco's homelessness crisis. As the founder of server management startup command.io observes, homelessness in San Francisco has never been worse (in those three years the author has been here). Further, because wealth is fairly distributed in our perfect meritocracy, Keller feels entitled to better: which is to say he "shouldn't have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from [his] way to work every day." Yes, reader. Things are bad— like, ruin your night leaving Tadich Grill with your parents bad.
The recently published letter, already kindling a small trash fire on Twitter, is online here — until Keller inevitably sees fit to remove it. He's also (reportedly) edited this version slightly, so if you feel the need, here is a cached version.
But, before diving into those comments or jumping to judgment, let it be noted that Keller is probably best ignored. I agree, it is hypocritical to say so in a blog post about him, but at least let's temper this all if only slightly. Keller is perhaps struggling now, and as he writes in another essay, he's a solo founder with a lot on the line in terms of his personal investment in his company. Further, he's got difficulties such as a speech impediment to contend with — a stutter he mentions in that essay as an obstacle he's fought to overcome.
And, before you ask, Keller appears blissfully unaware of those who precede him in the pantheon of SF infamy. That would be, namely, Peter Shih — who in a similar tirade was called out for statements like "just because San Francisco has the worst Female to Male ratio in the known universe doesn’t give you the right to be a bitch all the time," — and Greg Gopman, who described SF's homeless people as "degenerates" and "Hyenas" before repositioning himself as their savior. (Gopman was last seen on an "Eat, Pray, Love" style vacation from which he may or may not plan to return.)
Finally, let's not pretend homelessness in San Francisco is not a real, potentially growing problem. It's even possible that the number of homeless San Franciscans is higher now than before, though it remains relatively stagnant at around 7,000. However, this sounds like an open letter from someone who does not read SFist, is not aware that everyone is aware of the problem, and is not aware of the $241 million that the city already spends annually on it.
Here's the letter.
Open letter to SF Mayor Ed Lee and Greg Suhr (police chief)
I am writing today, to voice my concern and outrage over the increasing homeless and drug problem that the city is faced with. I’ve been living in SF for over three years, and without a doubt it is the worst it has ever been. Every day, on my way to, and from work, I see people sprawled across the sidewalk, tent cities, human feces, and the faces of addiction. The city is becoming a shanty town Worst of all, it is unsafe.
This holiday weekend, I had my parents in town from Santa Barbara and relatives from Denver and Rochester New York. Unfortunately, there was three separate incidents and countless times that we were approached for money and harassed.
The first incident involved a homeless drunken man in the morning coming up to their car and leaning up against it. Another bystander got frustrated with the drunken man, and they got into a heated pushing and shoving altercation.
The second incident occurred as we were leaving Tadich Grill in the financial district. A distraught, and high person was right in front of the restaurant, yelling, screaming, yelling about cocaine, and even, attempted to pull his pants down and show his genitals.
Finally, last night Valentine's, I was at Kabuki Theater inside watching a movie. About two hours into the film, a man stumbled in the front door. He proceeded to walk into the theater, down the aisle to the front, wobbled toward the emergency door, opened it, and then took his shirt off and laid down. He then came back into the theater shielding his eyes from the running projector. My girlfriend was terrified and myself and many people ran out of the theater.
What are you going to do to address this problem? The residents of this amazing city no longer feel safe. I know people are frustrated about gentrification happening in the city, but the reality is, we live in a free market society. The wealthy working people have earned their right to live in the city. They went out, got an education, work hard, and earned it. I shouldn’t have to worry about being accosted. I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day. I want my parents when they come visit to have a great experience, and enjoy this special place.
I am telling you, there is going to be a revolution. People on both sides are frustrated, and you can sense the anger. The city needs to tackle this problem head on, it can no longer ignore it and let people do whatever they want in the city. I don’t have a magic solution It is a very difficult and complex situation, but somehow during Super Bowl, almost all of the homeless and riff raff seem to up and vanish. I’m willing to bet that was not a coincidence. Money and political pressure can make change. So it is time to start making progress, or we as citizens will make a change in leadership and elect new officials who can.
Democracy is not the last stop in politics. In-fact, the order of progression according to Socrates via Plato in the Republic goes: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and finally tyranny. Socrates argues that a society will decay and pass through each government in succession, eventually becoming a tyranny.
“The greater my city, the greater the individual.”
 I want to apologize for using the term riff raff. It was insensitive and counterproductive.