Sadly, that New York Times article about the state of affairs in formerly magical San Francisco — a place where longtime residents are now begging for an end to the madness of the boom times— appears to be borne out in some depressing numbers. And, to go with them, some very weird ones. Let's dive in.
The Times article noted a December survey of Bay Area adults in which 39 percent expressed concern that things were "headed in the wrong direction" here. But now the Chronicle reports even graver figures. A newer poll reveals that a 51 percent majority of SF residents polled in February considered the city to be headed in the wrong direction.
That poll was conducted by David Binder Research for the Chamber of Commerce, its method being phone calls to 500 registered voters made between February 19th and 22nd with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
In addition to that "wrong direction" question, 51 percent of respondents called homelessness a major issue facing us here, as compared to 35 percent last year and just 29 percent in 2014. The timing may have been such that homelessness was foremost on people's minds, with the so-called Tent City encampment rising. To address the homelessness problem, voters polled said that they would be in favor of a $350 million bond on the June ballot to address homelessness through shelters and hospitals.
Though that 51 percent concerned number made homelessness the chief, or most represented, worry about the city, 44 percent found affordability to be another major issue. That's about the same as last year's figure, but yeah, of course it's still very high.
Over at the police Department, their favorability rating also took a dive, from 76 percent favorable and 16 percent unfavorable last year to 64 percent favorable and 26 percent unfavorable now.
Meanwhile, 73 percent of respondents said the quality of life in their neighborhood was the same or better than it has been. So, according to — wait what? But the city is headed in the wrong direction? This poll only gets crazier when you read that Muni has a now 55 percent favorable review, up from 48 percent in previous polling, so what the hell? And even the Warriors couldn't catch a break (for once). While 69 percent support their move to a stadium in Mission Bay, 29 percent opposed it.
“People are pleased about their neighborhoods. They are pleased about city services. They’re willing to spend money on bonds to improve the infrastructure of the city and support the Warriors’ arena project — but there are major problems out there,” Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Jim Lazarus told the Chron. Make of these numbers what you will, then.