In a “Comprehensive Measures” report, host and investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson describes the tolerance for the open-air drug trade known as Tenderloin near San Francisco.1
Once known for its trendy restaurants and jazz clubs, the area has long had some “danger zones” but didn’t really start to go downhill until before the COVID-19 pandemic. “Most people believe that it was during COVID and the transition of mayors that the drug trade spiked, and to many it seemed to be tolerated by just about every authority,” Attkisson said.2
Today, once homeless Tenderloin resident Katherine Vaughn said the situation has gotten so bad that she is afraid to walk her bulldog in the neighborhood. “There was a lot of rubbish on the street, people were running around in front of buildings, people passed out on the street,” she said.3 Despite its notoriety for drug dealers and addicts, the area has no police presence.
City pays $60,000 per tent to support crime
The city of San Francisco has six “safe sleep villages” where homeless people can sleep in tents with three meals a day, security and bathrooms. While the program currently costs $60,000 per tent per year to run, for about 260 tents in total, they are trying to improve the program to bring the cost down to $57,000.4
That’s twice the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment, and is expected to spend more than $1 billion on San Francisco’s homeless population over two years, the New York Post reported. Funding comes from Proposition C, the 2018 sales tax.5 San Francisco Mayor London Breed described it as a “historic investment” and said:6
“For those who are exhibiting harmful behaviors, either to themselves or to others, or refusing to help, we will use every tool we have to get them into treatment and services, to get them indoors. When we have a place for them When we go, we won’t accept people just staying on the street.”
However, according to area experts, the tents are mainly used for the drug trade.
Tolerance for drug dealers destroys communities
Randy Shaw is the director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, a low-income housing advocacy group. He believes the “excessive focus” on homelessness is distracting from the real problem plaguing the region, the drug trade. It has gotten so bad that a sub-economy has developed, he said, referring to the billion dollars spent on so-called “safe sleep villages.”
“Everyone said, ‘Oh, aren’t those tents for the homeless?’ They’re selling drugs in the tents. Because you can do drugs in the tents, the police can’t see you,” Shaw told Attkisson. He continued:7
“If you kill drug dealers in Tenderloin, we’ll be fine. We don’t have to do anything else. That’s 90 percent of the problem. But for whatever reason, people need to talk about homelessness, people with mental health issues They’re all over San Francisco. Tenderloin is different in its tolerance for the massive open-air drug trade.
…it really started to change in 2019. Then it got really bad during the pandemic. People always say, “Well, tenderloin has been a bad habit for a long time.” Yes, it has. But the worst of the 1980s and 1990s couldn’t compare to how bad it was. “
Hired to turn around a community’s criminal record
San Francisco has also invested millions in taxpayer dollars in Urban Alchemy, a social enterprise that sends teams of mostly ex-convicts who have served life sentences in prison to defuse conflict.8
“Their workers, mostly ex-convicts, lined the streets of the Tenderloin in uniforms marked with fluorescent yellow stripes. Their mission was to peacefully turn around struggling communities by cleaning up, talking and offering support,” Attkisson reports.9
However, Shaw said Urban Alchemy only works from 7am to 7pm. “We need the police to come in at other times. They’re just nowhere to be seen. You’re here right now – did you see the police?” said Attkisson, who was in Tenderloin for a few hours but not during that time See any police officer in uniform, even in the “most notorious strip”.
“We do see people lining up to take drugs in broad daylight, and many drug dealers are not afraid to be stopped while doing business,” she said.10 Meanwhile, Urban Alchemy has an estimated 20 contracts with the state of California — employing 1,500 former employees — to improve “rough” neighborhoods. The contracts are worth $50 million and are expected to grow to $100 million over the next few years.11
90-day state of emergency declared
On December 17, 2021, Breed declared a state of emergency in Tenderloin, “as part of Mayor Tenderloin’s emergency intervention plan, allowing the city to waive certain laws to quickly address the crisis of overdose deaths on neighborhood streets.”12
A press release from the mayor’s office noted, “Similar to New York City’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, this action will remove bureaucratic barriers and allow New York City to rapidly respond to situations related to the health and safety of local people. Tenderloin.”13
Part of the motivation for the state of emergency came from the Tenderloin Community Welfare District, which organizes escorts for school children so they can get home safely from school. “One of the reasons we want to have a state of emergency is because we want to make our neighborhood kids feel safe when they go to and from school,” said Elise Gorberg of the Tenderloin Community Welfare District.14
While the state of emergency is over, the city claims it was a success, with 345 people placed in shelters and 154 people moved to permanent supportive housing.15 But according to Shaw, “The state of emergency was supposed to include police fighting drug dealers. That never happened. On top of that, San Francisco has always had the resources and people to stop the drug trade unless it allowed it in tenderloin.”16
Gorberg added: “I think there are definitely places nearby where we’ve seen some improvements. But I think what we’re really concerned about is seeing what happens after the three months we’ve been through.”17
By the way, it’s becoming more common for governments to use emergency powers to focus resources on any given cause – not always in a positive way. In April 2022, President Biden extended the emergency law for the eighth time, this time without even pretending it was related to a public health emergency.
He said this was due to the unstable situation in Iraq. By expanding his emergency powers, he can funnel millions of dollars into the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) without any liability.
Naomi Wolf, “TheThe end of America,” published in 2007, and “The Bodies of Others: The New Authoritarians, COVID-19, and the War against Humanity,” to be released in late May 2022, saying “he’s basically weaponizing HHS, right down to the health boards, which have been weaponized during the pandemic. “18
Wolff, a former adviser to the Clinton administration, points out that leaders who want to crush democracy always take 10 steps. We are now at step 10, part of which is the proposed WHO Pandemic Treaty, which would give the WHO unlimited prerogatives to declare a state of emergency and then have full power to decide the global response, even if that contradicts constitutional rights. a member state.
Why don’t police gather in Tenderloin to shut down drug dealers? Shaw believes the city is sacrificing the area lest it spread — and pollute the rest of the city. He told Atkison:19
“I think it boils down to City Hall accepting that Tenderloin is a containment area and feeling like, ‘I’m really scared they’re going to another neighborhood.’ But they don’t want to say that publicly because it doesn’t sound like they care about low-income families. .But how do you explain it?
Here’s the point: We sent 40 to 80 police officers to Union Square after a video of a Louis Vuitton bag being stolen. I mean, we’re protecting basically empty stores. Not even people or families. No one lives, you know, that’s business.
So, what does this tell you about the city’s real priorities? It’s sad because San Francisco calls itself a progressive city. It said, ‘We care about working people. We care about low-income people.
So why do families and children have to go through drug dealers? …they accept it. Don’t touch it, they thought, because they might move to another place they definitely don’t want. I mean, seeing this stuff breaks my heart. “