San Francisco has turned into one of the worst city failures in the history of civilization. We now have that definitive word from two of that city’s most prominent residents on Twitter. One of them is Mike Shellenberger, famous as a colleague of Matt Taibbi in handling The Twitter Files. The other is Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter.
San Francisco woes
The event that started all the mourning for San Francisco, was the closure of Whole Foods Market’s San Francisco flagship store. That store had been opened for only a year – but closed two days ago (April 10). Officially the company said,
We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being. If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location.
Last October the store curtailed its hours, citing high rates of shoplifting and “hostile visitors.” A month later they started restricting the bathrooms to paying customers only. Security guards had found syringes and drug pipes in one or both bathrooms. But two store “team members” gave the real reason: wholesale shoplifting. And now the store has closed – temporarily, everyone hopes, but maybe for good.
Supervisor Matt Dorsey thinks he knows why: the San Francisco Police Department is understaffed. He has already filed to amend the city charter to bring the police up to full staff.
I write to request your office’s assistance in drafting a Charter Amendment, entitled “The San Francisco Police Department Full Staffing Act,” which if enacted by voters would re-establish minimum police staffing levels, and mandate certain budgetary provisions over a five-year period to achieve a fully staffed municipal police force in the City and County of San Francisco.
Mike Shellenberger, author of San Fransicko among other works, dropped the first thread on Easter Sunday.
In fact Shellenberger quoted the anchor tweet of this thread he dropped last year, about the plight of homeless people in the city.
Evidently little or nothing has changed. In fact this thread also quotes a thread he dropped two days earlier, about drug addiction:
Monday at 3:10 p.m. PDT, Supervisor Dorsey dropped this thread about his proposed San Francisco Police Department Full Staffing Act:
About an hour and a half later, Mike Shellenberger dropped another thread, this time about willful underreporting of crime:
The last tweet ends with a quote of this thread from the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association:
Elon Musk himself weighed in – twice, about six hours apart.
Several users pointed out a specific problem with Whole Foods’ Trinity location: it’s near an open-air drug market. One user proposed legalizing it – then another user pointed to hard-and-fast data from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, showing that wouldn’t work:
Elon Musk is correct. Other witnesses have reported the same thing he did: that downtown San Francisco looks like a scene out of a depressing movie. Anyone who remembers when San Francisco was clean, fifty years ago and longer, doubtless feels that depression more acutely. Even the horrific scenes of the aftermath of the Great Earthquake of 1906, as depicted in the 1936 motion picture San Francisco, cannot match what we see today.
And who do the editors of the San Francisco Chronicle think they are? They act like the old Soviet Wire Service – except that the Mayor London Breed hasn’t taken the Soviet-style step of closing the city and censoring all reporting of conditions within it. Which makes those editors look, frankly, stupid. Then again, San Francisco gave us William Randolph Hearst – that Citizen Hearst who lied the country into the Spanish-American War. Evidently, standards of journalism haven’t improved – or they’ve disimproved to that level.
The entire country should hang its collective head in larger shame – that any American city should come to this pass. But elections do indeed have consequences, and people get what they vote for.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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