San Francisco has long been a bastion of the far left – and now it’s paying a high price for its extreme progressive policies, including once-beautiful streets filled with dangerous syringes and human waste, resembling Third World back alleys.
The city has embraced an open drug culture at the same time it spends hundreds of millions of dollars to combat a growing homelessness problem. But no matter what the city does, it seems to have the opposite effect and make things worse.
Each year, San Francisco hands out millions of syringes to drug users – 4.45 million to be exact. San Francisco officials do this because they believe this is cheaper than the medical costs associated with injectable drug users getting diseases from sharing needles. Yet as always, politically correct progressive politicians never think about the law of unintended consequences.
Aside from the monetary cost of the syringes – over $500,000 – the needle giveaway failed to get rid of the problem it was targeting. That’s because the program that aimed to prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other viral diseases is responsible for drug users littering the streets with needles infected with the diseases.
It may sound heartless, but before the free-needles program, the danger of shooting up with injectable drugs like heroin was only posed to those using the drugs. Now everyone is in danger.
A child picking up a discarded syringe without realizing what it is, a person walking in sandals, a tourist sitting on a park bench, or a couple playing with their dog in the park are all at a greater risk of getting the very diseases the city was trying to contain if they come into contact with infected needles used by ill drug users.
To fix this problem, the city is now spending tens of millions of dollars to try and clean up the problem it created. Mohammed Nuru, director of the Public Works Department, estimates his department spends about $30 million to clean up the needles and feces.
“Yes, we can clean, and then go back a few hours later, and it looks as if it was never cleaned,” Nuru said.
The increase in homelessness and public defecation has created other problems. When the fecal matter is left to dry on the street, particulates can go airborne.
Dr. Lee Riley, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, Berkeley, spoke to local reporters, warning about the dangers of fecal matter when it dries, specifically rotavirus. The doctor stated: “If you happen to inhale that, it can also go into your intestine.” The virus can be fatal.
Not only is San Francisco spending money on wasteful projects – the city is losing money because of the outcome of the projects.
The San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA) has been warning about the problem for some time now, and it looks like warnings are coming true.
In its annual report, SFTA announced the while the city saw more tourists in 2017 than 2016, it fell short of the expected growth. In fact, San Francisco is seeing a slowdown in tourism growth. In 2015 tourism grew by 2.7 percent, growth slowed to 2 percent in 2016, and fell to 1.4 percent in 2017
Turism is a $9 billion a year industry for the cash-strapped city. San Francisco hosts between 40 and 60 conventions per year, attracting 650,000 people. Each of those convention-goers books local hotel rooms, eats at restaurants, and spends money at local stores.
Do people want to visit a city littered with human waste, drug paraphernalia, and homelessness? At least one convention has said no.
Joe D’Alessandro with Travel SF announced a major medical association decided to pull its $40 million convention out of the filthy city. Alessandro stated: “The convention felt that the streets of San Francisco are not a place that a lot of their delegates wanted to come to.”
Rest assured San Francisco residents, the city has a plan. The Board of Supervisors has heard the cry from the people and has leapt into action. By moving to ban plastic straws, cocktail drink swords, and plastic stirrers.
That’s right, disease-infested needles that can kill a person with a deadly virus are welcomed and taxpayer funded – but an olive on a cocktail sword will soon be illegal.
Yes, technically the measure has to pass another vote next week, but given the ridiculousness of the city, no one is expecting it to fail.
Far-left progressive policies have taken a city once famous around the world for its beauty and culture and made it famous for something entirely different.
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.