San Francisco’s homeless population downtown appear to have miraculously vanished ahead of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
San Francisco residents and business owners said city officials’ attempts to “herd” transients and drug addicts are just a “Band-Aid” to severe problems.
Focusing on seven intersections in the Tenderloin and South of Market, or SoMa, neighborhoods, home to drug-addled people high on fentanyl and heroin, the city has started doing what they should have been doing all along.
“They started clearing the tents earlier this week and there is definitely a lot more police presence,” SoMa resident and community activist Ricci Lee Wynne told The Post.
“They’ve cleared out the tents that were near the Moscone Center on Howard Street, which tells me the city had the capability to do this all along — instead, they just do the bare minimum.
“Once APEC is gone, police presence will start to simmer down again, the tents will return. And it will slowly flare up again. What we need is a permanent solution.”
President Joe Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the event, which is expected to draw over 20,000 visitors to the City by The Bay.
https://t.co/Cbr4rU8I9e— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) November 10, 2023
So San Francisco decides to roll out the red carpet for Pres Xi Jinping by cleaning up years of crime and grime in a matter of days. If it’s that freaking easy to do, why not do it for American citizens and taxpayers instead of a communist Chinese…
The New York Post reported:
In preparation, the city has taken other steps to clear out the open drug use market in other areas, including the Nancy Pelosi federal building on the corner of Mission and 7th streets.
Federal employees received a memo back in August to work from home because it was too dangerous to venture into the building, while dozens of addicts congregated on the concrete steps and seating areas just outside the building entrances.
The area has this week been fenced off, and the drug dealers and addicts have moved on to other parts of Downtown San Francisco, paving the way for employees to safely return.
SoMa resident and business owner, Adam Mesnick, told The Post he has seen temporary housing pop up in hotels for some of the homeless over the past week.
“They are just essentially herding the problem around but offering no long-term solutions,” Mesnick said. “I’m just outside what they consider the ‘containment zone’ for APEC, so the problem is getting pushed into my area, which is already pretty saturated with drug activity.
“I don’t know if these tents will be in physical view during APEC, but it will be virtually impossible to eliminate all of that.”
City officials, however, have not been deterred from trying to hide the blight, according to emails obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Christopher McDaniels, the city’s superintendent of Street Environmental Services, wrote in a Sept. 25 email the particular streets that should be cleared in preparation for the mega conference.
“With APEC coming, I am concerned about historical encampments that are close to priority areas,” McDaniels wrote.
Deputy Director of Operations DiJaida Durden, McDaniel’s boss, replied and asked about new encampments that popped up near the conference area.
“Are any of these locations on schedule,” Durden asked. APEC “is coming and we need to stay on top of the growing encampments; do we have a plan?”
By Wednesday, certain areas— including the notorious intersections of Van Ness Avenue and California Street, Hyde and Eddy streets, Taylor and Ellis streets— were cleared of homeless tents, according to The Chronicle.
Mesnick, who owns a deli in the SoMa district called the Deli Board and runs the @bettersoma account on X, called on city leaders to take proper action on the city’s homeless and drug crisis.
Resnick said he had discovered two dead bodies in his own neighborhood, one right outside his home.
“They are very good at creating an illusion and they are very good at performance art,” he told The Post of city leaders. “It’s a Band-Aid and indicative of a poor administration. And you know, really, at this point, the frustration couldn’t be any louder.
“I’ve likened this period of time in the Tenderloin like the Gold Rush, but here it’s the Fentanyl Rush. We have the cheapest fentanyl on the planet, and it’s pretty much easy to be highly successful from the bottom.”
Fentanyl-related drug overdoses remain a huge problem in San Francisco. The city is expected to have a record-breaking year of fatal overdoses and is on track to reach 800 deaths this year, according to data released last month by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
“From January through September, the first nine months of 2023, there have been a total of 620 overdose deaths,” Director of San Francisco Behavioral Health Services, Dr. Hillary Kunins, told local news station KRON last month.
That means there are an average of two fatal overdoses per day, a majority of which are caused by fentanyl, Kunis said.
Meanwhile, the city added 300 more beds to its shelters, but it is unclear how many will be available in time for APEC.
“The daily allotment will vary throughout the conference,” said homelessness department spokesperson Emily Cohen.
“But we are making every effort to maximize shelter capacity across our portfolio for the community to access during APEC and ongoing.”