Street housekeeping keeps SF Mayor Breed – and everyone else – hopping

Street housekeeping keeps SF Mayor Breed – and everyone else – hopping

By Matier & Ross

Aug 22, 2018

Mayor London Breed, who won her election largely on a promise to clean up the city, is stepping up efforts to scrub San Francisco’s streets, including playing a bit of cat and mouse with her own city department heads.

Breed has taken to making unannounced walks through hard-hit neighborhoods — at times with reporters in tow — but without giving the police or Public Works officials the usual heads-up that in the past allowed for the cleanups that usually precede a mayoral visit.

“I don’t want the areas to be clean if it’s not clean on a regular basis. I want to see what everybody else is seeing,” Breed tells us.

And when Breed spots a problem, she texts the department head.

The sight of human waste, discarded hypodermic needles, trash and general grime is nothing new to anyone walking in downtown, in the Mission District or in any of a number of other San Francisco neighborhoods these days.

And, as Breed notes, “We’re spending a lot of money to address this problem.”

No kidding.

San Francisco Public Works has a $72.5 million-a-year street cleaning budget — including spending $12 million a year on what essentially have become housekeeping services for homeless encampments.

The costs include $2.8 million for a Hot Spots crew to wash down the camps and remove any biohazards, $2.3 million for street steam cleaners, $3.1 million for the Pit Stop portable toilets, plus the new $830,977-a-year Poop Patrol to actively hunt down and clean up human waste.

(By the way, the poop patrolers earn $71,760 a year, which swells to $184,678 with mandated benefits.)

At the same time, the Department of Public Health has an additional $700,000 set aside for a 10-member, needle cleanup squad, complete with it’s own minivan. The $19-an-hour needle cleanup jobs were approved as part of the latest budget crafted largely by former Mayor Mark Farrell.

The new needle crew is on top of the $364,000 that the health department already was spending on a four-member needle team.

Breed is also leaning on Chief William Scott for more foot patrols.

“I’ve definitely had discussions with the chief and asked that beat officers be out there,” Breed said.

City officials say foot beats have nearly doubled in the past year, from 76 to 140 officers.

The problem, however, is that every time the cops arrest someone for a low-level, quality-of-life or petty street crime, the beat cops have to write up an incident report and transport the suspect to jail for booking, all of which takes them off the street.

Breed said she and the police are now looking into the possibility of using sheriff’s deputies to help transport prisoners, in turn allowing beat cops to stay on patrol.

The mayor, however, makes clear that the burden of solving all the city’s street problems doesn’t rest solely on City Hall.

“The responsibility is with everyone,” Breed said. “People shouldn’t be comfortable throwing their trash on the ground, and if people have recommendations on where they want trash cans, they can call 311.”

May 26, 2023. Tags: , , , . Environmentalism, Sanitation, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

San Francisco published this study on feces on public sidewalks. This is from page 11.

About 30% of evaluated streets and sidewalks report feces.

Observations of human and animal feces were less common in the Core Citywide sample, with about 30% of evaluations observing feces on the street or sidewalk.

In contrast, almost half (47%) of evaluations in all Key Commercial Areas observed feces. At the neighborhood-level:

▪ Feces on streets and sidewalks were least likely to be found in Noe Valley and Glen Park.

▪ Feces were most common in the Tenderloin, Nob Hill, the Mission, and South of Market.

May 26, 2023. Tags: , , , . Environmentalism, Sanitation, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

San Francisco Drops Case against Homeless Man Who Beat Former City Official with a Crowbar

San Francisco has a really messed up definition of “self defense.” In the real world, the person acting in self defense was the one who used the pepper spray, not the one who used the crow bar. San Francisco has this completely backwards.

San Francisco Drops Case against Homeless Man Who Beat Former City Official with a Crowbar

By Brittany Bernstein

April 26, 2023

The San Francisco district attorney’s office on Tuesday dropped the charges against a homeless man who allegedly attacked former San Francisco fire commissioner Don Carmignani earlier this month with a crowbar, sending him to the hospital for emergency surgery to treat a hole in the back of his skull.

The case was dropped after prosecutors concluded the attacker, Garrett Doty, was acting in self-defense when he beat Carmignani so badly that he broke the former fire commissioner’s jaw and left him in need of 50 stitches, the New York Post reported.

The incident began when Carmignani confronted Doty and two other vagrants who were allegedly blocking Carmignani’s mother’s driveway in the city’s Marina District while consuming drugs and harassing neighbors. His mother’s calls to 911 had gone unanswered.

During the confrontation, the trio refused to leave and Doty allegedly became aggressive. Carmignani then deployed pepper spray on Doty.

Because Carmignani sprayed Doty, the district attorney’s office has concluded the homeless man was acting in self-defense when he viciously attacked Carmignani, despite prosecutors having obtained video of the attacker taking the crowbar out of a garbage can and taking practice swings before the attack.

Video appears to show Doty cornering Carmignani, who was heavily bleeding, against the wall of a gas station store while brandishing a crowbar. Carmignani tried to fight back, but Doty struck him in the head with the crowbar when Carmignani went to wipe blood from his eyes.

Carmignani attempted to escape toward the road but Doty hit him in the head again and then chased him down the sidewalk, according to the report.

The attack left Carmignani in the ICU for several days.

While Doty was initially charged with assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with serious bodily injury, and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, it not may be Carmignani who now faces charges for spraying the pepper spray, according to the report.

Police and the district attorney’s office did not interview Carmignani about the incident before dropping the case, a source close to the victim told the paper.

April 26, 2023. Tags: , , , . Social justice warriors, Soft on crime, Violent crime. Leave a comment.

Because San Francisco refuses to prosecute shoplifters, this Target keeps everything locked up

April 25, 2023. Tags: , , , . Social justice warriors, Soft on crime. Leave a comment.

I-Team obtains Alameda Co. DA’s email; lesser sentence for Jasper Wu’s killers?

I-Team obtains Alameda Co. DA’s email; lesser sentence for Jasper Wu’s killers?

Dan Noyes

March 30, 2023

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price is drawing new criticism over her plans not to pursue jail time for those who commit violent crimes against the Asian American community. Price discussed that in an email obtained by the I-Team’s Dan Noyes.

Jasper Wu, a 23-month-old boy, lost his life to a stray bullet while riding in his car seat.

Nancy O’Malley was the DA at the time, and explained at a news conference, “It happened because two rival gangs were having a rolling gun battle on Highway 880.”

Three men – Trevor Green, Johnny Jackson, and Ivory Bivens have their preliminary hearing on murder charges in three weeks. A member of the AAPI community asked Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price for an update on the case, and Price sent this email Tuesday that reads in part, “Our office is currently working on a partnership with the Asian Law Caucus to support AAPI victims of violence in ways that open up broader possibilities for healing and non-carceral forms of accountability.”

“Non-carceral”- meaning no jail time, even for violent criminals.

Norbert Chu served as Alameda County prosecutor for 35 years. He told the I-Team, “If I were Jasper’s parents, I would be highly offended. And I would be very fearful.”

Chu says, looking at that email, it is clear Price is paving the way for lesser charges and lesser sentencing in the Jasper Wu case. He called it “insulting.”

Norbert Chu: “And in the tone to me is that somehow we’re lesser victims, than other people. And that is, that’s just stupefying.”

Dan Noyes: “And you’re lesser victims than the perpetrators.”

Chu: “Exactly.”

A spokesman for the Wu family sent us a statement saying under Price’s plan, “There are almost no consequences due to no threat of severe punishments waiting. How would that restore public’s faith in the justice system? How would the public feel safe?”

We also checked with the Asian Law Caucus, and they knew nothing about Price’s email, saying the first meeting with her office was just introductory and had nothing to do with Jasper Wu. “I’m very confused about this,” said the Caucus’ executive director.

Just two days ago, the I-Team’s Dan Noyes had an exclusive interview with a prosecutor who quit the Alameda County DA’s Office over Price’s plans to drop sentencing enhancements, potentially even those in the Jasper Wu case.

Charly Weissenbach told us, “And to just do it as a knee jerk reaction without proper information is, I think really sad for the family and I think can result in injustice and can result in more people getting hurt. More gun battles down the freeway, right?”

In the email, Price insists no decision has been made about dropping enhancements in Jasper Wu’s death. By the way, she has asked his parents to come in for a meeting next week.

March 31, 2023. Tags: , , , , , . Social justice warriors, Soft on crime, Violent crime. Leave a comment.

San Francisco doesn’t prosecute public defecation, public drug use, serial shoplifting, car break-ins, or hate crimes against Asians. But here’s something they do prosecute.

San Francisco is forcing couple to remove sidewalk ‘obstruction’ — or pay $1,400. It’s a little free library.

By Aidan Pollard

March 26, 2023

library 1

library 2library 3

A popular little free library in San Francisco was ordered to be removed, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The order was prompted by a call to a city hotline used for complaints about regulatory violations.

The library volunteered by residents is just one of many items caught up in a crackdown.

A couple in San Francisco was told to remove an obstruction from the sidewalk in front of their house, or pay a $1,402 fine. The city’s target: a little free library.

The library is part of a crackdown in San Francisco on unpermitted objects that interfere with public ways, the Wall Street Journal reported. The city has a hotline for anonymous tips about the obstructions, which include decades-old awnings on businesses in the city’s Chinatown district, and benches constructed by residents for the convenience of passersby.

The library, a sturdy wooden box that sits on a statue and resembles a dollhouse, is owned by Susan and Joe Meyers.

According to the Journal, local officials have little choice but to act when a complaint is filed through the hotline.

“The fact that we live in a city where they would rather fight someone that is doing something positive is what I find so disheartening,” Geoff Claus, a neighbor living near the little library, told the Journal.

The library is popular in the Meyers’ neighborhood, the Journal reported. Many on social media even staged a campaign to save it, resulting in letters to the city from residents; one from a young girl begged, “Plees do not dustroy Joe & Susan’s Libary,” per the Journal.

A city official responded, per the Journal: “Our office could not agree more. This is a favorite spot of many of your neighbors and we will do everything we can to make sure it stays in place for you and others to enjoy for years to come.”

Others targeted recently in the unpermitted objects crackdown include a 79-year-old laundromat owner, whose awning apparently drew a call to the city’s hotline that prompted an official call to Lee.

“They asked if I had a permit for the sign,” Bill Lee told the Journal. “I said, ‘How do I know, it’s been over 40 years?”

The Meyers could get a permit to keep their library for $1,402, but ultimately decided instead to work to change the system. As a result, city officials are considering cheaper permits — around $5, according to the Journal — for similar free libraries, and benches.

The Meyers’ library is still standing, the Journal reported, as the city sorts out new rules for the small box and many like it.

In the end, Susan Meyers told the Journal the original hotline complaint may have been a catalyst for the city to rethink its regulations.

“Maybe we should thank that person,” she told the Journal. 

March 26, 2023. Tags: , , , . Books, Kindness, Police state. Leave a comment.

SF parents sue local school district to put Algebra I back in middle school

SF parents sue local school district to put Algebra I back in middle school

By Ryan General

March 22, 2023

San Francisco parents are suing the city’s public school district for not offering Algebra I to middle school students and for requiring students to retake the course in ninth grade even if they have already passed it elsewhere.

The lawsuit, filed on March 22, calls for the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to offer Algebra I in middle school, arguing that current policies and practices hinder students’ academic growth in mathematics and creates barriers to excelling in the subject.

According to the suit, advanced students have become bored with what their parents have referred to as dumbed-down math. The parents have also expressed concerns that their children are falling behind those enrolled in private schools and in other districts that offer a middle school option.

In an interview with the San Francisco Examiner, SFUSD alumnus and parent Maya Keshavan accused the district of misleading the public about key metrics of its math program.

[District officials] claimed to dramatically reduce algebra 1 failure after it was delayed to ninth grade but have offered no evidence to back this claim. In fact, the rate fell only because the district eliminated an exit exam students were required to pass. Public data requests revealed the purported success could not be replicated, and the district refused to explain.

The suit also alleges that students who took Algebra I outside the district were forced to retake it, violating California’s education code, which prescribes that students who complete the course prior to high school already satisfy the Algebra I graduation requirement in the state.

Currently, only those who took Algebra I before high school and demonstrated proficiency by passing a “math validation test” will not be required to retake it.

SFUSD’s math policy, implemented in 2014, keeps all students together in math until junior year, when advanced students can then surge ahead by taking a combined Algebra II and precalculus course, followed by calculus during their senior year.

However, the policy has been criticized for not offering equitable access to advanced math and for resulting racial gaps in enrollment in higher-level math courses. According to the concerned parents, the current system makes it almost impossible for students to access calculus in high school.

Parents are pushing for those consolidated courses to be offered in middle school instead as completing these courses would give their children an advantage when applying to colleges.

In 2016, the parents petitioned the district to restore Algebra I to the middle school curriculum, submitting over 1,000 signatures.

The study noted that figures from before and after the reform was implemented were the same: “White and Asian students in SFUSD enroll in Precalculus at rates roughly two to four times higher than their Black and Hispanic peers.”

According to Stanford researcher Thomas Dee, he is hoping the study will inspire a “rethink about what is going on here to prevent equitable access to advanced math.”

March 23, 2023. Tags: , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Equity. Leave a comment.

San Francisco supervisor Hillary Ronen begs for more police in her district after voting to defund in 2020

San Francisco supervisor Hillary Ronen begs for more police in her district after voting to defund in 2020

By Andrea Vacchiano

March 19, 2023

A San Francisco district supervisor is calling for more policing in the crime-ridden city – despite advocating to defund the police in 2020.

Hillary Ronen, Democrat, represents District 9 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. During a Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting on Wednesday, she made an impassioned plea to add more officers to the Mission District, which she represents.

Ronen was attacking San Francisco’s police chief for spending a large amount of overtime on an anti-retail theft program instead of prioritizing police presence in her district.

“I’ve been begging this department to give the Mission what it deserves in terms of police presence all year long,” Ronen said. “And I have been told time and time and time and time again there are no officers that we can send to Mission.”

“It hurts. And I feel betrayed by the department. I feel betrayed by the mayor. I feel betrayed by the priorities of the city,” the Democratic politician added.

The speech contradicts her stance on policing in 2020. After the George Floyd protests, Ronen tweeted that she believed “strongly” that San Francisco’s police force needed to be reduced.

“I want to make it clear that I believe strongly in defunding the police and reducing the number of officers on our force,” Ronen wrote. “For decades we’ve had an imbalance in our city’s budget, with hundreds of millions of dollars going to SFPD to have them do work they are not qualified to do.”

In 2020, Mayor London Breed redirected $120 million from law enforcement to fund other city initiatives. Crime in San Francisco continued to worsen, with homicides increasing by 20% in 2020 compared to 2019. Homicides also increased 17% in 2021 compared to the previous year.

By December 2021, Breed made an emergency request to the Board of Supervisors to add more funds to the city’s police department.

The San Francisco Police Department has struggled with lack of staffing the past few years. In February, officers responded to a burglary over 15 hours after the 911 call was made.

“While the SFPD is short-staffed and our response times have been negatively impacted as a result, a response time of over 12 hours for a call of this nature falls far short of the department’s and the public’s expectations,” Officer Robert Rueca said.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Ronen’s office for comment, but has not heard back.

March 19, 2023. Tags: , , , . Defund the Police, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

San Francisco is spending $1.7 million on one public toilet. It will be built by union labor, and won’t be finished until 2025. But the workers’ benefits are very, very, very good!

S.F. is spending $1.7 million on one public toilet: ‘What are they making it out of — gold?’

By Heather Knight

October 19, 2022

San Francisco politicians will gather at the Noe Valley Town Square Wednesday afternoon to congratulate themselves for securing state money for a long-desired toilet in the northeast corner of the charming plaza.

Another public toilet in a city with far too few of them is excellent. But the details of this particular commode? They’re mind-boggling, maddening and encapsulate so much of what’s wrong with our city government.

The toilet — just one loo in 150 square feet of space — is projected to cost $1.7 million, about the same as a single-family home in this wildly overpriced city. And it won’t be ready for use until 2025.

Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) secured the $1.7 million from the state for the toilet after hearing “loud and clear” from the community that families needed a bathroom. The plumbing is already there, added when the plaza was constructed six years ago, but there was never money for the actual bathroom. Until Haney stepped in.

The former San Francisco supervisor said the Recreation and Parks Department told him the going rate for one public bathroom was $1.7 million so he secured the full amount, not questioning the pricetag.

“They told me $1.7 million, and I got $1.7 million,” Haney explained. “I didn’t have the option of bringing home less of the bacon when it comes to building a toilet. A half a toilet or a toilet-maybe-someday is not much use to anyone.”

True, but instead we have a toilet-maybe-in-more-than-two-years that could have paid to house a family instead. So why is a public bathroom so insanely expensive, and why does it take so long to build? A joint statement from Rec and Park and the Department of Public Works, which will work together to build this extravagant bathroom, pointed to several reasons.

For one thing, the cost to build anything in San Francisco is exorbitant. The city is the most expensive in the world to build in — even topping Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York City. We’re No. 1! Even for places to go No. 1.

Like everywhere, construction costs have risen 20% to 30% in the past couple of years due to global supply chain issues and the rising costs of fuel, labor and materials. But like always, there’s a certain preciousness to the process in San Francisco. (Just look at the years-long, ongoing quest to design and manufacture bespoke city trash cans.)

“It’s important to note that public projects and their overall cost estimates don’t just reflect the price of erecting structures,” the statement said. “They include planning, drawing, permits, reviews and public outreach.”

For a toilet? Apparently so.

An architect will draw plans for the bathroom that the city will share with the community for feedback. It will also head to the Arts Commission’s Civic Design Review committee comprised of two architects, a landscape architect and two other design professionals who, under city charter, “conduct a multi-phase review” of all city projects on public land — ranging from buildings to bathrooms to historic plaques, fences and lamps.

The web-page describing that process states the point is to ensure “that each project’s design is appropriate to its context in the urban environment, and that structures of the highest design quality reflect their civic stature.”

Sorry, kid. I know you’ve got to go, but have you considered the context of the urban environment?

The project will then head to the Rec and Park Commission and to the Board of Supervisors. According to the city’s statement, it will also be subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act. Then, the city will put the project up for bid.

“Once we start the project, we’ll have a clearer timeline, but we expect to be able to complete the project in 2025,” the statement read.

The city said the $1.7 million estimate “is extremely rough” and budgets “for the worst-case scenario due to the onerous demands and unpredictable costs levied by PG&E,” the possibility code requirements could change during the project and in case other unexpected circumstances come up.

The city is in a legal battle with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. over the city’s claim that the utility has slowed projects and forced them to be more expensive unless they obtain electricity directly from the utility instead of the city’s Public Utilities Commission.

The bathroom will be built by unions whose workers will “earn a living wage and benefits, including paid sick time, leave and training.”

“While this isn’t the cheapest way to build, it reflects San Francisco’s values,” the statement read.

I’m a union member myself, and of course the majority of our public projects should be union built. But does a $1.7 million single bathroom really reflect San Francisco’s values? I don’t think so.

The supervisors in 2019 approved a Project Labor Agreement between the city and unions that requires union labor for all “covered projects” — but this bathroom isn’t one of them because it’s not worth $10 million and it didn’t come from bond funding.

There are other, much cheaper options. I e-mailed Tom Hardiman, executive director of the Modular Building Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, and asked him to guess what San Francisco was spending to build one toilet in 150 square feet of space.

“I’m going to guess high, I think, and say $200,000,” he wrote back.

I seemed to nearly give him a heart attack by telling him the actual figure in a subsequent phone call.

“This is to build one public restroom?” he asked incredulously. “What are they making it out of — gold and fine Italian marble? It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragically flawed.”

He then said he’d do some research and found a cheaper option within minutes. He said Chad Kaufman, CEO of Public Restroom Company, just delivered and installed seven modular bathrooms in Los Angeles for the same price San Francisco will spend to build one. These are not Porta Potties, but instead have concrete walls with stucco exteriors and nice fixtures with plumbing.

“There will be some onsite labor which absolutely can be union,” Hardiman said, pointing to crane operators, laborers and plumbers.

And, he said, they could be delivered in eight months.

Phil Ginsburg, director of the Recreation and Parks Department, said many park systems around the country use pre-fabricated restrooms, which are much cheaper — and he hopes San Francisco becomes more politically open to them too. The department has occasionally used them in the past — including at the Redwood Grove playground in McLaren Park — and it’s unclear why one seems off the table for Noe Valley.

“Given how much the public values and needs public restrooms, I would hope these could be more common features in our parks that don’t currently have restrooms,” he said. “Our parks continue to need investment and every dollar saved by installing one allows us to make additional improvements elsewhere in our parks.”

October 19, 2022. Tags: , . Government waste. Leave a comment.

The fact that San Francisco tolerates people shooting up illegal drugs in areas where schoolchildren have to walk through every day is an absolute abomination. The government even gives free needles to these drug addicts!

The city of San Francisco gives 4.5 million free needles to illegal drug addicts every year.


The city also employs 10 people whose “sole job” is to clean up those needles from the sidewalks and other public areas.


Here’s a video about these free needles, and the city employees who clean them up, from the San Francisco affiliate of CBS News:


And most importantly, here’s a video from the San Francisco affiliate of CBS News, which shows schoolchildren walking through areas where drug dealers are shooting up:

I think there should be a place where drug addicts can go to get the help that they need, with doctors, and even safe injection sites. But it should not be in areas where schoolchildren have to walk through every day.

The fact that San Francisco tolerates people shooting up illegal drugs in areas where schoolchildren have to walk through every day is an absolute abomination.

What kind of society would force children to do that?

What kind of society would tolerate drug addicts shooting up right in front of schoolchildren?

And what kind of society would give free needles to the people who shoot up illegal drugs right in front of school children?

There is something very wrong – ethically and morally – with the voters of San Francisco.

September 16, 2022. Tags: , , , . Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Here’s more proof that San Francisco is pro-crime. They just released a guy who is allegedly responsible for half of the city’s anti-Asian hate crimes that occurred last year. The voters are getting exactly what they voted for.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

January 30, 2022

Derik Barreto has allegedly been a very busy guy.

He is allegedly single-handedly responsible for half of all the anti-Asian hate crimes that were committed in San Francisco last year.

Under a system of traditional justice, he would be in jail for a very, very long time.

But the voters of San San Francisco are against traditional justice.

Instead, the voters of San Francisco support something that they refer to as “social justice.”

Under this system of “social justice,” serial criminals cannot be kept in prison, because to do so would be “racist.”

So instead of putting this serial criminal in a “racist” prison, they are allowing him to roam free, committing as many hate crimes against Asians as he wants.

The voters of San Francisco are getting exactly what they voted for.

January 30, 2022. Tags: , , . Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

San Francisco YouTuber Rebecca Watson: “I cannot stress enough that stealing from big box stores is fine”

Rebecca Watson lives in San Francisco. In this 12 minute YouTube video, she defends shoplifting from big box stores, and expands on a tweet that she had previously made about the subject:

Archive of tweet:

Screen capture of tweet:

rebecca watson shoplifting tweet

November 23, 2021. Tags: , , , . Social justice warriors. 1 comment.

This is hilarious. The people of San Francisco can’t figure out what to do with two serial burglars who just got arrested.

Two men with long criminal histories got caught for stealing bikes. What should S.F. do about them?

By Rachel Swan

November 5, 2021

The racket began around 3:30 a.m. on a recent Thursday, as two thieves rummaged through the basement of a three-unit Victorian in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Startled by the noise, a dog in the house barked frantically. One of the residents, Mauricio, scrambled out of bed and grabbed a baseball bat. He heard a clunk. By the time the man got to the shared basement, Mauricio told The Chronicle, the burglars had stolen his bicycle and his neighbor’s e-bike.

Mauricio, who asked to be identified only by his first name because he fears retaliation, called the police. Within hours they had apprehended two suspects — Nicholas Tiller and Tyler Howerton — at Seventh and Market streets downtown, known to be the center of the stolen goods trade in San Francisco.

According to documents reviewed by The Chronicle, both men had extensive criminal histories: Howerton had been arrested seven times on suspicion of burglary since 2019; Tiller had been arrested 13 times in burglary cases since 2013. Both were on probation at the time they were apprehended.

What to do about the two men is a quandary for a city pursuing criminal justice reform while debating how to manage rates of property crime that for years have been among the highest in the nation. District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office has charged them with felony first-degree residential burglary, among other counts, and they could face six years in prison if convicted.

The district attorney’s spokesperson, Rachel Marshall, said in an email to The Chronicle that the office would consider other types of intervention, such as drug treatment, “if there is a specific, viable plan that can address what is driving their behavior.”

Superior Court Judge Brian Ferrall ordered Howerton released from jail with GPS monitoring. He did so over the objection of the District Attorney’s Office, which noted that Howerton wasn’t cooperating with his existing probation. However, as the judge pointed out, another prosecutor had not opposed Howerton’s release at his earlier arraignment.

Tiller remains in jail. Attorneys representing Tiller and Howerton declined to comment.

As of Oct. 31, San Francisco police had received reports of 810 burglaries or attempted burglaries this year in the jurisdiction of the Mission District Police Station, which includes the Castro. That number marks a 13% increase from the 716 reported by the end of October last year.

Police have dispatched more officers to the Castro and nearby areas to address the surge, fueled by a high-end bike boom and correlating with a drop in other forms of theft. The department also adjusted investigators’ work schedules, enabling them to respond to crimes in the moment. Such measures probably helped in arresting Tiller and Howerton, police said.

At the same time, residents and city leaders are searching for answers: Should they tolerate a high level of burglaries as a downside of city living, and focus on barricading their homes? Should people who are repeatedly accused of stealing be targeted with rehabilitation services, or incarcerated so they can’t commit more crimes?

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman is frustrated. He’s a longtime supporter of criminal justice reform whose policy views evolved as he grappled with property crime in his district — a persistent problem that makes residents feel vulnerable in their own homes.

“It raises tricky questions about incarceration,” Mandelman said. “Because so far we’ve been unable to release (Tiller and Howerton) without them committing more crimes. And the question for reformers is, ‘What do we do with someone like that?’”

The Castro and surrounding neighborhoods are hot spots for burglary, in part because many of the homes have garages or basements where residents stow bicycles — an enticement for thieves, because they are valuable and fairly easy to swipe.

Several factors are fueling the trend, from neighborhood architecture, to the e-bike craze, to the increased popularity of bicycles during the pandemic, because gyms were closed and people were driving less often. Thefts of e-bikes and bicycles took off at a time when auto burglaries became less appealing, owing to the dearth of tourist rental cars with luggage in their trunks.

“Unfortunately a lot of these victims have bicycles inside their garages that are being targeted,” San Francisco police Lt. Scott Ryan said. As head of the burglary and auto unit, he saw a rise in home break-ins as the pandemic got into full swing, along with another disturbing pattern: more burglaries happening in the early morning, when people were home asleep.

The timing of these crimes concerns police, in part because it could lead to confrontations between perpetrators and residents. To some, it makes the burglary feel more invasive. Castro resident and Google public affairs chief Rebecca Prozan shuddered, noting that a flight of stairs leads directly from her garage into her kitchen.

Burglars broke into the garage of her Victorian duplex twice at the beginning of the pandemic, she said, stealing bicycles, luggage and wine. They returned twice more to burglarize an adjacent mail room, after she secured the garage door.

Other residents say it doesn’t matter whether a resident is home when a stranger breaks in; the crime still feels like a personal violation. For some, the recent burst in property crimes, many of them unreported, has caused feelings of unease to permeate the Castro. The historic district, long known as a safe haven for the LGBTQ community, has become such a hotbed that police now recommend people lock up their bikes inside their garages.

“It’s not a violent crime, but when someone is in your garage, where you keep your Christmas decorations, your tools, your bicycles — it just makes you feel less safe,” Duboce Triangle resident David Burke said. He’s a civilian employee of the Police Department and serves as the public safety liaison for his district.

For many policymakers, burglaries present a vexing challenge. As Burke observed, the crimes are serious but not violent. The perpetrators are often methodical, repeat offenders with tools and expertise. They know how to drill holes and use wires to open garage doors; they don’t have the desperation of people who steal packages from porches, or even of the drugstore shoplifters who grab toiletries from shelves and toss them into garbage bags.

And in the case of the most recent arrest, both defendants have long rap sheets. Tiller even made headlines in 2016 for participating in a robbery of the Make-a-Wish Foundation at 400 Market St. and stealing — among other things — a scooter autographed by former Giants right fielder Hunter Pence.

Boudin and other policymakers believe that incarceration fails to address the underlying factors in property crime, such as poverty and addiction.

Although San Francisco offers diversion programs and collaborative courts that link people to treatment, the criminal legal system in general “cannot resolve all of the major, structural problems — including poverty, a lack of housing, and widespread addiction that create the conditions for property crime,” said Marshall, his spokesperson.

But some burglary victims have grown disenchanted with the city’s emphasis on programs and services over jail.

“When it comes to the point that these are repeat offenders who are well known and documented — that’s probably the line,” Mission Dolores resident Justin Forth said. Burglars broke into his apartment building’s communal bike storage three times in August, stealing bicycles and a trailer he uses to carry his dog.

While criminal justice experts and policymakers debate strategies and philosophies, Castro residents are taking steps to secure their homes. Eric Hansen said he has installed security cameras, upgraded locks on the windows and placed a sensor on the front door of his white stucco house, which was burglarized twice this year.

Police dusted for fingerprints and analyzed security footage after the second burglary, in September, but were unable to gather enough evidence to make an arrest. The man who jimmied open a door and stole a bike from Hansen’s garage had worn gloves.

Over the course of the year, Hansen and his neighbors acknowledged that property crime is inevitable in San Francisco. They began fortifying their homes with surveillance cameras, simulated TVs and timed lights, while also trimming back trees and removing retractable cords from garages.

“Police gave us some ideas about how to improve not just our house, but the whole block,” Hansen said. “The basic message that they have is, ‘If your block is anti-theft, they will go to another block.”

Some residents grudgingly accept this element of city living. Others are appalled, saying they’ve begun to lose faith in the legal system.

Prozan, the Castro resident who dealt with four burglaries during the pandemic, worked as a prosecutor under former District Attorneys Kamala Harris and George Gascón. She learned from experience that burglaries are difficult and time-consuming to investigate, and that police often see them as a lost cause, no matter who sits in the District Attorney’s Office.

Forth knows this firsthand. Recently while walking through the Castro, he passed by an encampment and glimpsed one of his stolen bikes, as well as the dog trailer. He called police, who were aware that Forth had filed reports for both items.

But the two officers who arrived said they couldn’t do anything. They believed Forth but lacked proof the bike and trailer were his.

“So the situation had to be me going up to people who happen to be living on the street, and saying ‘Hey, I think you stole that,’” Forth said. “And I just wasn’t willing to steal my bike back.”

November 8, 2021. Tags: , . Social justice warriors. 1 comment.

San Francisco Luxury Condo Overlooks City’s Worst Squalor

November 8, 2021. Tags: , . Social justice warriors. 1 comment.

Safeway In Castro [San Francisco] Cuts Hours Due To ‘Off The Charts’ Shoplifting; ‘It’s Sad, Upsetting And Frustrating’ [Shoplifters who steal less than $950 at a time don’t get prosecuted]

Safeway In Castro Cuts Hours Due To ‘Off The Charts’ Shoplifting; ‘It’s Sad, Upsetting And Frustrating’

By Betty Yu

November 1, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Yet another major retailer in San Francisco has made the decision to close earlier due to excessive theft particularly at night, according to San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.

The Castro Safeway on Market and Church Streets was open 24 hours, but that’s not the case any longer. Signs posted on its entrance state its new hours are 6 am to 9 pm, effective October 24.

Many shoppers were surprised to find that the Safeway they frequent at off-hours is cutting back.

“I feel like it’s definitely an inconvenience, not everybody can make it to the supermarket between those hours, so it’s a little frustrating, especially for me personally. I like to shop later on,” said Chris Rankins, who lives in the Castro.

Mandelman’s district includes the Market Street Safeway. He said the company reached out to him to discuss problems with theft.

“I think like a lot of retailers they’ve been experiencing increasing property crime and theft from their stores,” Mandelman said. “I think the last 6 months from what they say has been sort of – off the charts in terms of how bad it’s been. It’s sad, upsetting and frustrating.”

Mandelman said he’s now working on organizing a meeting with Safeway, San Francisco police and the district attorney.

“It’s an equity problem,” he said. “There’s a lot of low-income folks, seniors, folks with disability, who rely on that Safeway and other Safeways around the city.”

For now, Johnny Denham, who works at night, will have to change his routine.

“It’s better for me to come up here after work, go shopping and go home,” he said. “Now it’s like I either have to go shopping before work, or on my days off, which I really don’t like doing.”

Safeway did not immediately return KPIX 5’s request for comment.

Mandelman added that Safeway told him police rarely arrest anyone for a property crime, by the time they make it on the scene.

November 1, 2021. Tags: , , . Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Racist San Francisco arrests black women at 13 times the rate of women of other races

Splinter News reported the following: (The bolding is mine)

Black women in San Francisco arrested way more often than white women, report shows

Black women in San Francisco are disproportionately arrested compared with their white counterparts, according to a new analysis of state arrest data from the Center on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

Black women represent 5.8% of the city’s female population, but accounted for 45.5% of all female arrests in 2013, according to the report from the nonprofit, which works to reduce incarceration. For arrests related to weapons and narcotics—both felonies—black women made up 77% and 68% of all female arrests, respectively.

Black women were arrested “at a per capita rate 13.4 times higher than women of other races,” says the report. San Francisco’s overall black population declined from 60,515 in 2000 to 48,870 in 2010.

San Francisco is one of the bluest, most left wing cities in the entire country.

And it’s also one of the most racist.

October 26, 2021. Tags: , . Racism. Leave a comment.

Magnificent Mile no more: Chicago is blighted by shoplifting as ANOTHER American city goes down the toilet because its left-wing AG stops prosecuting shoplifters who steal less than $1000 of goods

Magnificent Mile no more: Chicago is blighted by shoplifting as ANOTHER American city goes down the toilet because its left-wing AG stops prosecuting shoplifters who steal less than $1000 of goods

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile has been the target of rampant shoplifting that caused several stores to close their doors

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx mandates that Chicago prosecutors only issue felony charges for theft of property over $1,000

Thieves know they can grab armfuls of merchandise without being stopped by store security 

The city’s crime issue may only grow worse as at least 50 cops have been put on unpaid leave for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Cities throughout the country are facing similar issues, including San Francisco, where Walgreens just announced is was closing another five stores

By Brian Stieglitz

October 20, 2021

Chicago is the latest city to be hit by rampant shoplifting and its Magnificent Mile, the once highly-populated retail destination, is now dotted with empty storefronts as businesses are being driven away by the brazen thieves.

The city has been plagued by a string of robberies and a wave of crime in the past few months, as some say that the city’s ‘soft-on-crime’ policies embolden the thieves. The issue may only grow worse as at least 50 cops have been put on unpaid leave for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Shoplifting cases grew more common following a December 2016 motion from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx that mandated Chicago prosecutors only issue felony charges for theft of property over $1,000.

Her officer said at the time that the move was meant to shift focus to the driving factors of the crimes instead of low-level offenses. In turn, however, thieves know they can grab armfuls of merchandise without being stopped by store security.

Chicago’s most recent shoplifting spree involved a group of men who robbed three 7-Eleven convenience stores downtown in a span of 30 minutes on Monday morning.

Four armed men robbed a 7-Eleven on East Lake Street at 8.29am, in which they took an undetermined amount of cash before fleeing in a black vehicle, police said. Five minutes later, police believe the same group wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts, robbed another 7-Eleven and, just before 9am, they made a final stop at a third 7-Eleven and robbed it at gunpoint.

No arrests have been made as of Wednesday afternoon.

‘It’s a serious problem, and we have to address it,’ Alderman Brian Hopkins told CBS Chicago, explaining that the issue affects commercial real estate as well as public safety.

‘The commercial brokers tell us that when they get potential interest from a tenant, that’s one of the first questions they ask, is what’s happening in Chicago to stem the tide of retail shoplifting rings that have been operating with impunity downtown? And we don’t have a good answer right now for that.’

Hopkins added, ‘I think we have to look at prosecution. Clearly there’s a feeling running through the criminal elements that there are no consequences here. We have to look to the courts, and I think we have to just look to all the players in this drama to get Chicago to what it once was.’  

The city’s approach to prosecuting retail crime is similar to one in San Francisco, where prosecutors only issue felony charges for thefts of property worth over $950. Walgreens cited the shoplifting issue as the reason it closed 17 stores and is planning to close another five throughout the city, the pharmacy chain announced last week. 

Stores throughout Chicago’s Magnificent Mile are doing the same as Macy’s closed its 170,000-square-foot flagship store in Water Tower Place last spring, Japanese retailer Uniqlo closed its 60,000-square-foot store in August and the Disney Store closed its 7,000-square-foot location on Michigan Avenue last month.

In the past few years, Gap, Forever 21 and Tommy Bahama have also closed stores on the Magnificent Mile. The vacancy rate has skyrocketed from 11 percent in 2019 to 19 percent this year, according to ABC 7.

‘We recognize community concerns around crime, and the impact it can have on one’s sense of safety as well as the economic stability of a business,’ the State’s Attorney’s office wrote in a statement to CBS Chicago before doubling down on its approach to retail crime.

‘We continue to prosecute retail theft cases as misdemeanors and felonies when appropriate to do so based on the facts and evidence,’ the statement continued.

The State’s Attorney’s office said that so far this year, its prosecutors have reviewed and issued 38 total charges for retail theft in areas of Chicago including the Magnificent Mile and Streeterville. Of that number, 18 were approved as felony charges, 10 were prosecuted and six were convicted. 

The city’s shoplifting issue could grow worse as the Chicago Police Department has started placing officers on unpaid leave for failing to report their vaccination status by Friday’s deadline.

So far, about 50 officers have been placed on an unpaid status, according to Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday, however, called the 50 officers a ‘very small number’ who have had their pay stopped by the city for refusing to cooperate with the mandate.

As of Tuesday, 4,543 officers – a little over one third of the force – have not complied and are being given one last chance to report whether they’ve been vaccinated or be put on no-pay status.

Meanwhile, the city has started seeking recruits from suburban Illinois to fill the potential staffing shortage.   

Robb Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, told CBS Chicago that loss of sales tax associated with shoplifting – on top of the closing stores – further hinder Chicago’s post-pandemic recovery.

‘The impression around the nation is that Chicago is not a very safe place to be,’ he said. ‘And the incidents we saw this morning, over the weekend, the episodes before that, only feed that.’ 

Late last month, a gang of shoplifters was filmed brazenly ransacking UIta Beauty store in the Windy City’s Norridge suburb over the weekend. Footage showed a gang of three hooded thieves emptying its shelves of expensive Christian Dior and Armani makeup into black trash bags.

It was shared on social media Monday, with the shocked cameraman, who hasn’t been named, saying: ‘Look at this, this is insane,’ as he films the theft unfolding before his eyes.

It came as CWB Chicago reported Chicago’s stores have been targeted by three different organized crime gangs. One of those gangs has been targeting upmarket designer stores on the city’s Magnificent Mile, whose businesses were hit by looting in summer 2020 during riots in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

The second has targeted at least three Ulta Beauty stores – although it’s currently unclear if that is the same gang filmed at the Norridge location. And a third gang has been raiding Walgreen’s drug stores to steal cigarettes.

The first shoplifting crew was stealing from high-end Chicago stores between the Magnificent Mile and Rush Street, according to CWB Chicago. Twelve men were seen involved in a raid of 35 handbags at Bottega Veneta on September 27 – which go for thousands of dollars each- and left in two separate cars, including a gray Honda CRV.

The same crew allegedly attempted to steal from Salvatore Ferragamo an hour before but left after they were believed to be recognized by the store’s security guard. They already reportedly stole $43,000 worth of the store’s merchandise in August and injured the security guard during the theft.

‘Michigan Avenue is the economic engine of the city of Chicago. Almost 20% of the jobs are in the mag mile district jobs in the city of Chicago,’ Jack Lavin, the president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said to ABC 7. ‘$180 million of sales tax revenue is generated by this district, it’s the largest neighborhood in the city of Chicago.’ 

He said that the Chamber is pushing for ‘innovative’ ways to attract merchants back to the Magnificent Mile, adding that this may involve breaking large spaces up into smaller retail shops.

Meanwhile, the most recent victim of Chicago’s violent crime wave was a police officer who was shot in the face on Monday and returned to work that same evening, saluted by his colleagues as he entered the precinct still wearing his hospital gown.

The unnamed officer was shot in the cheek when he confronted Jovan McPherson, a felon on probation, who was threatening and holding a woman at gunpoint at a busy Lincoln Park strip mall, Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday.

McPherson allegedly pulled out a gun and a struggle ensued as the officer tried to take the weapon away, prosecutors said. That’s when McPherson fired a shot that struck the officer in the cheek, prosecutors said.

Chicago’s pattern of crime and shoplifting mirrors that of other cities like San Francisco, in which Walgreens announced that it is shuttering another five of its stores because of rampant shoplifting by thieves who sell the items outside the drugstore chain’s doors. 

The national chain has closed 17 of its 70 San Francisco locations in the past two years because of the shelf raiders, who have swiped everything not behind lock and key.

Thefts in the chain’s 53 remaining stores are five times the average for their stores elsewhere in the country, according to company officials.

San Francisco and Walgreens officials have cited ‘organized retail crime’ – in which the thieves sell the swiped merchandise outside the stores – as a main reason for the most recent closures.

‘Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that,’ Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told the Daily Mail last Wednesday.

‘Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average.’

Viral videos taken throughout the summer have shown shoplifters brazenly sauntering out of stores with armfuls of stolen goods as witnesses watch in shock.

In one incident, surveillance footage caught a group of thieves in masks and hoodies sprinting out of a San Francisco Neiman Marcus with armfuls of designer handbags and others casually walking out of a TJ Maxx store carrying bags worth of goods.

In another, in June, a prolific shoplifter who had stolen from the same Walgreens on at least four occasions, was seen loading armfuls of Walgreens products into a trash bag, then riding his bike through the store with the stolen goods while the security guard and bystanders looked on.

The suspect, Jean Lugo-Romero, 40, was arrested on June 19 and remains in jail.

Shoplifting has been a problem in the Democrat-run state since 2014 – following the passage of Proposition 47, a ballot referendum known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act – that downgraded the theft of property worth less than $950 in value from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Cases have jumped during the pandemic as store staff and security guards choose not to pursue the thieves. Larceny and theft remain the most common crimes committed in San Francisco, increasing by about 8 percent from last year. There were 21,842 cases reported through October 10 of this year, compared with 20,254 cases during the same time through 2020.

The Walgreens locations that will be closing include: 2550 Ocean Avenue, on November 8, 4645 Mission Street, on November 11, 745 Clement Street, on November 15, 300 Gough Street on November 15, and 3400 Cesar Chavez Street on November 17.

New York City stores are also rife with shoplifting incidents and, earlier this month, a TikTok video went viral that revealed brazen thieves stealing from a Rite Aid in front of a security guard before leaving with their stolen items. The security guard, a woman named India who said she worked at a Rite Aid, posted the video to TikTok and dubbed it ‘a typical night at work.’

It showed a parade of people taking things off the shelves and walking out with one of the thieves even smiling and waving at her as he passed.

The comment led people to ask her why she isn’t stopping the thieves if she is supposed to be a security guard, to which she replied: ‘Because it’s illegal to touch, grab or use any physical force to stop them.’

Instead, she said, her job is to ‘observe and report.’


October 25, 2021. Tags: , , , . Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

In-N-Out Burger tells San Francisco ‘we refuse to become the vaccination police’ after city closes restaurant

In-N-Out Burger tells San Francisco ‘we refuse to become the vaccination police’ after city closes restaurant

By Chris Pandolfo

October 19, 2021

In-N-Out Burger blasted the city of San Francisco’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements after the San Francisco Department of Health closed one of the popular California burger joint’s locations for serving customers who were not carrying the proper papers.

“On Thursday, October 14, the San Francisco Department of Public Health closed our restaurant at 333 Jefferson Street because In-N-Out Burger Associates (employees) were not preventing the entry of Customers who were not carrying proper vaccination documentation,” In-N-Out Burger’s chief legal and business officer, Arnie Wensinger, said in a statement.

“Our store properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements,” Wensinger said. “After closing our restaurant, local regulators informed us that our restaurant Associates must actively intervene by demanding proof of vaccination and photo identification from every Customer, then act as enforcement personnel by barring entry for any Customers without the proper documentation.”

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” Wensinger declared, slamming the San Francisco Department of Health’s requirements as “unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe” and accusing the city of asking restaurants to “segregate Customers” based on vaccine documentation.

In August, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the city would require businesses in “high-contact indoor sectors,” including bars, restaurants, clubs, and gyms to obtain proof of COVID-19 vaccination from patrons and employees before servicing them. The health order was implemented to “protect against the continued spread of COVID-19, particularly among the unvaccinated,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

“Many San Francisco businesses are already leading the way by requiring proof of vaccination for their customers because they care about the health of their employees, their customers, and this City. This order builds on their leadership and will help us weather the challenges ahead and keep our businesses open. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and our way back to a life where we can be together safely,” Breed said at the time.

San Francisco was among the first major U.S. cities to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor restaurants and other businesses. The city also implemented a vaccine mandate for workers at these places of business, which went into effect on Oct. 13.

In his statement, Wensinger accused San Francisco of forcing businesses “to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business.”

“This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.”

The San Francisco Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

October 19, 2021. Tags: , , , . COVID-19, Police state. 1 comment.

San Francisco keeps making it easier and easier for shoplifters to destroy businesses

Looters ransack San Francisco Neiman Marcus in broad daylight: Video

By Jake Dima

July 6, 2021

Looters were captured on video Monday ransacking a Neiman Marcus in San Francisco as thefts continue to plague businesses in the area.

At least nine suspects smashed display cases, snatched handbags, and jetted out of the building before law enforcement arrived to the scene at about 6 p.m., according to footage. The suspects were seen running out of the store with their hands full of merchandise before entering an apparent getaway car that sped off down a busy intersection.

A man was caught on video in June filling a garbage bag with what appeared to be hair products before leaving the drugstore on his bicycle. A security guard, who was recording the incident, tried to grab the individual, though he eluded custody.

Walgreens shuttered 17 of its stores in the San Francisco area in the past five years, and the company said thefts in the area are four times more likely than anywhere else in the country as executives budgeted 35 times more for security personnel to guard the chains.

Target executives in the city also decided to limit business hours in response to an uptick in larceny.

Shoppers can no longer buy products in the chains after 6 p.m. after once being permitted to shop until 10 p.m.

“For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores,” a spokesperson for Target said at the time.

San Francisco Police Lt. Tracy McCray faulted District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s “criminals first agenda” for the uptick in theft incidents.

“What happened in that Walgreens has been going on in the city for quite a while,” she said in June. “I’m used to it. I mean, we could have a greatest hits compilation of people just walking in and cleaning out the store shelves and security guards, the people who work there, just standing by helplessly because they can’t do anything.”

“The ‘criminals first’ agenda from the district attorney [is to blame] because he’s not prosecuting any of those crimes as felonies [or] as a commercial burglary. [Criminals realize,] ‘This is gonna get slapped down to a misdemeanor,'” she continued.

Thefts under $950 are considered a misdemeanor in McCray’s area of operation, she added, and suspected criminals are often issued citations instead of spending time in jail ahead of their court date. In some cases, she said, thieves will have their case thrown out if they skip their court appearances.

Neither the San Francisco Police Department nor Neiman Marcus immediately responded to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.

July 6, 2021. Tags: , , , . Rioting looting and arson, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

S.F. spends more than $60K per tent at homeless sites. Now it’s being asked for another $15 million for the program.

S.F. spends more than $60K per tent at homeless sites. Now it’s being asked for another $15 million for the program.

By Trisha Thadani

June 24, 2021

San Francisco’s homelessness department is pushing to continue an expensive tent encampment program that it says is crucial for keeping people off the sidewalks, despite its high price tag of more than $60,000 per tent, per year.

The city has six so-called “safe sleeping villages,” where homeless people sleep in tents and also receive three meals a day, around-the-clock security, bathrooms and showers. The city created these sites during the pandemic to quickly get people off crowded sidewalks and into a place where they can socially distance and access basic services.

The program currently costs $18.2 million for about 260 tents. Unlike the city’s homeless hotel program, the tent villages are not eligible for federal reimbursement. Some of the sites have been run by nonprofits Urban Alchemy, Dolores Street Community Services and Larkin Street Youth Services.

The department is now asking the city for $15 million in the upcoming fiscal year for a similar number of tents, which amounts to about $57,000 per tent per year. If the funding is approved, San Francisco will pay about twice the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment for people to sleep in tents for the second year in a row.

The department plans to close some sites this year, but said it will look for new ones to replace them. Officials said they plan to significantly ramp down the program in fiscal year 2022-2023, when it expects to need $5 million to fund the program.

Several supervisors said at a Wednesday budget hearing that the cost must be re-examined, especially as the city winds down its COVID-19 emergency response.

“It is a big deal to have showers and bathrooms, and I don’t dispute that,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen said at Wednesday’s Budget and Finance Appropriations Committee meeting. “But the cost just doesn’t make any sense.”

Gigi Whitley, the homeless department’s deputy director of administration and finance, said the bulk of the costs at the sites come from the 24-hour security, three meals a day, and the rented shower and bathroom facilities.

Whitley said she hopes the department can control costs as it takes over the program from the city’s COVID-19 Command Center.

The tent program is entirely paid for through Proposition C, a 2018 business tax measure that collects money for homeless services. The cost accounts for only a fraction of the more-than $1 billion that the city expects to spend on homelessness over the next two years, mostly due to Prop. C.

Still, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí said it seemed like an “exorbitant” amount for a program that would be phased out as the COVID-19 emergency comes to an end.

The discussion comes as the city prepares to wind down its homeless hotel program, which is currently sheltering about 2,000 people. While the homeless department has promised that every hotel resident will be offered a housing placement, the city is still grappling with a tight housing market and limited shelter options for the thousands on its streets.

Shireen McSpadden, director of the department, said group shelters are still not allowed to operate at full capacity, despite Breed lifting all other COVID-19 restrictions on June 15.

The department said it is still “reviewing” federal shelter health guidelines and waiting on state public health guidance to “finalize the local shelter reopening plan and timeline.” The capacity reductions are significant: For example, there are currently only 91 guests allowed at the 200-bed Navigation Center on the Embarcadero, the department said.

Because of the shelter limitations and the upcoming closure of some hotels, McSpadden said she feels “strongly” that the city should maintain the tent program at its current level.

“We need it as just another tool in our toolkit as we bring people out of the hotels,” she said.

The board’s Budget and Finance Committee will decide whether to approve the proposal next week, before the entire budget moves to the full board for a vote. Then it will return to the mayor for her approval at the end of the summer.

Supervisor Matt Haney, chair of the committee, was also critical of the program’s cost Wednesday. He said the committee will decide next week whether it wants to reduce the money given to the tent sites and “instead direct the funds to other, more cost-effective investments to get people off the streets.”

June 26, 2021. Tags: , . Government waste, Housing. 1 comment.

This guy tried to start a new business in San Francisco, but government bureaucracy forced him to abandon his plans after he had already spent $200,000

The ice cream owner who tried, failed – and now owes $200,000

By Gene Marks

May 30, 2021

He tried, and he failed. But the worst part is he never got a chance to even start. And now he’s got a $200,000 debt to pay off.

That’s the story of Jason Yu, a 30-year-old father of two who had the audacity to attempt to open up an ice cream shop in San Francisco’s Mission District. Unfortunately, the city got in his way.

As reported by San Francisco Chronicle, Yu started his project – a shop that sold green-tea-flavored ice cream – in late 2018, and ultimately found a location in mid-2019 where he got to work. After committing to a lease ($7,300 a month – this is San Francisco, remember?) he hired an architect to draw up plans for the space, which proposed no structural changes or modifications.

Then the city stepped in.

After submitting plans to the department of building and inspection in November 2019, which required him to notify his neighbors, one of said neighbors – a competing ice cream shop no less – contested the idea and Yu was forced to wait until the following June before he could plead his case in front the city’s planning commission (more legal fees), who ultimately gave him the go-ahead.

So we’re ready to open, right? Wrong.

As the Chronicle explains: “Yu won approval, but then got stuck in the city’s never-ending web of securing permits. The Department of Building Inspection’s online permit tracker shows Yu faced 15 hurdles to secure his permits including getting the sign-off from a host of departments. The last to weigh in was the Department of Public Health, which said in December its review was complete, but that Yu owed more money in permit fees before the department could give the OK.”

Yu had spent a boatload – about $200,000 – by this point and still had nothing to show for it. It was then that he decided to cut his losses and abandon the idea. “This [the ice cream shop] became a nightmare project,” Yu said.

The problem facing small business owners like Yu is that, in San Francisco, existing businesses and residents are allowed to contest the establishment of new businesses or construction projects in their neighborhoods. Many – not surprisingly – have pushed these rights to their extreme because there’s little downside to filing even frivolous claims. So, as Mike Chen reports in The Frisc, an existing falafel shop can tie up a would-be competitor for months or neighbors can reject each other’s remodeling plans for the smallest of reasons.

“While community and neighborhood input is often positive, what we have here is overkill,” Chen writes. “The labyrinthine permitting and ‘Discretionary Review’ process (where appeals courts can decide what cases to hear) contribute to commercial storefront vacancies and to our housing crisis.” Chen says he had observed regulatory processes like discretionary reviews and environmental appeals “for years”.

The good news is that San Francisco’s political leaders seem to be waking up to the fact that over-regulation is killing commerce.

Yu’s story, which went viral last month (and spurred an online campaign against the competing ice cream shop owner) has drawn national attention to San Francisco’s burdensome process for starting up a small business. In late 2020, the city passed legislation – called Prop H – to help streamline the process for starting a new business but there have been few takers so far. According to Knight, as of the end of last month only 50 people have expressed interest and only two new businesses have been approved.

Thanks to Covid – and a good broadband connection – many workers and entrepreneurs are already moving out of big towns and enjoying the quality of life found in more peaceful surroundings where costs are lower and safe streets are a given. For cities like San Francisco to counter this growing trend, rules have to be relaxed and more businesses should be allowed to move quickly and easily open. Forcing a would-be owner of an ice cream shop of all things to spend $200,000 and then abandon the venture because of red tape is not a recipe for future economic growth.

May 30, 2021. Tags: , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Women’s Advocates Alarmed as Soros-backed San Francisco DA Drops Domestic Violence Charges

Women’s Advocates Alarmed as Soros-backed San Francisco DA Drops Domestic Violence Charges

April 25, 2021

Women’s groups are expressing alarm as San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has decreased the rate at which domestic violence charges are filed, allowing many suspects to go free and potentially putting women and children in danger.

Boudin was backed by billionaire left-wing donor George Soros in his 2019 election race — one of several left-wing prosecutors Soros has funded in a bid to overturn criminal justice in the U.S., long before the George Floyd case.

In addition, Boudin is also the son of two members of the Weather Underground, regarded by the FBI as a domestic terrorist organization. As Breitbart News has noted, Boudin’s parents “were getaway drivers in a 1981 armored car heist that led to the deaths of two police officers and a guard, the UK Guardian recalled.” After taking office, Boudin began cutting prosecutors and dropping charges in serious cases, notably one in which a man allegedly attacked police officers with a vodka bottle.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, women’s advocates are alarmed by Boudin’s tendency to release domestic violence offenders — including a man who was arrested on suspicion of killing a seven-month old baby, and was released:

The news itself was crushing. A 7-month-old baby boy named Synciere Williams died Tuesday. The man charged with taking care of him that day, Joseph Williams, 26, was booked by police for allegedly murdering the child. And, it turned out, he’d been arrested twice recently on suspicion of felony domestic violence, in January and March, before being released without charges.

But when Kathy Black, the executive director of La Casa de las Madres, a shelter for domestic violence victims in the city, read how District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office had explained the tragedy, she felt even more devastated. His spokesperson said the woman in the previous cases had refused to cooperate with prosecutors, so he couldn’t file charges.

The notion that charging cases hinges on whether battered victims will stand up in court against people with whom they’re in a relationship — and may rely upon for income and housing — is so old-school, Black was surprised to hear the famously progressive district attorney use it as justification for dropping the case. It’s true that such a lack of cooperation can make proving a case more difficult, but it certainly doesn’t make it impossible.

“It’s so archaic,” Black said. “Oh, my God. It’s just shocking to me.”

The Chronicle notes: “The District Attorney’s Office filed charges in 15% of felony domestic violence cases last year, a rate that has continued so far this year. The same figure ranged from 20% to 27% from 2016 through 2019. Boudin’s filing rate for misdemeanor domestic violence cases is 38%, which is more in line with previous years.”

Thus Boudin is charging felony domestic violence even more rarely than his left-wing predecessor, George Gascón. Gascón is now the Los Angeles County District Attorney, after being supported by Soros in his own election race in 2020. He is pursuing similarly radical policies, over the opposition of his own prosecutors, who have taken him to court.

Both Gascón and Boudin face now possible recall elections. Gascón’s political action committee recently donated $100,000 to help Boudin fight the recall effort.

April 27, 2021. Tags: , , . Social justice warriors, Violent crime. Leave a comment.

S.F. man accused of killing 7-month-old was arrested twice for domestic violence this year

S.F. man accused of killing 7-month-old was arrested twice for domestic violence this year
By Megan Cassidy

April 23, 2021

A San Francisco man was arrested on suspicion of murder this week in the death of a 7-month-old boy who was in his care, officials said Thursday.

Officials with the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office identified the baby as Synciere Williams. The suspect, 26-year-old Joseph Williams, was booked into San Francisco jail Tuesday night, and is held on suspicion of murder and assault on a child causing death, among other charges.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said although the investigation is ongoing and prosecutors are awaiting a final cause-of-death determination from the medical examiner, he has decided to file homicide charges.

“The death of (Synciere) is a horrific tragedy and should have never happened,” Boudin said in a statement to The Chronicle. “The loss of a child so young is hard to even comprehend.”

Police said that, despite having the same last name, the child and suspect were not related.

At about 12:53 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to California Pacific Medical Center on the 1200 block of Franklin Street regarding an unresponsive baby boy, San Francisco police officials said in a statement to The Chronicle. The boy had been brought into the emergency room by his “adult male caregiver,” who was Joseph Williams, police said.

Upon arrival, police learned that medical staff had declared the boy deceased and that hospital staffers had noticed signs of trauma on the infant. Officials with the Medical Examiner’s Office, San Francisco police’s homicide detail and Child Protective Services were notified of the death.

Homicide investigators later developed probable cause to arrest Joseph Williams for homicide, but police did not provide further details on the investigation.

Williams had two prior domestic violence arrests this year but was not charged with either incident, both of which involved a woman he was in a relationship with, police said. Officials with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said the woman refused to cooperate with the prosecution and told police she had attacked Williams first.

“Given the lack of cooperation with prosecution, we were unable to move forward with either of those cases,” said Rachel Marshall, a spokesperson the District Attorney’s Office.

The first arrest came on Jan. 7, when he was booked after an altercation with a woman near Market and Montgomery streets, San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said. Police said Williams was in a shoving match with a woman he was dating, and there was a stroller nearby occupied by a 10-month-old baby girl.

The woman told police the incident began in an apartment in the Tenderloin, where the two had an argument over their relationship. The woman said Williams grabbed her by the throat and left, and the argument spilled out into the street. Police at the time noted that the woman complained of bruising on her neck and that she refused medical treatment, Andraychak said.

Then on March 26, police responded to an apartment on the the 700 block of O’Farrell Street to investigate a report of a woman screaming and a baby crying. Officers spoke to the same woman as the previous incident, who told them that she and Williams argued about their relationship. She asked him to leave and attempted to push him out.

She had a cut on her lip and a mark on her forehead, and told police Williams had punched her and pushed her into a cabinet, Andraychak said.

For the Jan. 7 incident, Williams was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and child endangerment, according to Andraychak. After the March incident, he was booked on suspicion of felony domestic violence and false imprisonment.

The chain of events, Marshall said, “speaks to the need for better services and responses to domestic violence reports.”

April 27, 2021. Tags: , , . Social justice warriors, Violent crime. Leave a comment.

One of the country’s best public high schools plans to replace its merit based admission system with a random lottery, because the school currently has too many Asian students

My own personal preference is for 100% meritocracy every time. I want the best engineers. I want airplanes that stay up in the air. I want bridges that don’t fall down. I want surgeons who save their patients instead of killing them.

This new policy of replacing merit based admissions with a random lottery is just one more example of the dumbing down of this country’s educational system.

Prestigious San Francisco High School To ‘Combat Racism’ By Selecting Students Based On Skin Color

Excellence is falling prey to activists who prefer to believe that social justice means making outcomes equal for every race at any expense.
By Kenny Xu

February 15, 2021
Lowell High School in San Francisco, California, has long been known as a public school dedicated to developing excellence in its students. Its educational resources have attracted many high-achieving families to the area. Lowell’s academics rank among the best in the nation, placing in the top 1 percent of California schools in math performance while producing such distinguished alumni as Justice Stephen Breyer and three Nobel Prize laureates.

Recently, however, “equity and diversity” activists have dismantled Lowell’s admissions system, leading a cadre of school board members to vote 5-2 to eliminate the merit-based admissions. According to the latest figures, Lowell is 50 percent Asian American, 18 percent white, 12 percent Latino, and roughly 2 percent black. The activists say this proves, not that black, white, and Latino children need much better academic preparation, but that Lowell’s admissions program systemically excludes black students in favor of white and Asian applicants.

A new resolution proposed by Lowell High School board members will permanently replace the school’s admissions system based on grades and test scores with a random lottery.

Lowell High School is the only high school in the San Francisco Unified School District with a merit-based admissions system instead of a lottery for entry. Indeed, the merit-based process is critical for the school to earn its reputation as a center of excellence whose students will ultimately go on to serve their community positively.

Julian Chan, a 2010 Lowell graduate, explains, “What they are doing would mean there would be no more Lowell High School. It’d just be another San Francisco public school, and we all know Lowell is not just another San Francisco public school.”

Yet “equity” activists made the devolution of the only public high school in San Francisco with merit-based admissions requirements a major thrust of its agenda. Citing the lack of black students, the school board released a proposal on Feb. 2 entitled “In Response to Ongoing, Pervasive Systemic Racism at Lowell High School,” suggesting the school’s admissions process reinforces “segregation” of black and Latino students.

The San Francisco School Board also took lessons from antiracist lecturer Ibram X. Kendi on how Asian American dominance on standardized tests reflects “racism” against black students:

[Advocates for standardized tests] will claim white and Asian kids on average score higher on tests because they are smarter or work harder. Meaning Black and Latinx kids are not as smart or not as hard-working. Meaning white and Asian kids are superior.

Board member Allison Collins was one of the school authorities taking her cues from Kendi, muttering in one town hall meeting with defenders of the merit-based process: “I’m listening to a bunch of racists.”

This is the kind of awful logic that unfairly blames Asian Americans for playing by the rules of the game. If standardized tests are a metric for entry into an academically excellent public high school, then it is not “racist” for Asian American students to study for them to get in. On the contrary, it shows both intelligence and preparation — meritorious characteristics we need to see reflected in more American students — to perform well on a standardized test.

But the biggest reason, it seems, that the school board is acting so quickly on eliminating the merit-based admissions program to Lowell High School is because the idea of merit itself is odious to its most fervent of today’s “social justice” advocates.

“Lowell High School has often been referred to as SFUSD’s ‘elite’ ‘academic’ high school,” the board wrote, “[but] San Francisco Unified School District does not believe that any student or school is more or less ‘elite’ than any other school.”

The hard truth is, however, Lowell High School has been referred to as an elite academic high school because it is an elite academic high school. Lowell’s mission was always to train the brightest students and offer a place for gifted students to achieve their full potential in the San Francisco region.

The school’s website asserts it is “one of the highest performing public high schools in California” and a four-time National Blue-Ribbon school of excellence. Without Lowell, parents of gifted children would likely be forced to dig deep in their own pockets to send their kids to private schools that can hone and refine their abilities.

Due to the coronavirus lockdowns, Lowell High School eliminated the merit-based admissions process for one year. Tellingly, a petition of concerned families with more than 11,000 signatures, reveals that Lowell High School alumni and parents feared back in October of 2020 that “the transition will become permanent and remove one of the two remaining academic and merit-based public high schools in the city.” Sadly, it appears their apprehensions were warranted.

The school district has also aggressively moved to implement other parts of a broadly “antiracist” agenda during this time, including renaming San Francisco Schools (including a school named after Abraham Lincoln) and adopting “ethnic studies” curricula in all of its high schools focusing on “African American Studies,” “Latino American Studies,” and “Asian American Studies.”

Ultimately, the elimination of Lowell’s merit-based system represents, yet another victory for the “equity” advocates who use the narrative of systemic racism to tear down San Francisco’s centers of excellence in the name of diversity and desegregation. Sadly, unless more Americans stand up to the schemes of leftists, Lowell will undoubtedly not be the last bastion of distinction to be toppled.

February 15, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Cancel culture goes after the President who freed the slaves

Washington and Lincoln are out. S.F. school board tosses 44 school names in controversial move

January 27, 2021

The names of presidents, conquistadors, authors and even a current U.S. senator will be removed from 44 San Francisco school sites after the city’s school board Tuesday deemed the iconic figures unworthy of the honor.

The 6-1 vote followed months of controversy, with officials, parents, students and alumni at odds over whether Abraham Lincoln and George Washington high schools, Dianne Feinstein Elementary and dozens of others needed new names with no connection to slavery, oppression, racism or similar criteria.

Critics called the process slapdash, with little to no input from historians and a lack of information on the basis for each recommendation. In one instance, the committee didn’t know whether Roosevelt Middle School was named after Theodore or Franklin Delano.

“I must admit there are reasons to support this resolution, but I can’t,” said community member Jean Barish, who said the process has been flawed and based on emotion rather than expertise. “These are not decisions that should be made in haste.”

School board members, however, have insisted that the renaming is timely and important, given the country’s reckoning with a racist past. They have argued the district is capable of pursuing multiple priorities at the same time, responding to critics who say more pressing issues deserve attention.

January 27, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

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