Happy Juneteeth, everyone! Last year, a reader pointed out that this is a holiday that celebrates white saviors so let’s look at Chesa Boudin, who became the ultimate white savior as the San Francisco District Attorney who wouldn’t prosecute anyone because prosecution is inherently racist. (Comment: “Juneteenth is the ultimate holiday for White Supremacy — it signals that blacks were incapable of independently securing their own freedom. They needed white men to fight other white men to free the hapless blacks from slavery.”)
On a cold, sunny day not too long ago, I went to see the city’s new Tenderloin Center for drug addicts on Market Street. It’s downtown, an open-air chain-link enclosure in what used to be a public plaza. On the sidewalks all around it, people are lying on the ground, twitching. There’s a free mobile shower, laundry, and bathroom station emblazoned with the words dignity on wheels. A young man is lying next to it, stoned, his shirt riding up, his face puffy and sunburned. Inside the enclosure, services are doled out: food, medical care, clean syringes, referrals for housing. It’s basically a safe space to shoot up. The city government says it’s trying to help. But from the outside, what it looks like is young people being eased into death on the sidewalk, surrounded by half-eaten boxed lunches.
A couple of years ago, this was an intersection full of tourists and office workers who coexisted, somehow, with the large and ever-present community of the homeless. I’ve walked the corner a thousand times. Now the homeless—and those who care for the homeless—are the only ones left.
Do we blame Chesa Boudin, though? Why not the Covidcrats that mostly shut down the city with no plans for a restart? It wasn’t Chesa Boudin who made it illegal for a person to be an office worker or for a tourist business to operate. What do the health stats look like when a city follows Science?
San Francisco saw 92 drug deaths in 2015. There were about 700 in 2020. By way of comparison, that year, 261 San Franciscans died of COVID.
How about the stats on redistribution of wealth?
About 70 percent of shoplifting cases in San Francisco ended in an arrest in 2011. In 2021, only 15 percent did.
Immigrants are working hard in San Francisco’s best-known retail sector:
[Chesa Boudin] has suggested that many drug dealers in San Francisco are themselves vulnerable and in need of protection. “A significant percentage of people selling drugs in San Francisco—perhaps as many as half—are here from Honduras,” he said in a 2020 virtual town hall. “We need to be mindful about the impact our interventions have … Some of these young men have been trafficked here under pain of death. Some of them have had family members in Honduras who have been or will be harmed if they don’t continue to pay off the traffickers.”
The author, who is generally hostile to the direction that San Francisco has taken, follows this paragraph by stressing her agreement with the principle that all migrants must be cherished:
Of course there is good in what Boudin was trying to do. … No one wants immigrants’ relatives to be killed by MS-13.
Being 2SLGBTQQIA+ is not sufficient. A person must be 2SLGBTQQIA+ and of color in order to be selected:
One night in 2021, the [school board] meeting lasted seven hours, one of which was devoted to making sure a man named Seth Brenzel stayed off the parent committee. Brenzel is a music teacher, and at the time he and his husband had a child in public school. Eight seats on the committee were open, and Brenzel was unanimously recommended by the other committee members. But there was a problem: Brenzel is white. “My name’s Mari,” one attendee said. “I’m an openly queer parent of color that uses they/them pronouns.” They noted that the parent committee was already too white (out of 10 sitting members, three were white). This was “really, really problematic,” they said. “I bet there are parents that we can find that are of color and that also are queer … QTPOC voices need to be led first before white queer voices.”
San Franciscans came up with a good name for the University of Xbox:
In February 2021, [school board] board members agreed that they would avoid the phrase learning loss to describe what was happening to kids locked out of their classrooms. Instead they would use the words learning change. Schools being shut just meant students were “having different learning experiences than the ones we currently measure,” Gabriela López, a member of the board at the time, said. “They are learning more about their families and their cultures.” Framing this as some kind of “deficit” was wrong, the board argued.
New York City collapsed financially and from a quality of life point of view back in the 1970s. But Wall Street generated so much money that eventually NYC got it back together. The city government couldn’t waste every dime. San Francisco also has near-infinite money so presumably it should be able to recover from any missteps (even if the children who were denied a year of education will never fully recover from that).
What does the recovery look like, though? And what are our criteria for determining if a recovery has occurred? No more tents on the sidewalks? No more open-air drug markets?
My prediction is that the current residents of the city never recover from the mess that they’ve made for themselves. They never learn that all of the stuff they’re complaining about is actually stuff that they voted for. What happens is that they get replaced. Not only the Honduran drug dealers mentioned in the article move in, but also young nerds to slave away for the tech companies. The replacement process takes 7 years and then maybe it takes another 3 years for the city government to change. So the things that today’s white Progressives in SF complain about are mostly gone by 2032.
Readers: What do you predict?
(photo: Good Mong Kok Bakery, 2012)