SF's Homelessness, Gangs, and Needles: A Schizo Summer

Is this summer’s political madness an aberration, or are we kidding ourselves?

By BENJAMIN WACHS

Is it just me, or is San Francisco having a schizophrenic episode?

I’m not talking about our ongoing “Summer of Love” flashback (if the '60s are this dull in retrospect, imagine how boring they must have been to live through). I’m talking about the weird, hallucinatory conversation our body politic seems to be having with itself right now:

After going out of our way to create a city that is friendly to transients, we suddenly want squatters the hell out of Golden Gate Park.

A year after opening a major clean needle giveaway program, we’re insisting that somebody clean all those needles up.

After 30 years of “transit first” policy, a small but vocal minority is saying “Hey, we need more damn parking spaces,” and after passing policy after policy to encourage law enforcement to respect the civil rights of poor minorities, the District Attorney’s office is specifically trying to curtail the civil rights of a group of poor minorities in order to fight gang activity.

Do we need help?

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