The Once Great City

So sad what is happening to the City; and this article from City Journal reports on the current results.

An excerpt.

“On January 8, London Breed, San Francisco’s mayor, was sworn in for her first full term. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated her in a tweet, saying, “I look forward to working with you to continue San Francisco’s proud tradition of standing as a guiding light for progress across America.” I don’t know what definition of “progress” Pelosi is using, but any candid observer would rate the city a catastrophe. Mayor Breed was inaugurated on the same day that I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, after ten years working at the cutting edge of science and technology.

“Even before the current Covid-19 pandemic, San Francisco was a deeply troubled city. It ranks first in the nation in theft, burglary, vandalism, shoplifting, and other property crime. On average, about 60 cars get broken into each day. Diseases arising from poor sanitation—typhoid, typhus, hepatitis A—are reappearing at an alarming rate. Fentanyl goes for about $20 a pill on Market Street, and each year the city hands out 4.5 million needles, which you can find used and tossed out like cigarette butts in parks and around bus stops. The city’s department of public works deploys feces cleaners daily—a “poop patrol” to wash the filth from the sidewalks.

“This is just a brief summary of the lack of hygiene and common decency. A reasonable person might declare an emergency, but in her first official act, Breed swore in Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s new district attorney, before a packed house at the Herbst Theater. “Chesa, you have undertaken a remarkable challenge today,” said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a congratulatory video message. “I hope you reflect as a great beacon to many.” Boudin’s résumé boasts of a stint working directly for the late dictator Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, who turned a once-rich nation back to the dark ages. “We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes,” Boudin promised during his campaign. He must have witnessed the success of that policy in Caracas, which was voted the world’s most dangerous city in 2018.

“Even the sights and sounds of the city suggest a certain derangement. When the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system was first built in the 1970s, its designers failed to understand the acoustics between wheel, track, and tunnel. Since the nineteenth century, competent railroad engineers have known that a tapered, flanged wheel will handle turns better and generate less noise. For some reason, BART designers ignored this design in favor of a cylindrical wheel with a straight edge. Years of wear and tear have degraded the screech into a mad howl. According to a recent count by the San Francisco Chronicle, BART has lost nearly 10 million riders on nights and weekends because of the noise, grime, and lack of safety. It doesn’t help that it has also become a de facto shelter for drug addicts and the mentally ill.

“Today, it’s nearly impossible to build anything in San Francisco. Infrastructure projects balloon indefinitely. In 2001, the city proposed a new bus lane on Van Ness, one of the main arteries. Nearly 20 years later, the new lane’s opening is slated for 2021; Van Ness remains a mess of potholes, equipment, and detours. It wasn’t always this way. In the 1930s, the Golden Gate Bridge was built in three and a half years. To commemorate its completion, as an encore, the city created an artificial island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Treasure Island took under three years to finish.

“The city no longer builds housing, either. Due to the nation’s tightest zoning rules and land-use restrictions, developers struggle mightily to put up new apartments and houses. Even after getting permission to build—following years of scrambling through a dysfunctional approval process—it costs about $700,000 to construct a single new apartment unit. Consequently, the cost of housing has skyrocketed. The median price for a one-bedroom rental is the most expensive in the nation, at about $3,700 per month. To buy a single-family home, a family needs $1.5 million, on average—and they’d better be a cash buyer.”

Retrieved May 13, 2020 from https://www.city-journal.org/thousands-leaving-troubled-san-francisco

Be well Everyone!

 

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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