London calling (b.s.)

The mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, has decided to take a sharp turn and go all law-and-order on the city's hideously trashed Tenderloin District. Her sudden move to announce a cleanup of the area comes after a lot of negative publicity, including a heartbreaking story that I pointed to here. The police, who have been doing next to nothing in the area, are apparently going to start enforcing some laws.

San Francisco mayor London Breed did not mince words in a press conference this week as she announced a police intervention in the Tenderloin district in order to end “all the bullshit that has destroyed our city.”

It’s rare for mayors to use the present-perfect tense to describe the destruction of a city they govern. But brazen crime, drug overdoses, and homelessness in San Francisco have made national headlines in the past few weeks. “In recent months, we’ve not only seen a number of high-profile incidents of brazen robberies and car break-ins but also street behavior and criminal activity, especially in the Tenderloin, that has become far too normal and cannot continue to be tolerated,” Breed said.

The mayor will be crucified politically for her new stance, of course. There's a sizeable segment of the population who scream and moan any time anyone suggests tough love with the tent-dwellers. Those critics will never be satisfied. I guess maybe they'd stop whining if you gave each of the squatters a two-bedroom apartment to trash, and a nice allowance to buy more fentanyl. Otherwise, you're a fascist to suggest that people with no house have to live in a shelter.

If you hate capitalism and resent your own failure to succeed in that system, a downtown full of junkies in tents is perfect. It's also good if you make a living off the situation.

Earlier this week, Ms. Breed acknowledged that many of her progressive constituents would push back on her efforts, but she said, “We can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” She said San Francisco was a compassionate place, one that prided itself on second chances. “But we are not a city where anything goes,” she said.

The scene in the Tenderloin has never been pretty. I remember trying to meet up with some friends for lunch there 15 years ago. It was a zoo then. Since then, it's only gotten worse. Much worse. That puts it in third-world territory.

I admire Breed for telling it like it is, and pushing the pendulum back toward sanity. I hope she follows through as the whiners do their damnedest to stop her.

There will be ugly moments. There will be lawsuits. Breed might get voted out of office. But if she's sincere here, God bless her, it's about time.

It's also time for Portlanders to get with the program, starting with a new mayor and some new City Council members. The current crew is a bunch of pallbearers.