Dean Preston, the Supervisor representing San Fransico’s District 5, has identified the cause of his city’s overwhelming homeless problem. He claims it’s the “result of capitalism and what happens in capitalism to the people at the bottom rungs.”
It’s not surprising that Preston blames capitalism for his district’s homeless crisis. He is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America. In his inherently flawed reality, capitalist economies cause income inequality, disparities in housing market opportunities, lack of social safety nets, job insecurity, and substance abuse issues.
San Fransisco’s homelessness crisis was brought to the nation’s attention in the weeks leading up to the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. The mid-November event drew many guests to San Francisco, including President Joe Biden, China’s President Xi Jinping, and other high-profile dignitaries.
In anticipation of the event, California Governor Gavin Newsom made extensive efforts to spruce up the city streets. Trash was cleared, flower boxes placed, and, most importantly, homeless people were tossed out and forced to resettle outside the barricaded city.
Residents had a brief reprieve from the crime plaguing their city as the police presence increased ahead of the summit. Roads were sealed off, and alternate routes were arranged to manage traffic flow.
Almost immediately after the summit ended, the focus on Preston’s District 5 (the Tenderloin District), known for hosting a sizable portion of the city’s homeless population, also ceased. Once the barriers were removed and the police were relieved of their security duties, the problems returned.
But his district’s issues, including homelessness, crime, and drug addiction, are all intertwined. They are exacerbated by Preston’s continued support for the “defund the police” movement. Even as the Tenderloin District battles open-air drug markets, Preston claims that the city’s police department budget is “bloated.” In an interview, Preston stated, “[There is] all kinds of waste in the police department. I mean, I could cut a hundred million dollars out of the police department.”
His solution to the “bloated police department” is simple. Stop arresting drug dealers and people openly using drugs on the street. Preston is a vocal opponent of what he calls “inconsistent” strategies dealing with drug dealer arrests and homeless encampments. He claims that these tactics don’t improve the safety of residents in District 5 and alleges that the strategies make the city less secure and increase drug overdoses.
The crisis in the Tenderloin District drew the attention of Elon Musk, owner of X. Musk observed that Preston’s policies are behind the city’s marked deterioration, from homelessness to the increase in violent crime.
Noting that Preston was “the person most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco,” Musk posted that the District 5 supervisor needed to be fired. Taking it one step further, he also called for Preston to be arrested for what he had allowed to happen to his city.
Preston responded that X was no longer “a safe place” to express his thoughts and asserted that the platform had become “inundated with trolls and disinformation” under Musk’s ownership.
It seems that capitalism will no longer be a concern in San Fransisco. The city faces a potential annual revenue loss of $200 million due to its business exodus, with major hotels and retailers abandoning the city center. Retail giant Old Navy recently announced the closure of its flagship store in the area, following a trend that includes Nordstrom closing all its city locations. In April, Whole Foods made a similar announcement. Anthropologie and Office Depot have also skipped town, leading some analysts to predict a “doom loop” of permanent decline for the city.
Robberies have increased by 14 percent this year in San Fransisco, following Mayor London Breed’s recent call for an 18 percent reduction in 2024’s police budget. According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, reported deaths from drug overdoses reached 620 in the first nine months of this year, marking an uptick from 540 during the same period in 2020.
It’s always astonishing to see how deep liberals can dig to find new scapegoats for failed progressive policies. The only consistency to their arguments is that failure is never their fault.