San Francisco’s APEC Cleanup Hasn’t ‘Fixed’ Its Homelessness Problem
World leaders are descending on San Francisco this week for a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Most of the coverage of APEC thus far has focused less on trade deals and geopolitics and more on the city of San Franciso’s efforts to clean up the streets ahead of the conference.
Headlines in publications both local and international noted the city’s energetic efforts to clear homeless encampments, clean streets, and crack down on drug activity in the downtown conference area. The Daily Mail helpfully published some before and after pictures of newly sparkling streets.
California politicians have been pretty open about the fact that the street cleanup efforts are to spruce up the city for APEC.
“I know folks say, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all these fancy leaders are coming into town.’ It’s true, because it’s true,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reporters yesterday. Still, Newsom stressed that the pre-APEC cleanup is part of a new, more proactive approach of the city and the state to crack down on public vagrancy.
This transformation of a few San Francisco streets has sparked two contradicting criticisms.
Some local homeless advocates complain that the city’s rush to clear encampments before APEC is disrupting the lives of the now-displaced downtown homeless people and straining shelters elsewhere in the city.
On the other hand, you have some mostly online, mostly conservative detractors who are asking why it took a communist dictator coming to town before San Francisco “fixed” its homelessness problem.
What does it tell us that San Francisco cracks down on lawlessness only when the dictator of a communist country is about to visit that city?https://t.co/X4UaxoN8wu
— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) November 13, 2023
San Francisco finally fixed the homeless crisis. All it took was a visit from a world dictator.
Before Xi: After: pic.twitter.com/2WimoNHC49
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) November 12, 2023
Nobody is talking about this, but the way SF simply said *YOU ARE LEAVING, NOW* to the entire homeless/vagrant/drug addict/criminal population of its downtown ???????????????? ???????? ???????????????? for Xi Jinping suggests either a lack of will otherwise, or the adoption of Xi Jinping tactics. https://t.co/ky7rcuSU10
— Jeff Blehar is *BOX OFFICE POISON* (@EsotericCD) November 12, 2023
Gov. Newsom orders homeless camps removed in San Francisco in an obvious attempt to impress his new best friend, China’s Communist dictator. Pity he’s had no desire to impress those who actually live in California. https://t.co/d3MhdKjFt5
— Senator Melissa Melendez (@senatormelendez) November 14, 2023
“The speed at which the downtown area has been cleared up shows that when there is impetus, it can be done. It is a shame, then, to see that politicians like Newsom only seem to act when it is politically expedient to do so,” wrote Soledad Ursúa at Unherd.
In short, some people are complaining that the city has made its homelessness problem worse, while others are complaining that it could have easily been solved sooner.
This disconnect is partially the product of these two groups talking about different
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