I'm going to open with obligatory disclaimer that even though I'm talking about political figures here, this is not meant to be about politics. This is about policy. It's not so much ideology, Right and Left, Blue State/Red State, or Guns vs. Butter (because as the great Bill Lee said when he ran for President on the Rhinoceros Party ticket, he was against them both because both will kill you), it's about the way our elected officials run the country.
Just because the guy who owns this company wrote a Gavin Newsom-China blog:
... doesn't mean I've decided it's Open Season on Gavin Newsom-China blogs. It's Dave Portnoy's dojo, his rules. Republicans and Democrats both buy Ugly Sweaters.
But this is too wild to ignore. With Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi coming to San Francisco for some international conference, the duly elected Governor of California just flat out admitted they cleared the streets of homeless encampments just for a foreign dignitary, not for the people who live there:
I mean, where does a sane and rational brain begin to process this?
Let's begin with Newsom's house metaphor. Yes, you clean up your house when company's coming. But that means you get the leftover dishes out of the sink and run a vacuum over the rug in the hall. It doesn't mean that when you're not having guests, you let your family live in squalor, with opioid addicts passed out in the dining room and human feces all over the kitchen floor. Which is precisely what the condition of San Francisco - and pretty much most American cities - has been for the last couple of decades now. From the way it's been described, you can pretty much boogie board from Lombard Street to Fisherman's Wharf on the diarrhea-strewn sidewalks without ever having to walk.
But this is the way the people in charge set their priorities. Homelessness is a huge problem nationwide. Solving it will take hard work, commitment, high-level thinking, and disparate groups of bright people coming together to come up with humane, innovative solutions.
So fuck it. Let's do something easy instead.
Focus on empty, futile gestures, like passing bills that will require some percentage of electric vehicles by 2035 or whatever, while ignoring the real problem like the overdoses on your streets every day. Ban plastic coffee stirrers because they might end up lodged in the nose of a sea turtle, but just expect people to step around the syringes on their way to work. It's a ticket if you park in the red zone, but set up a tent in the same spot and you're just exercising your rights. They fine people for not cleaning up after their dogs at the park, but just accept that a ton of human shit is just the price of being downtown. But by all means, don't forget to take the family to a Giants game or visit our beautiful Exploratorium!
They don't have to come up with a solution, because nobody forces them to. No one holds government officials accountable. The world is filled with problem ignorers and problem solvers. The former tend to gravitate to government or academia, because it gives them the luxury of theory. Of just pontificating about things. Circle jerking around passing meaningless resolutions and writing obscure position papers, then sitting back in satisfaction and telling themselves, "You done good, kid." Meanwhile, the San Francisco resident who's done more problem-solving than pretty much anyone - putting EVs on the road and literally doing rocket science - can't fathom what the government is doing any more than the rest of us:
A good question, and one that begs so many other questions. Like, where did they put the people in the tents who where there the day before? Boston appeared to clear out its homeless encampment at the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Melnea Cass Blvd ("Mass & Cass"). Until my brother was on his way to a job site and spotted them all tucked away out back behind the McDonalds. Out of sight, out of mind. Except for the fact that problem still exists, just swept under a rug. And with at least eight of Boston's Finest assigned to keep an eye on them. As opposed to protecting lives and property in neighborhoods and business districts somewhere else. So where are these hundreds of people who were not a problem for the taxpayers a few days earlier, but who would offend the delicate sensibilities of some world leader seeing them through the 4-inch thick security glass of his limo?
And by no means am I arguing this is the first time we've ever seen this done. It happens all the time. For major sporting events like the Super Bowl, MLB All Star Game or the Olympics. It happens once a year for the Oscars. For international summit meetings and the like.
Like with those examples, this all just goes to show what the leaders we elect and who get insanely rich and powerful our expense can accomplish when they shamelessly admit they don't give a fuck about us or our problems.