Tuesday, March 20, 2018

SH**HOLE ALERT: The sights and smells of San Francisco

Last month Ed wrote about a local news report that revealed San Francisco’s streets were strewn with trash, discarded needles, and human waste. The situation was so bad that it was judged worse than conditions in some third world countries. Today, the Federalist published a follow-up of sorts. This piece didn’t start out as an investigation. It’s really more of an unpleasant travelogue, i.e. the sights and smells of San Francisco as experienced by a newcomer to the city. Author Erielle Davidson moved to the Bay Area for a job and immediately noticed things were different than they had been back in Manhattan.
Within a few days of moving to San Francisco, I immediately noticed something I had not been accustomed to seeing in New York — a preponderance of glittering sidewalks. Every few blocks, it would not be uncommon to see shards of glass strewn across the pavement, and I quickly learned that my new city was notorious for car break-ins. One of the first pieces of advice I received from a friend upon moving to San Francisco was that I should empty my car each night and never leave anything in my vehicle—not even a tissue box. After staring incredulously at my friend for a moment, she quickly responded by explaining that theft from vehicles was a common occurrence in the city and that to leave items in my car was simply “asking for it.”
Her reasoning, while dystopian, was depressingly pragmatic. In 2017, San Francisco experienced 31,322 thefts from vehicles alone — that is, 85 thefts from vehicles per day — while an arrest was made in only 2 percent of reported break-ins. Most of the break-ins are attributed to organized gangs and often committed by those with prior felony convictions…
In November of 2017 alone, 6,211 needles were collected while via the 311 App (the “concerned citizen” reporting app set up by recently deceased San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee), 1,498 requests were made to clean up human feces. The public defecation problem has become so intolerable in San Francisco that private citizens have built an online map to track the concentrations of poop in the city, so that pedestrians may know to avoid certain areas.
And it’s not just poop. The overwhelming smell of urine on parts of Mission Street and Market Street would make your nose bleed. I recall the first time I rode BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, San Francisco’s subway system) and was nearly knocked over by the sheer stench of the station. I was surprised to learn that exiting the station supplied little to no relief — the urine smell hangs heavy in the more populated areas of the city and is nearly inescapable. In a dark twist of humor, the city has had to replace numerous different street poles due to urine eroding the foundation.
Read the rest from John Sexton HERE.

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