An Open Letter to the Media from the new San Francisco
A few days ago, Justin Keller wrote a controversial post complaining about homelessness in San Francisco and urging the city’s Mayor to get his shit together. However, Justin’s letter backfired, and not only did the government not respond, but he was skewered by liberal writers nationwide who rallied to paint him as a villain, an arrogant tech-bro fuck, a shining example of all that is wrong in this world and someone who has zero value or understanding of our world.
But is Justin really a bad guy? Probably not. He’s more than likely a pretty good guy, as are most developers and startup people you’ll meet. But that narrative doesn’t generate clicks like the tech-bro villain narrative.
The real story here, and what liberal writers fail to realize, is that many people in San Francisco feel very similar to what Justin wrote. That’s why his post has over 6,000 upvotes right now. The real story is that San Francisco has changed, and there is a silent majority that have no way of voicing their opinion for fear of being slandered much the way Justin has been.
What Justin’s paper represents is a progressive voice, someone who cares about the situation and wants to see things improve, though he doesn’t fully understand things. He represents a growing breed of new San Franciscans who demand more from a city that is failing at almost everything they attempt to reform: affordable housing, homelessness, education, etc.
Where old San Francisco was okay with fuzzy policies and excuses, the new San Francisco demand results, they demand accountability for failure, and every year we don’t get them we care less and less about the city around us.
I’m not going to say what Justin wrote had merit, but he said some things that needed to be said. It was tone deaf and wasn’t super sensitive, but it wasn’t far from the truth: Homelessness in San Francisco is out of control and people are fed up.
San Francisco is not the city it was 20 years ago. It’s bigger, a lot more expensive, and its current citizens expect a government to be effective when they say they’re going to do something. The modern San Franciscan wants the people running our city held accountable for their failures. And when that accountability is no where to be found, you see tone-deaf letters like Justin’s come out of left field that sound arrogant.
Over the past 6 months the homeless population in San Francisco has become considerably more visible in a city that suffers from violent crimes happening to the homeless and by the homeless. Forget the shit on the streets, broken car windows, the crazy antics, the heroine needles, the arson, etc. In the last year alone San Francisco has seen its homeless population become serial killers, walk up and shoot innocent people without words, stab police officers, leave bodies chopped up and left in suitcases and on the flip side we’ve seen vigilante’s attack the homeless and SFPD conduct a public execution. That’s just the stuff I’ve seen on my Facebook feed. Probably worse are the atrocities that happen to the homeless every day having to live on the streets. Mind you, all of this is going down in the most expensive city in America. A small city that shouldn’t be having these problems. San Francisco wants to pretend like it has its shit together, but both our political leaders, police force and non-profit stakeholders have no fucking clue how to handle the problem. The best they can do is stand together with a unified voice and tell people, “listen, we are the experts, we know what we’re doing, don’t worry, we got this.”
You’d think liberal writers would be outraged by this ineptitude, but instead they continue to champion the smallest efforts by San Francisco’s government such as the Navigation Center and the Pier 80 shelters, both of which have had almost zero effect on decreasing homelessness in the city. The writers who currently cover San Francisco like The Guardian, SF Chronicle, SF Examiner, Hoodline, don’t represent the growing number of progressives in San Francisco. These publications that used to speak for those who don’t have a voice, now act to silence everyone whose voice isn’t in line with their ultra-liberal views. This social shaming is it’s own constriction on freedom of speech. And in some backwards way, these newspapers that used to stand for the voice of the people have now become ultra liberals with one sided narratives, that stand against progress, much the same that ultra conservatives on the right stand against progress.
The time has come to move San Francisco into it’s next chapter. It’s time for progressives to be heard again. Obviously no one wants to do it publicly, because you will literally have your life up-ended and destroyed, as I’m sure Justin Keller can attest to. Instead, I challenge everyone who feels frustrated with how poorly San Francisco is managed to post open letters anonymously with the hashtag #anonymousSF.
The time has come to oust leaders who can’t get shit done and replace them with people who can. Other cities might stand for that shit, but I being the home of innovation means we expect more. The time has come to destroy careers for people who want power, yet can’t deliver on their promises.
San Francisco doesn’t have a tech vs. non-tech problem. It has a complete failure of government problem. When politicians like Bevon Dufty still have a job after spending $229/night on a shelter that doesn’t even get used we have a fucking accountability problem.
We might not be able to control all the problems in America, but we can control the problems in our city. If our politicians in San Francisco want to keep their jobs than they have to create a safe place for everyone in the city and right now, lets be honest, its a shit show.
Lastly, don’t expect our non-profit leaders and activists to be the voice of reason here. These people survive on government funding and are completely incapable of speaking out against our government. Non-profits can’t be honest with citizens the same way politicians can’t speak out against corporate donors. Even the main political activist for the homeless, Jennifer Friedenbach gets most of her funding from Bevon Dufty, making the main homeless fighter just another political stooge. So why does the media continue to quote these puppets? The next time a liberal writer wants a quote, walk down to 6th and Market and interview 5 random people, both homeless and non-homeless. Then you’ll start to get the real story.
Let’s stop making excuses for San Francisco. Lets stop making this a tech vs. non-tech BS war and direct our attention at the real people responsible for the cities problems. Writers, stop selling us on all these hoodwink political tricks and instead start crucifying every failed social policy and the politician who are championing them. Then maybe I’ll read your lousy papers again. Stop attacking individuals in my city for misguided personal views and instead start attacking the people responsible for causing the problems.