The city once called “The Paris of the West” – San Francisco – now resembles a homeless encampment by the bay. And I thought L.A. was bad.

It’s time for Final Thoughts. 

San Francisco is at or the near the top of any list of America’s most expensive cities. A huge tech industry hub, it’s home to some of the world’s most successful start-ups.

But that’s not all. Some sections of the city are also awash with tents, used syringes, and human excrement. Lovely, right?

There were nearly 7,500 people living on the streets of San Francisco, according to the city’s own 2017 homeless census. That’s a bit less than one percent of the city’s total population. This in a state estimated to have one-fourth of the entire country’s homeless.

I recently visited San Francisco, and was shocked to see the number of people sprawled out on the sidewalks - many either sleeping, or passed out drunk, in broad daylight, in front of designer stores and swanky restaurants - families and children all around. 

It wasn’t just the homeless. The streets were littered with trash - and human waste. In fact, the San Francisco Chronicle’s sister website reports that more than 20,000 feces-related complaints were made to the city last year.

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Believe me when I say it was absolutely disgusting. But also dangerous. Getting accidentally stuck by a used needle can cause diseases like HIV, or Hepatitis B and C.

So where did San Francisco go wrong? How did it get so bad?

Well, like much of California, the city is unaffordable for most middle-class Americans. Rent in the city averages more $3,500 per month, according to a recent study.

That’s helped create a city of rich tech gurus on one side, and the homeless underclass on the other.

Here’s another problem: Some of the people on the streets aren’t just down-on-their-luck homeless. They’re ex-cons.

Blame the California legislature for this one. Back in 2011, it passed Assembly Bill 109 – the so-called “Realignment” law. The idea was to ease prison overcrowding by redefining some 70 crimes as “less serious,” or “nonviolent.” So some of the people who should have been behind bars no doubt ended up on the streets.

But they weren’t done. Proposition 47 was approved in 2014. That converted a series of crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. And in 2017, the legislature passed Senate Bill 180, which limits the ability of law enforcement to send chronic drug abusers back to prison.

It’s hard to imagine how this didn’t send even more people onto the streets.

So homelessness for some has become a choice in California - one that hard-working residents have to simply put up with. 

San Francisco’s liberal paradise is - and has been - run by Democratic mayors for more than 50 years. One of those Democrats, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, may well be the state’s next governor.

Now, I’m not saying Democrats cause homelessness. But it would seem their policies certainly don’t help solve it.

We don’t have to accept San Francisco as the “new normal.” That’s why it’s more important than ever we get out and VOTE this November.

Those are my Final Thoughts. From LA, God Bless and take care.

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