“Woman writes letter after being displaced in rainy weekend sweeps,” The City, March 6
No injustice done in homeless sweep
I was born and raised in this city, a proud San Franciscan and the daughter of immigrants. My parents are hard-working, self-employed taxpayers, as am I. Having a small business in this city proves to be more of a challenge with each passing year. The exorbitant cost of living, permit fees that increase exponentially every year and rising rent (because of our “tech boom”) have decimated small businesses and cater only to tech and big business.
My parents came to this country with nothing and, trust me, I know what hardship is. I am a compassionate person and truly believe with the amount of money that is spent on homeless outreach programs, we should be able to provide every single person on the street with food, shelter and access to drug rehab programs and mental health care facilities. Your article implies that I, and the hundreds of people who work and live in this neighborhood, are heartless and greedy capitalists who just want this “nuisance” done away with. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
This is a dangerous situation that poses a real threat to our safety. These encampments are a public health and safety crisis. The streets here have turned to a crime-riddled, lawless free for all. People breaking into cars, stealing personal property and doing hardcore drugs openly and in broad daylight is unacceptable. It’s also illegal. The last time I checked, there are laws, and they apply to everyone. If you are a “resident,” you must abide by those laws in order to reap the benefits.
There’s a huge difference between those whose circumstances have led them to live on the streets and those who willfully abandon all responsibility for their actions. These people have turned our city into a sewer. As it stands, it’s completely OK to pitch a tent wherever they want, urinate and defecate on our sidewalks, have access to a buffet of narcotics and commit whatever crime necessary to support their choice of lifestyle. And the tax dollars of those who work and do their share goes to cleaning up their mess.
It takes courage and political will to stand up to those advocates who protect this lifestyle and do what needs to be done. Sadly, I feel that our mayor and city officials have neither of those qualities.
I speak not only for myself, but for all the residents and employees in this neighborhood whose car windows have been smashed repeatedly, whose cars and personal property have been stolen and especially those who, like me, have been physically assaulted while walking to work. We have had enough. Do not label as “victims” people who choose to live a certain way of life and do not want to accept help and abide by the laws. HOT and their team are incredibly humane and kind. I am offended that you and Shyenene Brown have depicted them in any other light. No “injustice” or anything “inhumane” was done to her or anyone. Quite the contrary, they are only offering assistance.
What about the rest of San Francisco?
I work at 888 Brannan St., just a few blocks down from San Bruno Avenue and Alameda Street. Every day, our streets are unsafe to walk on because the homeless camps are taking over the sidewalk and leaving human feces, drug syringes and used condoms, not to mention how many times our workers’ and customers’ cars have been broken into and have had personal property stolen.
I find it very disturbing that the San Francisco Examiner is only writing about this woman’s human rights and how she is supposedly not being treated fairly. What happened to our rights as San Francisco residents, who pay taxes in this city to provide homeless services for these individuals and then come to work in an unsafe public environment and fear that soon I will step on one of those drug syringes?
The City’s health department came and picked up 150 drug syringes on these blocks just couple of days ago, only because Channel 2 News finally responded to our concerns. Is the Examiner even concerned about our city’s public safety? Maybe I should start penning you about our concerns. Will you then publish an article about our rights as “human” or local workers?
Please let me know as soon as possible. I will get a pen and paper ready.
Bonnie C. Sarkissian