San Francisco should treat everyone equally under the law or admit that its intent is selective enforcement to harass homeless people, rather than a sincere concern about dogs, litter or booze. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco should treat everyone equally under the law or admit that its intent is selective enforcement to harass homeless people, rather than a sincere concern about dogs, litter or booze. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

What if homeless people trashed Dolores Park?

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/nato-green/

Dolores Park was trashed by revelers on a recent Saturday. It looked like the rubble of Earth in “Wall-E.” Recreation and Park employees told reporters this happens when the mercury tops 65 degrees. Predictably and consistently. Visitors who were supposed to pack out their trash left beer bottles and garbage, requiring 44 hours of work by city employees to clean up 460 bags of litter.

The news coverage was revealing. Here’s the Chronicle description: “Soaking up the sun, people socialized, sun-bathed, danced, flung around hula hoops, did yoga tricks, and walked slack-lines tied between palm trees. Many of them drank copious amounts of alcohol, creating a scene similar to what you might expect at a mega fraternity party.”

Reading that description, what race would you imagine the people destroying the park to be? What socioeconomic class? What age? What do you suppose The City’s response might be if Dolores Park were ravaged by homeless people?

I dug up a 2016 Budget and Legislative Analyst report on the 36 quality-of-life crimes that The City spends $20.6 million a year citing and arresting homeless people for, to no discernible positive result. There are four city codes related to public drinking, which include a mix of infractions and misdemeanors, one for littering and one for smoking in the park. There are other codes that may be relevant to Dolores Park weekend shenanigans, related to dogs and leashes, public urination and public nuisance.

If The City had cited people in Dolores Park with the same criteria they use against the homeless, we would have heard about it. Of course, they didn’t.

Of course, neither news outlets nor politicians are clamoring for the San Francisco Police Department to enforce our laws consistently, whether the violation is committed by homeless people in tents or millennials getting rowdy in Dolores Park. In fact, the BLA report found that enforcing quality-of-life laws is costly and has no measurable effect on homelessness, because homeless people can’t get homes — no matter how much you ticket them.

On the other hand, a little ticketing in Dolores Park could go a long way. The City should treat everyone equally under the law. Arrest people waiting for tech shuttles for “gang loitering.” Blast water-cannons on people who litter. Taser people on slack lines drinking Pabst ironically in defiance of our open-container codes and good taste. Dole out misdemeanors to the owners of every off-leash dog.

The law is the law. Otherwise, The City has to admit that its intent is selective enforcement to harass homeless people, rather than a sincere concern about dogs, litter or booze.

Speaking of people who love to scapegoat the homeless …

Last week, MapLight reported that Gavin Newsom’s campaign for governor in 2018 raised more than $200,000 from employees of Airbnb. He did well defending Airbnb and its unregulatable model and has been rewarded handsomely.

Newsom also announced he supports “universal health care.” Single-payer health care has been introduced in Sacramento, and some single-payer advocates see Newsom as a champion. But he’s not. Newsom has never stood up to corporate power. He can be bold at solving problems, as long as the solutions do not cost the rich anything. His vision of universal health care is not single-payer but replicating Healthy San Francisco.

We should assume that Newsom would approach statewide health care as he did Healthy SF. Specifically, Healthy San Francisco included an employer mandate based on the recognition that taxpayers pay the price when uninsured workers end up in the safety net. Why should taxpayers subsidize Newsom’s pals in the restaurant biz who don’t offer benefits?

We got great service delivery under Healthy SF, but he underfunded the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, The City’s department charged with enforcing the employer mandate and going after scofflaw employers. Newsom wanted to get credit for innovative policy, as long as nobody powerful was upset by the implementation.

Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian and writer.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Crab fisherman Skip Ward of Marysville casts his crab net out off a pier near Fort Point. (Craig Lee/Special to The	Examiner)
San Francisco came back to life, and we captured it all

Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic, the bestselling authors… Continue reading

Revelers at Madrone Art Bar in the early hours of June 15, 2021 (Courtesy Power Quevedo).
No social distancing at Motown-themed dance party

‘I don’t care how anyone feels, I just want to dance!’

<em>The San Francisco Peace Pagoda stands tall in between Japan Center East and West malls.</em>
 (Ida Mojadad/The Examiner)
Patrons return to the Japantown mall

‘We’re so happy—it’s really hard to make a profit’

Scenes from an SFO-bound BART train on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the day California fully reopened for business after the COVID pandemic. (Al Saracevic/SF Examiner)
SF reopens: BART riders dreading the end of the pandemic

‘I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be packed like sardines’

Micael Butial stands as he holds an umbrella that he painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate” at a rally held to show support for Asian and Pacific Islanders communities, Sunday, March 21, 2021 in San Francisco. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Inside the California organization tracking anti-Asian hate incidents

By Mallika Seshadri CalMatters Richard Lim was walking along a quiet sidewalk… Continue reading

Most Read