In 2020, San Francisco Mayor London Breed joined several other liberal leaders across the nation in deciding to defund the local police force amid pressure from Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups. Now, 3 years later what was once seen as a gem in California is now a filthy sewer with feces-covered streets, soaring crime rates, and a rampant drug problem. It should come as no surprise then that the city by the bay is seeing a mass exodus of businesses who once called its hilly streets and eccentric neighborhoods home. In a move that has probably come too late, Breed is now frantically trying to do a U-turn and increase police funding in an effort to attract new businesses to the city or to at least keep the few that are left from packing up and leaving, too.
In Breed's new $6.85 billion budget, there is no shortage of struggles as it outlines dwindling tax revenue, both businesses and residents begging officials to stop the growing crime rates, and some of the lowest office occupant rates in the nation. The new 2-year budget calls for increasing the police force by 200 officers and refunding the department.
"We have been forced to make some really challenging changes to our budget," Breed explained while introducing the new budget this week. "How we get people and businesses back on their feet is exactly what this budget is proposing to do," she added.
To say that Breed's 180 on policy is embarrassing is an understatement. It's a blatant admittance that her progressive and unreasonable policies have failed - as have those in many other Democratic-run cities like Seattle which also decided to fund its police department in recent months.
The lack of police, in conjunction with lax drug and crime laws, has led downtown San Francisco to become a hellhole overrun with drug use and soaring crime that has driven out businesses and caused the district to become a ghost town in the midst of shuttered storefronts. It doesn't help that the city also has a record-breaking 30 percent of its office space sitting vacant.
Breed is not only looking to fund the police department again, but also to try and solve the city's huge homeless issue, much of which is caused by drug addicts who have turned the downtown district into a scene out of a zombie movie. The mayor's budget calls for providing hundreds of additional treatment beds.
Drugs and crime are also not the only problems growing in San Francisco. According to the March budget forecast, the 2025 single-year deficit for the city is expected to reach $724 million with it projected to reach $1 billion by 2026.
Commercial real estate broker, Mark Ritchie, said, "It's really bad in San Francisco. Nobody knows what the solution is."
While there is no clear-cut solution to San Francisco's mounting problems, getting rid of the progressive policies that created them is a good starting place. One must ask though, why it took 3 years of drastic deterioration to recognize that a major policy shift was needed.
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