San Francisco Homeless Sweeps – The Rich Stealing From the Poor

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The Dissonance of Liberal Elite – Literally Stealing From The Poor While Being America’s Richest Few

As understood among the intelligentsia, the right-wing politics errs on the side of the capitalist status quo while left-wing purports to rebel against the inequality it creates; championing the down-trodden who were unfortunate enough to fall on the wrong end of Pareto’s distribution. We’ll leave the moral arbitration to the voter come November,

There’s a joke, an ironic one, with the punch line that goes like:

“[Communism] is a night-class where you learn who is stealing from whom?”

“Stealing? Why’d you think everyone’s stealing?”

“If you don’t think the rich get rich by stealing from the poor then, my friend, you have a lot to learn.”

It’s from a movie that I don’t recall, but there are renditions of it in every medium. But the joke cut deep in the bones, when I came across San Fransisco’s Department of Public Works “tag it and bag it” policy.

A little background, the pro-capitalism vulture capitalist aside, San Fransisco in one of the wealthiest city and that, too, in one of the riches states. It has the highest number of billionaires per capita which accounts to the startling fact that for every 10,000 or so people you bump into in this city, one of them will likely be a billionaire. The thriving technology-driven economy of the Bay Area draws envy from the rest of the country for good reason.

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San Francisco tops the list of the 25 largest metropolitan areas by household income. The median household in the San Francisco area earned nearly $97,000 last year, an increase of $8,000 from 2015. The town’s demographics are colored by [uh] Rainbow coalition of liberal elites who often top the list in philanthropic efforts towards social causes like environment, feminism, diversity, and equity.

Given all that, San Fransisco’s policy on confiscating homeless property seems all the more cruel. The city conducts its own conservative estimate account of the homeless population every two years. There’s been a 17% increase in San Fransisco’s homeless digits in the last year – rising to approximately 70,000 people.

In the past two years, city’s Department of Health (DPH), and Police led by its Department of Public Works (DPW) have intensified its campaign to clean the streets up of homeless people and their belongings. It’s understandable given what billionaire would like reminders of poverty strewn around their neighborhood.

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The policy is spearheaded by DPW while the police, eventually, act as its enforcement arm. This creates an additional ruckus as Police have no training related to the removal of private property. The SFPD’s understanding of DPH Policy is surmised in this bulletin.

During a recent clean-up drive, the Stolen Belongings Project documented various interactions between the police and homeless people, who looked on haplessly as cops went on bagging and tagging their tarps, tents and few utensils.

The City says that people whose belonging are confiscated can reclaim them at the DPW warehouse. However, as it happens, the city officials in charge of holding these belongings have been found to have auctioned or sold them off. The situation came to ahead this June when hundreds of homeless people along with supporters gathered outside the DPW warehouse.

Heather Lee, one of these homeless people who was their to reclaim her “bin”, which had been confiscated before in February.

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“It contains my few belongings, a few birthday presents, identification papers and tarps.”

After a grueling six-hour wait, she was told by officials at the DPW warehouse that they had lost their items. The Stolen Belongings Project lists a barrage of incidents of how officials at the DPW have repeatedly faced the accusations of either selling the property or never having received it – implying police officers had sold them before it reached them.

You’ve to keep in mind that homeless people are always very cognizant of their rights, this furthers the divide between officers enforcing DPW policy and their victims. Rights, aside, the programs the city projects as lifelines for homeless people are mired in bureaucratic maze. If the richest left-wing town in the U.S. can’t stand for the poorest among us than we have to protect each other’s rights. You can support organizations like Coalition of the Homeless and Stolen belongings, or even just learn what you can do to help people who need it the most.

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  1. I have to disagree with your slant on this article John. I have family that live in the City we visit on a regular basis. The homeless do not pick up after themselves, there is human shit on the sidewalks because the addicts are to damn high or drunk to use a bathroom. You know that homeless leave huge messes and don’t clean up and we are constantly having to pick up needles and get them before our grand pick them up.

    You need to have more balance brother or you are going to hurt your rep as a journalist and I respect you as such. The homeless are there for many reasons, the man one is choices they made in life. I used to work for a homeless shelter here in my town. Many homeless didn’t want to get help because they didn’t want to follow simple rules. Many have animals that can’t be accommodated.

    I know people need help, yet just because someone has money doesn’t mean they’re evil and have taken advantage of the poor to get their money, if you believe that John, then this is a really sad day for sure.

    • Well stated Constantine.i just got back from San Fran and it continues to be a pit of a city, a proverbial $hithole. The wharf area smell was palpable. Shit and urine. Needles on the street and sidewalks. Even in suburban area like Palo Alto, there’s homeless. The highways are littered with old tires, debris etc. just awful. Who do I blame? Not the homeless , but the government that allowed this to occur and fester. You can’t point a finger at any one single source, but it’s certainly not the wealthy. It’s so expensive to live there,one can be homeless on $50 k a year income. Perhaps the city needs to raise their income tax rates to level the playing field? The billionaires can certainly afford it.

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