San Francisco has a new city motto: Xi is more important than X.
Xi is Chinese President Xi Jinping, representing the economic might of his country.
X, formerly Twitter, represents the city’s high tech private sector.
A minor miracle has taken place because Xi is visiting the Homeless Mecca of the West this week.
The homeless have been pushed out of downtown.
Open air toilets sans walls have disappeared.
Needles are easier to find in a haystack.
And enough homeless garbage to encircle Alcatraz 20 times in a yard-wide band has been removed from the streets of San Francisco.
San Francisco is its’ old self.
Well, not exactly.
They just pushed the homeless into the neighborhoods off the beaten track.
And in case you’re wondering, it’s not the Pacific Heights or Nob Hill neighborhoods.
It’s Bayview and the Mission District.
Xi is having a face-to-face with President Joe Biden
It is all part of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference.
It’s the biggest moment in San Francisco on the world stage since either 1945 when the charter for the United Nations was signed or when the 49ers beat the Bengals in the 1982 Super Bowl, depending upon one’s values.
Clearly, Mayor London Breed and the city hall hierarchy wants to impress Xi and the world.
No so much when it comes to X owner Elon Musk and the people of San Francisco.
Musk has said a lot of things about San Francisco.
A lot of it isn’t nice.
But, unfortunately, he’s on target much of the time, although he does exaggerate a bit.
But then again, his remarks back in May when he likened San Francisco to a “derelict zombie apocalypse”, hit a little too close to home.
Musk and other business leaders have gone hoarse or developed carpal tunnel of the thumbs trying to get city leaders to take a more aggressive stance toward the squalor the homeless have created in downtown San Francisco and elsewhere in the city but to no avail.
The homeless, after all, are victims first and foremost.
Their ability to squat, take a dump, or crash after getting high wherever they please is a higher protected right than others because they are not part of the privileged people who work and pay taxes.
But when Xi comes to town. the extra rights conferred on to the homeless are temporarily suspended to impress who is — by conventional definition, — a dictator and a tyrant.
Those happen to be the same choice words that some in the public service sector have used to describe Musk as such in his day-to-day dealings with the city and his employees
Let’s be clear on one point.
The homeless are not the root of San Francisco’s problems.
There are a lot of contributing factors.
Issues involving the day-to-day quality of life of residents and the daytime workforce take a back seat thanks to city leaders spending an inordinate amount of time and energy weighing in on national and world issues as well as turning into a sacred cow anything that has the words “social justice” added as an adjective.
A good chunk of San Francisco’s woes are also a direct offshoot of the successfulness of the tech industry city leaders wish to strengthen, using the world stage they are being granted this week.
Those woes are tied to remote work.
In what may be a first for the American work psyche, people who accept a paycheck from someone else are dictating whether they have to report to work in person.
Employees claim to be more productive with remote work. But the real point is they claim to know how best to spend the money of their employers. In this case, it is the requirements needed in order to obtain pay and benefits.
More than a few people that have refused to return to downtown San Francisco office jobs five days a week point out the squalor that San Francisco has shoved into the closet this week and its accompany side effects of crime and such.
As for how long city officials will see the same light that Musk and others in the private sector see as part of a holistic solution to San Francisco’s growing problems, the answer is simple.
The conference with its foreign dignitaries, the global press, and power brokers will end this Saturday,
That means by Monday, most will have fled San Francisco.
By the stroke of midnight Monday when the ultimate influencers of 2023 have taken their last view of the city’s skyline as their flights depart San Francisco International Airport, the city will start turning back into a pumpkin.
And that pumpkin symbolizes the sea of homeless and drug addicts that will occupy sidewalks and streets and slowly revert into the rotten mess the city so expertly — and with barely a whimper of protest from homeless advocates — swept under the rug for a week or so.
There are still — even with nearly 8,000 homeless people in a city of 808,000 — a lot of good things about San Francisco.
Clearly, one of them isn’t honesty.
The situational “clean-up” underscores a city hall double standard.
On one had they tell their constituents there is nothing they can do about the homeless and they can’t just go around rousting them.
But the second they need to save face on the world stage they man the street sweepers, and unleash crews to move homeless encampments off the streets.
The message is clear.
The city’s homeless policies are bad for business.
To contact Dennis Wyatt email firstname.lastname@example.org