San Francisco officials push back on mayor’s plan for troubled neighborhood
San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s (D) initiatives targeting an area in the city known for homelessness and drug overdoses drew criticism from some officials on Monday.
The mayor’s specific plans for the neighborhood known as the Tenderloin included more overtime pay for police and allocating more resources, ranging from social workers to public toilets, in the area. Breed also said the city would still offer services and housing but would toughen its stance toward those who refuse help, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
But District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton and Public Defender Mano Raju criticized the plan on Monday, saying it relied on policies that had already failed.
At Monday’s press conference, Boudin said he was “outraged” by the suffering in the area but added that the city “can’t arrest and prosecute our way out of problems that are afflicting the Tenderloin,” according to the newspaper.
“Arresting people who are addicted to drugs, jailing people who have mental health struggles, putting folks who are vending hot dogs or other food on the streets in cages will not solve these problems, and they are certainly not the only tools available,” he said.
Last week, Breed declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin. “The situation in the Tenderloin is an emergency and it calls for an emergency response,” she said in a statement on Friday.
The mayor added that the city would “use that focus and coordination to disrupt the illegal activity in the neighborhood, to get people the treatment and support they need, and to make the Tenderloin a safer, more livable place for the families and children who call the neighborhood home.”
Earlier last week, Breed had announced she would be changing San Francisco’s policies to address the recent surge in crime that the city has seen.
“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” the mayor said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls— that has destroyed our city.”