President Trump is right: We must clean up America's cities

President Trump is right: We must clean up America's cities
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The liberal media once again are taking off at breakneck pace to condemn President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE. The fake issue for their bogus outrage? His speaking the truth about how rampant homelessness and the squalor it causes are harming Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Since the mainstream media are much more interested in hyperbole than fact, let’s instead look at exactly what the president said. He stated that the prestige of premier cities in California is reduced by having homeless people littering the streets. 

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump said.  He spoke of “hundreds and hundreds of tents, and people living at the entrance to their office buildings.” What’s objectionable is that this is 100 percent true — not that the president stated the facts.  

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Anyone who has visited the largest cities in California recently can see what President Trump is talking about. The decay is on full display: Homeless people literally have taken over street blocks, creating a filthy and dangerous environment where drug use flourishes and streets and sidewalks have become open-air latrines. It’s truly disgusting, a bona fide health hazard.

I recently traveled to San Francisco and spent hours walking through the city. What I found was not the romanticized locale once lauded as one of America’s most beautiful places.

A decade ago, you could ask someone what they pictured when they thought of the Golden Gate City: The Golden Gate bridge, of course, as well as beautiful Victorian row houses cloaked in fog, clanging trolleys, a bohemian vibe. This was a city known for its pride in a legendary football team of Super Bowl champions Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, and the thunderous power of San Francisco Giants home run slugger Barry Bonds.

Those certainly were the associations I made as I disembarked at the airport and began a brief business trip in the city. What I discovered instead shocked me.

Near the corporate headquarters of Twitter and Uber — tech giants who exemplify how San Francisco has transformed itself into a hub of technology and innovation — young men and women scurried along, dressed casually, some on skateboards, as they reported for work. Through the windows of a nearby gym I could see tattooed exercisers pumping iron as electronic dance music thumped from the speakers.

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But just blocks away from this oasis of upwardly mobile millennials, the scene was entirely different. It felt like something out of a Hollywood movie depicting a post-apocalyptic society with total breakdown of social norms.

I saw at least 10 people shamelessly shooting heroin into their arms. They did this openly, on the sidewalk, probably utilizing free syringes the city distributes to discourage drug abusers from spreading AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases by sharing dirty needles. Dozens of discarded syringes lay strewn about. 

I looked on in disbelief as a man held his shirt aside so that a woman with matted hair could shove a syringe into his neck, plunging illegal narcotics into his jugular vein. Around the corner, an encampment of homeless people milled about next to a half-dozen tents set up on the sidewalk next to the entrance of an office building.  

A barefoot man with oozing sores wandered aimlessly, his eyes glassy and his mouth emitting something between a howl and moan. Filthy people squatting on the sidewalk passed around crack pipes. I could only stare and shake my head as a man pulled down his pants and used a tree planter as a toilet, right next to a busy road, while people walked past and cars whizzed by.

Shocked by what I had witnessed in the districts known as the Tenderloin and SoMa, I asked a friend who has called San Francisco his home for decades what it is like to live there. “Please don’t judge the entire city by what’s taking place in some neighborhoods,” he said. He acknowledged parts of the city are growing increasingly unlivable since the local government has refused to take strong action to get people off the streets and clean up the city. 

“We need our own (former New York Mayor Rudy) Giuliani to come and clean San Francisco up,” my friend told me — a surprising sentiment from an unabashed far-left liberal who backed President Obama and now supports Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (I-Vt.) for president.

President Trump is right. We harm the prestige of these once beautiful cities and the reputation of the entire country by permitting this situation to persist. We must wake up, acknowledge that we have a serious problem, and undertake the hard work to literally clean up America’s cities. Failure to do so damages the stature of this entire country.

Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. He is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.”