Thursday, April 15, 2021
News + Politics Stuck on dumb: A failure of SF homeless policy

Stuck on dumb: A failure of SF homeless policy


Five years later, evidence shows that the twin pillars of the Newsom Administration — the Sit/Lie law and the closure of the Haight Ashbury recycling center — have only made the situation worse. 

Figures don't lie: Five years after the harsh crackdown that was supposed to end homelessness in the Haight, the opposite has happened
Figures don’t lie: Five years after the harsh crackdown that was supposed to end homelessness in the Haight, the opposite has happened

By Calvin Welch

AUGUST 20, 2015 — This November will be fifth anniversary of the passage of the deeply controversial, at least in this neighborhood, Sit/Lie law, which made it a jailable offense to sit or lie on a public sidewalk. One month later the Recreation and Parks Commission voted to end some 30 years of operation of the HANC recycling center at Kezar Stadium.

Both actions were sold by both the Gavin Newsom administration (chiefly, Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg and Chief of Staff Steve Kawa)   and the SF Chronicle (chiefly through the ranting of columnist CW Nevius) as effective measures to reduce homelessness in the Haight-Ashbury.

It didn’t quite turn out that way, however. Not even close.

The Chronicle was particularly active in leading the charge on both Sit/Lie and closing the recycling center. In one incredible 28-day period (from December 18, 2009 to January 16, 2010), the paper published seven editorials, “news” stories, or Nevius columns on homeless people in the Haight-Ashbury and the need for new legislation and the closure of the recycling center as a solution to the issue. That’s one story every four days.

Nevius called the recycling center the “homeless ATM,” implying that it attracted folks to the district. The simple fact was that at the time, the homeless population in the Haight was actually declining, and the people attracted to the recycling center were neighborhood residents who lived in apartment buildings and did not have curbside pick up but did have environmental values: traditional Haight-Ashburians.

Ginsburg was insistent in naming the recycling center a “magnet” drawing in homeless people to Golden Gate Park. He even went so far as to blame the recycling center for the discovery of a headless corpse in the park (he later withdrew the accusation when the police said otherwise). He refused to work with HANC to create a meaningful recycling program for Golden Gate Park in fear of justifying the continued existence of the recycling center.

It was the actually existence of huge piles of redeemable bottles and cans left in Golden Gate Park after the numerous chi-chi “closed events” that Ginsburg favors for the park that was the real “magnet” for homeless people. Ginsburg himself created the “magnet” by refusing to create a meaningful recycling program in Golden Gate Park – a failure that exists to this day.

The phony narrative and the facts

But there is a body of fact that can shed some light on the truth of these assertions — and more importantly, the effectiveness, five years later, of sit lie and the closure of the recycling center. That body of fact is the city’s federally mandated homeless count.

Since 2000, San Francisco has conducted a systematic count of homeless people every other year and issued a report called “The Homeless Count.” The most current can be found here.  It’s useful because it’s been conducted for 15 years and allows comparisons over time.  It’s less useful in that results are reported only by supervisorial district.  However, the 2007 Count included census tract maps, which indicated that the bulk of the homeless people in District Five where in the two northern census tracts of the Haight-Ashbury.

The most recent Homeless Count includes some surprising results. For example in 2015, 73% of those counted were never in foster care, 71% of them were San Francisco residents before they became homeless,  61%  are on the street because they cant afford San Francisco rent or pay for moving costs, 40% “don’t want government assistance,” 38% report that they are homeless because they lost their job or where evicted, 20% had some college or post-graduate education, and 11% were, in fact, employed.

These facts do not fit the narrative invented by the Chronicle or the Newsom Administration in selling the closure of the recycling center or keeping folks from sitting on Haight Street.  Folks are not on the streets because they “choose to be” but because they have been evicted and can’t afford to get back into housing. The Homeless Count recorded no one being homeless because of the big money they could make recycling bottles and cans.

But didn’t Sit/Lie and the closing of the recycling center reduce homeless people in D5 and the Haight-Ashbury?  Nope, not even close.

The highest number of folks that were counted as being “unsheltered” in D5 since the count started in 2000 was 569 in 2002, seven years before Newsom and the Chronicle began their campaign. Since that time the counted homeless population in D5 has been on the decline — except after the closing of the center and the passage of sit-lie.

In the key year of 2009 — when the Newsom/Nevius drumbeat started —  115 people were counted as “unsheltered”  in D5, down nearly 400%  from the peak in 2002.

Since the passage of Sit/Lie and the Rec-Park Commission vote in 2011 to vote to close the recycling center, the total population of homeless people counted in the Homeless Count  in D5 has risen by 56%:  from 199 in 2011 to 310 in 2015.

But the city’s policy not only failed in the Haight-Ashbury. The number of people sleeping outdoors or on the street citywide — the very population targeted by Newsom and Nevius — has increased from 28% in 2011 (the year Sit/Lie went into effect) to 46% in 2015. That shows the total failure of Sit/Lie and the irrelevance of closing the HANC recycling center.

The homeless count makes the case , conclusively, if  five years late,  that the 3,405 Haight- Ashburians that voted against Sit/Lie and the thousands more who signed petitions, letters and gave testimony in support of the recycling center were right in rejecting the false narrative that prevailed.

Unfortunately the time and money used to fabricate a phony narrative and then draft, campaign, and have the police (reluctantly) waste time and money “enforcing”  a “fake” law meant that time and money was diverted from real and effective solutions to urban homelessness.

With the closure of the HANC recycling center the Lee administration has gone on to close all residentially based recycling centers, making it all that much more difficult for folks who can’t use curbside to recycle.  And Ginsburg still attracts “gleaners” to Golden Gate Park because he refuses to recycle.

Stuck on dumb, the story of our time.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. There is no organized community opposition, that’s the whole fucking point, it has been compromised, corrupted.

  2. CCHO/SFIC is the “progressive” wing of developer corruption.

    We all need to stand against corruption.

    We need to stand against CCHO/SFIC’s protection racket.

    All CCHO/SFIC protects are CCHO/SFIC’s member “families.”

  3. Holding anyone accountable for the job they’re not doing can be viewed as a personal attack by people trying to cover for that person’s poor performance.

  4. Next, please tell us about what Ayn Rand would have said. Ludwig von Mises?

    How about Donald Trump, what did he think about holding people accountable?


  5. You just contradicted yourself by continuing the personal attacks. Thatcher was right about people like you.

  6. It appears these trolls would rather have the speculord developers just have their way
    with no organized community opposition. No wonder Frisco is getting such a bad rap for its out of control development. The trolls have just revealed themselves wholly. THEY ARE SPECULORD DEVELOPERS just peppering attacks on people
    because their political arguments are empty, full of hot air and have no substance to withstand a good debate. No wonder they are here on a comment thread as their arguments can’t even be held to a headline no less a column writer or an OpEd. Hardly think a letter to the editor would hold up either.

    And, why didn’t Silicon Valley just replicate Frisco? From the looks of the
    land available on the map there to build a huge entertainment carnival atmosphere for all the kids who otherwise wouldn’t have jobs would have been far easier. It is well known fact in the rest of the country outside the bubble that is Frisco that all their parents invested in tech so their kids would be guaranteed a job. Well, they succeeded but their kids are pissing all their money away, having dangerous sex and with the market about to tank on tech, there will be no inheritance after these kids and their parents lose all of it.

    Remember the Frisco dot-com boom and bust? Your ridiculous excuse for a mayor who was a drunk and screwed his best friend’s wife in the mayor’s office tried to save his friends who lost their shirts with their failed businesses and IPOs and lost at the ballot to insure they had cheap housing to stay in the city. One would think it was all his voting supporters. We all laugh at your from afar. HaHa!

  7. So, you would rather the speculord developers just have their way then with no organized community opposition? I guess you have just revealed yourself wholly. YOU ARE A SPECULORD just peppering attacks on people because your political arguments are empty, full of hot air.

  8. I bet if you read their tickets it would be for Sit/Lie but the more enforceable loitering/vagrancy laws. All Sit/Lie does is rake up tickets they never pay anyway because, why? They are homeless and poor. Kind of a stupid law, eh?

  9. Sure, yeah, Jordan. What’s the difference? Didn’t Brown make it more famous? And, wasn’t that guy Brown worse?

  10. When one is also an union member, one can speak for it, too. You, my friend, are not a union member. I am.

  11. Are you now citing Margaret Thatcher as an authority?

    Thatcher won most all of her political campaigns and remade British politics

    Welch loses most of his political campaigns that are contested and politics get remade over him.

  12. Stop pretending you represent all of Labor. That’s worse! I’m just speaking my personal opinion. To represent in an alias “SF Labor Rep” means representing all of Labor in SF. In my city, that is grounds for some legal action that websites like this could be forced to give up the real person on.

  13. When individual political operators make their political choices all about them and their needs and power while the standing of their political portfolio withers. then, yeah, it is the person to blame. This is a personnel problem.

  14. “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is
    particularly wounding because I think, well,
    if they attack one personally, it means they
    have not a single political argument left.”

    — Margaret Thatcher

  15. “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” ~Margaret Thatcher

  16. Dude, you are really showing your stupidity and naive just to be argumentative. Time be cool and just stop your nonsense.

  17. From what I’ve read it’s a wasteful garden that these HANC folks offered *FOR FREE* to maintain and already had over 50 above ground planters for each gardener. Now, three garnerners have to share one planter AND this community garden was only suppose to cost $250,000 but instead was $1.5million. Such waste of taxpayer money. Who runs your Parks and Recreation Department? That’s awful.

  18. Wrong! Get your facts straight. And stop with your **racist** bullshit! Anywhere you go in diverse areas most bin pickers are elders of every color and professional businesses so they can get paid.

  19. This is specious argument. Recyclables have a value if you return them. Why are you paying for curbside recycle pickup when the garbage collector then gets to be paid twice then? Think about it. And, in most cities it is not the homeless that mostly use the recycling centers or picking out of curbside bins. It’s professional garbage pickers dumping your entire recycle bin in their trucks and making a killing. HaHa! You lose again.

  20. What is stupid is that this Sit/Lie law like in other cities like the one I live in are so unnecessary because there are already laws for loitering on sidewalks and sleeping on benches and the like. The police know this so they don’t even bother to enforce it and continue to enforce better laws instead of fluff from rich politicians looking to either get reelected or campaign material. They are called vagrancy laws or maybe you are too wealthy and come from the suburbs to know what that is. Oh, wait! It is the suburbs that create such laws and you folks in Frisco are dealing with a huge influx of suburban youth rampaging your city now. HaHa!

  21. First you say that the City does not pay CCHO/SFIC’s bills, and when confronted with convincing evidence to that effect, you say you don’t care who pays their bills.

    The San Francisco Magazine article shows how developers think that metering would pass at the ballot box and how CCHO/SFIC cut a deal to take metering off of the table so long as CCHO/SFIC gets their bond money.

    Rarely do we get confirmation of the behind the scenes deal making that is only derivable imputation. You seem to be commenting awfully vociferously for someone who admittedly is not very well versed in the underlying actors.

  22. Dude, this is from way out of the field. Who cares who pays their bills?
    That has no interest in this article. So now your intimating that this
    CCHO (I don’t know what’s SFIC) is some kind of professional
    organization? Like an association of other nonprofit housing developers?
    So what?! Lots of companies and organizations belong to professional
    organizations for all kinds of purposes. There is absolutely nothing
    wrong with that and has nothing to do with this article.

    charities and churches that provide housing for the poor are not your
    cup of tea. Doesn’t mean they should not be able to be represented for

    Again, completely specious argument looking to take the discussion in another direction. Stay on point or leave the discussion.

  23. And who pays the SFIC and CCHO’s bills? Nonprofit developers and other poverty nonprofits which receive city funding and which are the members of the CCHO. Check out SFIC’s for 990 for a listing of board members, most receive city subsidy.

    CCHO/SFIC is a money laundering operation to finance a cartel that coordinates an extortion operation.

  24. Hmm…you should really do some research before spewing out caustic rhetoric & specious accusations. I don’t believe Mr. Welch or this CCHO organization has *ever* been on the city payroll. From a simple web search, this CCHO org appears to be a project of a fiscal sponsor. Nothing in the SF government website that shows any contracts being given to this CCHO. Doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with with this Calvin Welch or CCHO.

    Again, prove us wrong and please provide some proof and evidence of your specious accusations ridiculous rhetoric. Otherwise, crawl back under your rock.

  25. How long has Calvin Welch been on the payroll via the City to address issues like housing and homelessness? What has happened on the ground to housing in homeless in SF during his watch?

    Has Calvin done more good than harm? Is housing more affordable since Calvin came on the scene? Are there practical solutions to homelessness on the agenda?

    The historical record of the failure of the nonprofit housing mafia to do anything but sustain itself while providing chump change on the dollar to the rampage of market rate luxury condos speaks for itself.

    Calvin Welch and CCHO supported passage of Eastern Neighborhoods.

  26. Oh, more pretzel logic. No, they won’t because they then can’t leave the city. You’ve basically landlocked and jailed them here.

  27. You are really stupid, Man. The cops couldn’t implement it in 2011 because everyone was protesting it by sitting and lieing on the sidewalks so the cops couldn’t tell who was really the violators. In fact, ask any cop (oh, yeah, you won’t) Sit/Lie didn’t need to be created because the exact same laws, even stronger, had already existed. That is was opportunistic politicians like to do. Rehash and spin up old or current legislation just for show. Get a grip.

  28. The answer to this is easy. Most metropolitan cities will give a bus or train ticket to any homeless person that claims to want to go back to where they came from. So, those specific people are transient in that way. Call it what you want because you will but the same solution will still come back; provide real opportunities for people to get stable and contribute back to society. That is the only solution but Conway, Hoffman and Kawa can’t allow that to happen. Who is Ed Lee again?

  29. Dude, no one is refuting there are outsiders that come here. You obviously take a Republican spin on transients that annually start in Seattle in the summer and end up in San Diego in the winter. Not even the street tenants feel safe when that group comes to town. They are very violent. So, there is your 30%. Now will you call the cops when they confront you for a couple of bucks? Or, wait til they beat you with their skateboards?

  30. Really? You are gonna harp on that. You give ostriches a bad name by having your head in the sand. Every metropolitan city has *at least* that many homeless folk. The point you are missing is that more than half the homeless population ARE SF’cans and ghost suit Lee is nowhere to be found on the subject. Instead he wants to build what he thinks is 30k new housing units at $2500/mo for micro-studios. Uh, get a grip. Or, better yet, get a binky.

  31. Yes, remember Jordan’s Matrix Program centered on the Haight that Brown tried to perpetuate which created RAD? None of it worked but just pushed homeless people into GG Park who were then pushed out by rangers into the north and south neighborhoods where they were further persecuted by police forcing them either back downtown or deeper into the park. Word up is that those in the park ended up in the forest near the windmill where even the health outreach workers couldn’t find them. They would just leave all the hygiene and other supplies then come back later to find them gone.

    Care Not Cash (or really, Cash No Care) continued this perpetuation on the backs of homeless folks so drunk, womanizing Newsom could get a photo-op.

    Then came Sit/Lie which backfired hugely when the protest was everyone doing exactly that on the sidewalks for months. It’s the biggest joke on Newsom and his cronies. So, what had to be next? Find a target. Hmmm…Let’s see…where is that low-hanging fruit that Newsom could picked and piss off? HANC’s Recycling Center.

    No matter that it caused absolutely no problems but solved many of them. Or that Newsom and Park’s guy Ginsburg got conservative neighbors to astroturf for them on complaints. Or try to connect a mysterious death to it when it was less than 100 ft from the police station completely on the other side of the park…There is just too many stupid variables that don’t add up except to destroy workers’ lives and a huge neighborhood resource that not only has existed since 1970’s but was the model for ALL community recycling centers in the nation.

    Stupid Newsom. Hope you lose bad in the next election and really quit politics. We don’t need you. You offer us nothing. Empty suit.

  32. Hmmm. “…well known…” How did you come by this proof and evidence? Or are you now over-generalizing and being blatantly racist?
    Mission criminals=Latinos
    Affluent Neighborhoods=Caucasian

    But, have you reported this to the police? Oh, yeah, you said earlier, “I simply didn’t see the relevance to their job.” So, I guess you are perpetuating the problem and not contributing anything to the solution. At least, give the cops something.
    Very sad indeed

    But the real problem the trolls here don’t seem to get is that no one in the City Establishment is talking about outright discrimination based on race and the huge disparity of opportunity and wide stratification of class. But, who would expect the trolls to be that conscious of such things.

  33. I agree with Nancy. Such vomit. And, what “repugnant racism” are you talking about? You don’t seem to know what that really means. Seems pretty clear he was pointing out factually that the most affected in that area (SOMA?) were the folks who live there compared to the Texas-based SUPERmarket carpetbagger that is the Whole Paycheck monolith masquerading as a local grocery and putting the sticks to the local folks there. You got it way wrong and way off base.

  34. no credibility is lost at all when mentioning people of color – it is when white people keep whining about how oppressed they are – after they evict people for their real estate and earning obscene amounts of money – that is funny

  35. It is fairly well known that many of the new residents here are quite willing to demonize people making under $100,000 as worthless and needing to leave the city immediately so they can exploit the real estate – and they comment and gloat about their prowess without any shame or conscience

  36. There are no solutions to the homeless problem, period. Doesn’t matter who is in power.

    But what we do know is that the more money the city spends on making things better for the homeless, the more homeless show up here from elsewhere because SF is seen as a soft touch.

    So the paradox is that you remediate homelessness not by spending more money on it, but by spending less money on it. Tough love, if you will.

    If we can’t save all the homeless (and we cannot) then at least we can stop them ruining the lives of the rest of us.

  37. The fact is that there are no practical solutions to homelessness especially when “progressives” can’t win D5, the Mayor’s office and can’t pass Ellis Act reform at the state level.

    This leaves the conservatives able to leverage outrage over “quality of life” into political capital while “progressives” are left to jump at the bait and to base their appeal to liberal guilt and “San Francisco values,” guaranteed losers.

  38. SF progressives blew the homeless issue way back in 2002 when Gavin Newsom got Care Not Cash passed over their opposition. Until then the prog approach to the issue was Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade. Newsom understood that people wanted something done about homelessness, while the left defended the status quo by clowning around plus a paleo-Marxist analysis. Care Not Cash is a “war on the poor”!

  39. It was about leveraging outrage at Haight homelessness for future elections and about feeding progressives the bait again.

  40. Here’s a rare window into how Calvin and crew roll:

    Erickson claims that plural terms in his letters—“our
    side,” “we in the real estate community”—are actually singular. “That is
    me saying that I would do my very best to raise the funds to pass the
    bond,” he says. Peter Cohen of the Council of Community Housing
    Organizations, one of the supporters of Prop K, adds that the allegation
    that he and others agreed to strip elements of Prop. K in exchange for a
    pledge to fund a housing bond campaign is “too narrow.” Kim, who is on a
    trip to New York, could not be reached for comment.

    Basically, CCHO will continue to let you gang rape the Mission so long as CCHO gets paid.

  41. If Tim’s operation runs cover for Calvin’s operation and Calvin’s operation provides cover for the Brown machine’s left flank, then it would make sense that Tim would encourage the controversy because it could only drive more revenue his way.

  42. So when it comes to cops, you tolerate racism, but criticize someone for introducing race in a post. A touch of hypocrisy perhaps?

    “Fairly well known” and its variants are common phrases in your lexicon. I take these phrases as attribution to mean you have grabbed the information asserted out of the air.

    Does gentrification lead to less crime? Perhaps if you never park your car on the street. Otherwise it’s a target for a break-in. Ask the Bureau of Land Management.

  43. I guess you are not a fan of innovation.

    I am not a player, I am a resident with a real job who knows enough about what’s going on to be a commentator.

    I detest the political class more than they detest me.

  44. It’s not hard to guess why homeless folks come to SF:

    1) Good weather
    2) Some other cities buy bus tickets here for their homeless
    3) SF provides more money and services than most other places
    4) SF’s reputation for so-called “tolerance” (except for republicans, bankers, cops, landlords etc)

    If we spend less on the homeless, some will move to greener pastures.

  45. I didn’t defend those cops. I simply didn’t see the relevance to their job.

    And it is fairly well known that Mission criminals go to other more affluent neighborhoods to commit crimes. They also come over from Oakland.

    And yes, gentrification does tend to lead to less crime.

    You have learned well, grasshopper.

  46. Seminal? LOL. So you are seriously trying to tell us that you are famous and well-renowned? Funny that nobody here or on SFBG ever gave you credit for achieving anything. In fact I haven’t even found anyone who likes you. Or that you had to rent until you were in your fifties.

    Yet you are so desperate to be considered a player. I look forward to your death in the sure knowledge that thee will be no memorial or obituary along the lines of what we have sen for Gullicksen, Meko, Wooding etc.

    You’re not a contender, and I am a giant compared with you. My crowning achievement isn’t a footnote on some obscure piece of code.

  47. Calvin just gave use a one-year source. He didn’t even give us the change from Sit-iie to now (look at the chart, it lists 2013 & 2015 – not even from 2011.

    Shame yourself, I’m not buyin’.

  48. The source of this information was cited as follows: Since 2000, San Francisco has conducted a systematic count of homeless people every other year and issued a report called “The Homeless Count.” The most current can be found here (link).

    It is data, not campaign rhetoric and shame on you for calling it that.

  49. The source of this information was cited as follows: Since 2000, San Francisco has conducted a systematic count of homeless people every other year and issued a report called “The Homeless Count.” The most current can be found here (link).

    It’s not campaign rhetoric and shame on you for calling it that.

  50. Hmm, this is interesting $am. Wasn’t it you who defended SF police officers who exchanged racist, homophobic, and sexist text messages? Wasn’t it you who blamed crime in Bernal Heights and Noe Valley on people who live in the Mission? Isn’t it you who consistently asserts that soaring housing costs are good in that they will bring a better class of people to San Francisco?

  51. Bottom line: my name is on one of the seminal docuements of our time that has entered the historical record and you will die a lonely, unknown, unremembered nobody.

  52. Almost no recycling is returned for CRV. Just about everyone at a recycling center is selling their cans & bottles by weight. It’s faster than counting, more compact since you can crush everything (except glass,) and you get slightly more money (except for glass.) Repealing the bottle bill would have almost no noticeable effect aside from sending the message that we don’t care about recycling.

  53. Sit Lie was never about reducing homelessness. It was about the street punks who slept in Golden Gate Park at night and, to the distress of local merchants, occupied Haight Street sidewalks during the day, where they panhandled for enough money to buy booze and drugs.

    When you look at the latest homeless count report by district (page 23), you can see that District 5, compared to other districts, still doesn’t have that many homeless, most of whom are in District 6 and District 10.

    Welch perpetuates the progressive myth that the homeless in SF just can’t afford housing in the city, whereas anyone who takes a close look at these folks can see that most of them have serious drug and/or psychological problems.

  54. The bottle bill has served it’s purpose and needs to be repealed, now that we have curbside recycling.

  55. No data, no statement, just opinion. Ok

    BTW, was Calvin giving us “data” about the number of homeless from outside, or just Trump-eting more campaign rhetoric?

  56. No data set for my right wing statement; it was based on my observation of your posts. Call Trump’s comments what you will, he is proposing things, no matter how wrong-headed, without evidence that they will work. Nit picking whether they are “policy” positions or “campaign rhetoric” doesn’t get us anywhere.

  57. You made the assumption that I’m a “right winger’ – what was your data-set on that?

    And we DO know a percentage of those from outside; Calvin noted that in his, um, article/opinion piece.

    If Donald Trump bloviating is your idea of “policy” instead of campaign rhetoric, I fear for what you propose as policy.

  58. That is meaningless. You claim achievements for things that you were only peripherally and temporarily involved in.

    Nobody on this site or any of the others you regularly comment on has ever supported your claim of political relevance in this city.

    And in more honest moments, you admit you have been sidelined and ignored, which is why you are so bitter and resentful.

  59. I don’t know why or how homeless people come to SF (and we still don’t know what percentage this represents), but I know better than to make assumptions without any data to back it up. Too much of our policy today is made based on what we think is happening without any information to support it. Just look at Donald Trump.

  60. You know, I’m having a hard time fiinding this ‘evidence’ in the article. In fact, I can’t even find evidence in the article that homelessness has gotten worse since Sit-lie & HANC expulsion. His graph compares 2013 vs ’15, and his link goes to the 2015 count only. He throws out a curious claim that

    “The number of people sleeping outdoors or on the street citywide — the very population targeted by Newsom and Nevius — has increased from 28% in 2011 (the year Sit/Lie went into effect) to 46% in 2015.”

    when people “sleeping… on the street” (proper) is not even part of the “homeless” definition (in the park – yes, in a car – yes, on-the-street – no!) p.14

    Maybe this article has some value that is not in evidence. But the more I look, the less I believe.

  61. Notes was not whining. He was exposing the hypocrisy of foghorn criticizing Welch when in fact Welch has achieved a lot (even if it is often the wrong stuff) whereas foghorn has achieved nothing except for criticizing others.

  62. But most of those people pay their own way. They do not come here to sponge off care, services and benefits

  63. If a storekeeper goes out of business that is a problem regardless of the race, eye color or height of that storekeeper.

    Bruce’s snide insinuation is that a store going out of business is somehow more tragic based on the skin color of the proprietor. That is repugnant racism masquerading as liberalism.

  64. “At the ground floor” is a meaningless phrase. You might have attended a meeting at some point and make that claim. If you had had a material and pioneering role in it, your name would be all over the records and it is not.

    Likewise there is no evidence that you had anything to do with the formation of the SF CLT which, in any event, has a negligible effect on the SF housing situation.

    You have delusions of grandeur but, for all your self-aggrandization and criticism of others, you have achieved nothing, as Notes from Nowhere perceptively observed.

  65. Because its a fact and fact have that funny attribute of being, actually, credible unlike your poor exanple of trying to cause misdirection which is painfully naive, obvious and childish.

  66. You are correct. The article sez nothing about why all the rough campers are coming. I’m glad you will admit that a significant number come from elsewhere.

    Why do YOU think we have all these outsiders, coming here, from being homeless somewhere else?

  67. HTTP is in the public domain. I did not invent it, I was at the ground floor for its development and standardization. Every day HTTP facilitates petabytes of data transfer for all manner of purposes.

  68. I don’t always prevail. I always prevail with you because you always change the subject or resort to personal attacks.

  69. Your patent number for HTTP?

    Funny that the SF CLT makes no mention of your allegedly important role there. Even though it names many other people who played a role, and continue to.

    Your definition of “getting in on the ground floor” is attending an initial meeting, pissing people off, quitting in disgust, and then trying to claim the credit for what the others achieved.

  70. With such a well reasoned argument, I am forced but to concede, no I did not invent the concept of the CLT nor did I invent the internet.

    But I got in on the ground floor for HTTP and the SFCLT which will continue to make people’s lives better for long after I perish.

  71. Not everything, but I do win every debate with you. Because you always duck, deflect or turn personal, making it obvious that you cannot refute.

    Sometimes you make it even easier for me by, say, claiming to have invented the internet or formed the CLT.

  72. Why mention the race of the SOMA storekeepers?

    You lose credibility when you show racial preferences. You are not “just stating the facts” You are playing a race card.

  73. It’s fairly well known that many of the homeless are not native-born SF’ers. And other cities have been revealed to send their homeless here with free bus tickets.

    The real challenge is to stop making SF the nation’s trash can for homeless people, and that isn’t helped by throwing large amounts of money at the homeless here.

  74. Wisdom would start with a metric that shows that the money being spent is leading to less harm to the community. I defy anyone to prove that to me.

  75. There is no way to get the homeless off the streets except by getting them out of the city. Ideas that help the homeless merely attract more of them here.

  76. “the money is being spent wisely”

    Depends on how you define “wisely.”

    Taking care of your constituency by putting their people to work can be defined as politically wise. Until it isn’t.

  77. They may have come from outside the city, but it says nothing about the motivation or other possible reasons. Researchers would have to probe more deeply to figure that one out and your speculation doesn’t make it so.

    You’re welcome.

  78. RTF(A).

    “The most recent Homeless Count includes some surprising results. For example in 2015, 73% of those counted were never in foster care, 71% of them were San Francisco residents before they became homeless,”

    By saying “71% were SF residents before”, that means that 29% were NOT SF residents before they were homeless; IOW they came here from somewhere else!

    You’re welcome.

    And I wonder about that figure, anyway. There’s way more cache to saying you lived here before becoming homeless. Painting yourself as a drifter has “Loser” written all over it. So, since this is a self-acknowledging survey, I think the number of out-of-towners is probably higher than 29.999%

  79. Ok. Maybe Im wrong. I’m not sure if less people are going thru the Blue bins or not.

    I suppose the pick-up truck aggregators are still in business; so the bottom line is the homeless probably just get less for their boodle from the aggregators than they did from the Safeway spot.

    I do miss the fact that I can no longer cash in my stuff; but thats balanced against the aesthetic improvement of the former ‘centers’.

  80. The article provides evidence that getting people off the streets was a motivation for both efforts. Sffoghorn, below, provides a more oblique motivation.

  81. Nowhere does this article say that 30% of the homeless come here from elsewhere for the hand-outs. I think you right-wingers just think that way because you are accustomed to getting government handouts.

  82. I’m work in labor and agree with SF Labor Rep. Stop pretending like you speak for all of the mist of the city.

  83. Good to know that you know what “all in Labor,” think. Case in point, why you zealots are a dying breed here in SF.

  84. Read my post again, you obviously didn’t.

    Prop L won. The official argument talked about civility on the sidewalks, not about reducing homelessness. For Calvin to say that Prop L worsened homelessness since it inception implies that the point of Prop L was to reduce homelessness when no reasonable person could interpret that from the official ballot language. People are using hearsay to state that the point of Prop L was to reduce homelessness, yet there is no evidence of that. No one can know the intent of the voters truly. but you’re essentially saying that voters read between the lines and through the page to vote for Prop L to attempt to lower homelessness.

    Calvin said it made homelessness worse but doesn’t even bother to explain the how or why. Again, for that to be true, he’d need to explain why preventing people from lying or sitting on sidewalks during the day increases homelessness or encourages it. He does neither.

    Also, Spurious Correlations isn’t Rove-ian propaganda. It’s a website that demonstrates in a fun way that correlation does not equal causation.

  85. It was still commercial in nature (money and materials changed hands), and indeed industrial, even if it never made a profit (which of course it never did)

  86. The paradox at the heart of trying to save the homeless is that, the more money, care and services we throw at them, the more attractive SF becomes to the homeless, and the more arrive.

    So, essentially, the problem cannot be solved with money because an infinite amount would be needed. The only logical policy is to do the exact opposite, and make SF no more attractive to the homeless than other cities. Or, ideally, less attractive.

    Either that or make services dependent on them agreeing to stay in an encampment somewhere where they do the least harm to the generally community – Hunters Point or West Oakland spring to mind.

  87. Because it is still too easy for the homeless to steal bottles and cash them in. We need to make it harder for them.

  88. At one end of the spectrum is the “just give them homes” idea, which isn’t practical in SF for a variety of reasons, and will probably never happen. At the other end is the “sink or swim” mentality, which is to reduce the services most homeless people receive and see if that acts as a deterrent – I don’t think it would, and it’s about as impractical as just giving people free homes. Does the answer lie somewhere in the middle? Where’s the balance? Admittedly, I have a hard time believing that spending more money on the issue will solve the problem, given the millions San Francisco spends on the homeless (and without any kind of metrics to measure whether or not the money is being spent wisely).

  89. Anybody got any policy ideas that might ACTUALLY reduce homeless populations?

    I’m curious. It’s an issue that I’ve always wrestled with. In high school and college I volunteered with a couple Food not Bombs chapters regularly, and saw a the issue up close, but I’ve never been able to come up with any non-draconian ideas that would get people off the street.

    Beyond the obvious “give people homes” – which may work in SLC or somewhere with very low land values and a lot of room – what can a city like SF due to reduce the homeless population?

  90. Except I’m not really sure they were done to get people off the streets. I see sit/lie as more a of an enforcement against panhandling and harassment, and closing the recycling center was done to try and curb people from stealing recycleables from people’s bins.

  91. The point of sit-lie and closing HANC was not policy, it was political. Sit-lie set the stage for the next election, putting the “progressives” on the defensive on an issue they ALWAYS lose on. This is why opposition to 1979 Mission centered around homeless on the plaza is guaranteed to lose.

    The point of HANC was to kneecap Calvin Welch and deny him and HANC cash flow. It was successful. Calvin could not organize to stop it because he was weak and is now weaker without HANC.

    Thanks to Calvin Welch’s selfish corrupt political incompetence, he was left weak and he left the “progressives” even weaker. Did Calvin Welch ever set the stage for future elections with a divisive wedge ballot measure? Of course not, CCHO would have lost its funding had he played for keeps and CCHO’s funding ALWAYS comes first before everything else.

  92. It may be a stretch to say that sit-lie and closing the recycling center made things worse. But it’s not a stretch to say they clearly did nothing to improve the homeless situation.

  93. Losses to curbside theft have not gone down since HANC closed, ask the Department of Environment. Meanwhile, those losses, estimated to be $5 million annually, are a tiny fraction of the rate base.

  94. While it would be nice to pocket $10 or $20 bucks once or twice a year, I’d rather keep my Ecology rates from going thru the roof. Those centers encourage stealing from the Blue bins, which only hikes the garbage rates.

  95. And Calvin Welch is upset that his life’s work has been for nil, that his domineering and intimidating persona was unable to appeal to his neighbors to stop the demise of one of his cash cows.

    For Calvin Welch, it is all about him asserting and enforcing private property claims to public resources and revenue streams. When he loses, when he fails to organize, he always blames someone else.

    Calvin Welch’s selfishness and failure on housing and land use has resulted in the demise of any significant political base to move the political agenda he claims to want.

  96. Bluster no longer works as an organizing technique and Calvin Welch was left out in the cold because his intimidation tactics no longer worked.

    The Lenin of the Haight has been toppled and he remains bitter about that and his legacy of utter failure on housing and homelessness.

  97. Calvin Welch gets paid by the City to ensure that nobody in the “progressive” land use establishement poses any threat to the orderly redevelopment of San Francisco.

    It is because of that locking down of politics that most folks who are not professional politicos have withdrawn from participation in progressive politics.

    That is how Calvin Welch led “progressives” off of a cliff and into the abyss.

    Yet he, Fernando and Peter still get paid…and want to conceal their disclosing their lobbying activities from San Franciscans.

  98. If I do not succeed at the job I get paid for, I lose my job and no longer get paid.

    Calvin Welch has made a cottage industry of dominating housing and land use politics on the so-called “progressive” side for DECADES, and under Welch’s “leadership,” he’s failed to move the dial forward on every single issue he’s fought for.

    “Progressive” Calvin Welch supported Willie Brown over Tom Ammiano for mayor in 1999.

    “Progressive” Calvin Welch can only win a housing bond when the conservatives help haul his ass over the finish line: Prop A housing bond in 1999 is all he’s won.

    “Progressive” Calvin Welch lost 2 housing bonds in the 2000s Prop B 2002, 55% / Prop A 2004, 64.2%.

    “Progressive” Calvin Welch supported Sue Lee over Eric Mar in 2008.

    “Progressive” Calvin Welch lost the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Prop B, the one that did not give away the store to developers, in 2008 barely, because he hired accused child porn aficionado Enrique Pearce Prop.

    “Progressive” Calvin Welch supported the bad housing trust fund with support of the mayor that
    lowered on-site inclusionary that won 2012 Prop C, 65.15%

    “Progressive” Calvin Welch opposes Prop C on the November ballot because it would force nonprofits to disclose the money they are spending, often city money, on lobbying and grasstroturf operations.

    Calvin Welch is the paid “progressive” troll.

  99. And now all of it is a garden, which better befits a park location not zoned for commercial enterprises.

  100. The odd time I went there, the only people there were either seniors, Asians or homeless people.

    Seniors have plenty of time on their hands and probably enjoyed the walk. Asians – might be a cultural thing. But neither of those two groups got paid for their bottles – they just threw them into the glass dumpsters.

    It was the homeless people who went there to get paid. And they steal them from the blue bins. At minimum, they should not have been paid in cash.

    But better that the place closed down, and created instead a beautiful community garden for the neighborhood.

  101. I was simply explaining to you why, in places with curb-side recycling, the centers have been closing.

    In places with no curb-side recycling, then a central dump can be useful. Every now and then I drive down to the city dump with things Recology won’t pick up.

    For the apartment building I own I pay 7 grand a year for Recology to pick up all the waste and recycling. Damned if I am going t do it myself given that you have to pay them regardless.

  102. There is no reason to take recycling to a center when a truck picks up from your home. That is the reason we are closing the centers.

  103. The Matrix program was a Frank Jordan proposition. Get your emotionally “stoopid” facts straight.

  104. SFPD do enforce it. I regularly see them moving homeless kids on, especially in the Haight where residents and business owners complain about the itinerants.

  105. Curb-side recycling makes the centres redundant and undesirable

    Most of the bottles taken to the centres are stolen from the curb-side bins. Sometimes noisily in the middle of the night.

  106. If you agitate politically but do not get paid for it, then you never have to compromise or deal with the real world. You can remain pure and principled.

    But step up and take a more formal role, let alone take public office, and you have to work well with all kinds of people.

    I don’t object to Welch because he gets paid. I object to him because he doesn’t comprehend the issues clearly and suggests solutions that cause harm and, in this case, encourage more homeless people to move to SF.

  107. They have these wonderful trucks that pick up recycling from your house. No need to walk anyway any more.

  108. Really?

    People used to walk from their houses that they owned across the street to use the HANC Recycling Center.

  109. Short version – Welch is still bitter about the demise of HANC, even though everyone who lives in its vicinity is delighted it is gone.

    Welch wants the homeless – just not in his back yard. Or near his million dollar home.

  110. I’m not sure he ever achieved anything other than annoy people. He was trolling in real life before the internet invented that word. Sitting behind his cushy tech job salary and gentrifying Mission condo, he rants and rails at the world, signifying nothing other than his endless dissatisfaction, ennui and self-hating inferiority complex.

    And true to leftist roots, he hates his fellow passengers on the left more than he hates Republicans and capitalists.

  111. Recycling center closures, as a scorched earth tactic aimed at the poor, are now happening up and down the coast, in the wealthier zip-codes. Gavin Newsom’s Care Not Cash amended with No CASH FOR CANS could become the law Statewide, should he become Governor. This will be a step backward for recycling (reducing CO2 too!) and litter reduction while being incredibly mean spirited.

  112. It important to note that with the continued closure of any recycling center puts SF more and more out of compliance with the CA Bottle Bill – AB 2020 (1986) which requires there be a central public recycling center per certain capita. Under the same law, if a community lacks a recycling center then all establishments that sell recycled containers over the counter are responsible for accepting returns or suffer a $100/day fine. When Whole Foods moved into SOMA they refused to be the central repository and chose to just pay the fine nearly $30k/year. For them, this is just the cost of business but for all the mom-and-pop stores in the neighborhood, it forced many out of business, many owned by people of color.

    There was a movement to put in vending machines for this collection but the machines were so big and clumsy that businesses rejected them. What the hell is wrong with a community recycling center anyway, especially, one that was the model for the country, was thriving, employed many formerly homeless folks and provided health care before Obamacare existed, expanded to provide native plants and opened dozens of community gardens, sponsored Garden for the Environment education program for decades, etc., etc., etc…

    So, what will happen to SF when the state finally catches up with enforcement? SF should just do the right thing and reinstitute community drop-off recycling centers as it is now a well proven fact they do not increase or continue homelessness. In fact, it keeps a lot of bored seniors busy and exercised, and growing businesses of late night collectors overfilling small pickup trucks with pilfered recyclables from your blue bin that you pay for.

    Just stating the facts.

  113. You get paid for your job, don’t you? We all have a right to get paid for good work we do so why not advocates? Don’t lobbyists and political consultants and politicians and bureaucrats and…oh, yeah, paid trolls like you get paid, too?

  114. First off, you are not a labor rep because no one in Labor would agree with you.
    ==> I call upon the moderator to remove this poster for seeking to marginalize the good name of Labor without their permission or representation.

  115. Sit/Lie was just an extension of the old Willie Brown Matrix Program that didn’t work either. Sit/Lie was just a marketing and campaign scheme to bring “positive” attention to Newsom. It’s totally redundant of existing city laws which is why it appears SFPD is not enforcing it.

  116. Just then stop reading this and posting stoopid shit or you just give it more efficacy. Press loves controversy so if you feed it more adversarial bullshit like what you just posted it will only garner more magnetism for its supporters to dowse your rancor. The best thing for you to do is stop posting.

  117. And, where are your statistics on that bright idea? Stop making assumptions that you know how and what the voters know and do. And, pointing to obvious Rove-ian propaganda doesn’t help your case.

  118. Another day, another blow to the credibility of 48Hills. These activist-columnists that Tim likes enough to run under his own name are really good at making the progressive side look disingenuous, stupid, or both. It’s’s a shame. There are real problems in this city that need real solutions. You just won’t find them here. Stuck on dumb, the story of 48Hills.

    On the specifics: No, Sit-Lie was not promoted as a way to reduce homelessness. It was promoted (and passed) as a quality of life issue to reduce aggressive panhandling and harassment, mostly along Haight Street. I have no idea if it succeeded at that, but that was the standard to measure against. Ditto the recycling center: It was a magnet for homelessness, and neighbors were fed up with it. They didn’t expect to eliminate homelessness, but they didnt want so much of the problem on their front door.

  119. The majority of the electorate didn’t vote for Sit/Lie because it would reduce homelessness, they voted because they don’t like (seeing) people lying on the streets. Measures such as these are more about sweeping homelessness under the rug.

    My question still stands. If Sit/Lie doesn’t work, why would it actually increase homelessness and why did it also apparently cause homelessness in D10 to severely drop according to the chart above? Calvin’s answer doesn’t work when you’re not picking and choosing numbers in a way to create a narrative. He’s not just saying it doesn’t work, he said it makes it worse, but then goes on to do nothing to prove his point.

    What he’s doing can be demonstrated by the website Spurious Correlations

  120. So Calvin is willing to admit that 30% of the homeless come here from elsewhere for the hand-outs.

    Yet he just wants to increase them – then complain about other efforts that make homelessness less ‘profitable’ as being the cause of its increase.

    Nice rabbit, Topper!

  121. D’oh-nut Dave has been the first one into the hot grease on so many threads, I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t Tim himself and his frustration with his own web-site thus his smidgin of mirth that he lets out as his ‘alter-ego’

  122. Neighborhood Recycling centers kill communities by creating their own black markets and drug/crime hangouts. Terrible, terrible for families, seniors, youth, Parks, & neighborhoods! Bad policy all the way around! #neveragain

  123. Ummm… I’m sorry, but where were you? The pro sit/lie campaign continuously made the argument that tougher laws would reduce homelessness. They trumpeted the often repeated narrative by those who are trying to cut services to people in need, that in short: ‘San Francisco provides such good services for homeless people that folks on the street are calling the hobo hotline and that thousands from all across the country are continuously moving to SF to mooch off all the killer stuff the city gives out and exploit the lax laws that exist.’ Amongst other lies, the chron made the argument that this was a neighborhood generated push, when it turned out that the haight and d5 overwhelmingly voted against sit lie. Calvin is simply pointing out that this shitty law didn’t work.

  124. These people are continually running circles around Calvin Welch and for some reason he keeps on dominating housing and land use politics on the “progressive” side.

    When was the last time that Calvin Welch figured out a wedge issue against the conservatives in anticipation of two elections down the road? His ass has been serially kicked using this technique yet for all of his blustering he’s been sadly unable to execute.

    CCHO keeps on getting paid, so Calvin Welch is winning.

  125. Not sure this article tells us anything. What policies would reduce homelessnesd? Why is the sit and lie policy bad? It was never going to reduce homelessness. Finally who cares what Welch thinks any more

  126. Um this article just proves you shouldn’t trust Calvin Welch with numbers. It’s easy to say numbers don’t lie, but they of course can be used to tell one. It’s pretty embarrassing.

    Where is the causation in this article? How does Welch explain a 34% drop in the number of homeless in D10? Why does preventing sitting or lying encourage more homeless people to come to San Francisco?

    Also why would sit/lie have anything to do with the number of homeless anyway? It’s behavioral control, not population control. You’d have to demonstrate that the law somehow made people fall into homelessness in increasing numbers and/or encourage more homeless to come to San Francisco, both of which would make zero sense.

  127. It’s not just Sit/Lie and HANC. Mayors Jordan, Brown and Newsom all ran and were elected on a platform of harrassing the homeless. Sad to say, but promising to kick the poor has for a long time been an effortless way to win the votes of a very sizeable part of San Francisco.

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