Mayor London Breed on Election Night 2018. Photo by Mallory Newman.

San Francisco’s mayor could have confounded and neutralized the city’s political left for years by embracing homeless measure Prop. C. Instead, she isolated herself, rejecting it with specious arguments.


Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

London Breed is the mayor, and you are not. We have “takes.” She makes “decisions.” The mayor’s decisions carry weight. They are tangible.

And weighty, tangible decisions, as you’d expect, leaden the wings of a candidate who, in large part, floated into office on the strength of her intangibles.

So, make no mistake: Breed’s firm rejection of homeless measure Proposition C — a choreographed Friday announcement coming in lockstep with Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman David Chiu — was a crushing and credibility-destroying decision.

This was rendered even clearer by Monday’s splashy announcement from Marc Benioff, the city’s favored benevolent billionaire, that he was going all-in on supporting Prop. C. The measure’s backers had, previously, likened themselves to David battling the Downtown powers-that-be Goliath.

Well, one of this city’s leading Gods of Philanthropy just showered $2 million worth of manna from Salesforce Tower onto David. That kind of money buys a lot of rocks for your sling.

So much for the stilted arguments presented by Breed at al. that Prop. C would be “anti-business.” So much for any efforts to coalesce the tech and business communities against a measure that would tax the wealthiest of this city’s wealthy companies to potentially double the resources allotted to homeless and housing issues — the consensus top problems facing San Francisco.

And so much for what could have been a career-defining thunderclap of a political move by Mayor Breed. If she had embraced the homeless measure created and promoted by her ostensible political enemies, she would have confounded and routed them. Our so-called moderate mayor would have, perhaps permanently, destroyed the narrative that she, first and foremost, serves the interests of this city’s establishment players.

That narrative is — tangibly and unsubtly — reinforced by donation patterns and donor lists. And, now, actions. But pushing for Prop. C would have socked Breed’s most sanctimonious critics right in the mouth and shut them up — for years. It would have redefined her, in much the way erstwhile San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is now better remembered for his positions on same-sex marriage than his punitive measures on homelessness and begging. And it would have lent credence to the political mantra a more profane Breed coined in 2012: “I don’t do what no-motherfucking-body tells me to do.”

Alas. Breed could have owned this. She could have owned this even though the money and hard work to craft and pass Prop. C are coming from elsewhere. She could have owned the political goodwill even if, as San Franciscans often do, the homeless measure is voted down. Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Jackie Speier — hardly left-wing firebrands — are backing Prop. C. So are Angela Alioto and John Burton — and SPUR.

But that’s not the route Breed chose to go.

Marc Benioff may fashion himself this city’s Daddy Warbucks, but London Breed is our mayor. She has, in the wake of Benioff’s largess, defended her move as the fiscally responsible, if anticlimactic, obligation.

That sounds defensible. That would be defensible. But the arguments Breed has made to couch this decision — they’re not defensible.

San Francisco’s favorite benevolent billionaire has put his money — and reputation — behind Prop. C.

A fellow newspaper columnist once told me he could eke out a full-time beat just writing articles stating “The report doesn’t say what you say it did.” That’s funny, but it’s also true.

Breed’s arguments, which you can read here, lean heavily on an economic impact report of Prop. C undertaken by city economist Ted Egan (which you can read here).

Put succinctly, the report doesn’t say what Mayor Breed says it does.

“Proposition C’s new taxes will decidedly harm our local economy,” the mayor claims.

In actuality, the report noted that Proposition C’s “impacts are small in the context of the city’s job market and economy, equal to a 0.1% difference, on average, over 20 years.”

That’s the “harm” predicted here: 0.1 percent. To give you an idea of how small a number 0.1 percent is, it’s one-quarter the percentage of real butter in Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. To give you an idea of how many jobs Egan believes are going to be vanquished by Prop. C, if the city would have created 1,000 jobs in a Prop. C-free environment, the report predicts Prop. C will result in the creation of a mere 999.  

Breed also bemoans that Prop. C will shower funds upon a system in which we don’t seem to adequately know where money is going and where current funds are not well-spent. Prop. C, she continues, does not call for an audit of the new funds it will bring in.

Perhaps, but calling for either the controller or budget and legislative analyst to undertake an audit is something that can be arranged in a matter of hours; here, in fact, is a 2017 audit of an underperforming nonprofit serving the homeless.

In truth, we know damn well where the money is going: Largely to housing. Any candidate for office in this city should be able to recite our homeless spending totals and priorities the way a schoolchild knocks out her times tables.

The controller monitors the performance of this city’s departments, including the Department of Homelessness, and the Department of Homelessness monitors the performance of the homeless nonprofits working with city money. The raison d’être of the Department of Homelessness over the past couple of years has been to eliminate redundancies and curtail city funding to low-performing nonprofits.  

The mayor’s apparent argument that this city doesn’t know where its money is going or what it’s doing is inaccurate — and even cynical. It seems designed to appeal to voters’ visceral anger and disgust (“I PAY TOO MUCH FOR RENT AND THERE’S SHIT EVERYWHERE!”) rather than explain what the city really is doing and how government really works.

It’s a dangerous thing for city officials to wield citizens’ low expectations as a shield.    

We can always do a better job with the resources we have, but squeezing the efficiencies out of our current system is not going to make a tangible change in what is an out-and-out humanitarian crisis on our streets.

Taken on their face, Breed’s arguments about the inadequacies of our current system are actually self-defeating: If our mayor has a problem with the performance of our homeless infrastructure, it’s her obligation to initiate changes. If she had a problem with the level of funding we have been providing to homeless services, she should have stated as much when she was Board President.  

Out-of-town visitor to San Francisco complains about conditions on the streets.

Gavin Newsom had a real skill at stealing other politicians’ good ideas. Sadly, Mayor Breed has stolen one of his bad ideas — that upping our homeless services will render this city a magnet for homeless people. That San Francisco will, quite literally, be given the bum’s rush.

“We have identified no research that found that expanded homelessness services or facilities increases homelessness,” reads the controller’s Economic Impact Report — which was, apparently, rather selectively cited to buttress Breed’s arguments.

In the coming months, this city will, finally, fully implement its coordinated homeless entry system and centralized homeless data systems. This city’s administrators — overseen, once more, by our elected officials — have crafted prioritizations of service. The Joad family is not hopping off a freight train and getting an apartment. To receive housing, one must document decades of street living. If Prop. C leads to its promised 4,000 housing units, perhaps this wait will be cut down to a mere five years of living outdoors.

“Come out here for 30 days and see how excited you are to wait five years,” says one longtime city homeless worker. “It’s not easy.”

No, it’s not. And, guess what: Homeless people are already coming to San Francisco. Perhaps, for many, it really is because you can buy cheap drugs here and essentially use them with impunity. But homeless people have lots of reasons to come to San Francisco, just as housed people do. They come because it’s San Francisco.

This is happening, as Newsom was wont to say, whether you like it or not.

Following Benioff’s announcement, celebrity support for the wonky-sounding Homeless Gross Receipts Tax flooded in online. Chris Rock said he’s with Marc. So did Jewel. It’s not exactly indicative of a healthy government or society when a hefty augmentation of social services requires private signature-gatherers, a billionaire’s support, and online commendations from comedians and singers. But that’s where we are.

And a ballot measure, unlike a candidate, at least has to ostensibly do what it says it’ll do.

Join the Conversation

57 Comments

  1. This is an opinion piece. It should be labeled as such, so that people know it’s an editorial, not journalism.

    1. Andy —

      I’m the columnist here. I think it’s resplendently obvious that this a reported column. And, guess what: I didn’t invent the concept of a reported column, which is, in fact, “journalism.” Feel free to fact-check my reporting. I’ll wait.

      Unlike you, I have confidence in readers of this site to know what’s a reported column and what’s a hard news article and what’s a photo of a dude sitting on a mailbox.

      Thanks for reading,

      JE

      1. “Resplendently obvious” should become the next heavily-used phrase, easily kicking out “basically”, “literally” and “no problem.” It would take me a long time before I would tire of hearing it. Well said, Joe.

      2. Joe, how do I “fact-check” this statement:

        “Breed’s firm rejection of homeless measure Proposition C … was a crushing and credibility-destroying decision.”

        1. You’re being facetious. I would hope. That’s the “column” part of “reported column.” It’s backed up by documenting, with specificity, the speciousness and inaccuracy of her arguments and explaining, in detail, why this was politiclaly unwise and damaging.

          This isn’t complicated. People playing dumb about the merits of journalism when a story doesn’t say what they want it to say are making bad-faith arguments.

          JE

          1. Throwing new money at problems don’t make them go away. If hundreds of millions of dollars of annual funding is not solving the problem today, what can convince us that throwing more money at the problem will help?

      3. Joe, Put succinctly, the links you cite don’t say what you say they do.

        Specifically the links to the Controller and Homeless Services don’t have data that shows monitoring of the effectiveness of money spent by comparison benchmarking to peer programs in similar places. The source of the target numbers aren’t explained but they appear to be made low to ensure success.

        About half of the people exiting homelessness were from the Homeward Bound programs. But no tracking is cited to whether any have returned here homeless. Overall, total homelessness is increasing and direct exits are decreasing. Reporting failure isn’t exercising oversight.

        1. Sir or madam:

          None of what you said is germane to the point I was making: If Mayor Breed or any elected official has problems with the way we’re monitoring things now or the way things are now, period, they can address that. They can call for audits of any nonprofit partner or the system writ large. The argument that we need to fix this system from top to bottom before putting any more money into it seems to be awfully selective. As I noted elsewhere, we seem to have no problem showering additional funds upon Public Works or the police department — and nobody could say those departments are performing optimal work.

          If our elected officials want to set the target numbers higher or demand “benchmarking to peer programs in similar places,” they can do so — and they could have done so prior. They can certainly do so in the future if additional Prop. C funds roll in.

          Regarding Homeward Bound, the numbers I have heard for returning participants, albeit unofficial, are not high: About 3 percent. There are anecdotes about someone using the bus ticket to attend a family funeral and then coming back, but these kinds of tales are few and far between. City workers scour shelter records to attempt to glean this. And when the city’s too long-in-coming individual tracking system comes online, we will know for sure.

          Your statement: “homelessness is increasing and direct exits are decreasing” is actually the opposite of the truth. Regardless, we’d have more direct exits if we had more housing units. Where will those come from?

          JE

          1. Joe,

            Your controller link to City performance shows that contrary to your assertion the homeless “point in time count” is increasing.

            https://sfgov.org/scorecards/safety-net/homeless-population

            And contrary to your assertion, direct exits are decreasing

            https://sfgov.org/scorecards/safety-net/direct-homeless-exits-through-city-programs

            Those are the facts as reported by the City. They result in reasonable people questioning the effectiveness of expenditures.

            Police expenditures result in inputs into a mandatory well defined legal process that resolves their “clients”(law offenders) acute actions(specific violations of law). There is also a less well defined but existing process to resolve chronic client’s situations(e.g. three strikes). Human services don’t have a fixed process with reliable outcomes to resolve their clients situations. Human service proposed resolutions are suggestions, voluntary, not mandatory.

            Increasing police funding increases the capacity and numbers of clients the mandatory/legal process can handle(though increasing court capacity is needed as well). Increasing human services by adding more options for resolutions is less certain to increase resolutions because accepting resolution is voluntary.

          2. You are misreading and misusing the statistics. First off, per the link you sent, the number of exits is marginally *increasing,* not decreasing. Second, for the point-in-time count, the tally is up 4 percent — at a time when California’s overall homeless count leapt by double digits. More than 20 percent in some cities. San Francisco is a peninsula. It is not an island, literally or figuratively.

            Nobody is saying anyone should receive a blank check for homeless services. That’s not what Prop. C does. Your suggestion seems to be that we’ve spent lots of money on homeless issues, there are still homeless issues, so we should cut our losses. This, to me, doesn’t seem to be a rational reaction. Or a moral one.

            It’s resplendently clear that the solution to homelessness is housing. The bulk of Prop. C’s funding would go toward housing.

            JE

        1. Hope — 

          You’re very kind, but I defer to sliced bread.

          Thank you for reading and being involved.

          JE

    2. Traits of a narcissist:
      -Lack of empathy. …
      -Exaggerated sense of self-importance. …
      -Feelings of entitlement. …
      -Selfishness in relationships. …
      -Enviousness and suspicion of other people’s motivations. …
      -A need for excessive praise and attention.
      And…….I would add: seeks to take credit for the hard work and accomplishments of others.
      One thing the new mayor is consistent in: she refuses to take responsibility for her disasterous votes and record while D5 supervisor. Her policies (along with the abettance of Mark Farrell, Katy Tang, Asha Safai, Malia Cohen and Julie Christensen) have brought San Francisco to its knees. Refusing to rein in Airbnb (Breed voted to oppose 5 times), giving density bonus blank checks to market rate/luxury developers who refuse to build truly affordable units and consistently gutting tenant protections have led to displacement and our homeless epidemic. London Breed is responsible for the dumpster fire that is today’s SF. She must be held accountable.

      1. Of course Breed or any elected official for that matter should be held accountable. If she fails to deliver on her promises, we can VOTE HER OUT. Meanwhile, Prop C permanently locks in +1/2 Billion of spending without any throat to choke if it fails to deliver on its promises. Perhaps another trait of a narcissist is someone who thinks accountability should only apply to those with whom they disagree.

        1. I would disagree on one point. Although the $$$ will be collected, the City is not mandated to spend it. IF they spend it, there are protocols on where. But if they don’t … .

          IANAL, but, seems like they could spend, say, ~$45M on ‘eviction prevention’ and not spend one cent on ‘1000 shelter beds’. In fact, I would rather expect that outcome, as it’s in line with current practices.

          The “Oversight Committee” has an advisory role only.

  2. A “humanitarian crisis on the streets”. Precisely. After Agnos’ civic center camp, every Mayor’s plan for the homeless has been to drive them out of town. Somehow that “plan” never works. And the crisis gets worse. Breed is no different, though she indicated she’s open to committing those who qualify in some kind of asylum. Good for Benioff. It’s beyond time Big Biz in this town started paying up instead of sucking the life out of the public sphere. Twitter got tax breaks to open up on Market Street, and Trump just gave them all billions in tax cuts. They don’t like shit on their doorstep? The least they can do is support Prop C.

  3. Not critiquing the article per se, merely the categorization, or lack thereof. Responsible publishers make the distinction of editorial vs. the factual reporting of news glaringly obvious, for many reasons (prevention of libel suits, the fact that many people lack the critical skills needed to discern truth from opinion, etc.), but most of all, to ensure their reputation for reliable reportage remains untarnished. Maybe more of a information design problem.

    http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/12/better-design-helps-differentiate-opinion-and-news/

    1. Andy —

      Fine, but I think it already *is* glaringly obvious. Also, I can’t think of how a libel suit would be tangible or not tangible based on whether a story is a reported column or straight-ahead news story.

      I think readers can glean what my opinions are. Those opinions are based on the facts, as reported within the article.

      I can bring up the design issue with my colleagues.

      Best,

      JE

      1. Joe, you sound rather defensive. I think she did the right thing. No more funding of programs without accountability.

        1. Fair enough, Charles!

          Serious crime is up more than 50 percent since 2010 and arrests are around 50 percent down. Do you propose we defund the police department?

          Best,

          JE

      2. Thanks for the reply, Joe…I enjoy and appreciate the engagement. FWIW, I think your reporting is thorough, passionate and refreshing.

  4. Very Savvy Take on the politics of Prop C. Yes, Mayor Breed would have been unbeatable next year if she had supported Prop C and thus could take credit for its victory – and it is going to win! Now instead she will be on the wrong side of a landmark vote. “The Voters have spoken” will be the best face she can put on that. but this vote is clearly instead a fundamental test of “which side are you on?” – Downtown or The People?

    But one other important outcome of her choice was left out. Prop C has passionately mobilized a new generation of progressive energy in the City, and that energy is visibly spilling over into this November’s other races and ballot issues. It will certainly be emboldened by a Prop C victory, and will then focus on the November 2019 election – both potential ballot measures and of course, the Mayor’s race.

    there is no identified strong progressive challenger today. But one will emerge early next year, most likely a “new face” – thanks to Mayor Breed’s leaving that door wide open by opposing Prop C.

    1. If you think that Prop C is going to be the kernel of a new generation of progressive organizing in a City that progressive nonprofits behind Prop C have forfeited to a generation of self centered newcomers that have no time for any of that, in a City where Sanders pegged at 45%, then you’re part of the problem that got us into this mess to begin with.

  5. Thank you for this article. It illustrates very well the cynical position of London Breed and her unconvincing position on the topic.

  6. Uh. Was the audit report linked in this article supposed to be reassuring to those who might share Mayor Breed’s concern about efficiency and accountability in the current system of homeless services?

    It certainly doesn’t.

    The audit report describes an entity that is receiving millions of tax payer dollars to provide homeless services, which is then apparently run with total incompetence, if not outright fraud.

    Tens of thousands of dollars in payroll discrepancies, IRS tax returns filed nearly two years late (if at all), board members serving 20+ years when the max allowed is 6. It goes on and on.

    In fact, this audit you (mistakenly) linked describes precisely the sort of wasteful system that Mayor Breed called out and that many of us fear.

    You may want to double check your link. I’m not sure if it was intentional. But I am sure it is NOT helping your argument.

    https://sfcontroller.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Auditing/HSH%20-%20UCHS%20Report%208.28.17%20FINAL.pdf

    1. JP —

      You’re correct. This isn’t the audit I thought it was and linked to it erroneously. This was an audit of an underperforming nonprofit. These audits are not infrequently undertaken and such nonprofits are increasingly exposed.

      Thank you for the heads-up. I have altered the article so it now makes sense.

      JE

  7. Hey Joe –

    where you goin’ with those statistics in your hands? A loss of 0.1% of 1000 jobs is 10 jobs – not 1. And if you’re talkin’ about “harm”, then the Ellis Act must not be a crisis (or at least “harm”-ful), since its not even 0.1% – its less than 0.01% of the total units (200 for 200,000+ rentals).

    Instead, I think – like you mentioned – that Breed coulda focused on ‘waste & corruption’ right now. But unless you are gonna construct those 4000 units for the homeless, then it’ll just be taking housing away from one group (low wage earners) to give to another group (homeless) – with an 11% “administration” fee added on.

    1. We can debate about the rest later, but, right now, I believe you are mistaken on the stats. That’s because 0.1 percent is one-tenth of one percent. One percent is one in 100. One tenth of one percent is one in 1,000.

      Best,

      JE

  8. “But unless you are gonna construct those 4000 units for the homeless, then it’ll just be taking housing away from one group (low wage earners) to give to another group (homeless) – with an 11% “administration” fee added on.”

    What is the response to this?

    1. Well, off the top of my head at 11 p.m., I’d say it makes little sense. Prop. C would use new tax monies to either construct or obtain housing, so these units wouldn’t be “taken” from anybody. They’ll either be built/obtained or not built/obtained.

      Quite frankly, the assertion isn’t completely coherent.

      JE

      1. 42% of the new revenue will be devoted to “construction, acquisition, rehab, master lease, preservation, and operation” of homeless housing.” Thats about $140m/yr.

        Ok. Construction adds to the housing stock. Construction cost using that whole amt will build maybe 400-600 units per yr. And take several years to start coming online.

        Master leasing takes the existing housing stock, focuses on one segment, and deprives others of the opportunity of living there. And if we just Master Lease units, that also means that the regular low income folk, who would otherwise occupy those units, are now SOL. So, lets say I have a 3 unit, that I formerly rented out; but now I only use it to live in and put my kids and parents in the other units there. That still leaves the 3 ordinary households looking for a unit that now have less opportunity to do so. But, when HSH are focused on housing the homeless, those low income folk have even less chance of finding a home. Ergo, they are at risk of becoming homeless, and getting sucked into the system.

        So, unless we CONSTRUCT new units for the homeless (or maybe a bit fairer, for low income ppl so that the homeless can go into housing existing renters might otherwise leave for the new digs) – we will be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

        Sorry if I’m not coming cross as more coherent.

        1. “Master Lease” is code for “Money for Randy Shaw.”

          Acquisition stabilizes families in their RC units at risk of conversion and theoretically prevents homelessness. Most who are evicted do not end up on the streets, few do. Most move elsewhere.

          Those dollars were fought for by the Community Land Trust and vigorously resisted by the members of the CCHO cartel. But MEDA, sniffing the money, recently converted itself from a failed business protection racket into an Affordable Housing nonprofit, a member of CCHO, that now has designs on those dollars to ensure that there will be few if any resident run housing coops. Residents can’t be trusted to play well with the cartel. Nothing personal: “Tell Mike it was only business. I always liked him.”

  9. WOW!! Chris Rock and Jewel are with Benioff. That’s impressive. In reality, Breed made the common sense decision. Benioff obviously has more money than brains. For a couple of decades SF has thrown dollar after dollar after dollar at the homeless situation. It get’s only worse and worse. Throwing more money from Prop C won’t solve the problem. The City should bring in private sector auditors to audit every organization getting homeless money, public sector, non-profit, and private sector so the taxpayers know where their money is going. Albert Einstein said doing something over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity. SF has been doing the same thing, throwing more money at the problem, over and over for a couple of decades. It’s time for new solutions based on best practices. In Sf, they try to solve all problems using only their extreme left-wing ideology. Common sense and best practices are rarely part of the equation.

    1. Have you ever built half a house? Costs a lot of money, but doesn’t do a lot of good. Unless you put in the resources you need to do the job right, it won’t get done. Prop C’s bold and holistic approach is the right one.

      1. I’ve noticed you pushing this line on another board. Is that how the H-I complex is now spinning Prop C?

      2. We keep throwing money at the affordable housing developers in CCHO’s cartel, and we rarely seem to get housing out the other end in anything approaching developer real time. There is little evidence that CCHO’s membership can do the job right, even with the resources.

  10. As currently written, Prop C sounds nice, but without a built-in sunset date and rigorous annual audits, it’s a big, blank check to the Homeless-Industrial Complex.

    1. Yes. One in which the money is “cut out” of the budget and unable to be reallocated to other programs as needed. What happens when the homeless are no longer homeless and we don’t need the money any more? Too many people and too many jobs depend on the Homeless-Industrial Complex and there will ALWAYS be homeless in SF because we will never want the jobs to go away.

      And if there isn’t any evidence that the homeless are coming to, or more accurately being shipped to San Francisco for the wonderful benefits and pampering we provide them, one needs only to look to the nearest first responder for a dozen or so recent stories of homeless having just arrived from another city (sometimes with a cash paid bus ticket from Santa Barbara) experiencing their first handout from the city in the form of a free ambulance ride and free visit to General Hospital.

  11. This move is a win-win for Breed. She gets to side with her funding base with the endorsement.

    And if Prop C passes, then she gets $350m/yr or more under her charter mandated unitary budgetary authority to throw at her favored nonprofits with which to screw the nonprofits that crafted the spending plan ostensibly for their benefit.

  12. It is interesting that Joe quotes “out of town” visitor Newsom. Back in 2002, Newsom ran a ballot measure as a trampoline of name recognition for his 2003 race for Mayor. The ballot measure was named Care Not Cash that replaced GA payments with “services.”

    At the time, the “progressives” howled in rage at the notion that the indigent would be so infantilized, deprived of cash, that this abrogated their agency. But once it passed, the “progressives” sniffed the money and sided with their own agencies which hooked up to the City spigot.

    This converted progressivism from a political movement for structural change to prevent poverty outcomes in the first instance to part of the structure that ensured those outcomes with them as the poverty charity fig leaf. It also gave the conservative neoliberal Democrat mayors effective choke collars on progressives, converting them from activists to advocates dependent on the City budget to pay the bills.

    Prop C is pure Care Not Cash, Newsom has prevailed in that regard. The revenue side is great–tax big corporations. But the spending plan was crafted by and runs through the nonprofits, coordinated by opaque cartels like HSN and CCHO and the CoH, the ones that scuttled the Anti-Corruption Act of 2018 at the Ethics Commission so that they could continue to play in the behest slush funds.

    The $350m/yr divided by the 7K homeless people could provide $50K in Cash Not Care to the 2/3 of homeless people who are not terminally impaired by substance and mental issues. As Barbara Ehrenreich said ‘Poverty is not a character failing or a lack of motivation. Poverty is a shortage of money.’ And poverty is the primary cause of homelessness. $50K in Cash Not Care would instantly solve 2/3 or so of homelessness.

    But there is no percentage in that for the nonprofit corporation operators that put Prop C on the ballot and who infantilize “the most vulnerable,” so that is totally out of the question. If $50K in cash grants would attract homeless people, wouldn’t cash to nonprofits attract more ineffective and patronizing nonprofit workers?

    Nope, the ethical conflicts of Prop C cannot overcome the desirability of taxing big corporations. I’m not voting against it, but I cannot support this self dealing.

    1. Thank you for this. Been living in San Francisco for over 20 years. Have watched much of this unfold, including the hysteria around Care Not Cash followed by the rapid development of the ostensibly not-for-profit homeless-industrial complex. You speak the truth. It’s hard to vote against doing more, something, anything to address the issue. But, we can and should do bettter than this.

      1. Homeless people and poor people in general, “the most vulnerable” in the parlance of the nonprofiteers, are used as human political piñatas. Neither the conservatives nor the nonprofiteers would ever dare “solve” these problems of poverty because without them they’d be lost. And the current progressive thinking is that we can’t address any problems until the issues of “the most vulnerable” are solved, which means status quo moving forward. Anything else is derided as “throwing under the bus.” The bus never comes.

        The conservatives have learned full well that the presence of homeless people are political gold. Pre-Care Not Cash was an aggressive panhandling measure. Care Not Cash wedged the voters towards Newsom. The progressives tried to fight CnC with nothing but rejection. You can’t beat something with nothing. Then there was Sit/Lie and then Prop Q tent encampments. Every time like clockwork the nonprofiteers charge the cape on command, the conservatives win the ballot measures, the progressive candidates are wedged from the electorate and the cycle continues.

        Prop C retains homeless people as end points for funding and keeps the game going. That cannot be rewarded.

        Just redistribute wealth like the left had historically been inclined to do before being coopted into nonprofit corporations, use the existing $300m/yr in homeless related expenditures to deal with the 1/3 that need real help and let’s call it a day and move onto structural reforms to end the corruption in municipal government that has produced this shit show.

  13. Joe, nice writing once again. I imagine Benioff’s decision and funding commitment puts him at odds with Ron Conway. Is this the first time they’ve publicly disagreed?

  14. Notice how so many naysayers on Prop C only seem to be worried about themselves:
    “how will this affect me?” “Where is the audit?” “Will this bring more homeless people?”
    This is a fucking humanitarian crisis! We need immediate action. Not a single person who supports prop C thinks that money alone will solve this problem—everyone knows this. However, we do need a fuckload of money up-front to tackle it. It’s time the wealthiest companies who have bulldozed this city and contributed to the housing crisis finally help out. Kudos to Marc Beniof and e specially his statement (to paraphrase) “You are either on the side of the homeless or you’re not.”

    1. “However, we do need a fuckload of money up-front to tackle it.” Then it should have been structured that way. It was not. It was structured as a permanent budget lock, not only on the additional $300M, but the existing $300M also. $600M per year. Every year. In perpetuity. Apparently, no one is planning for success.

    2. Prop C calls for $75m/yr for mental health and substance treatment. That sounds great. Does anything near that capacity exist now? What is the plan to build out that capacity in San Francisco given current costs for land and rent? Since there has been homeless plan after homeless plan after homeless plan and advocacy group after advocacy group after advocacy group with their eyes on the problem, where’s the plan to ramp up that level of capacity for those treatment programs at those levels?

    3. Marc Benioff is either on the side of homeopathically watered down “progressives” Gordon Mar and Matt Haney or he is on the side of newcomer Ho and developer hack Johnson or sociopath Trauss.

      Hint: Benioff is on the side of the latter three.

  15. “You are either on the side of the homeless or you’re not.”
    =
    “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

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