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Insanity: San Francisco's Perverse Priorities

Jeff Chiu

In case you missed it the other day, a CNN crew reporting on the serious crime problem in San Francisco was brazenly robbed in the process of covering that very issue.  It happened in broad daylight, right next to city hall, despite the presence of private security the network had apparently hired to prevent such things.  But the emboldened and efficient criminals struck anyway, doing some serious damage in a matter of seconds.

The CNN correspondent involved in the crime posted a brief account to social media, saying that she'd been robbed "again," meaning this wasn't the first time:

"If you do visit" this beautiful city, she warns, just "know that even with hired security watching your car, it is not enough."  Brutal.  Meanwhile, since this occurred outside city hall in the middle of the day, one might wonder what San Francisco's political leadership is up to these days?  They're pursuing super timely, and not at all insane, priorities like this:

Payments of $5 million to every eligible Black adult, the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years and homes in San Francisco for just $1 a family. These were some of the more than 100 recommendations made by a city-appointed reparations committee tasked with the thorny question of how to atone for centuries of slavery and systemic racism. And the San Francisco Board of Supervisors hearing the report for the first time Tuesday voiced enthusiastic support for the ideas listed, with some saying money should not stop the city from doing the right thing. Several supervisors said they were surprised to hear pushback from politically liberal San Franciscans apparently unaware that the legacy of slavery and racist policies continues to keep Black Americans on the bottom rungs of health, education and economic prosperity, and overrepresented in prisons and homeless populations.

“Those of my constituents who lost their minds about this proposal, it's not something we’re doing or we would do for other people. It’s something we would do for our future, for everybody's collective future,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, whose district includes the heavily LGBTQ Castro neighborhood. The draft reparations plan, released in December, is unmatched nationwide in its specificity and breadth. The committee hasn’t done an analysis of the cost of the proposals, but critics have slammed the plan as financially and politically impossible. An estimate from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, which leans conservative, has said it would cost each non-Black family in the city at least $600,000.

Support among the Board of Supervisors has thus far been unanimous, with a final vote expected in a few months. The quote from the one official attacking his own constituents for objecting to this madness is amazing, as is his framing of extremely costly slavery reparations as healthy "for everybody's collective future." This would be lunatic stuff even if it were limited to direct descendants of slaves, with descendants of slave owners getting stuck with the bill. Punishing the latter group for the sins of their long-dead forefathers is profoundly and obviously unfair. But imagine being a San Francisco resident whose family members never owned slaves (I'd guess this could include nearly everyone in San Francisco, which is located in a state that never had slavery). Many of these people are themselves first- or second-generation Americans just trying to make ends meet and avoid ubiquitous crime in the exorbitantly expensive city. They will be mandated to bankroll these multi-million-dollar payments to virtually every black person in the jurisdiction? 

It's totally psychotic. So much so that perhaps the people of San Francisco might need to get their recall juices flowing again. Evidently, the Board of Supervisors have watched the local District Attorney and multiple Board of Education members get tossed out, and have decided to triple down in the most offensive and cartoonish way imaginable. Speaking of the Education Board, those were the people who spent their time canceling the names of schools while students in the city were locked out of said schools, a set of priorities so abysmal that it's reminiscent of today's crime/reparations juxtaposition.  Then again, the voters in that city elected all of these people, and consistently promote ludicrous left-wing figures into positions of power.  So they're getting precisely what they voted for -- nice and hard.  Enjoy, everyone.  You wanted "progress"?  You got it. 


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