127 Comments

By blocking housing and aligning with NIMBYs, progressives hoisted themselves on their own petard. Progressives created the conditions for accelerating high housing costs - resulting in this situation where the only people who can afford to move in are tech people.

2020 and forward also saw tech people deciding to actually pay attention to politics and stop apologizing for being tech people, and decide to become politically active. Ergo Garry Tan and GrowSF becoming a real force in local politics.

Bullish SF now that they are waking up and deciding that results actually matter more than slogans!

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Eskenazi's quote about Republicans is indicative of the often poor quality of political analysis from SF progressives. There are almost no Republicans who fit that description. In fact, he's describing liberals but calling them Republicans.

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I thought the quote was spot on for a Republican in San Francisco. Begs the question of what makes one a Democrat or Republican or Neither (my case). The followers of these parties are always described by people in the other party as cartoon caricatures based on projection.

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Great piece. On if SF voters are "real progressives" I'd argue that SF is ironically one of the few cities in the country that's progressive enough to actually try to implement a number of the progressive-left doctrines (or what Matt Zeitlin called "The progressive non-profit industrial complex agenda") which resulted in a sort of moderate center left/normie revolt that we are now seeing. You might compare it to Liverpool in the 80's where militant socialists succeeded in taking over city government and this led to a massive public backlash because they turned out to be really bad at running the show. You also saw something similar in Minneapolis where progressives succeeded in getting a measure on the ballot in 2021 to abolish the MPD and replace it with some sort of new department (we never got to learn how this would work....) and as a result the voters voted it down by a wide margin.

It's a sign of your progressive nature that things "no new housing built by capitalism" or "Lincoln was bad actually" are taken seriously and not laughed off the stage or ignored like they would be in Santa Monica or where ever.

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It is interesting that bizarre, unhinged opinions (see the whole "Woke Kingergarten" affair) are not infrequently enabled, or at least platformed, by "progressive" public officials, who are then claim to be "shocked" and "disappointed" at the "distraction" caused by the public outcry.

The SFUSD Board was truly "shocked" at the reaction of the majority of SF voters to their lunacy.

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It's just the political reality that most Americans don't actually like massive change (hence the popularity of "let's do nothing" governors like Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker). Or see the major public backlash to conservatives trying to actually ban abortion in a post-Dobbs world and voters in even conservative places like Ohio rejecting that.

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"Lincoln was bad actually" was, in fact, immediately laughed off the stage once it went public. Unless you mean that it is weird that anyone in a planning session gave the green light to even try to do this, in which case, I agree.

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That's my point elected officials went forward with this, it wasn't just some weirdo on the internet or random person at a community meeting who got booed down.

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The thing is we still have a school named for the genuinely horrible Junipero Serra, attended by many Latino American kids, whose community has wanted a name change for decades. But because of the national attention and laughing off they still haven’t gotten a name change. Yes, decision to advise changing Lincoln was silly and the committee didn’t do a good job but the refusal to complete the years long (pre pandemic) process was also probably a mistake.

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The fact this is even an issue is a good example of how liberal SF is though. Minneapolis renamed some of it's schools recently (Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry have been canceled!) because of how liberal the school board is, in other actually moderate places this issue doesn't really come up.

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I'll second your take on the election results. The board of supervisors in SF are incompetent and they have been for a very long time. I don't see this as much as a moderate vs. progressive thing, but more of technocratic vs. populist thing. The current "progressive" board of supervisors is anti-housing and they are anti-housing because they don't believe that increasing supply will actually lead to lower rents. This is an understandable position, but it is also an anti-science position. Worse, the very people that they claim to be sticking up for are those who suffer the most.

If moderates do succeed in removing barriers to building, I expect a big backlash. There are a lot of old hippies in the city and their entire net worth is locked up in their housing. They don't like change and they don't like anything that might in any way affect their property values. Like the hippies of yore, their values are performative and they will fight change tooth and nail, and feel smugly superior while they do it to boot.

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Yes but the technocrats, all the recent Mayors, have been completely unable to fix the bureaucracy which is incompetent and corrupt which I think should ban them from being labeled technocrats.

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Every time a hippie passes away and has to sell their house to a techie, the electorate gets more moderate.

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And the price of housing goes up! San Francisco (and the Bay Area) has been made unaffordable by all the tech billionaires and absentee landlords who have bought up the sweet properties where blue collar workers and artists used to dwell.

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You don't think the difficulty in housing has anything to do with it?

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The element missing here, though, is that no one from the "progressive" coalition has been elected mayor of San Francisco since Art Agnos in the 1980s. Ed Lee was very close to the business and tech industries. London Breed has warred with the progressive faction. Gavin Newsom was socially liberal but fiscally moderate. Frank Jordan was fairly conservative. San Francisco as a progressive city is a bit of a myth because the top executives are invariably center-left, pro-business. Other cities do elect progressive mayors. There has been no equivalent of Bill de Blasio in SF, no equivalent of Brandon Johnson, no equivalent of Michelle Wu, no equivalent, perhaps, of Karen Bass. Not in the last 20 years, at least.

Going back further, the last unabashed progressive with any real power in SF was probably George Moscone, who was of course assassinated with Harvey Milk. His successor was the decidedly non-progressive Dianne Feinstein.

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I admire your troll here. SF is a weak mayor city and you know it. True power lies with the BoS. So if you wan to have an honest discussion, at least refer to control over the BoS. I'd add that moderates haven't been great on housing either, but right now, at least, they're better than progressives. And bad housing policy is the root of most problems in SF right now. So yes, progressives do deserve the blame, and if they want to change that, they could start by not being anti-science.

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Mar 14·edited Mar 14

Fact check here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_San_Francisco

San Francisco utilizes the "strong mayor" form of mayoral/council government, composed of the mayor, Board of Supervisors, several elected officers, and numerous other entities. San Francisco voters use ranked-choice voting to elect the mayor, supervisors, and other elective officers.[3]

There is some shared governance here, but the Mayor is generally in charge.

Here is the model for the SFMTA for example:

Proposition E established a seven-member board to govern the agency, its members appointed for fixed, staggered terms by the Mayor of San Francisco and subject to confirmation by the city and county's Board of Supervisors. Board members are limited to three terms.[14] The SFMTA Board of Directors is responsible for, among other things, hiring the agency's executive director.

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London Breed very narrowly beat Mark Leno, and she was the least “moderate” of the moderate SF Supes at the time. She definitely shifted more in the “mod” direction over the course of her Mayorship, but she was previously President of the BOS as the compromise candidate!

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But the actual progressive wing of local SF Democrats - Dean Preston, Connie Chan, people like that - has never had a mayor in modern times. Breed isn't it. It's just funny progressives get blamed for so much in San Francisco when they haven't even elected a mayor in a pretty small city. Whereas far larger cities have done it. Again, no one like Bill de Blasio has been mayor of San Francisco since the 1980s.

The best progressives did was getting Chesa Boudin elected as DA. Weirdly, recalling Boudin has not solved San Francisco's economic, housing, and sociological challenges. Who knew!

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Matt Haney was the SF progressive candidate for School Board and then Supervisor, but now votes with Scott Wiener all the time

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Mar 14·edited Mar 14

There is a lot more to being progressive than just housing policy. Haney has been reliably progressive on criminal justice reform - Wiener mostly has as well.

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I know! I used to work for Scott :)

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Didn’t know that!

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It’s true. (Although again, Breed won by the thinnest of thin margins in 2018–I know because I worked for that campaign and was extremely stressed out!) Part of the dynamic is that SF mods have a tendency to co-opt the more successful progressive ideas over time. David Chiu and Ed Lee both arguably got their start in the SF progressive wing of politics, and became “moderates” even though their policy views didn’t change all that much

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It's probably useful to look at the whole spectrum of elected offices. What have the numbers looked like for Supervisors and the like? (And presumably Nancy Pelosi represented the "Progressive" faction when she first got to Congress, whether or not she did later in her career.)

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Perhaps I am betraying my ignorance of SF politics here, but is it actually true that no one like Bill de Blasio has been mayor of SF since the 1980s? It's not clear to me that someone like de Blasio or Michelle Wu would qualify as a progressive in SF.

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I don't live in SF (I used to live in the South Bay for 23 years), but from what tidbits I've read on her since the Floyd mayhem is that she went full on proggie defund, until she was confronted with the results of full on proggie defund, and then maybe went more "mod". Ultimately, she is a politician who just shape-shifted with the public whims.

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With Proggies, it's not about what get's said; it's about the identity or party affiliation of the person who says it. She is a black woman (above reproach). He is an Orange-hued white man (deserving of nothing but reproach).

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

How is that trumpian? Maybe she shouldn’t have cursed but people are fed up that one of the richest cities in the world looks like a slum despite spending billions on the problem, all because an attitude towards blocking any and all progress.

Meanwhile housing costs are rising, all but the richest are unable to afford a home, and Americans are leaving one of the most productive areas of the country instead of flocking to it. Let’s build housing for people to live and choose pragmatism over performative obstructionism.

A complete disgrace.

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I lived in S.F. in the 80s and 90s. Never forgot a college classmate of mine who became the chairman to elect Frank Jordan. I thought he was nuts. Even then, there was a "silent majority" of folks who owned homes, lived in the Sunset and Richmond Districts (middle class with a large Asian population), wanted a degree of normalcy. Sure, S.F. was all about Haight Ashbury, Gay Lesbian rights, progressive policies. It also had 300,000 49er fans. And Jordan won.

The city is now being tested. "All people have a right to public space" doesn't really work when they have pitched a tent in front of your store that you are paying massive rent for. Failure to prosecute thieves that steal under 950.00 of product only perpetuates their behavior. De funding the police has backfired. So, I am optimistic that some positives are coming.

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Yes, if you only focus on the Mayor's Office, it looks like San Francisco politics is controlled by fairly middle-of-the-road liberals. Most of the problems with the City, however, stem from policies enacted by the Board of Supervisors, the Board of Education, the local electorate (through ballot propositions) and unelected commissions (often controlled by the Board of Supervisors).

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This is incorrect, the main issue is a dysfunctional bureaucracy which is completely under the Mayor’s control, the department of public works, permits, homeless services, etc. None of these work well or effectively. The Mayor hasn’t wanted to or been unable to make hiring someone new take less than a year or so!

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The Board of Supervisors actually controls a majoriry of the City's departments at this point. That said, you're right that the City bureaucracy is a mess and that the Mayor hasn't been able to fix it (and has even contributed to the problem). But my point stands that it's incorrect to say that that City politics isn't progressive since SF hasn't had a progressive mayor since Art Agnos. Progressives hold power in many other ways.

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I am really interested in why you believe that the BoS controls a majority of the City's departments. I don't think this is true, but it would really be enlightening and interesting to me if it was. Show me your evidence please.

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This is a good (though partisan) source, showing the control of various departments:

https://growsf.org/blog/not-a-strong-mayor-city/

Here's another article explaining how the mayor doesn't actual control many of the departments within the city, as well as how the multiplicity of commissions decentralizes power:

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/san-francisco/san-francisco-mayor-power-commission-report/3301444/

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Okay I read the whole thing. In most cases there are 7 commission members, 4 of whom are appointed by the Mayor and 3 by the BoS. The 4 appointed by the Mayor have to be approved by a majority of the BoS, as do the ones approved by the BOS presumably. This is certainly a lot less power in the hands of a Mayor who could appoint them all but also does not mean that the BoS controls them either. A majority voting block on the BoS does wield a lot of power.

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Thanks for the link, I have read this before. It is factually incorrect in many ways, for example the MTA is not "controlled by the BoS". It is in fact controlled by the Mayor, who appoints the members of the Board, though they have to be approved by the BoS. This is shared governance model.

Here is what this article claims in the editorial part:

But the Board of Supervisors controls the most important commissions: the Police Commission, Planning Commission, MTA, Police Accountability, and Public Works (street cleanliness). All of these Commissions oversee Departments that have been mired in controversy, corruption, incompetence, and gridlock.

And then further down:

After Prop E: The Public Transportation Commission was replaced with the MTA Board, commissioners were expanded from 5 to 7 members nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by majority BOS approval vote.

The entire thing is full of this kind of double speak. There is no doubt that the BoS has moved towards more control and weakened the power of the Mayor's office since Willie Brown.

But to claim that Board whose members are in fact appointed by the Mayor is under the control of the BoS is disingenuous.

After dinner I will look up some more of the claims of this source.

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I'm not an SF voter, I'm in the east bay, but I basically consider SF "Progressives" to be a form of confused Republican. NIMBYism is just "build a wall" conservatism on a local scale. Their complaints about losing this election to "conservatives" ring very hollow to me. I acknowledge that there's more to this than the single issue of housing, and the public safety and policing issues do read as more "conservative" to me, but the SF "Progressive" positions also seems clearly insane (another hallmark of Republicans). They should just switch parties, they'd be more comfortable.

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Very true. They’re all about keeping the wrong people out, just with a slightly different definition of who that is.

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I'm not very sold on the idea of forcing people to go to treatment who don't want to be there. That just screws over the people who actually want to recover from addiction by turning treatment into the place you meet people to tempt you back into using.

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That is a fair position, but it means you need to have some sort of other policy answer to what to do about the people whose drug addition causes damage to the community (ranging from vagrancy, feces on streets, petty theft, to violent crime).

Absent another solution, the public will demand that you start locking people up who commit crimes to get their fix; which does not seem better

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Really? I actually think locking up people who commit crimes seems like a lot better idea than forcing people who haven't necessarily committed any crimes into treatment without any teeth to it (this is about public assistance recipients not criminals).

I'm not opposed to diversion programs for actual crimes which can make staying out of prison conditional on actually achieving some degree of success in some kind of drug treatment -- or hell even just making it clear it's a one time thing is a kind of consequence.

But a completely toothless -- you better show up in treatment to get your public assistance but with no consequences -- will just fill the treatment with people who have no incentive to take it seriously.

And these aren't necessarily people who have committed any crime at all. Many addicts don't commit any crime besides buying and selling drugs.

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And using in public! And possession.

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I learned about this late last year- why aren't we using Vivitrol

https://www.drugs.com/vivitrol.html

all the time as part of drug treatment requirements (to make them less toothless)?

Obviously only relevant for alcoholism and opioid addiction, but my understanding is that those are a huge fraction of cases (relative to stimulants like cocaine and meth).

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Also, unfortunately, while the drug itself is great for people with addiction issues we have a broken medical system in the US and the companies which employ the only doctors prescribing these medications which most poor people without insurance can get access to are basically horrible medicaid scams that are structured to make sure people don't succeed.

There is a good John Oliver about some of this but more or less these places get paid for testing urine -- I mean sure in theory they get paid for treating the patient but in reality the part that's most profitable is doing all the urine tests so even though they may be staffed with nice caring people the structure of their programs is optimized not to successfully get people stable and into a job but to keep them unemployed, on Medicaid and coming in for as many urine tests at times that are likely to interfere with other responsibilities as possible.

We need to either radically reform the economic incentives for private actors here or move this into the public sector but before you can start forcing people onto it you really need enough doctors for those who want to be on it that aren't at these awful companies (I'm a big free market fan generally but here things are very broken).

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Well, you can't just grab someone and give them a shot. Usually the induction procedure is to make sure they are on a sufficently low dose of opiates (which can actually be quite high most addicts will be below it) and then have them go into at least partial withdrawal before you give them a partial antagonist. Just giving them the partial antagonist out of the blue can have nasty effects.

And you need to take into account their underlying conditions. If they have underlying chronic pain, contraindications etc etc so you need a doctor who has taken the relevant extra training to dispense (sure I think it's now like a day long and then a form to be allowed to prescribe but most doctors haven't). And then you need to make sure a doctor is going to be willing to continue to see them over time. Just giving someone one shot and saying good luck is just a great way to create ODs for people who don't understand how the antagonist effect wears off.

And we don't have enough doctors to see the people who want to take buprenorphine (active ingredient) in various forms. I'll give another comment about that in a second.

So even if you do have the docs what do you do with the people who are willing to go into the doctor but then say: after discussing the risks and benefits with my doctor I decided it wasn't appropriate? Do you say too bad no assistance for you even though that group will include some people who do have genuine concerns?

If you are doing criminal diversion programs I think it totally makes sense to say: diversion is dependant on having no more than X dirty urines in Y time and using that to encourage them to take solutions like this if they can. I wouldn't go that far for public assistance programs.

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But there is no requirement that they do well in the treatment program. Show up to it and keep testing positive and my understanding is nothing happens.

That's what makes it pure harm to the people who have some incentive to be there.

Usually, in court ordered treatment there is a bit more coercive pressure applied.

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The claim is that it fills rehab with people who don't want to go to rehab. If you actually want to go to rehab, you don't want to be surrounded by a lot of other people who are using and want to keep using - you want to be surrounded by people who will reinforce your abstinence, rather than people who will tempt you back in.

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People who commit crimes to get their dope should absolutely be locked up.

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Deport them.

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Are they all non-citizens though?

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Now they are. Faraighted lives up ro his name

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Just my 2 cents, but everyone in treatment is forced there. Either you are going because it's your last chance to save...your job, your marriage, you relationship with kids/family/friends, or in some cases your life. This just adds save your welfare benefits to list...in someways not that different from saving your job. If it motivates someone to treatment and keeps them out of jail more power to the idea.

The important point here is everyone goes into treatment because they are compelled to. The exact reasons just differ. They will probably fail (because getting and staying clean is tough) but giving them more incentive and opportunities is still the best idea in my opinion.

Where I see actual arrests helping (and what I think a lot of people do not understand) is that for some individuals, particularly those with dual mental health/substance abuse issues, getting to a point to make a rational decision about going into treatment requires a timeout of sorts.

Jail/prison can be that time out. It lets a person who is so under the influence of the drugs or whose mental health condition prevents them from making a rational decision clean up (or get the mental health treatment needed) enough to make a rational choice.

The truth is that this does not need to be long either. A few months can get someone to the point that they are in a place to have a chance (albeit a small one) at treatment. For folks who are concerned about mass incarceration, I would point you to the work of John Pfaff. His work on the topic clearly demonstrates the folly of idea that incarcerating drug users is why we have such high levels of incarceration.

On a side note...Kudo's to SF for choosing results over performative politics. I am probably right of most of the candidates elected but wish them well. The country needs political figures (in both parties) who value results and care more about the actual state of the people they are beholden to than their ideological factions.

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The problem isn't that people might be somehow coerced. It's literally the opposite -- as the rest of the Convo spelled out.

You are sending people to treatment who haven't decided they don't want to continue using and who face no extra serioua consequence for continuing to use. Their only incentive is to take up spots at the treatment unit and fuck about/trade drugs while there.

I don't object (for actual criminal offenses) to mandated treatment programs with bite: eg you go back to prison if you have too many dirty urines or whatever.

But I understand this rule just says: you need to show up at this treatment place for x-hours a week and you get assistance. That's the problem. You need to make the hard choice between being actually coercive about taking treatment seriously or not requiring it or you screw everyone with real shit to lose.

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Forced rehab almost never works. It's success rate is less than 10%. The *only* form or rehab that works consistently is voluntary rehab. It's strange that you think that people who quit using drugs and alcohol do so only because they are forced to do so.

Many people are heavy users of drugs when they are young. When I was in the military, me and my buddies would get hammered every weekend. It was completely considered normal and part of the culture. It was more weird if you didn't drink heavily. In college it was the other way around. You *could* drink heavily but most did not and no serious student did. It was also much harder to study calculus hungover than carry a 60 pound rucksack. My experience is not really that atypical.

Almost all heavy drug users "age out" on their own with no intervention whatsoever. Giving them a felony or misdemeanor conviction helps no one and is harmful to the individual. There are extreme cases where some form of institutionalization is appropriate. Jail is not the best place for this, but might be the only place we have now. A sobering up lockup would be better, that can focus on the public health issues of their addiction.

This is entirely performative politics and policies. Cutting welfare for people already on the edge will drive more homelessness and crime.

My prediction: both homelessness and overdoses will go up by the end of 205.

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I think you are not considering how low the success rate for rehab is. The 10% success rate you cite, is fairly consistent with all opioid treatment (https://www.theclearingnw.com/blog/6-reasons-drug-alcohol-rehab-success-rates-are-so-low). It is more for other drugs so I cannot say they are entirely consistent and the type of treatment (in-patient/outpatient/assisted with drugs like suboxone, etc.). Most addicts do recover, (like 75%) but it take multiple times and is a journey.

That said, most addicts relapse most of the time. Presumably those being forced into rehab (although as I mentioned pretty much everyone goes to rehap via coercion...its just different kinds of coercion). So a 10% success rate on forced rehab would actually be higher than I would have anticipated. It is still 10% more than would have recovered otherwise and is much lower (if any) than other kinds of treatment.

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We look at the same data and reach different conclusions. If rehab only has a 10% success rate (and that include people who enter voluntarily, where success is more likely) then what is the point of forcing people into rehab that is very likely to fail? This seems like a massive waste of time and resources. We should focus instead on improving the rehab we have and on people who want it.

You and I have very different ideas of what coercion is. Getting sick of the hangovers and quitting on your own is not coercion. Deciding to get serious about your job and life isn't coercion. The overwhelming majority of people use drugs at some point in their life manage it fine. It's typical, not unusual.

That doesn't mean that *some* people have problems. We have millions of high functioning addicts. I think that is their business but matters once they start to break laws and act out in public.

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I can completely see where you are coming from...I guess my reply (FWIW) is that with some drugs, particularly opioids, the costs of not recovering is so high, and the costs to society so great, that engaging in treatment is worth it. Drunk Drivers, opioid addicts, some folks addicted to stimulants that make them paranoid and violent, and some individuals who's mental health combine with substance abuse raises the danger they pose to the community generally fall into this category. That said, I agree that mandating treatment is not optimal and should be minimized.

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Good post but my constructive criticism is that it was tricky to read at points due to long sentences and grammatical errors.

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I guess the real question is: can progressivism deliver results?

It certainly used to be able to. But vast majority of real "liberation" that can realistically occur probably already has which makes additional results pretty tough unless you embrace the zero-sum game of the woke or the increasingly absurd intersectional oppressions.

Ideologies often have a hard time accepting when they've won.

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Brian, progressives are not woke. Wokes are not progressive.

There is a distinction with a difference. It's meaningless on the right, but it's an unbridgeable chasm on the left.

Now, I apologize for having to use the w-word. I detest it because it's content-free, annihilated of meaning and only used in bad faith. I will have to use it to illustrate a point, which will all become clear.

The One Big Difference: Progressives make material claims for their politics. Wokes make psychological claims for their politics.

Progressives follow in the footsteps of Karl Marx, famously a hard materialist. Few progressives explicitly call for an authoritarian regime to set things right, but progressives are rooted in the analytical aspects of Marxism. Material means that political claims must be over something physical and tangible, objective as in able to be observed and agreed upon by all, and the proposition can be evaluated through mathematical proof or legal argumentation.

With progressives, they make utilitarian claims that can be evaluated, argued and disputed. Should government provide this service? Should a budget be given? Who should be hired? What rules do we have in place? At least there's a shared of understanding of who and what a government, money and political representation are.

Wokes sidestep these disputes. It forked from Marxism about the struggle of classes over who gets what, but instead of emphasizing stuff, intersectional identity politics (X-idpol) chose to emphasize power dynamics as the central agon, or the point of political conflict.

X-idpol is a creature of the ivory tower, as it deals with topics of very high abstraction. The thought and vocabulary was built out by the French intellectual wave of Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, Baudrillard and others often called postmodernists. This expresses skepticism or categorial rejection of material claims, instead believing the deeper truth is subjective.

Subjective truth is ultimately psychological, reducible to individual lived experiences or shared experiences as groups. X-idpol leans heavily on trauma psychology as well. Like, every society has social stratification (men dominate women, ethnic majorities dominate minorities, etc.) with one group consistently experiencing more material deprivation and blocked opportunities for economic or social status mobility.

X-idpol says that the material conditions are compounded by the psychological suffering inherent of being a designated victim. And this lived experience of suffering is non-negotiable and resistant to evaluation.

X-idpol litigates things like Representation, Voice, Identity, Performativity, Privilege, Lived Experience, Narrative ... none of this can be solved by laws or money, especially because its coming from a person who historically and culturally has had power over them and is on guard to be suspicious.

That's why wokes have that bizarre, fastidious vocabulary. It's fine for arguments between intellectuals and academics, who are the progenitors of wokeness, but many people do have material claims that need to be addressed that vocabulary can't solve.

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I don’t live in SF but from the East Bay care about the City a lot, and I’m quite puzzled as to why there doesn’t seem to be a movement to completely re-write the City Charter. It would I’m sure receive tremendous pushback from established interests, and it seems badly needed. Voters might well support it. Yes? No?

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"....more conservative positions...."

There are no conservative positions in San Francisco. You either have totally insane leftists or just plain insane leftists.

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As a 4th generation San Franciscan (who has moved away) I think you got it mostly right. Somebody needs to come up with better descriptions of the 2 groups however. I am envisioning someone in DesMoines reading the headline (but never visited the City) being shocked at SF being moderate...only to be trumped by Xi Jing Ping reading it (having visited) and thinking WOW - I'm a moderate!

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I think it's pretty fair to say that this is also a national trend. There are a lot of people who fit into the definition of "progressive" (broadly: socially liberal, with a belief that government intervention can and does improve on market outcomes in particular cases).

But the "in particular cases" piece is hugely important. A lot of what I've observed in allegedly "progressive" governance is the idea that solving problems is easy, and the reason they aren't solved is that anyone proposing anything different from their pet fix is a bad faith ogre. If rent control isn't working, it must be that some Republican or "liberal" (read: closet Republican) is sabotaging it, or it hasn't been tried, not that it doesn't work.

I think the vast majority of progressives nationally, including in San Francsico, who aren't very loud but are quite numerous, have a pretty simple worldview: we want a just society. We want things like education, safety, healthcare, etc. to be delivered in the most effective way possible. We're open to government playing a role in delivering those things, and the size of its role should be a function of what empirically is shown to work. And we're open to taxes being hiked on us both to deliver broad social services and targeted supports to those that need it.

But the key is the empirics-- the fix has to work. If it's not working, we should try something else.

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For those of us living in the Midwest there is real Judean people's front vs people's front of Judea vibe here.

I mean I went to grad school in the bay area so I get the context but still.

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I really enjoyed this article . Quite informative and it discussed a lot of various opinions about the whys on how things came about and the wheres things might be going. Personally, I think San Francisco is incrementally improving.

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I lived in S.F. in the 80s and 90s. It is a great testing ground for new ideas and innovation. Recycling, public transportation, public space (Golden Gate Park and others), diversity, education. These are all positives. However, the reality of a free market has caused S.F. housing to be for the wealthy only (and 6 college students sharing a 3 bedroom apt. Space travel is blissful, but re entry is a bitch.

Public space is for "all the people", but that includes the homeless, mentally challenged, addicted, and now the test case is what to do. Petty theft is under 900.00, so thieves check price tags before a smash and grab. (at least they are budgeting wisely), so they will not be prosecuted. (Again, a decent idea hoping for "restorative justice", and/or keeping some criminals from becoming "hardened" criminals.

Now, the homeowners and taxpayers are realizing that this is not working. Once deadheads traveling on Kesey' bus, they have grown up, worked hard, invested in their community , The large influence of Asian communities has perpetuated family values, education, and wealth. These folks also want to live in peace, cleanliness, and dignity. So, I am not surprised that a reasonable backlash is occurring. I am actually surprised it has taken this long.

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