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City Supervisor: San Francisco is not progressive enough

December 11, 2023 - 4:40pm

San Francisco’s liberal policies on drugs and homelessness don’t go far enough, according to a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors. Speaking to Freddie Sayers as part of an UnHerd investigative documentary, Supervisor Dean Preston argued that arresting drug users — a strategy pursued by San Francisco’s Democratic mayor, London Breed — “has not made our city any safer. It’s actually made it less safe. It increases overdoses.”

Preston also defended his position on defunding the police, saying, “I think we have a very, very bloated police budget. All kinds of waste in the police department. I could cut $100 million out of the department.”

The Supervisor sees the city’s drug problem as a public health crisis, preferring what he refers to as “proven” solutions — namely, safe consumption sites. A self-proclaimed “democratic socialist”, he blames capitalism for San Francisco’s woes, citing economic concerns rather than drug use and other social problems as the primary reason behind the number of residents living on the streets in the city’s Tenderloin neighbourhood. 

“I think what you’re seeing in the Tenderloin is absolutely the result of capitalism and what happens in capitalism to the people at the bottom rungs,” Preston said. More, he claimed:

The biggest driver of why folks are on the street is because they lost their jobs, income or were evicted from their homes, usually for not being able to pay the rent. So you have major landlords literally causing folks to lose their homes, and real estate speculation making it impossible for folks to find an affordable place to live.
- Dean Preston

Preston has been a vocal critic of the city’s police force, which he believes misallocates resources to the detriment of poor neighbourhoods. Police officers are focused on patrolling wealthy commercial areas rather than poor districts with high rates of drug use such as the Tenderloin, according to the Supervisor. When they do visit rough areas, in his view, they focus on arresting drug users rather than conducting “violence prevention work”.  

Speaking to UnHerd, Preston disagreed with the premise that California has liberal drug laws, arguing that public drug use and dealing are still illegal, even if the law isn’t consistently enforced. 

Asked whether he walks around his district and finds it safe, the Supervisor responded that he frequently walks around the Tenderloin and feels safe doing so, and downplayed the area’s dangerous reputation:

I don’t think every instance of poverty or addiction or behavioural health issue is a safety threat to someone walking by. I mean, there’s a lot of people who are doing things that are very harmful to themselves on the streets, who aren’t necessarily a safety threat.
- Dean Preston

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

It’s shocking that people like this are actually voted into office. San Francisco budget for the homeless is $1.1 billion, for about 20,000 people. Its budget for policing is $760 million for 860,000 people.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
7 months ago

Let it burn and serve as a warning to others.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
7 months ago

he blames capitalism for San Francisco’s woes, citing economic concerns rather than drug use and other social problems as the primary reason behind the number of residents living on the streets in the city’s Tenderloin neighbourhood. 

“I think what you’re seeing in the Tenderloin is absolutely the result of capitalism and what happens in capitalism to the people at the bottom rungs,” Preston said

This from wikipedia:

Preston’s house is worth $2.7 million, the most of any supervisor, and he owns stock shares valued between $400,000 and $4 million in Apple, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

They’re all the same, these people.

Archibald Tennyson
Archibald Tennyson
7 months ago

A surfuit of soy
A shortage of joy
An overgrown boy
Cucked as to destroy.

R Wright
R Wright
7 months ago

I can see why Stalin got rid of these true believer fools.

J Bryant
J Bryant
7 months ago

In the film, Flo said Preston rarely gives interviews and Unherd had worked to gain his trust. I wonder what Preston feels about Unherd’s coverage of their interview with him? Does he regret it now? What did Preston hope to gain from an interview from Unherd which is certainly not part of the left-leaning mainstream media?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The central question put to Preston (by Freddie Sayers) was: under his regime, what would ever change? He had no answer to that.
Presumably, he’s therefore awaiting the fall of capitalism rather than seeking to make a difference himself, other than walking past the ongoing blight.
If Preston has a problem with having questions put to him, he’s clearly in the wrong job, but it’s typical of an authoritarian mindset to resist questioning. Freddie & Flo were unerringly polite and seeking answers; at no point was there any suggestion that Preston was either disrespected or gainsaid, although he looked uncomfortable when asked that central question, unsurprisingly.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I suspect he wasn’t smart enough to actually visit the Unherd website and gauge the tenor of its political point of view.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Or he was too lazy to do so.

R Wright
R Wright
7 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

You are implying that Unherd took his words out of context or otherwise duped him. Do you have any evidence of it? To me it appears he is a proud marxist who huffs the smell of his own farts.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
7 months ago

A stressful video editing..!

The recent Unherd’s method of publishing videos is a bit messy. At least to my experience. First you give out a small part at an interview or documentary (like in this case) and then you present the whole length video to subscribers only. It may be presented simultaneously, but until now in more then one cases, I watch the smaller video until I realize that it is a fragment of the whole. Somehow I may find the proper length video in somewhat of a strange location but usually it is too late. The editing of the fragmented editions contain a lot of what one may watch in the whole piece. Here comes the nasty one though. The small videos are edited in a manner of long trailers. So, if you are unlucky as I am and you have watched the short version beforehand, than you need to watch the whole thing again, in the effort to follow the full story of the longer length video. This has put me off of watching the whole thing more than once. I just quit when I realize I have to follow a “have seen – haven’t seen – have seen (maybe skip) – haven’t seen” video edition. Totally uncool folks..! I understand you need to work your subscriptions and sales but I’m sure you can fix this. If you read this, since you are biggies now, please do something..! Much obliged..!

ps. Important note. I read and watch most of Unherd on my smartphone.

Last edited 7 months ago by Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Hit
Hit
6 months ago

Yeah, I was having difficulty with it too. The originial video was 15 minutes but you could only see 10 minutes until you subscribed? Anyways, it hasn’t worked out that way.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

This is what the Marxist mind virus does to people.