July 9, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO’S CRISIS LOOKS LIKE NEW YORK’S FUTURE:

Beautiful, hilly San Francisco has become known as the city where 20 pounds of poop were dumped on a sidewalk last week in a clear bag and remained there for hours. As The Post noted, “human waste-related complaints in San Francisco have skyrocketed 400 percent from 2008 to 2018,” and “In 2017 alone, more than 21,000 reports were received.”

What happened in San Francisco is obvious. It stopped prosecuting quality-of-life offenses and, unsurprisingly, the quality of life for the city’s residents and visitors decreased sharply.

In 2015, San Francisco courts stopped enforcing bench warrants for such offenses. Police continued writing up tickets for public drunkenness or sleeping in parks, but when the accused failed to show up to their court appearance a judge simply dismissed the outstanding warrant.

New York started following San Francisco’s lead in 2016 when Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. announced his office would no longer be prosecuting offenses such as public urination. Both cities have accepted that they’ll continue to have a large number of people living on their streets and inevitably using their sidewalks as a toilet.

Back in the mid-noughts, when I was living in Northern California and regularly flew back to New York to visit family and friends, the difference between the two cities, during an era when Mike Bloomberg continued to enforce most if not all of Rudy Giuliani’s “broken window” crime prevention policies was palpable. But as Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal warned in 2005, hipsters lamented the loss of the gritty Death Wish/Panic in Needle Park-era Manhattan of the 1970s — and thanks to Mayor de Blasio, they’re getting that city back once again. Good and hard, as Mencken would say.