California may be the capitol of wokeness. On almost every area of policy, be it energy, education, the economy, elections, morality, climate, jobs, health, law, religion and crime, the Golden States has set the national standard for political correctness. The commitment to the extreme leftist narrative is so entrenched that even as the state’s policies are making life unbearable for large segments of the population, its leaders and their supporters continue to push it. Crime and law enforcement have become dominant political issues precisely because of the government’s obsession with a reform agenda that began to be implemented by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011. As crime and violence have increased, anyone pointing this out has been labeled a “fearmonger” or “racist” by the dominant media and both state and local political leaders.
The preliminary requirement for any public discussion about criminal justice policy is that all participants acknowledge that the system is fundamentally racist and focused exclusively on arresting and incarcerating blacks and Hispanics. An educator, lecturer, political candidate or business owner who says otherwise is summarily fired, shouted off the stage, smeared in the media or forced out of business for committing this sin. Ken Kurson of the California Globe writes that this retaliation is directed at anyone caught telling the truth about crime policy, including liberal SF Mayor London Breed.
As Leighton Woodhouse details in Common Sense, Breed committed the unpardonable sin of speaking the truth about what’s driving the city’s tragic spike in fentanyl deaths. Appearing on KQED’s Political Breakdown show, Breed said, “There are, unfortunately, a lot of people who come from a particular country—come from Honduras—and a lot of the people who are dealing drugs happen to be of that ethnicity. And when a lot of the arrests have been made, for people breaking the law, you have the Public Defender’s office and staff from the Public Defender’s office, who are basically accusing and using the law to say, ‘You’re racially—you’re racial profiling. You’re racial profiling.’ Right? And it’s nothing ‘racial profile’ about this. We all know it. It’s the reality.”
Predictably, the San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club condemned Mayor Breed — the city’s first African American female mayor, for her “racist and xenophobic comments.” They demanded an apology for the “appalling” remarks, which represent a “dangerous line of thinking from the Mayor regarding the Latino community.”
We wish we could report that Mayor Breed doubled down on truth telling and acknowledged the disastrous harm wrought on the city by former DA Chesa Boudin’s refusal to prosecute Honduran drug dealers out of concern that a drug arrest might lead to a deportation.
Nope. Breed caved to the mob. Breed tweeted a silly statement describing San Francisco’s drug dealers as “people of all races, ethnicities, and genders.” She apologized for failing “to accurately and comprehensively discuss what is an incredibly complex situation in our City and in Central America.”
Businesses such as Wallgreens, Starbucks, Crate & Barrel and many others which have closed their doors in San Francisco due to the crime epidemic are scorned and labeled if they admit the reason.
As California Globe’s Evan Symon has reported, Cotopaxi, the high-end outdoor clothing retailer, last week became the latest to join the exodus of companies that feel they can no longer do business in San Francisco. Unlike many, Cotopaxi didn’t go quietly. CEO Davis Smith wrote in a post on LinkedIn, “As of today, we are closing the store due to rampant organized theft and lack of safety for our team. Our store is hit by organized theft rings several times per week. They brazenly enter the store and grab thousands of dollars of product and walk out.” Smith detailed exactly how out of control the situation had grown.
“We opened a retail store a year ago on Hayes Street, the charming shopping district just blocks away from the famous Full House home. Our first week there, our windows were smashed and thousands of dollars of product was stolen. We replaced the window, and it immediately happened again (four times). We replaced with window with plywood as we waited for a month+ to get a metal security gate installed (demand for those gates is creating huge delays). … It’s impossible for a retail store to operate in these circumstances, especially when cities refuse to take any action (despite us paying taxes well above any other state we operate in). The city recently announced a reduction of police presence in this neighborhood, despite mass-scale crime.”
Surprisingly, many LinkedIn members scolded not the thieves but the company.
Brian Larson said that calling for more police “propagates the existence of historically racist, oppressive, and violent institutions.” He advised Smith to “advocate for the vital programs — education, health care, housing, etc. — that need more funding.” Tylo Ward said we should “start investing in affordable housing, social services for low-income and dispossessed peoples.”
In fact, San Francisco spends more on those programs than any place in the world. San Francisco’s budget just for homelessness was $1.1 billion in fiscal 2022. That’s 80% of the entire budget for the city of Jacksonville, which has the same population as San Francisco.
To their credit, San Francisco voters fired their woke district attorney, Chesa Boudin, last June, and the liberal-democrat mayor appointed a former prosecutor who quit the DA’s office because she could not abide Boudin’s soft-on-criminals policies. While the jury is still out on how serious DA Brooke Jenkins is about restoring law and order, last week she announced that her office will not send any juvenile cases to retired liberal appeals judge J. Anthony Kline’s courtroom. Kline who helped pack California’s courts with activists while serving as Governor Jerry Brown’s Legal Affairs Secretary in the late 1970s, was apparently too sympathetic to the juvenile criminals coming before him. Of course, the mostly woke San Francisco Chronicle criticized Jenkins for doing so.