OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
4:28 PM – Monday, November 13, 2023
San Francisco rolled out cleanup operations in anticipation of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit, reportedly targeting seven well-known homeless encampments in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.
California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom admitted that the effort was solely to create a positive impression for visiting leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which runs through November 17th.
Reports suggest that the displaced homeless population has been relocated to other parts of the city ahead of the summit. While the cleanup transformed previously overrun areas, it has raised questions regarding why the city has waited so long to take action.
Critics argue that such efforts are a temporary fix to a persistent issue, with ongoing concerns about drug overdoses and the need for more comprehensive solutions.
The cleanup focused on areas with concentrated encampments, where individuals struggling with hard drug addiction can often be observed on the streets.
Residents also noted an increased police presence and tent removals earlier in the week, highlighting the complex challenges faced by the city in addressing homelessness and substance abuse.
Newsom appeared alongside San Francisco Mayor London Breed and other local officials on Thursday, while the clean-ups were still taking place. The California governor addressed the concerns, claiming that officials had recently “raised the bar of expectation” for the city’s streets.
However, Newsom refuted the claim that the clean-ups are only temporary, stating, “I know folks say, “Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all these fancy leaders are coming into town. That’s true because it’s true,” he said.
“But it’s also true for months and months and months prior to ape we’ve been having different conversations, and we’ve raised the bar of expectation between the city, the county and the state and our federal partners,” he went on.
San Francisco, in particular, has become a major hub of homeless activity, however, Newsom on Thursday still insisted that state officials – fueled by taxpayer dollars and federal funding – are equipped to handle the growing crisis.
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