It’s REALLY Hard Not to Blog About This Right Now…

Ok, so I had this great post about this thing with the 11 year old kid stabbed by some homeless mental patient asshat all written up, despite my 2 blogging rules: 1-don’t blog when you’re mad and 2-don’t blog after happy hour and 3 beers with friends, especially when said topic pisses you off bigtime.
Then, of course Movable Type found a way to crash and kill what was an actually well written post. So now we’re about to violate rule 3 which is “don’t post when your crummy CMS killed your post and you can’t recover it from auto-save.” And frankly, the topic at hand is such that I can’t let it go, and I don’t need someone judging me for having a few beers after work. What’s being said still matters so spare me the judgment.
All I’ll say for now is this: it is inherently f*cked that we have a DA who won’t prosecute a case unless it’s a slam dunk, lest her “record” not reflect a perfection not attainable in the real world. This allows the habitual misdemeanor criminal to blossom into the felon of today.
It’s also inherently f*cked we have a Mayor who could give 2 shits about any of us, but worse, was too busy raising money for negative TV spots to pay attention to his own City. It’s a major fail when those stupid cameras, the ONE TIME THEY NEEDED TO WORK ON A BUS, failed in this instance. Why? Because douchebags like our Governor and the Democrats have been killing transit funding for years. Blood is on your hands, Arnold! And the collaborator Democrats, including those from OUR OWN CITY. (Sorry, kids, you don’t get a pass anymore).
And it’s double f*cked that Muni got looted by the SFPD, and yet, apparently can’t police Muni like they say they did (Thanks for nothing, Progressive Supervisors Chiu and Avalos) and in the end, after all the bullshit posturing, a kid almost died on Muni. Oh and hey, thanks for nothing coalition of Reagan and the liberals, who decided that people shouldn’t get treatment for a medical illness and instead, we should let the streets be the “hospital.”
That is unacceptable and I’m not willing to chalk that up to “shit happens.” NO. We are the United States of America, we are San Francisco, we are a civilized society, and I’ll be God-damned if kids getting stabbed on Muni, or illegal immigrant gang members killing familes is EVER CONSIDERED AN ACCEPTABLE RISK OF LIVING HERE.
Not cool, and now, I need to cool off. But I dare one person to say the kid had it coming. Because that is mega-f*cked. A lot of people in City Hall are On Notice. And not in the funny snarky way, but in the “you’re a pack of jerks and someone got hurt, and this should never have happened” way.
Update: Folks, I owe a bit of an apology to y’all as my poorly worded rant is being taken the wrong way. When I brought up the illegal immigrant issue, it was meant only to say that City Hall is spending a lot of time and money worrying about the “rights” of criminal illegals, instead of worrying about us, the taxpaying law abiding residents (regardless of status). I’m not some right wing douche who believes in deporting everyone with a non-European name. But I AM upset that we have a lot of resources devoted to protecting a few criminals, when we really should be protecting all crime victims in our city, regardless of who they are.
Again, I’m sorry about that, and upon reflection I shouldn’t have reacted so negatively. I never wanted this blog to become 100% negative, and yet, I let it happen. So again, I apologize.

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28 Responses to It’s REALLY Hard Not to Blog About This Right Now…

  1. Greg Dewar says:

    Oh and by the way, any asshat commenter at SFGate who said the kid deserved it or used this to advance some bullshit agenda not related to the issues at hand can seriously go to Hell.

  2. Joseph H says:

    They call them surveillance “tapes” but AFAIK they’re removable hard disks now. That’s what I’ve seen. But, ahh, maybe I’m wrong.

  3. A friend told me that most of these cameras don’t even work, they’re mainly just for show. He found that out from a Muni driver.

  4. Greg Dewar says:

    This is why this issue pisses me off, bigtime:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/05/23/MN2041.DTL
    Go read the story. In this case, a prominent psychiatrist was stabbed by a perennially homeless guy with major problems. In and out of the system at our expense, with no one really HELPING him not be a menace.
    The kicker? This guy lived in my neighborhood in suburban Burlingame. Went to school with me and my brother. Was a funny, smart, nice kid, who did no wrong.
    But then, apparently he got sick. Now I don’t know the particulars but I do remember hearing bits and pieces over the years. The point being this – all the money we spend to help people, and it’s a coalition of hater right wingers and bleeding hearts that say “it’s ok for mentally ill people to live on the streets in squalor. It’s ok to say fuck you, we don’t care. The liberals will rally for your right to be an indigent and don’t give a a damn about you, and the conservatives will rally to say you should be beaten down like a dog with rabies for the “crime” of having an illness.”
    That is doubly f*cked and both sides can seriously shut up. It is not “socialism” to decide that we can pay a few pennies to keep people who have an illness on their meds with proven regimens. It is not fascism to say that if you’re ill you should get treated. What if I get cancer, it is fascism for me to get the chemo to keep me alive?
    All crapola. and I’m not buying it. There was no reason this had to happen and yet, we say it’s ok. We apparently want to live in third world conditions. I for one am wondering if it’s just time to leave.

  5. Alex says:

    @Greg: In men, schizophrenia usually strikes during the early 20s or late teens. If that’s what he was suffering from, it could explain the “he just changed” aspect.

  6. Joseph H says:

    Well, we have to go back to involuntarily committing people, and forcing them to take meds, and find a way to do that in institutions that aren’t underfunded dumping grounds … and exactly how is that going to happen? How is, it’s never going to happen again.
    We could bus all the crazy street people to Kansas City or something. Otherwise we just have to live with them, because we don’t have the spine to take away freedom from people who can’t function as long as they have it.

  7. Bob Davis says:

    Back about 150 years, San Francisco had a problem with the lawless element, and angered citizens formed a Vigilance Committee. Of course, that was before we had ACLU and various other organizations whose members probably live in gated communities. ACLU actually does some good things, but when it takes the side of scumbags and dangerous nutcases it loses my support.

  8. Robert says:

    An 11 year old being stabbed on muni makes me ashamed that
    we, the City, that’s us (yes you and I), can’t provide a safe environment for everyone in SF.
    I’ll start with blame from the top – our negligent / absent mayor. shame, shame, shame on him. I wonder if we’ll get any official comment on this from City Hall. I doubt it. sad. Newsom should be publicly outraged and all over this incident investigating where things have failed and trying to fix anything found to be broken.
    I think his attention is elsewhere though. bad for all of us – especially for Hatim – stabbed on muni today…. 🙁

  9. JeffreyY says:

    “…illegal immigrant gang members killing familes…”
    What a bigoted thing to say, especially when it has nothing to do with the rest of your post. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than natives: http://www.azstarnet.com/news/171109
    It’s terrible that we’ve thrown the mentally ill out onto the streets and cut our transit budgets until Muni can’t afford decent security. But it’s _those_ problems that caused this crime, not illegal immigration. Scapegoating an unrelated group both hurts innocent members of that group and distracts from the problems we need to solve to prevent this from happening again. Shame on you.

  10. Greg says:

    WHAT THE FUCK???? The problem is that this city is spending a lot of time on protecting illegal immigrant CRIMINALS with the sanctuary city legislation, instead of using it to ensure that illegal immigrants can come to the police when they are the victim of a crime. That was the point, but now it’s been bastardized into protecting criminals who get to run away from the police. That is a fact, not bigoted bullshit.
    And it’s not bigoted, when a guy who was a member of a horrible gang killed that dad and his two kids. That’s a fact, and if you can’t comprehend that yes, there are bad people, and yes, they do bad things, and yes some of them are illegals, that is YOUR problem, NOT MINE.
    Shame on you, for showing that you didn’t read the post, don’t know the facts, and are pro-criminal. I am really amazed at how I’m getting hate mail because I DON’T LIKE CHILD KILLERS.
    What the fuck is wrong with you people?

  11. JimmyS says:

    Hey, watch it. Dewar’s not a bigot, he’s cool, but he’s also right when he says that that yes, an illegal immigrant protected by the sanctuary city law ended up killing3 people. He probably didn’t word it the best way, so I can see why you might think that, but your attack on him is kind of unfair.
    I think I speak for a lot of reasonable people in SF when I say that was never the intent of the law. It was meant to ensure equal protection of crime victims, regardless of citizenship, so that criminals could not prey on an underclass because people were afraid to go to the police, the hospital, etc.. The way that Newsom and Campos have twisted it to mean that instead, we protect people who commit crimes is wrong. And now we’ll end up losing it entirely thanks to Campos.
    Here’s the link, in case you missed it.
    http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Surviving-Bologna-son-testifies-in-Ramos-preliminary-hearing-48298817.html

  12. JeffreyY says:

    Thanks for the apology! I know how easy it is to stumble upon bigoted language even when you don’t mean it. I certainly do it too, so I’m sorry for the tone of my post. I should have assumed you’d just made a mistake in your language, not that you intended it.
    I wouldn’t have complained at all if you’d said something like “repeat offending gang members killing families”, which does seem like a real problem (even though I still wouldn’t have gotten the reference 🙁 ). Ramos, after all, was arrested lots of times before murdering the Bologna family (http://www.sfgate.info/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/07/20/MNK011MAFR.DTL). Yes, his being here illegally gave the police the extra option of deporting him which they wouldn’t have had were he a citizen, but would we really feel better about things if a citizen with that record murdered someone?
    Also, what are you referring to when you say that “we have a lot of resources devoted to protecting a few criminals”? Maybe I’m just uninformed, but it seems like not asking people about their immigration status would take less time than asking them. Is it the time and money needed to defend against lawsuits caused by the sanctuary city policy?
    I suppose defending people who are here illegally does make me pro-criminal, since being here illegally is itself a crime, but I think there’s a lot of space between that and defending someone who stabbed a child. I am certainly anti-child-stabber.

  13. Greg says:

    Well things got a little hot, and I didn’t do my usual “count to 10” which allows for better writing so misunderstandings happen.
    My point is this: the point of the sanctuary city law was to ensure that people could come to the police if they were a crime victim, or needed emergency assistance and so on. That is fine, because if people didn’t come to the police, criminals would see illegals as easy prey to hurt and steal from. That’s bad.
    The way that Campos has distorted this to mean that we need to coddle people committing violent crimes from The Feds is a perversion of that, and we’re spending a lot of city resources for him to play games. Meanwhile no one is served. And if SF goes off on another crusade in the courts, we could end up losing it all – and then no one is helped.
    As for immigration in general – if people want to come here and work, who am I to stop them? It would be better if we had an easy way for people to just come and work legally, and not have this system where illegals are getting exploited and paid like $2/hour to wash dishes.
    The Ramos case points to something else, legal or illegal, that’s a problem in this city – he’d been through the system and our DA doesn’t prosecute smaller crimes, which give the green light to people to keep on lawbreakin’. Trust me when I say, criminals know that smaller level robbery and assualts are not prosecuted any longer. Again, that serves no one.

  14. sl says:

    “We are the United States of America, we are San Francisco, we are a civilized society,”
    I’m not sure that’s true. There are a lot of civilized people in SF. There are also a lot of uncivilized ones. San Francisco’s problem is that we mistake liberalism with letting un-civility slide. Thus, trashed, ugly streets, and buses.

  15. Greg says:

    @SL: you nailed it. It’s not being a fascist to simply ask people to behave properly in public. San Francisco’s got a contingent of folks who believe in a particularly mushy-headed, foggy version of liberalism that makes no sense. It really is bizarre. I mean, what’s “liberal” about people trashing our city?

  16. No apology necessary.

  17. Nancy says:

    I don’t blame you for being angry and upset at the 11 year old being stabbed. I’m angry and upset as well. We – and California – have a very sick political system and a skewed set of priorities in which playing politics takes priority over really serving the public. At one time I worked in hospital emergency rooms, trying to do financial screening. I saw a lot of mentally ill people who should have been in a supervised home for the mentally ill. But there was no place for them and many of them know how to play the system, so 72 hours later they were back on the streets. They live such tortured lives and we really don’t, can’t help them, given the way our system is set up.
    And ditto for the weird version of liberalism that’s trashing the city; I’ve helped the Delores Blog people clean up that park several times and been jeered at and insulted because I (we) say that you should not trash a public space with your noise, beer cans, cigarette butts, trash and dog poo. Ditto for so many places in the city.
    I remember when this was a clean and civilized place to live – not without problems but not the level of problems that we now have from the mentally ill to the trust fund yuppies. When did it change? Can we stop the slide downwards?

  18. Mike says:

    Someone else made an excellent point in a recent article about the problem of SF homeless people clogging up vital resources. The “Frequent Fliers” are chronic alcoholics and drug addicts that tend to pass out in public and have to be taken by firetrucks or ambulances to the hospital all the time. Everyone who works those jobs knows who they are and those $1,500 rides start to add up.
    One reader suggest the obvious, have the DA prosecute each and every one of those people on the first offense and put them on probation. On the 2nd offense put them in jail for a week or 2 where they will be forced to detox whether they like it or not. After a while people will either get with the program or get the fuck out of dodge.
    I would love to see that happen but I don’t think SF has the balls to follow through with it, not when we have people like Chris Daly that are fighting tooth and nail for the rights of assholes to shoot up on 6th St. Every year when I ride my bike through Hippy Hill the crowds of homeless kids are bigger and bigger. The other day there were 80 some crusty punks; a dozen of their dogs (imagine being bit by a homeless kid’s dog), and a violent beat down of 3 against 1.
    The older I get in this city the more I relate to Dirty Harry.

  19. Greg Dewar says:

    @mike: I think your frustration is shared by many – it seems like no matter who’s in charge, nothing changes. I’d make the distinction between people who are mentally ill and need some sort of long term care so they’re safe and can lead normal lives if they just have someone helping them be sure to stay on their meds, and those that have made a decision over and over to turn down the many services we have to help people with addiction get into recovery.
    The problem is that we have the left in this town which insists that it’s ok for people to live in squalor, and the right, which kinda wants to toss people into an ash heap. Either approach hasn’t worked well, and until we are able to have a system that can distinguish between those truly in need and who would benefit from help, and those who just play the system for their own brand of “lookitmeeimafreespirit” not realizing it’s the rest of us who pay.

  20. Alex says:

    I take issue with the suggestion that we simply need to lock “those people” up. By all accounts SF jails are over capacity. Sure, we’ve got Treasure Island… but adding more jails is akin to adding more lanes to our interstates as a long term solution to traffic problems: it doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
    Second, all the bellyaching that the “liberals” are fighting for the rights of people to live in squalor on the street is patently false. Take, for instance, the much maligned Hallinan:
    There he was pushing for increased enforcement, and he’s hardly a right winger… but he does bring up a good point. Trying ONE of those people cost the city in excess of $100,000. Like fare enforcement, it’s a balancing act. Plea bargains are just that bargains. They’re cheaper than the cost of a full trial.
    Quite frankly I’d be pretty okay with seeing the police simply do their jobs (in this case, riding public transit). Even if they’re not citing people they can act to prevent fights and whatnot.

  21. Greg Dewar says:

    @Alex: I think we’re all taking a 2nd look at DA Hallinan’s views and realizing he has some excellent points. We never really look at the true cost of anything – everything is done through a microscope, and no one ever stops to think about the consequences. Remember Frank Jordan’s “Matrix” program, and the fact that people who were giving away food to the homeless were arrested?
    My gripe is simply that there are many things we could do to create safe, healthy living situations for people who are mentally ill or are ready to get help, so they don’t have to live on the street or be miserable that are better that just a shelter or two. This is a city that spends billions of dollars, surely we could at least get folks who are in need a place to live. And it doesn’t have to be lousy shelters or whatever.
    And I agree, if we had a bit more police presence on transit, the casual criminal type would be dissuaded from doing anything bad.

  22. That other Mike says:

    “My gripe is simply that there are many things we could do to create safe, healthy living situations for people who are mentally ill or are ready to get help, so they don’t have to live on the street or be miserable that are better that just a shelter or two. This is a city that spends billions of dollars, surely we could at least get folks who are in need a place to live. And it doesn’t have to be lousy shelters or whatever.”
    Yeah, but I don’t think it’s San Francisco’s responsibility to house, feed, and provide mental health services to everyone who has been crashing on Hippy Hill for the past couple of days.

  23. Alex says:

    @Greg: What second look? Anyone with a pulse would have realized that Harris was a joke before she got “elected”.
    I was very disappointed when Hallinan was outsted. For all of his warts (the dysfunctional relationship his office has with SFPD was hardly a minor problem), he at least tried.
    I agree that getting the chronic drunks and addicts off of the street would be great. But that raises some interesting issues. Older Chron articles point at fear of violence as a primary reason why the chronically homeless won’t use the shelters. Which is to say, if you create an off-street safe space, who’s going to police that? Additionally, how much of the chronically homeless population wants to be helped? IIRC, the most expensive folks to deal with are those who have no interest in treatment or shelter. And why would they when they can make an obscene amount of money by simply begging?
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/03/BA7B19H3BC.DTL
    Despite Nevius’s usual song and dance, the “sobering center” (or something like it) could very well be a good idea. Of course batting around the retail cost of an ambulance ride is a bit silly too (just like the $2 311 calls, an ambulance run ain’t gonna cost the city the full $1,500 they bill people for). Rather than sour me on the idea of the sobering center, his critiques make me wonder if a more European approach to emergency care would be better. In London, for instance, they tend to send out a single paramedic on a motorcycle to get to the scene as quickly as possible and do some basic triage. Instead of tying up a bunch of staff, you can have one person in a more nimble vehicle assess the situation. There are plenty of variations on the theme to consider.
    Look, as long as we’re the only municipality that offers diversion programs, there will always be crazy folks in San Francisco. Any solution for San Francisco will need to involve the rest of the Bay Area communities. Otherwise it’s just a band-aid fix.

  24. Greg Dewar says:

    @That Other Mike: Agreed. The hippy hill folks need a one way bus ticket back to Maynardville and a certificate that says “Your SF Privileges have been revoked unless you have a bath, get a job, and are ready to be a part of society since there’s nothing wrong with you.”
    Perhaps I wasn’t clear – I was speaking of someone who has, say, schizophrenia. It’d be cheaper to deal with it sensibly than have ’em going in and out of the system causing mayhem and making life bad for all involved and at great expense. But hippie kids who just wanna be leeches who come here to be lame? Forget ’em.

  25. Alex says:

    An additional point (previous post is held for moderation) is this: we dispatch a fire truck with each ambulance… IIRC this is primarily due to fairly archaic labor agreements. This was dredged up by the Chron a while back, and perhaps it’s time to revisit the wisdom on spending so much money for each 911 call.

  26. Greg Dewar says:

    @Alex: trust me when I say I never bought into the “Hallinan is the devil” rhetoric. He had his problems, for sure, and that was part of his downfall. But the media sure pumped up Harris, who violated a written campaign spending pledge and by law shoulda been taken off the ballot, but got away. But that’s something better left to my other blog.
    I can’t remember why it is a fire engine is called, but it goes beyond labor rules. That’s SOP in most US jurisdictions or so I have been told.

  27. Bob Davis says:

    Back in 1978, I had a job assignment that took me to downtown Long Beach for about two months. Seems like once or twice a week I’d look out a window and see an ambulance and a fire truck responding, probably to a “person down” call or a medical emergency. The main thing I remember is that the fire truck was a classic Mack from the early 50’s–a bit of a treat for vintage-vehicle fans. I suspect this old truck was somebody’s “pet”, and having it roll with the ambulance gave it some exercise.

  28. Alex says:

    @Greg Pretty sure it’s not SOP. The best I could do for now was to dredge up a Chron article that indicated that SFFD runs the ambulance service here… versus other big cities where ambulance services are often privatized.

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