One of the reasons problems seems so uniquely unfixable in the Golden State is that those who tell the truth about them are instantly and angrily silenced.
Two recent examples have caught our eye.
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.”
Many on LinkedIn were sympathetic, not just to the company and its employees, but to the good people of San Francisco who will lose a valued store and its jobs and tax dollars. But many others raised their voices in opposition. Not to the criminals who cost a city yet another taxpayer and employer and place to buy awesome bags made from 100% repurposed fabric.
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.
Edward Christenson advised that Cotopaxi could serve “breakfasts, or dinners and being welcoming.” They could try “Funding some public bathrooms right near by and offering old/unsellable product for free. Offering day jobs doing some cleaning of the street.”
Again, SF became the butt of international headlines by recently announcing they are building a single toilet that cost $1.7 million. You know where that $1.7 million came from? Taxes on people like Smith and the shoppers at Cotopaxi. The notion that the city’s taxpayers are underfunding its ambitious goals is ludicrous.
Remember, this is LinkedIn, not Twitter. These are presumably professional people using their real names, not Russian bots put here to make us do the “I can’t believe how crazy my fellow Americans are” thing. It’s also notable that Cotopaxi’s strenuous efforts to signal its woke credentials—the company brags that its products are “sustainably sourced and ethically made” and its models make a Benetton ad look like the Iowa GOP Caucus—hasn’t protected it.
The same is true for San Francisco’s progressive 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.” Barf.
We should expect our CEOs to speak the truth. We should demand that our political leaders speak the truth. When they do, they shouldn’t apologize or give in to woke crybullies.
Mayor London Breed apologizes after comments made on KQED earlier this month about mostly migrants from Honduras drug dealing in the Tenderloin. pic.twitter.com/vQvWzFuLw3
— Gia Vang (@Gia_Vang) October 20, 2022
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