San Francisco Mayor Declares 'State of Emergency' in Tenderloin District

San Francisco Mayor Declares 'State of Emergency' in Tenderloin District

San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a “state of emergency” Friday in the Tenderloin district, a notoriously crime-ridden area near Market Street, the broad thoroughfare that cuts through the heart of the downtown area.

Mayor Breed was among the first mayors in the U.S. to commit to “defund the police” in 2020 in response to Black Lives Matter protests, pledging to redistribute $120 million from the law enforcement budget to organizations in the black community.

But the city was hit by a crime wave, particularly in the retail sector. Shoplifting, rarely prosecuted since the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, making theft of less than $950 a misdemeanor, prompted several large retail chains to leave the city. And in the week before November, mass looting of high-end stores in Union Square prompted nationwide shock and outrage.

Tenderloin arrest (karendesuyo / Flickr / CC / Cropped)

Tenderloin arrest (karendesuyo / Flickr / CC / Cropped)

One local retailer called for Mayor Breed and her entire team to resign, saying they had failed to protect the city.

In response, the mayor called Tuesday called for an expansion of the police budget and an end to progressive “bullsh*t” on crime.

On Friday, she followed up by announcing a crackdown and “state of emergency” against crime and drugs in the Tenderloin:

Today Mayor London N. Breed declared an official State of Emergency in the Tenderloin, allowing the City to waive certain laws to quickly address the crisis of people dying of drug overdoses on the streets of the neighborhood as part of the Mayor’s Tenderloin Emergency Intervention Plan. Similar to the City’s COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency, this action will eliminate bureaucratic barriers, allowing the City to quickly respond to the conditions relating to the health and safety of the people in the Tenderloin. The overdose problem has worsened, particularly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the recent rapidly deteriorating conditions in the Tenderloin caused by the opioid crisis put the lives of San Franciscans in serious risk.

The Emergency Declaration allows the City to expedite the implementation of emergency programs like waiving rules around contract procurement and waiving zoning and planning codes to quickly open a temporary linkage site where people with substance use issues can receive behavioral health services and get off the street. The Emergency Declaration will apply to actions taken within the boundaries of the Tenderloin Police District.

“The situation in the Tenderloin is an emergency and it calls for an emergency response,” said Mayor London Breed. “We showed during COVID that when we’re able to use an Emergency Declaration to cut through the bureaucracy and barriers that get in the way of decisive action, we can get things done and make real, tangible progress. We will use that focus and coordination to disrupt the illegal activity in the neighborhood, to get people the treatment and support they need, and to make the Tenderloin a safer, more livable place for the families and children who call the neighborhood home.”

The Declaration of Emergency must be ratified by the Board of Supervisors within the next seven days, and will exist for no longer than 90 days.

Read the mayor’s full statement here.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced a new public safety plan, including $255 million in law enforcement grants specifically aimed at targeting retail crime and outbreaks of mass looting.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Joel B. Pollak