San Francisco’s demise continues apace

I grew up in San Francisco when Herb Caen, the famed columnist, was still calling it “the City that knows how.” Right now, the only thing it seems to know how to do is self-destruct, with the ultra liberal Ninth Circuit aiding and abetting:

A federal appeals court gave San Francisco the green light Wednesday to require employers to help pay for health care for uninsured workers and residents, and it signaled that it is likely to uphold the city’s groundbreaking universal coverage law.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed San Francisco to enforce its law and extend coverage to all uninsured adults while the city appeals a federal judge’s decision striking down a key funding provision.

That provision requires large and medium-size companies to offer insurance to their employees or pay a fee to the city for the cost of their coverage. The court said the city probably would win its argument that U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White was wrong when he ruled Dec. 26 that local governments lack the power to force employers to contribute to a health care program.

That the ruling allows the law to take effect during the city’s appeal is unusual. Generally, appellate courts refuse to allow enforcement if a lower court has found part of a law invalid. In this case, however, the appeals court said it was granting San Francisco’s request for an emergency stay of White’s ruling because the city had a strong argument and because of consequences for people who cannot get health coverage.

“Otherwise avoidable human suffering, illness and possibly death will result if a stay is denied,” Judge William Fletcher said in the 3-0 decision.

Just last week, yet another small law firm that I know of left the City. The cost of doing business there was just too high, and the firm escaped to the more congenial suburbs.

I find what’s going on in San Francisco very sad. San Francisco always had a reputation for bohemianism, and it was certainly always more liberal than the rest of America — a reputation in which it gloried. Nevertheless, it was also a very civil city, with hallowed traditions and a strong sense of its own history. It’s not the same anymore — and this isn’t just my sense, but the sense I share with other San Franciscans, some much younger than I. It’s gotten dirtier and shabbier. The politics have gone from liberal to aggressive, with attacks against the military normative, not just on the streets, but in the political process. (See here and here, for example.) It’s also a City that is slicing its own throat economically. It’s one thing to be liberal politically. It’s another thing to make business so prohibitively expensive that business simply leaves.

Thinking about it, San Francisco no longer has a quirky West Coast American charm. It’s gone European. It’s white, it’s aging, it’s heavily taxed, it’s dirty, it’s hostile to the American military, it’s attempting to be gun free (although, possibly, not for much longer) and I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.


11 Responses

  1. Next thing you know, they’ll be closing the Cow Palace to the Grand National Rodeo for animal rights violations.

    I really don’t care much for the city anymore. It seems rather hostile.

  2. San Francisco really is beginning to resemble a socialist Eutopia.

    I attended a trade show in S.F. last year that was heavily attended by Asians, South Americans and Europeans. I was driving to our hotel by the convention center with a client and we had to force-stop when a very drunk or otherwise chemically affected homeless woman staggered across the street in front of us and threw up. When I feel snarky, I like to tell my European friends that San Francisco is our most “European” city. They have the same problems in London and Paris.

    I still love the city, but as an American, I was really embarrassed to be at an international event that showcases the worst international stereotypes of the U.S., such as the gulf between the privileged and the poor (which seems to be far wider in our more socialist states, as it’s the middle class that gets wiped out by socialism).

    I would hate to think that beautiful San Francisco will become a Detroit-by-the-Bay.

  3. I travel to the Bay Area frequently ‘cuz I work on a tech-heavy Gov program. I spend a lotta time in Sunnyvale and San Jose.

    I hate it. I just hate it there. There is nothing cheap or easy in that area.

    The whole place is run by angry old white women–I call it “The Gynocracy: That which is not Forbidden is Mandatory!”

    The only places I don’t find psychically and physically oppress are the Korean ghettos: you can guarantee they are eating spicy food, smoking and drinking in their restaurants, and the Gynocracy leaves them alone ‘cuz they provide ‘diversity’….

  4. Omigod…. I went for a walk to get lunch and I just realized what I described above!

    From “1984”:

    Even the civil police interfered with them very little. There was a vast amount of criminality in London, a whole world-within-a-world of thieves, bandits, prostitutes, drug-peddlers and racketeers of every description; but since it all happened among the proles themselves, it was of no importance. In all questions of morals they were allowed to follow their ancestral code. The sexual Puritanism of the Party was not imposed upon them. Promiscuity went unpunished, divorce was permitted. For that matter, even religious worship was permitted (and many of London’s historic Churches, which were in Prole areas, were still standing) They were beneath suspicion.

    There. That’s the “Bay Area”….

  5. Business is the goose that lays golden eggs in the form of increased economic activity, which in turn yields increased revenues from taxes. Why do liberals insist on killing it?

  6. It’s incredibly sad what has happened — and continues to happen — in San Francisco. My wife and I lived there when we came out from the northeast in the early 70’s, and both of our children were born there.

    I worked in Embarcadero 4. We used to have lunch by that big ugly fountain with the square pipes. I hear it’s now surrounded with chain link fence because the homeless people have been using it as a toilet. Someone tell me it isn’t so!

    Finally, we couldn’t stand it any more — now living happily in northwest Washington state.

  7. I too used to work at 4 Embarc, highlander, back in the late 1980s. The fountain, last time I saw it, was remarkably like a giant urinal and the plaza is crawling with homeless.

  8. All,
    I am glad my wife and I (separately) saw San Francisco back in the early 90’s. After the reports about hostility to the military, I told my wife (and she reluctantly agreed) that I’d never spend another dime there. It may seem irrational, but the city has disowned the military (of which I proudly am a member) and I will not repay that act with my hard earned money.
    I often wonder why the city hates the military so badly – if memory serves it was first founded and flourished as a military town supporting the Presidio, the U.S. Navy, and to a lesser extent the Army personnel working at Ft. Ord and the Presidio of Monterrey.
    Is it all angst from the 60’s or is it the result of having outgrown their military roots, desiring a separation from the former identity as the premier Navy port on the Pacific coast? Say what you will, but San Francisco would not likely have been rebuilt in the early 1900s to the same degree had the Navy not insisted on remaining. Historic ties kept the Navy from moving north to Seattle or south to San Diego and Los Angeles; the Presidio offered shelter and working hands to rebuild the city. The then Department of the Navy refused to move the home-ports, despite the lack of standing facilities, which in turn encouraged other shipping interests to rebuild.
    Is the city merely a spoiled, popular child lashing out at the loving, though embarrassingly blue-collar, parent?
    Just my observations;
    SGT Dave
    “There is no fate more dreaded, yet as satisfying, as becoming similar to the parent who sacrificed so much to give a chance at a dissimilar fate in life.”

  9. Pardon my misstatement in the previous post –
    It was founded by the Spanish military as a Presidio and flourished under the U.S. military after our acquisition of California from Mexico.

    SGT Dave
    “If I type any faster, the words will skip my brain.”

  10. What no one has pointed out about the 9th Circus (as Rush L. calls it) Court decision to collect taxes that might later have to be repaid is that there IS NO NEW HEALTH PROGRAM in San Francisco. What we have is a bookkeeping illusion.

    The same people will go to the same clinics for the same treatment. What has changed is that if they have signed up for the New Program they will not get billed by the hospital or clinic. Considering that there was never any payment enforcement in the past, there is no change.

    No one who didn’t use the clinics in the past will use them now because they are generally for the homeless and indigent.

  11. I once ended up in one of those clinics when I’d cut myself on a rusty nail and my parents realized that my tetanus shot was out of date. I don’t know why we didn’t go to the doctor’s office or the local ER. That explanation is lost in the dusty recesses of time. I do know, though, that we stepped over the winos’ bodies to get into the clinic. Once in, it was bare-bones shabby — but I must say that I do remember that the doctor on duty was delightful. In retrospect, I suspect he was a medical student or intern doing time.

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