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Radical left trashed San Francisco. Can city leaders fix it?

San Francisco has been in rapid decline since the Black Lives Matter movement held the city hostage in 2020. Now, we’re watching the city die in real time. Without quick and substantive measures to reverse course, one of the nation’s leading cities will become a cautionary tale against embracing the radical left’s agenda.  

Bustling with tourists and locals enjoying the city’s shopping district and high-end hotels, Union Square was considered the heart of the City by the Bay — at least until 2020. That was when, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, city leaders opted to hand over power to the radical left in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

There’s been a mass exodus of the Union Square neighborhood’s top retailers since, like Saks off 5th and Nordstrom, driven by the city’s culture of lawlessness. Homeless addicts commit petty crimes to help feed their drug habit. Opportunistic criminals exploit lax approaches to crime. 

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Whole Foods closed its flagship store in the Mid-Market neighborhood. The store suffered frequent theft and angry homeless people. The death of a 30-year-old man from a fentanyl and methamphetamine overdose in the store’s bathroom likely made the decision to close easier. 

As I say in my forthcoming book “What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our Cities,” San Francisco’s death spiral can be directly attributed to radical left policies and approaches implemented after the famously far-left city embraced the BLM movement.

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San Francisco defunded police, diverting $120 million to fund Black community initiatives. It was meant as “a gesture of reparations for decades of city policymaking that have created or exacerbated deep inequities for San Francisco’s African American residents.” 

Police vehicles are stationed at Union Square following recent robberies in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. In San Francisco, homeless tents, open drug use, home break-ins and dirty streets have proliferated during the pandemic. The quality of life crimes and a laissez-faire approach by officials to brazen drug dealing have given residents a sense the city is in decline.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Police vehicles are stationed at Union Square following recent robberies in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. In San Francisco, homeless tents, open drug use, home break-ins and dirty streets have proliferated during the pandemic. The quality of life crimes and a laissez-faire approach by officials to brazen drug dealing have given residents a sense the city is in decline.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

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They blamed the grocery store for being in the wrong neighborhood. They even blamed shoplifting on the store, citing one worker who said the liquor section shouldn’t have been by an exit. 

Westfield handed the mall to lenders as its retail shops abandoned them and city leaders failed to deliver on promises “to find solutions to the key issues and lack of enforcement against rampant criminal activity.” 

Still, the city is attempting to mitigate the threat and discomfort of walking downtown with a police crackdown on drug dealing and public use, but the radical left is trying to stymie progress. 

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Supervisor Dean Preston demanded the city “end punitive policies, specifically arresting and incarcerating drug users” because he says it will lead to more overdoses. One columnist condemned the strategy because “arrests mean hundreds of lives will be altered forever — job prospects permanently marred, housing opportunities permanently foreclosed and distrust of governmental institutions permanently instilled.” 

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