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San Francisco's Progressive Dysfunction


The City by the Bay is in a state of progressive dysfunction.


The City by the Bay is in a state of progressive dysfunction.

Liberal Democrats have secured total control of the city’s elected offices. Being a Democrat isn’t enough anymore. In a city where there are more than six Democrats for every Republican, political campaigns are decided by which candidate is the true progressive.

With no evil capitalists or conservative Republicans to thwart their plans, San Francisco should be a socialist utopia. Income inequality solved. Affordable housing provided to all. Criminals rehabilitated. Women guaranteed equal protection under the law.

Yet, the city hasn’t made much “progress” on much of anything. Here’s a progress report on every liberal’s pet issues.

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Income Inequality

A recent study by a Bay Area consulting group found the Bay Area is home to the nation’s worst income inequality. The middle class no longer exists in the Bay Area. The top 20 percent of households make $263,000 more than the poorest 20 percent of households.

“That’s 50 percent higher than the gap nationwide,” Jon Haveman, author of the study, recently told KQED. The Bay Area’s middle class is disappearing as a result of the high cost of living and exorbitant housing process, which are forcing people to leave the area.

While middle class private sector workers have been squeezed, public sector employees have reaped the benefits of electing liberal Democrats to state and local offices. More than 10,000 public employees in San Francisco earn six-figure salaries. More than a third of the city’s public workforce earns at least $100,000 in total compensation. Eighty-four city employees earn in excess of $250,000 each year in total compensation.

Affordable Housing

This spring, the average rent in San Francisco hit a record high of $3,458 per month. Even if you’re willing to cram into a tiny studio, you’ll pay more than $2,000 per month. Thanks to liberal policies restricting new developments, the region has learned what happens when supply remains constant and demand increases.

Many Bay Area residents have turned to the sharing economy to make ends meet by renting out a spare bedroom. But, that could soon end as the city seeks to criminalize the sharing economy. This November, voters will consider an initiative that limits short-term rentals, bans in-law unit rentals, and allows citizens to police their neighbors with lawsuits to enforce the anti-Airbnb measure.


In 2004, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom promised a “Ten Year Plan to Abolish Chronic Homelessness.”

How’d it work out? San Francisco taxpayers have spent roughly $1.5 billion over the past decade on leftist solutions to the city’s chronic homeless problem. At a cost of roughly $77,000 per homeless person, the city has seen its problem get worse.

“The homeless population is up 3 percent since 2005," an in-depth analysis by the San Francisco Chronicle found. “In one of the richest cities in the world, an estimated 2,200 public school students lack permanent homes.”


The Bay Area’s crime problem is epitomized by the tragic Pier 14 murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department went to the trouble (and expense) of bringing a five-time deported illegal immigrant felon out of a federal prison in Southern California to free him in San Francisco. How could the Sheriff’s Department be so incompetent, and so conflicted?

Progressives see the justice system as inherently biased against people of color. Criminals aren’t to be held accountable for their actions because they’re victims, too.

“California should be a leader in enlightened criminal justice,” San Francisco lawmaker Tom Ammiano, the longtime chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, explained of his philosophy to crime.

Women’s Issues

When San Francisco’s Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi isn’t busy letting illegal immigrant felons out of jail, he’s busy dealing with his own legal problems. The co-founder of the Green Party, who became a Democrat in 2010, was charged with domestic violence, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness in a legal proceeding, and plead guilty to one count of false imprisonment after a New Year’s Eve altercation with his wife in 2011.

He was able to retain his office even though pleading guilty to a crime, because the San Francisco Board of Supervisors could only muster seven of its 11 members to remove him from office. Liberals are right about the “war on women,” just wrong about who is leading it.

James V. Lacy, a frequent guest of Fox Business News Channel's "Varney & Company," is the editor of the forthcoming book, “Taxifornia 2016: 14 Essays on the Future of California.” Available at Amazon.com in the Fall 2015.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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