I am done being diplomatic. San Francisco’s District 6 supervisor Matt Haney is a monster. This is not my opinion about him as an individual. Haney may be a perfectly delightful dinner party guest. It’s strictly about his performance as a politician. The district he was elected to manage has gone off the rails - and the impact his incompetence and ideology has had on the city is devastating.
Haney is also the board of supervisors budget and appropriations chair, and the scuttlebutt is that he’s vying for even higher political positions. For this reason I’m writing this piece. Everyone must know what he’s done to San Francisco and her inhabitants. Haney’s version of success is lunacy, and should not spread to any other community in the country.
First be aware that District 6 of San Francisco is one of the most tragic places in California. It defies imagination. You’ve got to experience it in person, on foot. An excellent route is to start at Geary and slowly walk down Hyde Street until you reach Market Street. Zigzag back up, from Polk to Larkin Streets. As you do, observe with an open mind. Trust your senses and cognitive abilities. Although you’ll never get the truth from the city and certainly not from Haney, you’ll soon understand the situation with clarity.
As a preview, you will witness people in horrendous states of consciousness and unconsciousness. Many are more dead than alive, so high you’ll wonder how much longer until the next breath is their last. These are not impoverished job-seekers, but hardcore addicts who are unable to function as normal, dignified human beings. It is extraordinarily sad.
Almost no one is getting help off the drugs that are killing them. City officials don’t believe in it. Harm reduction zealots eschew the very concept of sobriety. Instead the Department of Public Health ensures that drug supplies are omnipresent so people can remain addicted. Because, you see, drugs are fine. People just have to do them safely, and be revived with Narcan if (well, when) they overdose.
Let’s get to the drug trade. Dealers are ubiquitous in District 6’s notorious Tenderloin and Civic Center. They line sidewalks, oftentimes dozens in a single block, selling their toxic substances to the desperate and soon-to-be desperate. The open air drug scene has grown under Haney’s supervision. But he concentrates on everything else: other districts, expensive toilets, designer trash cans, Covid announcements, the GOP and a long-gone Trump, getting rid of cars.
Confront Haney about the state of his district and he bristles, claiming he’s been vocal about his discontent. Why are people picking on him? The answer: net result. His entire district has not improved. It has descended further into crime-infested madness, and it’s largely his fault.
In San Francisco, more than 700 people OD’d in 2020, the majority from fentanyl poisoning. Over a thousand people are projected to die this way in 2021. Almost all get their drugs from the dealers in Haney's district.
During a recent protest about fentanyl, Haney and I were two of the speakers. For me, it was about standing up to the people who come to San Francisco to conduct their drug dealing business. We need to strip them of their unchecked freedom. Arrest, prosecute, jail. Scare the whole mob out of the city. Get them off our streets, now.
Outnumbered by the infuriated crowd, Haney claimed he too was upset, and that he needs to do better. That he should be held accountable.
Yet he never made the commitment to stop the drug dealers. Instead, Haney deflects, saying it’s not in his control. It is. His allegiances are with his friend, district attorney Chesa Boudin, who has been candid about his intention to not prosecute the dealers. During that protest Haney was asked if he supports the recall movement to oust Boudin. He shook his head.
And now Haney has made another horrendous decision: to push for the purchase of hotels for homeless people (almost all of whom are addicts) at an outrageous price. He gleefully announced that federal funds are available to pay for four buildings at a monthly cost of $7,830 for every person. Yes, that’s $93,960 per year. In addition to a fully furnished room, each guest will receive three meals a day and “support services.”
I’ll bet a Benjamin those services won’t include detox and rehabilitation. Not one hotel will be a designated sober living environment. What they almost certainly will offer: a nonstop supply of drug paraphernalia, including fentanyl straws and foil.
And more dealers will flood the city.
And crime will continue to escalate.
And quality of life will continue to erode.
And businesses will continue to close.
And seniors will continue to be too afraid to go outside.
And families will continue to be surrounded by dangerous people.
And immigrants will continue to be targets of violence.
And tents will continue to line sidewalks and overtake bus shelters.
And money will continue to be wasted.
And people who need treatment will continue to suffer without it.
And the death count will continue to rise.
I find this pretty monstrous. Don’t you?