In anticipation of this world leaders' conference, the California city had a massive "clearing operation" of the homeless, criminals, drug addicts and pushers and all the “filth and excrement,” seemingly overnight, to the surprise of its residents. Critics could not help but slam this "miraculous initiative" of their local government, alleging that they actioned on this just now to impress the attendees of the international event, despite the city carrying these problems for years.
California Governor Gavin Newsom seemed a little confused by how to defend this "magical" cleanup his administration has done. He said: "I know folks say, 'Oh, they're just cleaning up this place because all these fancy leaders are coming into town.' That's true because it's true."
Gavin Newsom admits San Francisco wiped its streets of filth and excrement for Xi Jinping but not Americans:
"I know folks say, 'Oh, they're just cleaning up this place because all these fancy leaders are coming into town.' That's true because it's true." pic.twitter.com/qF1NrfeNFz
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) November 13, 2023
An online commenter pointed out one obvious point, "San Francisco's homeless population was entirely cleared out for Xi Jinping" and took note that, "The government can easily fix our cities overnight. It just doesn't want to." Biden administration advisor Jake Sullivan was asked if the president agrees that it's more important to impress the leader of China than the American people who live in San Francisco. He answered: "I completely reject the premise" and denied having an idea of the context of Newsom's statement so he declined to comment.
"Does President Biden agree that it's more important to impress the leader of China than the American people that live in San Francisco?"
JAKE SULLIVAN: "I completely reject the premise" pic.twitter.com/1GBkp5XGot
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 13, 2023
Moreover, San Francisco Mayor London Breed seemed to dodge a similar question thrown at her in an interview. She just gave an indirect remark and claimed: "We have been working on this now for a few years… This is not an issue that we’ve been sitting around waiting to solve."
Meanwhile, even APEC attendee Musk aired his observation on his platform X, formerly Twitter, on Monday: "Does seem crazy that the zombie apocalypse can be cleaned up for an important visitor, but not for those who live there and pay for everything!"
Does seem crazy that the zombie apocalypse can be cleaned up for an important visitor, but not for those who live there and pay for everything!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 14, 2023
Another tech giant bigwig who was expected to grace the summit is Salesforce CEO Benioff, who said: "San Francisco can be the cleanest, safest, most beautiful and incredible city in the world instantly. It happened for Dreamforce and it's happening again for APEC."
According to an article from the New York Post, the homeless were not really "removed" but were pushed to other parts of the city in preparation for the summit, to a place that would not be visited by the honorable attendees.
Residents and business owners said city officials' attempts to herd transients and drug addicts are only a "Band-Aid" to a severe problem as drug overdoses continue to plague the city. "They started clearing the tents earlier this week and there is definitely a lot more police presence," South of Market (SoMa) resident and community activist Ricci Lee Wynne told the news outlet.
The city reportedly targeted seven intersections in the Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods, which house the more concentrated encampments of drug-addled people high on fentanyl and heroin. The tents near the Moscone Center on Howard Street were cleared out, "which tells me the city could do this all along instead they just do the bare minimum," Wynne said, adding that as soon as APEC is done, "police presence will start to simmer down again, the tents will return. And it will slowly flare up again."
Furthermore, SoMa resident and business owner Adam Mesnick has seen temporary housing pop up in hotels for some of the homeless over the past week. "They are just essentially herding the problem around but offering no long-term solutions," Mesnick said. "I'm just outside what they consider the 'containment zone' for APEC, so the problem is getting pushed into my area, which is already pretty saturated with drug activity." He said that it would be virtually impossible to eliminate all of the "illegal squatters" after the convention.
"They are very good at creating an illusion and they are very good at performance art," he said referring to the city leaders. "It's indicative of a poor administration. And you know, really at this point, the frustration couldn't be any louder." The deli owner has reportedly discovered two dead bodies in his own neighborhood, one right outside his home. (Related: Homeless convicted pedophile arrested after camping near San Francisco school and offering “free fentanyl for new users.”)