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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mayor Lee Tells the Homeless To Leave During the Super Bowl

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 11:52 AM

Ed Lee isn’t one to let human rights get in the way of a dollar, as his latest tone-deaf remarks on the homeless indicate.

click to enlarge Ed Lee: Scarecrow to the homeless. - JULIE BLAUSTEIN/FLICKR
  • Julie Blaustein/Flickr
  • Ed Lee: Scarecrow to the homeless.
In an interview with CBS 5, Mayor Lee was blunt about how the city plans to manage the homeless when Super Bowl 50 rolls into town this February: “They are going to have to leave.”

Super Bowl 50, slated for Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, is expected to bring millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of tourists to the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the easternmost stretch of Market Street and Justin Herman Plaza will transform into a “fan village” hosting food vendors, corporate sponsor exhibitions, family-friendly activities, and a media staging ground.

What it won’t include is the city’s homeless.

“We’ll give you an alternative. We are always going to be supportive. But you are going to have to leave the streets,” Mayor Lee told CBS 5.

Those alternatives include beefed-up homeless programs and 500 new apartments the Mayor expects to open by February. But with an estimated 6,000 homeless on the city’s streets at any given time, 500 apartments will barely make a dent.

Mayor Lee added, ‘Some of them are mentally ill. Some of them have severe drug addiction and yeah, they get cleaned up 24 hours and they are back on the environment that caused this in the first place.”

(The Mayor did not indicate how sweeping homeless people under the rug in time for game day will relieve this cycle.)

Thanks to the Chronicle’s relentless campaign to gin up outrage and disgust around homelessness, the latest installment of which championed a Nob Hill woman's dial-a-cop approach, it’s likely that many San Franciscans will applaud Mayor Lee’s tough guy stance.  

But after the TV crews and tourist dollars leave town, the homeless will remain, as will the bitter aftertaste of a Mayor more concerned with dollars than dignity.

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Jeremy Lybarger

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