San Francisco, you are going to have to pick a lane on this homeless issue.
First, a show of hands, how many of you are deeply frustrated with the homeless problem?
OK, that looks like just about everybody.
Second, how many would like homeless people to be housed in a place that will get them off the streets and direct them toward help and assistance?
Great. Almost everyone again.
What if it was in your neighborhood?
And the hands go down.
We understand the opponents to the Embarcadero Navigation Center. They’re scared. A lot of us are. It isn’t just the attack on the woman at a nearby condo. In our neighborhood, it is a crazy person screaming at a woman pushing a stroller.
Opponents of the center say occupants might be suffering from mental illness or drug addiction.
Spoiler alert: We know. That describes a great many homeless people. That’s why they need help.
The question is this: Where do you want them? Roaming the night, pitching a tent down the street?
Or in a controlled, monitored environment that has worked in other parts of the city?
You say you don’t have faith in the center. I say I have faith in city homeless czar Jeff Kositsky. He’s a pro, he knows what he’s doing and he doesn’t pretend that tent cities are OK.
One thing for sure. After this fuss, the Embarcadero center is going to have plenty of security.
As the judge who ruled not to halt construction this week said, “the irony” is that this is an attempt to deal with the behaviors and problems that concern us so much.
So that’s the choice. Do you want something done about homelessness? Or do you want to oppose a city-run center that could help?
You can’t choose both.