Effects Of Government Shutdown Felt Across Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – From the federal building in San Jose to Alcatraz Island, there were obvious signs of the government shutdown’s impact on Bay Area workers, services, and out-of-towners.
Some federal employees did report for work at the San Jose Federal Building, but mostly to prepare their offices for the shutdown.
“Get off of your high horses and get off of whatever is going on as far as this person doesn’t like this person, this person doesn’t like this person’s views or what-not, you guys need to sit down and get at the table and figure this out,” one man vented about politicians on both sides of the aisle as he arrived at the building.
Security guards were also visible, manning the metal detectors, but very few other employees seemed prepared for a full day of work.
“You know, it might be good for the government to take time out, re-gather and come back and get things going again for the people,” said a business student passing by the federal building on Tuesday morning.
Tech companies in Silicon Valley were also bracing for impact, as those with federal government contracts were not going to paid under guidelines of the shutdown. Small business loans were not to be processed, either.
Other agencies impacted by the government shutdown including the U.S. National Park Service and its popular destinations, like Alcatraz Island.
On a normal day, as many as 5,000 people take ferry boats to Alcatraz, paying up to $35 per ticket. Many still showed up, prepared to do the same on Tuesday, not realizing they wouldn’t be able to do so.
“We can’t go?” one woman from Canada was surprised to learn the news. “You’re right! … Oh my God,” she lamented.
“I don’t know what we are going to do,” added a tourist from Belgium. “Because we have made a tour … all the national parks and now we can’t do nothing, so I’m going to call Mr. Obama.”
Those who had purchased boat trips to Alcatraz will be given refunds or can take a 90-minute Bay tour instead for the same price, according to Denise Rasmussen, director of sales and marketing for Alcatraz Cruises. Those trips leave from Pier 33 and will be “Alcatraz-focused” but passengers will not be able to get onto the island.
Muir Woods, Fort Point and Fort Mason were also closed.
Yosemite National Park, where many Bay Area residents head for camping and hiking, is closed today with most staff furloughed. Visitors who are already in Yosemite were required to leave by Thursday afternoon.
Ironically, Tuesday was the 123rd anniversary of the park’s creation, and Google was saluting the quiet milestone with a “Google Doodle” on the search engine’s homepage.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said thousands of vulnerable residents could be affected by the closure of the SF Housing Authority, which is run by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
He said those who depend on subsidized food and nutrition programs could also be affected, and pointed out that federal funding supports many city operations such as public safety, homeland security, housing, and health and human services.
SF Housing Authority spokeswoman Rose Dennis said people who live at the city’s 48 public housing sites were concerned about the shutdown and “have anxiety.”
She said all operations were running on reserve funding starting Tuesday, but that “a prolonged situation might have a far-reaching ramification.”
For example, she said, the shutdown could eventually cause delays in moving people off waiting lists to receive public housing.
“If this gets delayed or prolonged, it will start to impact our operations and primary functions,” Dennis said.
“We’ll do everything we can to reassure our tenants we have their backs,” she said.
Social Security Administration workers were set to gather Tuesday afternoon at the Eastmont Mall in Oakland to urge residents to pressure their Congressional representatives to end the shutdown.
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