SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The chancellor of UC Hastings College of Law lashed out at San Francisco officials Friday, criticizing the city’s Tenderloin safety plan as doing little more than encouraging sidewalk camping and facilitating already rampant drug dealing.
“I’ve read the plan in detail, and it’s entirely inadequate,” said UC Hastings Law Chancellor and Dean David Faigman in a press release issued Friday. “The plan is just more talk. We need action, not talk. We need the tents and the drug dealers removed and the unhoused moved to safe and temporary housing, such as large tents or other shelter, until a permanent solution is accomplished.”
Mayor London Breed on Thursday announced the plan to improve conditions in the neighborhood, focusing on the most impacted 13 blocks, with a goal of expanding to the other 36 blocks in the district. The Mayor’s announcement of the plan came two days after the law college along with Tenderloin businesses and residents filed a lawsuit calling for the city to cleanup “deplorable conditions” in the neighborhood.
The lawsuit maintains that the already dangerous conditions in the Tenderloin have only worsened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the sidewalks crowded by tent encampments and brazen, open-air drug dealing leaving area residents afraid to leave their homes.
The press release issued by UC Hastings took the city to task for coming up with a plan in the Tenderloin over seven weeks after the establishment of a local health emergency, saying the city’s plan only institutionalizes and encourages the current problems by providing services and resources to the existing encampments.
“We’ve always had a very good relationship with the City, and we did not name the Mayor in this
suit,” Faigman said in the press release. “I don’t think it’s just the Mayor’s issue. It’s the City and County’s issue to resolve. The Mayor is the leader, and she’s been proactive. She was one of the first to declare an emergency over COVID-19, and she’s done very well in many respects. What we are disappointed about is there appears to be no real political solution to what’s happening in the Tenderloin. We believe there needs to be a nonpolitical solution. We need the federal courts to help us find one.”
The press release also noted that the solutions offered to the residents and business owners in the Tenderloin by the plan “would never be suggested for San Francisco’s more affluent districts” and called for city officials “to stop treating the Tenderloin as a containment zone.”