San Francisco Metamorphosis


George Hasara – Columnist

There’s a new phone app heralding the signs of the times, called Snapcrap. No, that isn’t a typo. The program allows users to upload their photos of human excrement as well as hypodermic needles, that are strewn along the streets of San Francisco. The images, with corresponding GPS coordinates, are sent to the city’s public works department. The city is putting together a special pooper scooper division that will pay a six-figure salary (including benefits) for its workers. Needless to say, not having a home, makes access to toilet facilities problematic. There are an estimated 7,000 homeless people living in San Francisco, a city that has a median home price of $1.6 million. Talk about wealth inequality. One might think that since the local population politically expresses empathy for the homeless, that doors would open up wide, remedying the problem. By the latest count, the city of San Francisco is distributing 400,000 hypodermic needles to drug addicts every month, or nearly 5 million per year. Junkies aren’t typically your most conscientious group as far as littering goes, so it’s not surprising that discarded needles are a common sight. Luckily, the city has banned plastic straws in restaurants, so that should balance out any environmental concerns. After all, how bad could a little pinprick from a used hypodermic needle be? Snapcrap should also consider car break-ins as a menu option for its app with those photos routed to the police department. San Francisco continues to set records with over 30,000 reported vehicle break-ins last year. That’s a pretty impressive statistic, considering how hard it is to find parking in the city. Traditional political labels aren’t adequate when it comes to describing emerging dystopias such as San Francisco. I don’t know what to call it. Probably, something with “nanny state” in the description. The city’s government finds itself working at cross-purposes as it attempts one social engineering project after another. It’s hard to fight a drug problem while you are simultaneously facilitating it. Creating a permissive environment for vagrants is unlikely to reduce homelessness. Muddled thinking pretty much permeates every aspect of that city’s governance. San Francisco’s city council has proposed banning free lunches at tech firms. The rationale is that if a company provides lunch for its workers, they won’t go out and support the local restaurants which happen to be struggling, in large part because of the city’s mandated $15 per-hour minimum wage. I wonder if bringing your own lunch to work will be a crime as well? Empty storefronts in San Francisco are increasing, and once again, the government proposes a solution worse than the problem. Their solution is to slap a fine on landlords, who “allow” their properties to remain vacant. It’s amazing how creative you can be with other people’s property when you have no understanding of economics. I’ve visited San Francisco a number of times in my life and it has always been a weird place. But, it used to be weird in a good way. Has it morphed into a portent of things to come? Will you be installing a version of Snapcrap for your community, in the not-so-distant future? Contact George at