Cross-party firestorm over report San Francisco residents are suing to block a new homeless shelter

Beggar begging on the street accompanied by her dog
(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

A coalition of residents from one of the most wealthy, liberal enclaves in America, San Francisco, are reportedly attempting to use California’s draconian environmental laws to block the construction of a homeless shelter along the city’s eastern shoreline.

In a suit filed in a Sacramento court Wednesday, the coalition, Safe Embarcadero for All, argued that city officials never obtained approval for the homeless shelter from the State Lands Commission, a statewide environmental agency that “manages 4 million acres of tide and submerged lands and the beds of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits.”

“The coalition … had been threatening for months to bring the case as the planned homeless shelter, proposed for a parking lot on the Embarcadero, wound its way through the approval process. They raised at least $100,000 and organized robust protests at city meetings since Mayor London Breed first proposed it in March,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“There’s no question that there is a big problem in the city, but the homelessness problem has to be solved in compliance with the law and that’s what the city is not doing here,” attorney Peter Prows said to the Times.

A quick glance at Safe Embarcadero for All’s Twitter feeds shows the group complaining fairly often about the homeless in San Francisco and the problems their ubiquitous presence engenders:

The coalition’s attorneys have also argued that the project doesn’t meet the requirements set forth by the California Environmental Quality Act. The 49-year-old law reportedly stipulates that every potential project “go through a full environmental review process,” according to the Times.

But according to the suit, plans for the homeless shelter were never subjected to such review.

“This project will have a significant effect on the environment due to these unusual circumstances, including by attracting additional homeless persons, open drug and alcohol use, crime, daily emergency calls, public urination and defecation and other nuisances,” the suit reportedly reads.

There have been two distinct sets of responses on social media to news of this suit. The first set involved liberals from other cities throughout the states chastising the mostly liberal residents of San Francisco for being so averse to the homeless living in their neighborhoods.

The second set of responses came from conservatives stunned by the hypocrisy of all liberals in general. They found it galling that the same people who preach openness and tolerance — and who demand that working-class communities accept illegal aliens and refugees into their communities — would then turn around and angrily turn away the homeless.


This isn’t to say that the coalition doesn’t have a point about the homeless causing problems. When cities enact policies that enable the homeless versus pushing them to get their lives together, problems invariably spawn faster than maggots in a trash can.

The problem here is the alleged hypocrisy. What remains unclear though is whether Safe Embarcadero for All is indeed comprised of liberal hypocrites.

In a tweet posted last month, the coalition complained about “bleeding heart liberal” Bay Area residents who were, it would appear, refusing to “contribute” to projects to house the homeless.


Is it possible the group is comprised of local conservatives? Yes.

In fact, according to data complied by The San Francisco Examiner after the 2016 presidential election, voters in Embarcadero were among those who voted for President Donald Trump.

“Trump proved most popular in Twin Peaks, the Marina, St. Francis Wood, and the very southernmost slice of the Outer Sunset,” the Lockhart Steele-owned real estate blog Curbed reported at the time, citing data from the Examiner.

Less enthusiastic in their support but still notable were parts of Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow, Sea Cliff, the Embarcadero, the Financial District, and perhaps most surprisingly, tiny precinct 7041, at the northernmost tip of Visitacion Valley, just south of Mansell Street.”

So while it’s easy to chalk up the group’s resistance to yet another homeless shelter being built to standard liberal hypocrisy, the fact remains that it could very well be attributable to simple conservative common sense.


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Vivek Saxena


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