UNITED STATES NEWS

San Francisco votes on measures to compel drug treatment and give police surveillance cameras

Mar 4, 2024, 11:20 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Voters in San Francisco will weigh in on a pair of public safety measures on Tuesday’s ballot that reflect frustration over crime and drug use in the politically liberal city, including a proposal to compel treatment for adults using illegal drugs who receive cash welfare benefits.

The other ballot measure would expand police powers, granting city officers greater leeway to pursue suspects in vehicles, authorize police use of drones and surveillance cameras and reduce paperwork requirements including in use-of-force cases.

Mayor London Breed, a centrist Democrat who is in a tough reelection battle, placed both measures on the ballot. She faces three serious opponents who say her administration has failed to deal with drug crimes, vandalism and theft. There is no primary in San Francisco — voters will rank all the candidates by preference in the November election.

Democratic leaders in liberal cities across the U.S. have had mixed results as they struggle to balance progressive criminal justice reforms with fed-up voters. In San Francisco, retail theft, record fentanyl overdose deaths, and the struggle to bounce back from the pandemic have frustrated residents and drawn negative attention from national media outlets.

Voters ousted progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a heated recall election in 2022, saying he was too lenient toward criminals. Across the San Francisco Bay in Oakland, progressive Mayor Sheng Thao faces a potential recall election amid a crime wave that has prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to send in California Highway Patrol officers and state prosecutors to help.

Supporters of the two propositions on Tuesday’s ballot have far outspent opponents. They include tech-backed civic advocacy groups and CEOs like Chris Larsen of the cryptocurrency firm Ripple and Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp.

“These two propositions are incredibly popular,” said Kanishka Cheng, CEO of TogetherSF, a civic advocacy group she co-founded at the start of the pandemic with billionaire venture capitalist Michael Moritz. Even if the measures are not perfect, she said, “people are so frustrated, they’re willing to try something different. That’s the sentiment I hear from voters every day.”

Opponents accuse tech billionaires of trying to buy the election and say Breed is simply trying to shore up votes for November. The proposals will not make the public safer, they contend.

Proposition F would require single adults without dependents on local welfare — about 9,000 people a year — to be screened for illegal drug use. If they’re found to be using drugs, an addiction specialist and the recipient would agree on treatment options that include residential care, a 12-step program, individual counseling and replacement medication.

There is no sobriety requirement, only that a person make a good-faith effort to participate in treatment if they want to receive cash assistance, which maxes out at just over $700 a month.

Supporters include recovery advocates, who say it’s far too easy for people to get and use illegal drugs in San Francisco and there are not enough options to help them become sober.

Sara Shortt, a spokesperson for the No on F campaign, counters that the measure punishes people who need help and could result in them losing housing.

“People will not be comfortable going to request services when they know they will be asked intrusive questions and then mandated to participate in a program,” she said.

Proposition E would make a number of changes to the police department, including reducing the powers of the citizen police oversight commission, which the mayor says is micromanaging the department.

The measure would also allow police to install public surveillance cameras, use drones, reduce paperwork and engage in more vehicle pursuits, something they currently can do only in cases of a violent felony or immediate threat to public safety.

Giving police more leeway is supported by people like Michael Hsu, whose athletic footwear and apparel store Footprint has been broken into multiple times, most recently on Jan. 1. Police arrived as the suspects were leaving but could not pursue them because no lives were at risk, and Hsu said the robbery cost him about $20,000.

But Yoel Haile, criminal justice director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which heads the opposition, said expanding car chases will result in more people being hurt or even killed in the densely packed city.

Meanwhile loosening paperwork requirements will mean less transparency and the use of technology will allow greater secret surveillance by police, he said, adding that the way to make neighborhoods safer is through more housing, treatment options and jobs.

“What is being proposed is more power to the police, more resources to the police, more punitive policies,” Haile said. “Those have been tried and failed.”

United States News

Associated Press

4 Dallas firefighters injured as engine crashes off bridge, lands on railway below

DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas Fire-Rescue engine crashed off an expressway bridge on Sunday and landed on a railway track below, injuring four firefighters, officials said. The crash happened just after 6 a.m. on the I-345 Expressway, Dallas Fire-Rescue Capt. Robert Borse said. He said it was not immediately known Sunday what caused the accident […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Police: 3 killed, 6 wounded in ‘exchange of gunfire’ during gathering in Philadelphia; no arrests

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three men were killed and at least six other people wounded in an early morning shootout at a gathering in west Philadelphia, authorities said. Police said more than 100 people were present in the Carroll Park neighborhood when gunfire broke out just after 2 a.m. Sunday. Police said their preliminary information indicated […]

2 hours ago

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., takes a moment to talk with reporters as he arrives at the Democratic Se...

Associated Press

Sen. Joe Manchin, an independent of West Virginia, urges Biden to withdraw from race

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat turned independent, urged President Joe Biden on Sunday to drop his reelection bid and focus on the remaining months of his presidency. “I came to the decision with a heavy heart that I think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation,” the West Virginia […]

3 hours ago

Members of the U.S. Secret Service look on as Republican presidential candidate former President Do...

Associated Press

The Secret Service acknowledges denying some past requests by Trump’s campaign for tighter security

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) — The Secret Service now acknowledges it denied some requests by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign for increased security at his events in the years before the assassination attempt on him at a recent rally. In the immediate aftermath of the July 13 attack, the law enforcement agency had denied […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Russia says it scrambled fighter jets to intercept U.S. bomber planes over Barents Sea

Russia said Sunday it scrambled fighter jets to intercept two U.S. military long-range bomber aircraft that approached the Russian border over the Barents Sea in the Arctic. “The crews of the Russian fighters identified the aerial target as a pair of U.S. Air Force B-52H strategic bombers,” Moscow’s defense ministry wrote on the social media […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle attends a news conference, June 4, 2024, in Chicago...

Associated Press

Secret Service chief noted a ‘zero fail mission.’ After Trump rally, she’s facing calls to resign

WASHINGTON (AP) — When safeguard the American president and other dignitaries, she said she would talk to agents in training about the “awesome responsibility” of their job. “This agency and the Secret Service has a zero fail mission,” Cheatle, who is now director of the agency, said in 2021 during a Secret Service podcast called […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

San Francisco votes on measures to compel drug treatment and give police surveillance cameras