Saturday, July 20, 2024

Woke Shamers Prevent Many of California’s Problems From Being Solved

For anyone wondering why California, with its vast wealth and resources, seems to have so many problems — like homelessness or smash-and-grab burglaries — that never get solved, it’s for the peculiar tendency certain Golden State groups and individuals have to quickly attack and, in many cases, succeed in silencing those who tell the truth and address the facts of problems head-on.

For instance, Cotopaxi, the high-end outdoor clothing retailer, last week became the latest to join the exodus of companies that have determined they can no longer do business in San Francisco. Unlike many of his cohorts, Cotopaxi’s CEO Davis Smith posted on LinkedIn, “As of today, we are closing the store due to rampant organized theft and lack of safety for our team. Our store is hit by organized theft rings several times per week. They brazenly enter the store and grab thousands of dollars of product and walk out.”
Then, Smith detailed how out of control the situation had become.

“We opened a retail store a year ago on Hayes Street, the charming shopping district just blocks away from the famous Full House home. Our first week there, our windows were smashed and thousands of dollars of product was stolen. We replaced the window, and it immediately happened again (four times). We replaced with window with plywood as we waited for a month+ to get a metal security gate installed (demand for those gates is creating huge delays),” Smith wrote. “It’s impossible for a retail store to operate in these circumstances, especially when cities refuse to take any action (despite us paying taxes well above any other state we operate in). The city recently announced a reduction of police presence in this neighborhood, despite mass-scale crime.”

Many on LinkedIn expressed sympathy — not just to the company and its employees, but to the people of San Francisco who were losing another valued retailer, its jobs and tax dollars. But others voiced their opposition, not to the criminals but to Cotopaxi, with some actually scolding the company for wanting a greater presence of law enforcement.

LinkedIn user Brian Larson countered that calling for more police “propagates the existence of historically racist, oppressive, and violent institutions.” He suggested Smith “advocate for the vital programs — education, health care, housing, etc. —  that need more funding.”

Another of the app’s users, Tylo Ward, asked for the broader community to “start investing in affordable housing, social services for low-income and dispossessed peoples.”

San Francisco actually spends more on those aforementioned programs than anywhere else on the planet. The city’s budget for addressing homelessness alone was $1.1 billion in fiscal 2022.

Another LinkedIn user, Edward Christenson, advised Cotopaxi to serve “breakfasts, or dinners and being welcoming.” The company, he continued, could try “Funding some public bathrooms right near by and offering old/unsellable product for free. Offering day jobs doing some cleaning of the street.”

The notion San Francisco’s taxpayers are under-funding its ambitious goals is dubious, especially in light of the much vaunted — and later much maligned — plans to build a $1.7 million public toilet. Taxes would have paid for all of that, if Gov. Gavin Newsom hadn’t decided to nix funding for the project.

Cotopaxi’s rigorous attempts to signal its woke credentials, like the way it announces loudly its products are “sustainably sourced and ethically made,” ended up not offering the company much protection from the public shaming police.

San Francisco’s progressive mayor, London Breed, apparently has suffered the same problem.

Leighton Woodhouse explained in Common Sense that Breed committed the unforgivable sin of speaking candidly about what’s driving San Francisco’s recent jump in fentanyl deaths when she appeared on the “Political Breakdown” issue-oriented program on KQED-TV.  “There are, unfortunately, a lot of people who come from a particular country — come from Honduras — and a lot of the people who are dealing drugs happen to be of that ethnicity,” breed said during the show. “And when a lot of the arrests have been made, for people breaking the law, you have the Public Defender’s office and staff from the Public Defender’s office, who are basically accusing and using the law to say, ‘You’re racially — you’re racial profiling. You’re racial profiling.’ Right? And it’s nothing ‘racial profile’ about this. We all know it. It’s the reality.”

The San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club (by the way, has anyone ever actually met a Latino or Latina who refers to themselves as Latinx?) condemned Mayor Breed, the city’s first African American female mayor, for “racist and xenophobic comments.”

The group demanded Breed apologize for the “appalling” remarks, which represent a “dangerous line of thinking from the Mayor regarding the Latino community.”

Instead of holding fast to her truthful comments about the great harm foisted on the city by former District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s refusal to prosecute any Honduran drug dealers out of concern that a drug arrest might lead to deportation, Breed caved to the shaming and quickly tweeted an apology for not “accurately and comprehensively discuss what is an incredibly complex situation in our City and in Central America. She also tried to clarify that San Francisco’s drug dealers are “people of all races, ethnicities, and genders.”

Good to know.

So, chalk up two more wins for the woke shamers and two more losses for the people of San Francisco and everywhere else who deserve political leaders and other high-profile participants in their community who have the fortitude to stand on their convictions and not back down when someone wags their finger.