by Andy Howard
Will was mesmerized as he stared through the dirty window of a local coffee shop. Wind gusts of 70 mph and raindrops that mimicked fish eyes pummeled anyone and everything in their path. Will was grateful to be standing inside. What was it like to be the poor homeless couple across the street in their wind torn tent with a bivy tarp tied fast to anything heavy enough to keep the tent on the ground?
All of a sudden, Will noticed something out of his eye. In cavalry fashion, up rolls an SFPD car with a Ford Bronco SFFD, a few DPW vehicles and a bucket loader. Will could not believe the amount of firepower that had just swooped in on this unsuspecting homeless camp.
As the several vehicles commandeered a large portion of the block’s curb parking area, it became obvious that nobody was rushing to get out of the cab of their nice warm trucks. Then out of nowhere, in comes the famous HOT Team agents—to do what? Save the homeless individuals from harassment and humiliation? No, that would be wishful thinking. The HOT Team was in a hot car, drinking hot coffee, and fixing to totally ignore the hot mess that was about to be created by the other illustrious departments of the fine City of San Francisco.
The man in control of the situation was a big heavyset man driving the Department of Public Works rack body truck. He was obviously the leader of the entire operation because he made the authoritative gesture of pushing down on his horn for what seemed like a long interval. Being a well-oiled crew that obviously had choreographed this particular maneuver many times in the past, it all fell in sync and in tempo quickly with each of the other vehicles parked in that illustrious line of authority.
The effect however was less than fanfare as it resulted in nobody coming out of that nice, warm, cozy little tent and tarp area.
Pretty soon a figure emerged from the backseat of the DPW truck, (obviously a low man, seniority-wise). He was slim, lanky but ready to wake his bones by intimidating the hell out of whoever was in that tent.
The DPW worker marched up to the tent and proceeded to bark commands at the inhabitants inside.
Pretty soon, a hyperactive Chihuahua came running from the tent, teeth bared and growling at the lanky DPW worker. Ten seconds later, the first body emerged from the tent and he was not real impressed with the goings on.
He repeated the command the DPW worker had been barking at him. It went something like this: “You want us to get out of here so you can scoop our belongings up and dump them into a trash truck that is then going to crush our belongings into the landfill. Then when you are done I am free to go.”
Will could tell by his body language that the man was outraged by what he was being told and pretty soon his wife and Cocoa, the Chihuahua, were not having any of it. In the end, however, the HSOC crew got exactly what they desired. The man and his wife and their little Chihuahua were left with no shelter, no clothes, no food, not even an umbrella.
So there you have it—another successful job carried out by San Francisco’s finest.
I leave you with the obvious question: Does the City have any idea the hardship they just caused this family? If so, then their actions are very very dumb. But if they didn’t understand or comprehend what they had just done, then that is even dumber.