From time to time, the Street Sheet offers local officials a guest column. As the San Francisco Controller’s Office has just released a review of the city’s response to homelessness, and we decided to invite the man who oversees those efforts:
My name is “Commander David Lazar”, and I’m from the San Francisco Police Department. I run the Healthy Streets Operations Center – or ‘HSOC’ – which coordinates the city’s efforts to criminalize homelessness and hide it from public view. You probably don’t recognise me unless you subscribe to High & Tight Haircut Quarterly, but if you happen to be homeless, you already know many of my uniformed henchmen officers.
They’re the ones f***ing with you on a daily basis – compassionately harassing you, forcing you to move, threatening to arrest you, arresting you, and, last but not least, working with DPW to confiscate your belongings and survival gear so they can be lost, destroyed, or stolen. It’s all part of Mayor Breed’s master plan to eliminate visual signs of homelessness in San Francisco.
Let me explain. There are 7,500 homeless people in San Francisco, and we see them everyday, all over the city. And that’s the problem. If they would just go away – and believe me, we ask them all the time – it would be so much easier for City Hall, because SF won’t offer enough resources, let alone housing to help most of them. But they won’t go away, and the city has to do something to make it look like they’re solving the problem. San Francisco may not be able to reduce homelessness, but it can definitely reduce tents, and at least make homelessness harder to see.
And that’s where HSOC and I come in. My heavily armed highly trained police officers, along with DPW crews, go wherever anyone complains about seeing poor people with tents. We make them move, and we take their tents. If someone has left their tent to, say, go to the bathroom or run an errand, we take their tent. If someone doesn’t want to give us their tent, we arrest them, and then we take their tent. Over and over again, day or night, rain or shine, we’re taking tents and making people move. As long as the people who complained don’t have to look at a tent or a poor person anymore, I’ve done my job, and Mayor Breed can say she’s been successful at reducing homelessness.
You may be saying to yourself, ‘WTF??? Isn’t this inhumane, unconstitutional, and kind of fascist?’ I can assure you it isn’t, because we don’t use those words. Instead, I use ones like “compassionate” and “respectful” whenever I lie describe HSOC to the public. As anyone who’s ever been forced to give up their tent and been offered a 7-day shelter bed by my goon squad team of outreach officers knows, those words are the kind of horseshit that requires a shovel. At HSOC, we also like to talk about how we connect unhoused San Franciscans to “a safe place where they can begin their individual journeys out of homelessness.”2 Back at the precinct, we laughed so hard we nearly wet our pants when they came up with that!
In fact, most of what I tell the public, the media, and local politicians is total horseshit. The only ‘safe place’ for homeless folks is anywhere far away from the donut patrol police and DPW. Preferably, outside of San Francisco.
Anyway, back to your comics,
2 Seriously. The SF Controller’s Review of HSOC actually said that. Page 35 – check that shit out. The whole thing is a gas.
In case it wasn’t obvious, this piece is satire, not actually written by Commander Lazar himself, though it might as well have been!