UC Law School Sues San Francisco over Drug Dealing, Feces in Streets

A homeless man sleeps in front of his tent along Van Ness Avenue in downtown San Francisco, California on June, 27, 2016. Homelessness is on the rise in the city irking residents and bringing the problem under a spotlight. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH …
JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

The city of San Francisco is facing a lawsuit filed by the University of California Hastings College of the Law, local businesses, and local residents over the Tenderloin district’s “deplorable” conditions including feces in the streets and relentless drug dealing.

Tenderloin residents, businesses, and the UC Hastings Law School are suing San Francisco over the community’s “deplorable” conditions, adding that the Tenderloin district has been used by the city as a “containment zone” for drug dealing and defecation in the streets.

“The deplorable conditions tolerated by the City in the Tenderloin are not permitted in other neighborhoods in San Francisco,” the lawsuit states. “This is a matter of fundamental fairness.”

“What is a city-wide problem should not be allowed to weigh disproportionately on a low-income working class neighborhood,” the lawsuit added. “San Francisco should be prohibited from abandoning a single neighborhood, in an apparent effort to spare other neighborhoods the burdens that confront the city at-large.”

The lawsuit goes on to state that the Tenderloin, “always a community of tolerance and compassion,” is now ruined.

“Its sidewalks are unsanitary, unsafe, and often impassable,” the lawsuit affirms. “Open-air drug sales and other criminal activity, plus crowds of drug users and sidewalk-blocking tents, pervade and threaten the health and lives of all of the Tenderloin’s residents.”

“What has long been suffered in the Tenderloin has become insufferable,” it added.

Last week, San Francisco mayor London N. Breed announced the “Tenderloin Neighborhood Safety Assessment and Plan for COVID-19,” which in part, blamed the Chinese virus for the “reduction in quality of life and safety” for residents, as well as “unhoused” people in the community.

The mayor’s plan to remedy the situation included the following:

  • Address encampments by offering safe sleeping alternatives to unsheltered individuals.
  • Facilitate social distancing compliance by closing streets and parking.
  • Ensure that housed residents in the Tenderloin have safe passage and access to their homes and businesses.
  • Improve access to hygiene station, restrooms and garbage disposal for unhoused individuals.
  • Address food and water insecurity for housed and unhoused residents alike.
  • Increase police presence in the neighborhood to focus on public safety concerns.
  • Increase health services in the neighborhood.
  • Increased education and outreach to residents and businesses through a ‘care ambassador’ program.

But the lawsuit against the city insists that even before the Wuhan coronavirus hit the United States, the Tenderloin community had been used by the City and County of San Francisco as a “containment zone,” which has resulted in “a dramatic decline in the livability and safety of the neighborhood.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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