California Governor Gavin Newsom is facing criticism following the revelation that San Francisco cleared homeless encampments and public drug markets ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. During the ‘Clean California’ event on November 9, Newsom defended the cleanup, asserting that hosting an international event provided an opportunity to showcase San Francisco.
The APEC 2023 leaders meeting, often referred to as the “Super Bowl of World Economies,” is taking place in San Francisco from November 11 to 17, with leaders from 21 countries and regions, including President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in attendance. Newsom highlighted the significance of hosting world leaders and presenting San Francisco to a global audience.
Despite this prestigious event, San Francisco has been grappling with a homelessness and drug crisis, coupled with rising crime rates. The homeless population in the Bay Area has surged to around 38,000 individuals on any given night, a 35% increase since 2019. San Francisco alone has over 7,000 homeless people, contributing to an uptick in crime and open-air drug use, leading to businesses fleeing the downtown area.
Although overall crime slightly decreased this year, specific violent crimes, including murder, robberies, and car thefts, have seen an increase. A Gallup poll indicated that nearly half of Americans (48%) now view San Francisco as unsafe, up from 30% in 2006.
Despite these challenges, San Francisco was selected as the host city for APEC 2023, hailed as the most significant event with world leaders in recent history. The decision to clear homeless encampments has generated controversy, with social media videos depicting the removal of tents and the blocking off of areas.
Newsom acknowledged that city officials removed homeless encampments in preparation for the international summit, emphasizing ongoing discussions on the matter. He refuted claims that the cleanup efforts were solely a response to the impending arrival of world leaders. The city, bound by a federal injunction, is obligated to provide adequate shelter for homeless individuals after removing their tents from public areas. While no new shelters were specifically set up for those impacted by the summit, a 30-spot overnight winter shelter was established, and efforts were made to add 300 beds to existing shelters.
Did Kamala teach Newsom how to speak or vice versa?
“That’s true because it true. But, it’s also true…”
Newsom Cleans Up SF for Xi pic.twitter.com/Fw7tYnuw94
— SULLY🇺🇸 (@SULLY10X) November 14, 2023
This is Gavin Newsom’s California when China’s leader isn’t in town pic.twitter.com/oPWY4CMGuU
— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) November 14, 2023