KQED Radio
KQED Newssee more
Latest Newscasts:KQEDNPR
Player Sponsored By
upper waypoint

Mayor Ed Lee's Statement on Relocating Homeless Before Super Bowl Reignites Debate

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

 (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently announced that homeless people camping along the city’s Embarcadero were “going to have to leave” when the city hosts the Super Bowl in February. The statement has angered homeless advocates, who say the mayor’s plan contains no commitment to house and treat those removed. But supporters of the mayor, citing health concerns and mounting public frustration over filthy sidewalks and public spaces, say it’s time to for the city to crack down.

Notable Quotes

"I'm going to be told I'm not a good liberal"

"We all want to help people who are on the streets, we all want to help people who are in a crisis, whether mental health, substance abuse, or any other cause, but we also, I think have a right to have civility on our streets and to not have some of these awful behaviors that we see every day in our neighborhoods.

A lot of times San Franciscans who want to do everything they can to help homeless people are told, 'If you object to what that guy is doing over there, if you object to the fact that there is an encampment on your street that's a public health problem, if you call the police to deal with it, then you're somehow not liberal enough, you're not compassionate, maybe you're even a Republican, so sit down and shut up.' We hear that all the time. I'm not just talking about the Coalition On Homelessness, there's a whole array of homeless advocates in San Francisco and there is a small group who does this and they've done it very effectively and so people sometimes feel like, 'If I speak up about this I'm going to be told that I'm not really a good liberal,' and I think that's why we have to really distinguish between helping the homeless and dealing with some very,very bad street behavior."

– Supervisor Scott Wiener

"Human beings like to use the restroom in private"

"You know a really striking aspect of the current Chronicle-led hysteria about the presence of poop and pee in public is the writer's intense aversion to discussing real solutions. This stuff isn't that complicated. You know, human beings like to use the restroom in private and it's not something that we do publicly – it's very embarrassing. For the most part if people have access to bathrooms, and we've seen with the mobile bathrooms that the city has been putting around that we've had a huge decrease in the amount of the stuff happening. Of course, they only put those out maybe a couple hours a day in one particular location. Even that small effort has made a huge difference. The solutions are obvious. I don't know why they're not being talked about and instead we just keep going back to the status quo of relying on police, relying on paramedics, relying on hospitals and relying on jails — it's extremely extremely expensive, it's not humane and it's not effective, it's not working."


Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director, Coalition on Homelessness

Scott Wiener, Supervisor for District 8, City and County of San Francisco

C.W. Nevius, metro columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

Shira Noel, policy and advocacy, coordinator for the Homeless Youth Alliance


– Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director, Coalition on Homelessness

"It's difficult enough to try to survive"

"Your tickets lead to warrants, you're living with this stigma all the time, you never know when somebody is going to come and take you to jail for your warrant for sleeping, for being, just for being. I was listening to Scott Wiener talk about street behavior and I really beg to differ what's the difference between Street behavior and surviving. It's difficult enough to try to survive, much less to be talked about as a public health problem or to be treated like debris at the same time. It's just a huge weight, it's hard."

– Shira Noel, policy and advocacy coordinator for the Homeless Youth Alliance

lower waypoint
next waypoint
Barbara McQuade on the Disinformation That's 'Sabotaging America'After Closure Announcement, a Look at Macy’s Heyday…and Union Square’s FuturePolitical and Legal Fallout Continues After Alabama IVF RulingElection 2024: SF’s Prop F Would Cut Cash Aid for People Who Use Drugs and Refuse TreatmentThe Explosion of Beirut’s Port Told Through the Lives of Women in “All She Lost”Election 2024: Concerns about Joe Biden Focus Spotlight on Kamala HarrisPerformance Reviews are Underperforming. What Should Replace Them?Tommy Orange’s ‘Wandering Stars’ Examines the Legacy and Consequences of Cultural ErasureUCSF’s Gretchen Sisson Spotlights Experiences of Birth Mothers in ‘Relinquished’Charles Duhigg's “Supercommunicators” Breaks Down How to Talk Better and Forge Connections