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Frisco columnist finds Boston far more world classy than his town, because we hide our homeless from visitors

A columnist for the San Francisco Examiner who is in for the NBA finals waxes lyrical at how much more welcoming downtown Boston is to world-class people such as himself than its SF equivalent, which he credits in large part to the way Boston banishes all its homeless to some distant area called Roxbury.

Why, the streets are bustling and full of people ending their work days at happy hours, and the "Commons" is a park that "provides a leafy oasis in the middle of it all," with not a single homeless person in sight, he marvels.

"If you're going to be a world-class city that attracts the best and brightest business travelers and competes with destinations like Paris and Rome for tourist dollars, you can't let your downtown core be an open air drug market," he writes.

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Comments

Hey kehd....stick around...away from Seaport. Hang out with the regulars in front of the CVS,Seven 11 along the swilly sidewalk along Causeway after the morning visit at the "treatment center" . Haa. You don't need cable TV if you just stand and watch that area all day.

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They run certain sections of the city. See the common, Copley and more specifically the Copley library.

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How much of a persecution complex do you have to have to believe that homeless people "run certain sections of the city"? LMAO. terminal main character syndrome

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"Leaving Roxbury to deal with it" isn't exactly a glowing review of our policy.

But he's writing as an SF'er to other SF'ers about how Boston is dealing with it's drug problem and homeless population and comparing it to their hometown.

I read this as a glowing review of our city from someone who sees that sure, we're not exactly perfect. But at least we're trying.

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And I should be gracious enough to accept a compliment (and SF must really suck the way he describes it).

But he makes it sound like we're making policy decisions about the homeless (and people with addiction problems) specifically to make Boston more welcoming to visitors like him. As somebody who has been covering Boston (however half-assedly) for awhile now, I can assure him that no, how to make people newly arrived from Logan more comfortable as they meander around the North End just doesn't come up in discussions about the homeless and addicts.

What does come up is everything from basic humanity (these are people in major pain, we need to help them) to helping local businesses and residents (there are a lot of people who live and work in and right next to Mass and Cass) to getting surrounding towns to help us deal with their residents who come here because we have all the treatment centers. I've never seen the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau setting policy on the homeless.

Also, has the guy really spent time on the Common?

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Of course we can only think of ourselves, like most Americans, but I do think your point that SF must really suck is the main point of this. Very good article this week in The Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/06/how-san-francisco-beca...

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The Atlantic did a fantastic job in that report.

I think, for the most part, San Francisco is reaping the whirlwind because of horrible, self-satisfied policies from its legislative and political arms that made things worse than better. These leaders wanted a utopian paradise; they instead got an amplification of mental illness and anarchy that manifested in the removal of their DA and members of their school board (which one member had the gall to sue the city for "mental distress" when she was asked to resign after slurring Asians - it was laughed out of dismissed from court and later on she was recalled in a landslide).

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The thing is, I feel like I could write this same article about being a tourist in SF. Nobody is pooping on the sidewalk at Pier 39 or Lombard street. For all its problems, San Francisco is a terrific city to visit, and most tourists like me will never stumble into their equivalent of Mass and Cass.

Familiarity breeds contempt, and we all know our own city's problems.

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That's not really true though. SF's homeless drug scene is right in the middle of downtown, where it's highly visible, while Boston's is in what is essentially the backyard of the city where nobody goes without a good reason. That's the difference the columnist was getting at.

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SF is worse than that. Your car will be broken into within seconds you leave. Almost every of my friends in SF Bay Area has their cars windows smashed, even when they left nothing in the car.

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In San Francisco it is very easy to stumble on the worst parts of San Francisco. I visited a while back, and I was amazed how sketchy Market Street downtown was. I rarely feel unsafe in cities, but the Tenderloin made me scared when I wandered a few blocks from the convention center.

And to be clear, “a while back” was 2 decades ago, but from what I’ve seen and read, somehow while the rest of the city (and West Bay) have gentrified, the Tenderloin seems to have gotten worse.

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I visited San Fran last month for a work thing and it actually was pretty shocking. And I'm someone who's in the BMC area regularly and finds it sad but not particularly unsettling - most of our homeless folk are either doing their own thing or will accept a "sorry, no thank you" or whatever... are happy to accept a cup of coffee if they're hanging at a dunks and you don't have cash on a shitty night... just regular people who have been failed by the system and are down on their luck. We have needles and litter and that's unfortunate but you get used to it.
Even NYC feels similar, though it can be tough to get stuck on a subway car with somebody who's decompensating and having a mental episode.

San Fran felt legitimately unsafe. My guide, who lived in the city, offered to take me anywhere after our work day but warned it was not a good idea to wander around anywhere - I should go to my destination and then arrange a ride right after. They also have needles and litter but also human feces and blood on the sidewalk, it really didn't feel like a city in the 2020s, more like the stereotypes of the 1980s/90s.

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“Why don’t WE start Guiliano-ing OUR homeless so that they’re out of sight, out of mind so we can have a nice vibrant city like Boston” theme throughout.

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At least we are trying to displace the homeless? No this is utterly shameful the solution to homelessness is housing not running them out of sight or out of town.

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We don't hide them per se - we just have a better shelter to homeless ratio than many cities. Check out the panhandlers downtown.

Something about the weather making it difficult to live rough year-round, too.

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About bridge construction next...

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North Station used to have a major homeless population. They have been evicted by a security team and the Transit Police and the T is erecting fare gates and barriers to keep the homeless out of the lobby.

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"Used to" are your operative words. We're all concerned about now. It's bad at North Station.

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Well I would say he is kind of right. If the situation at Mass and Cass started to develop in the common the cops would have immediately torn down the tents and arrested drug users. It's like in Cambridge where the cops (at the cities direction I'm sure) allow the homeless to congregate in a way they wouldn't in Huron village or Cambridge common. It's disingenuous to say cities like Boston allow the same behavior in all neighborhoods equally. If people started setting up tents along Mass and Newbury you're telling me three response would be the same as Mass and Cass? No.

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Mass. and Boylston has a man who drinks in public, spray paints on public property and has narrowed the sidewalk of this very busy intersection with 100s of pounds of debris. Repeated calls to 911 have produced no results.

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He writes for the San Francisco Examiner. Once it was the jewel in the crown of the Hearst empire, now they give it away for free in convenience stores. I believe its slogan is "Well, At Least It's Not The Chronicle". This guy may be a columnist, but I bet that he's also the City Editor, Circulation Manager, and Director of Human Resources.The story was carefully fact-checked, but, as he is also the fact-checker, that didn't help much.

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Had forgotten there was still an SF Examiner- down to a 3-day-a-week free paper now

Also- :"Frisco" is as beloved a term out there as "The Bean" is around these parts

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I figured if he can refer to the Commons, I can use "Frisco."

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despite living in the bay for a few years. but frisco is a legitimate nickname: https://twitter.com/idothethinking/status/1476350568863916033

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Apparently he didn't go to "Downtown Crossing" either

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I’ve been a resident of San Francisco and for the last 5 years, Boston. This speaks to the issues that San Fran has moreso than Boston. San Francisco has such deep issues with lawlessness it’s hard to even compare another city to it.

I love SF and I love Boston. But San Francisco has a leadership problem which it’s hard to fathom in Boston. Good intentions but very bad policy. If you think i’m being dramatic, spend a week in San Francisco and experience street life. Masturbating people on city busses and deceased people on street corners while people walk over them to work.

I don’t know what the answer is for SF, but I understand the writer’s point of view.

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We were quite "surprised" by what we saw there.

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The smells I experienced in SF were worse than what I saw. Yikes. Still a great city in many ways though.

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we have jerkoffs on our public transit too.

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yeah and they get arrested. the population of the city collectively condemns it. it's not ACCEPTABLE to do so, and everybody agrees about that.

In San Fran, it's being ableist to complain.

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Or dropping into bars and restaurants for happy hour.

Shouldn't he have been arrested for simply uttering those two words together in The Commonwealth?

He also refers to Roxbury, and more specifically the greater Newmarket Square area as the "outskirts" of Boston, even though it's nearly in the geographic center of the city.

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Happy hour (in terms of drinking) has not been part of the Boston vernacular since 1984, when it was banned by the state.

I also wonder about how SF would view our protectionist liquor license laws and costs, although it would probably give some of the SF city supervisors (roughly equivalent to our city councilors) some ideas...

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He's not wrong if he's referring to Boston Proper, the city for hundreds of years before annexations in the late 19th century. The word Boston has a myriad of meanings, depending on set and setting, from just downtown, to city limits, to metro area, and in some circumstances, even all of New England. None are necessarily wrong.

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Looks like somebody at the Examiner changed "Boston Commons" to "Boston Common." Yay, editors!

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Yes, but apparently the editors have never looked at the "About the Examiner" section on their website, where they congratulate the paper on having "one" several awards. That's a pretty incredible display of bad editting!

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speaking of the homeless population as if theyre describing graffiti or potholes.

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How many hours do you volunteer?
How many clothing drives have you formed?
How many times have you bought extra groceries just to drop off at food bank?
How many events have you started to benefit the needy?

Stop acting like we're superior. We are far from perfect but the writer is only speaking as a fed up resident of a city that would trade us Meth Mile and every single one of our homeless and drug addicted for 2 blocks of the Mission alone. They'd probably take the subway tuggers and tissue salesmen too.

For the writer and MANY of San Frans residents, they are out of ideas. Their local govt has failed them and they're exasperated.

The writer explicitly states we're not Shangri-La, he's just telling his local readers how we do things.

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And we are Beantown

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that we feed the homeless to the whales

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