SF Tenderloin Group Criticizes Merchant’s Petition

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Property owners in one of San Francisco’s most difficult historic neighborhoods have banded together to complain to local authorities about the area’s “worsening” conditions.

A December petition, though it’s not clear how many Tenderloin businesses there are, called on the city of San Francisco to return about a year’s worth of taxes and remove suspected drug dealers from the neighborhood. There is

The group, the Tenderloin Business Coalition, claims that “field drug trafficking” and weak law enforcement have directly impacted businesses and pushed the neighborhood to the brink of collapse. “Our city is ruled by criminals who prey on entire communities, preventing healthy and normal activity necessary for viable commerce,” the statement said. “Efforts have been made to address the problem, but not enough to save our business!” In addition to tax refunds and the “immediate removal of all drug dealers from the streets of Tenderloin,” As a result, the group wants “tough” law enforcement and a meeting with the mayor. The coalition did not define what “strict” law enforcement means and did not respond to SFGATE’s request for comment.

Representatives of the Tenderloin Lower Polk Merchants and Property Owners Association objected to the coalition’s petition, explaining that its demands were unrealistic and unhelpful.

“The reality is you can’t mobilize large numbers of police officers to arrest everyone on the street,” said association executive director Rene Colorado, referring to the business coalition’s call for “strict” law enforcement. “This is a complicated issue,” he added.

Once homeless and incarcerated in Colorado, a punitive approach is not the answer, and some areas of the Tenderloin are already improving with community help.

Social workers, police officers and other ambassadors have already curtailed drug trafficking in Little Saigon, which spans two blocks of Larkin Street between Eddy and O’Farrell streets, according to the state of Colorado. Ambassador is a de facto social who lives in the Tenderloin and has relationships with members of the community. Did. They also refer homeless and vulnerable residents to places where they can receive services.

“Even at night, the area is clear,” Colorado says of Little Saigon. “Isn’t this due to the relationships we’ve built and how we don’t act like security guards?”

The Tenderloin Business Coalition is not the first group of companies to claim the city is spiraling out of control due to pervasive socioeconomic problems. In August, the Castro Merchants Association made a similar petition to city officials. In a series of written requests, it called on San Francisco to provide shelter beds for “psychotic and substance abusers residing in the Castro.” Otherwise, it will likely stop paying taxes, the group said. It is unknown whether the company actually carried out the threat.

In the Tenderloin, government officials have long known that drug use was just one of the problems plaguing the diverse, low-income neighborhood.

“Drug overdose deaths are at epidemic levels in San Francisco,” reads the city’s Emergency Management Agency’s Tenderloin Emergency Initiative Plan. Last year he declared a state of emergency in his neighborhood on December 17 in London to reduce overdoses, but the declaration he expired in March. Additionally, city data shows that between December 2021 and July 2022, he has nearly 1,200 arrests in connection with drug sales and assaults in the Tenderloin.

“We believe the condition of the tenderloin needs to improve,” Colorado concluded. “We don’t know how tax refunds will improve.”

SFGATE reporter Sam Moore contributed to this report.


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