On December 17, 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in the city's Tenderloin district, which will lead to an increased police presence in the epicenter of the city's growing homelessness and addiction crisis.
"It is time for the reign of criminals to end," she said in a press conference. "It comes to an end when we are more aggressive with law enforcement & less tolerant of all the BULLSHIT that has destroyed our city." It was a sharp turnaround for Breed, who after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 called for "ending the use of police in responding to non-criminal activity."
Breed was roundly criticized by progressive politicians and groups like the Coalition on Homelessness, who castigated the move as an "expansion of strategies that have been tried and failed" that would contribute to the "instability and poor public health outcomes" of people living on the streets.
Michael Shellenberger, the author of the controversial new book San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, has called Mayor Breed's new "tough love" approach a "big step in the right direction." Better known as a pro-nuclear-power environmentalist, Shellenberger appeared on The Reason Interview in July 2020 to discuss his book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.
Today, Shellenberger talks with guest host Zach Weissmueller about the homelessness crisis in America's big cities, which the environmentalist says is actually an addiction-and-mental-health crisis enabled by progressive policies that permit open-air drug scenes on public property, prevent police from enforcing the law, and undermine the creation of a functional mental health system. Zach talks with Shellenberger about his foray into social policy, his critiques of both progressive and libertarian politics, and how he thinks America's big cities can clean up their streets without grossly violating civil liberties.