2024 Election

Fed Up San Francisco Voters Set to Implement Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: ‘The Pendulum Is Swinging’


Walking to cast their ballots next week along needle-strewn streets, past the gauntlet of addicts, petty thieves and empty storefronts that are the landmarks of 21st-century San Francisco, voters of the city by the Bay are expected to send a powerful message that they have had enough.

“The pendulum is swinging,” Malcolm Weitz, 41, said. “It’s coming hard-core back to the center.”

On Tuesday, San Francisco voters will decide the fate of two propositions.

Proposition F would require anyone getting public cash benefits to undergo drug screening. Proposition E loosens the rules on police surveillance and police chases, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A poll by San Francisco’s Chamber of Commerce found 61 percent of likely voters support the propositions. The poll found 72 percent believe the city has been heading in the wrong direction.

Proposition F “politically reflects enormous frustration with the lack of progress in reducing drug problems in San Francisco,” Keith Humphreys, a Stanford University professor who studies drug policy said.

“This is something you normally associate with more conservative parts of the country,” he said.

Mayor London Breed, who is up for re-election, supports the propositions.

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Some are highly critical of Proposition F, according to CBS.

“F is a cynical and unserious waste of resources that will materially harm very vulnerable people,” Laura Thomas of the SF AIDS Foundation said.

“In addition, many who are on the streets now, who are using drugs will simply not apply for assistance,” No on F campaign director Sara Shortt said. “And therefore not have any access to treatment through the services system.”

Proposition E is seen as an antidote to a status quo of “inaction, frustration and a feeling among rank-and-file police officers that they can’t do the job they were sworn to do,” Sharky Laguana, the chief executive of van-rental company Bandago said, according to the Journal.

Proposition E would reverse a 2013 policy that currently only allows police to pursue a vehicle in cases of violent offenses where the individual driving is considered an immediate public risk. The proposition would allow police to chase theft and burglary suspects, according to CBS.

“I think we need every tool in the tool bag available to us,” police officer’s association President Tracy McCray said.

“So, what can we do? Do we ban pursuits? Doesn’t mean that people who are committing crimes will be better drivers. Not at all. It’s still going to be happening. So, we need more tools. When we feel a pursuit has crossed that threshold to be more dangerous than, you know, maybe apprehending them at the time. It’d be nice if we could lift the drone up, right, and say, ‘OK, they can follow,” McCray said.

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“Levelling the playing field, getting tools and technology to help us because we’re not pulling in people into this profession at the rate that we used to,” McCray said.

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Ella Ford is a mother of two, a Christian conservative writer with degrees in American History, Social and Behavioral Science and Liberal Studies, based in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.

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