Sorry AIDS Baby, the Cops Need New Nightsticks

GavinNewsom

Dear Jesus, I heard on talk radio that you're mad at me for letting the gays get married, but please do me this one favor and make all the poor people in San Francisco disappear.

Via Jay Barmann at SFist:

“Mayor Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal year 2009-10 which would take affect July 1st, and in it he proposes eliminating 1,600 city jobs and cutting funding to several social service programs, including $23M in services to the mentally ill, addicted and people with HIV/AIDS…. However, there are no proposed layoffs to police or fire personnel.”

Of course it would be naïve to assume that there aren’t plenty of bloated budgets and unnecessary layers of bureaucracy in San Francisco’s government. I get it – the City is broke and Newsom needs to balance the books somehow.

But this plan to slash social services in favor of “law enforcement” spending illustrates the main reason why there are 2.3 million people locked up in this country (a higher rate than anywhere else in the world), and yet more and more folks are getting locked up every day.  The cause-and-effect dynamic here couldn’t be more obvious, so why can’t politicians seem to understand this? Do they think that abused children, alcoholic teen runaways and bipolar crackheads are going to magically get better somehow after you fire all the people who help take care of them?

I’ve talked to social workers in SF and these folks haven’t exactly been livin’ large on expense accounts and driving around in Cadillacs. Most of them are already overworked, underpaid and taking on a massive emotional burden from their often heart-breakingly difficult jobs.

Well, I guess since Newsom is hardly in town anymore because he’s too busy ramping up his campaign for Governor, he’ll barely notice. But for those of us who are out on the streets of the Mission or the Tenderloin every day, those of us who constantly witness the results of a system that utterly fails to take care of the most vulnerable… we can expect to see a lot more misery out there if this budget passes.

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