‘Going to hell’: Trump hits out at homeless crisis—and Speaker Pelosi—in San Francisco

September 20, 2019

The Trump Administration has singled out San Francisco—the 12th Congressional District, represented by his chief antagonist, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—for an environmental violation to San Francisco over its homelessness problem.

The president said late Wednesday that the notice would come from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. He said waste, specifically used needles, in storm sewers is contributing to ocean pollution.

“It’s a terrible situation that’s in Los Angeles and in San Francisco,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One on his flight from California to Washington, D.C.. “And we’re going to be giving San Francisco, they’re in total violation, we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon.”

He added: “They have to clean it up. We can’t have our cities going to hell.”

In a statement, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city has a sewer system that runs effectively, keeping debris from reaching the Bay or the Pacific Ocean, the Journal said.

“In San Francisco we are focused on advancing solutions to meet the challenges on our streets, not throwing off ridiculous assertions as we board an airplane to leave the state,” Breed said.

According to the EPA website, a notice of violation is a civil administration action the agency can take that doesn’t involve a judicial court process. Such notices don’t mean the EPA has conclusively determined a violation occurred, the news outlet clarified, and they typically offer recipients avenues to compliance. The EPA usually sends such notices to companies, not cities.

Before the president’s swing through California this week, the Trump administration said it was exploring options to help get homeless people in California off the streets.

Mayor Breed said San Francisco is addressing its homeless crisis by dedicating services for the mentally ill and drug addicted, adding 1,000 new shelter beds and seeking voter approval of a $600 million affordable housing bond.

In addition, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a state budget in June investing $1.75 billion in efforts to spur new housing and about $1 billion aimed at helping cities and counties combat homelessness.

According to the Journal report, homelessness jumped 12% and 16% from a year ago in the county and city of Los Angeles, respectively. In San Francisco, the number rose 17%, while Alameda County, which includes Oakland, saw a 43% increase.

Research contact: @WSJ

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