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The City of San Francisco has indefinitely closed the McCopppin Hub park.  Here is the latest update from the neigborhood press:  https://missionlocal.org/2017/02/controversial-mccoppin-hub-popular-homeless-hangout-now-fenced-off/.

We covered the misguided effort to fence off this park in earlier posts:

https://sffnb.org/2015/09/16/keep-mccoppin-hub-plaza-open-and-unfenced/

https://sffnb.org/2016/07/27/mccoppin-hub-plaza-park-update/

Presently, a temporary construction fence has closed the park from public use.  The purposes of a construction fence are to prevent the public from entering a construction zone with dangerous conditions and to secure the construction material and tools.  However, construction has not begun, so this fence’s sole purpose is to exclude people from public space.

McCoppin Hub is one of a decreasing number of public spaces with places to sit, a restful sanctuary.  Anyone can use the benches.  Of course, they are relatively more useful for people who have no home of their own, especially because it is now illegal to sit or lie down on sidewalks in San Francisco.

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” — Anatole France, 1894.

Near McCoppin Hub, for over a year, police barricades have lined Duboce Avenue/13th Street/Division Street, something reminiscent of authoritarian countries in the developing world.  Is “liberal” San Francisco so different?

City officials will cite the funds they spend on the homeless.  Indeed, they spend many millions per year while homelessness increases.  Their approach is akin to fixing a leaky roof by buying more buckets.

Some perspective.  The best estimate on the cost to build a closed park, McCoppin Hub, is $2M.  It is certainly more than that because the park is undergoing the second remodel of its short life.  But let’s stick to $2M.  San Francisco Food Not Bombs shares food two evenings per week. A generous estimate of our out of pocket yearly expenses is $100. $2M could sustain San Francisco Food Not Bombs for 20,000 years.

Jane Kim is the elected member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for the district containing McCoppin Hub and pushed to build a fence around this unenclosed park.  She is a member of the Democratic Party, like all elected officials and, undoubtedly, almost all commission members and department heads in San Francisco.

Local Democrat Party officials rightfully decry President Trump’s attacks on sanctuary cities and immigration.  “We build bridges not walls.”  Locally, where they have actual influence and power, they are building fences and erecting barricades to exclude the dispossessed.

Supervisor Kim’s most meaningful policy achievement is the passage for an area of her Supervisorial District, in 2011, at the behest of Mayor Ed Lee, of the Mid-Market, or Twitter, tax break, which directly subsidized tech and real estate interests.

Her actions epitomize the policies of elected officials throughout the United States:  tax breaks for corporations and the rich; fences, exclusion, truncheons and bullets for the poor.  And she is on the progressive, whatever that means, team.

Let’s march to City Hall and shout, at the top of our lungs, words made famous by a recent President, like all of them, opposed to social justice, “Mr. Lee and Ms. Kim, tear down that fence.”  Better yet, let’s tear it down ourselves.

For Amilcar Perez Lopez, Luis Gongora Pat and all others seeking a better life in cities, sanctuary or otherwise, only to have the cities’ armed guards kill them.

Eddie Stiel

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