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San Francisco Democrat says homelessness crisis in his district is ‘absolutely the result of capitalism’

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San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston claimed the city’s homelessness problems were “absolutely the result of capitalism,” and it was “counterproductive” to arrest people openly doing drugs.

Preston’s District 5 includes the Tenderloin District, an area known for its open-air drug market. Nearly half of the city’s homeless population lived in this district in 2022, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Democratic Socialist supervisor argued his district was particularly affected by homelessness because of the country’s economic structure.

“I think what you’re seeing in the Tenderloin is absolutely the result of capitalism and what happens in capitalism to the people at the bottom rungs,” the local leader reportedly remarked in a new documentary by the UK outlet, UnHerd. 

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“The biggest driver of why folks are on the street is because they lost their jobs, income or were evicted from their homes, usually for not being able to pay the rent. So you have major landlords literally causing folks to lose their homes, and real estate speculation making it impossible for folks to find an affordable place to live,” he reportedly said in the interview.

Preston disagreed with the city’s “inconsistent” approach to arresting drug users and sweeping homeless encampments, arguing this was “completely counterproductive” and made things worse.

This method “has not made our city any safer. It’s actually made it less safe. It increases overdoses,” he claimed.

The city leader downplayed concerns by many local residents and business owners about the encampments and rampant drug-dealing in the area. 

“I don’t think every instance of poverty or addiction or behavioral health issue is a safety threat to someone walking by. I mean, there’s a lot of people who are doing things that are very harmful to themselves on the streets, who aren’t necessarily a safety threat,” Preston remarked.

He also doubled down on calls to further defund law enforcement in San Francisco.

“I think we have a very, very bloated police budget. All kinds of waste in the police department. I could cut $100 million out of the department,” he said in the interview.

Preston garnered stark backlash last May after proposing a law that would ban security guards from drawing their weapons for property crimes at a time when retailers and residents alike are fleeing the city over public safety concerns. 

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side by side of Dean Preston and Elon Musk

In September, Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that Preston was probably the person “most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco.” 

“I’m a Democratic socialist who has successfully stopped thousands of evictions, housed homeless families and taxed the rich to raise hundreds of millions of $ for affordable housing,” Preston fired back on X. “It’s no surprise that a right-wing billionaire like Musk doesn’t like me.”

San Francisco law enforcement has seen a dramatic drop in the number of car break-ins in the past three months, coinciding with an aggressive three-pronged effort to deter criminals, the Chronicle reported last week.

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Dean Preston’s office did not immediately return requests for comment.

Fox News’ Jeffrey Clark and Bailee Hill contributed to this report.

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