Michael Shellenberger’s book San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities came out on October 12, 2021. The author is a veteran activist and advocate of progressive policies, but he’s concluded they aren’t working in San Francisco. He blames the homelessness problem in west coast cities on widespread mental illness, drug addiction and bad policy, not on mild weather or the numerous other reasons cited by homelessness advocates.
Shellenberger casts a wide net to gain a perspective based upon a diversity of viewpoints. His book combines personal experience, deep research and numerous interviews with policy experts; individuals of various races and political persuasions; formerly homeless and incarcerated individuals; homeless advocates and relatives of those living in the streets. He recommends a new policy, Cal-Psych, which would replace the failed program from Proposition 63 (on Mental Health) and come up with a new plan for conservatorships, voluntary and involuntary mental health and addiction treatments.
His plan is bold, but is it too late? Will severely ill, violent, drug-addicted offenders be able to submit to treatment? We hope San Francisco can go back to the beautiful city it once was, but the transition will be difficult. If anything, “San Fransicko” should be a warning to other cities not to follow the lead of San Francisco. However, it appears that many Californians are also revolting against the drug-enabling policies of the Bay Area and the state.