San Francisco, known for its rampant homelessness and unsanitary streets, has come under fire once again as California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a massive cleanup effort just days before the important U.S.-China summit.
The summit, set to take place this Wednesday during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, will see President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jingping meeting face-to-face for the first time since November 2022. It is a highly anticipated event, but many were left questioning the timing of San Francisco’s major cleanup.
During the unveiling of a new program to plant trees in urban neighborhoods as part of Newsom’s Clean California initiative, the Governor admitted that the city’s cleanup efforts were directly tied to the upcoming summit. “I know folks are saying, ‘Oh they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town.’ That’s true, because it’s true,” he said.
This admission sparked outrage on social media, with many expressing their frustration and disbelief that San Francisco’s streets had been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent. The National Republican Congressional Committee criticized the extreme Democrat ideology that has allowed the city to become infested with crime and homelessness, wondering why the city was willing to clean up for China but not for its own citizens.
Even Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders from Arkansas chimed in, highlighting her state’s focus on cracking down on crime, lowering taxes, and investing in communities for the betterment of its citizens, not to impress foreign leaders.
Newsom’s comments were also met with criticism from conservative figures such as Outkick writer Ian Miller and Sentinel Action Fund president Jessica Anderson, who accused Democrats of being more concerned about impressing foreign dictators than solving the issues in their own cities.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) November 14, 2023
Others, such as public figure and writer Michael Seifert, pointed out the irony of Democrats being willing to clean up their streets for international events but refusing to do the same for their own constituents. While some, like Relentless Strategies founder Andrew Clark, questioned why billions of dollars were being spent to fight homelessness over the years, when San Francisco managed to clean up their streets in just 48 hours.
In response to the backlash, Newsom claimed that the cleanup was not a one-time effort but rather a launchpad for a larger project to improve the entire state of California. However, this explanation did little to quell the criticism, with many questioning why such efforts had not been made sooner.
Meanwhile, the Governor’s office defended the cleanup, stating that the Clean California initiative, which was launched in 2021, has already removed over 2 million cubic yards of litter from state roadways. They also pointed to ongoing efforts to clean up 15 projects around the Bay Area.
As the U.S.-China summit approaches, one thing is clear – the timing of San Francisco’s major cleanup effort has left many skeptical of the city’s priorities and raised questions about why it took an international event to spark such action.