After contentious meeting, San Francisco supervisors pass Tenderloin emergency ordinance

After a contentious meeting that lasted 10 hours, the San Francisco board of supervisors early Friday morning voted to approve Mayor London Breed's order to declare a state of emergency in the Tenderloin neighborhood.

Breed's plan includes cracking down on drug dealers and setting up treatment in the Tenderloin.

By approving the state of emergency, the Department of Emergency Management would be able to bypass certain regulations in setting up treatment centers and hiring 200 behavioral health clinicians.

"Tragically, every month that has gone by without the sweeping action and urgency needed to confront this public health epidemic at the scale we are experiencing it, things have gotten worse," Supervisor Matt Haney said at the meeting. "More and more people are continuing to die."

MORE: DA critical of San Francisco mayor's plan to beef up police in Tenderloin

The declaration itself doesn’t mention policing, but the Chronicle noted that many supervisors worried that voting for it would be tacit support of Breed’s intention under her proposal to "enforce every single law at our disposal to get (drug users) either into treatment, or sadly, the alternative is jail," as she said last week.

The vote did not come without opposition.

Supervisors Dean Preston and Shamann Walton voted no in protest over the plan for more policing.

One community member who spoke at the meeting said: "In this season of rain, cold and COVID surges, have a heart. Reject the cruelty of sweeps and criminalization."

Some community members expressed concern that the ordinance will lead to increased police presence and criminalize addiction and target those living in poverty."  

MORE: San Francisco mayor declares state of emergency in Tenderloin over overdose crisis