No signs of California National Guard in San Francisco to tackle fentanyl crisis
SAN FRANCISCO - It seemed like more of the same Thursday in San Francisco's Tenderloin, less than a week after Gov. Newsom announced he's bringing in the California National Guard to help dismantle fentanyl trafficking.
There were no soldiers in sight, but still plenty of homeless and others fighting addiction, living in the streets in the shadow of the San Francisco Police Department's Tenderloin station.
"It would be great if it could be cleaned up a little more," said Ashley Richmond of St. Louis, visiting San Francisco for a week-long RSA cybersecurity conference at Moscone Center in the South of Market.
She said she's seen many people down on their luck while in town.
"It’s hard not to see them yes, but it’s been really surprisingly cleaner than I thought, and there’s been a lot of police around to make me feel safe," Richmond said.
Asked if she's seen any troops, she said, "I’ve not seen National Guard."
Daniel Price, a Canadian also attending the conference, was last in the city five years ago.
Asked if anything has changed, Price said, "Yeah, it’s worse. The homeless. The homeless problem is worse."
Price says more needs to be done, "but not necessarily with military action."
He said, "There’s a big drug problem, housing problem. We need to invest more in preventing that kind of thing instead of reacting."
But there doesn't seem to be any reacting, at least by the California National Guard so far.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin said, "I don’t see any National Guard. I mean, I work right here, I just got a burrito in the Tenderloin. I don’t think there’s any National Guard."
Peskin couldn't resist a dig at Newsom: "This wouldn’t be the first time that the governor shot from the lip."
Peskin said he supports getting the CHP involved, but not the National Guard.
"What we need is better coordination, not militarization," Peskin said.
Supervisor Matt Dorsey posted a tweet saying "The cavalry is coming" the day of Newsom's announcement.
"I would say you know, let’s give them time," Dorsey said Thursday. "‘The cavalry’ is sort of a metaphor."
Dorsey said things are still in flux and some operational details may never be divulged.
"The governor has said he does not foresee a role for the National Guard in any sort of patrolling or highly visible, militaristic way. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role to play to assist city government," Dorsey said.