Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

San Francisco voters approve drug screening for welfare recipients

By 37ci3 Mar7,2024


San Francisco voters have shown strong support for a ballot measure that would require people who receive city assistance and are “reasonably” suspected of using drugs to be screened and enrolled in treatment.

They also favored another measure that eased restrictions on police officers.

The approvals were seen as a victory for Mayor London Brady, who faces a tough re-election fight in November due to concerns that he is weak on crime. He put the measures on the ballot with the intention of improving public safety and solving the city’s drug crisis, he said.

But opponents say the measures could exacerbate those problems, as well as homelessness, and won’t make the community safer.

London Sex
Mayor London Breed speaks to supporters at an election night event in San Francisco on Tuesday.Godofredo A. Vásquez / AP

Proposal EThe police control commission, which reduces the authority of the citizen, gathered almost 60% vote. It also allows the police department to use drones and surveillance cameras; requires written reporting only for use-of-force incidents when a physical injury occurs or an officer’s firearm is holstered; and gives police more freedom to pursue suspects in vehicles.

Proposal F requires people 65 and younger who receive cash welfare assistance from the city, are unaccompanied, and are “reasonably suspected” of being dependent on illegal drugs to be eligible for assistance. It took more than 60% of the votes.

The measure did not specify what it means to “reasonably” suspect someone of using drugs, and a spokeswoman for Breed’s office said the specifics have yet to be determined. According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, there were 813 accidental overdose deaths in the city in 2023.

Both measures take effect on January 1.

Jason McDaniel, an associate professor of political science at San Francisco State University, said the support for the measures does not indicate that the famously progressive city is moving to the right.

“It’s overkill,” he said. “This is a misreading of what happened. Voters are not getting more conservative. “They are still largely liberal, and being pro-police is consistent with their liberal values.”

Many of the city’s liberal voters support government services for people in need, he said, which may indicate why Proposition F has garnered as much support as it has.

Kevin Benedicto, a member of the city’s police commission, said he personally opposes Proposition E because “it diminishes the important safeguards and safeguards that San Francisco has carefully placed in law enforcement.”

Dangerous pursuits, surveillance technologies and reduced enforcement of officer-involved shootings are not the answer, he said.

“Comprehensive public safety should not come at the expense of accountability,” he said.

Since the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Bowdy in 2022, the top issues for voters have been public safety, crime, homelessness and drug use, McDaniel said.

He said the success of the measures was a positive step for Brad’s campaign, which is still very sensitive because some believe he has allowed these issues to fester during his five years in office.

Daniel Lurie and Mark Farrell, moderate Democrats, are among Breed’s main challengers. Lurie is the founder of the non-profit organization. Farrell was interim mayor from January to July 2018. Both supported his election measures, but said he could have enacted them sooner. Still, their support for the events bodes well for Breed, McDaniel said.

Breed thanked supporters of the measure, saying Proposition E would help continue his work to make San Francisco safer, and Proposition F would bring more accountability and accountability to the city. He said that crime has decreased in the past year and these measures will continue this development.



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