Lipstick on a Pig: Newsom Cleans up San Francisco in Days for Celebrity Event after Years of Failures for Residents

Californians might think a recent quote by the governor is satire, but it’s unfortunately true, because, it is true.


California Senate Republicans are taking the governor to task for a recent admission that downtown San Francisco has been cleaned up only because of an upcoming conference that is drawing leaders from around the world, including President Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping. While addressing reporters last week about the summit, the governor boasted and made this comment: 


“I know folks say, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all these fancy leaders are coming into town.’ That’s true… because it’s true.” 


“For years the governor has been making never-ending excuses as to why San Francisco and other communities have not been able to move or clean up homeless encampments for regular, every day hardworking residents,” said Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber). “But when the ‘international elitists’ come into San Francisco and the world will be watching, the city literally was cleaned up in just days. What a slap in the face to the residents who have been waiting for this for years.”


Worse, the governor seemed to double down on his acknowledgement of only doing something for elitists when further pressed on this issue, he said “you have people over at your house, you’re going to clean up your house...”


Senate Republicans have been pushing for legislation, like Senate Bill 31 (Jones, 2023), that would give communities the chance to compassionately clear homeless encampments. Despite bipartisan support of the measure across the state, it was rejected by Senate Democrats, including San Francisco’s own state senator.


What San Francisco Looks Like When Foreign Dignitaries Aren’t In Town: 

For years, San Francisco’s progressive policies, supported by the governor, have prioritized protecting criminals over victims and law-abiding residents. 


  • Crime is rampant. San Francisco has the highest total crime rate in the state, the second highest number of homeless people per capita, and the highest rate of fentanyl overdoses. 
  • Drug overdoses happen every day. Fentanyl-related overdoses have surged in San Francisco, with a 152% increase since January 2020 and 211 out of 268 accidental ODs in the first four months of 2023 being fentanyl-related. Drug overdoses even jumped to 84 in August, putting the city on track to surpass record deaths at 845 anticipated overdoses this year. 
  • Jobs are leaving, businesses shutterOver 27,000 businesses have closed in San Francisco since March 2020, with nearly 20% of the closures occurring in the city’s Financial District. Among those closing, Target announced it is closing three stores in the Bay Area due to rampant retail theft. 
  • People are fleeing. New forecasts show that San Francisco saw one of the highest population losses in the country during the first year of the pandemic & that the city may never recover its population. 


Governor Newsom is All Talk, Failed Results on Tackling Homelessness in California: 

It might shock Californians how many times the governor has promised to address this crisis, dating all the way back to 2008. Read some of Newsom’s most iconic moments below: 


“Californians demand accountability and results, not settling for the status quo,” said Governor Newsom on November 3, 2022. “As a state, we are failing to meet the urgency of this moment.” He also claimed it would take “decades to significantly curb homelessness.” Yet, it seemed to have only taken minutes when his city was put on display for the world to see.


“Let’s call it what it is. It’s a disgrace that the richest state, in the richest nation — succeeding across so many sectors — is falling so far behind to properly house, heal and humanely treat so many of its own people. Every day, the California dream is dimmed by the wrenching reality of families, children and seniors living unfed on a concrete bed,” Newsom admitted in 2020. “The hard truth is we ignored the problem.”


In his state of the state remarks in 2020, he claimed he knew how to solve the problem, saying, “I don’t think homelessness can be solved. I know homelessness can be solved,” Newsom said in his speech to lawmakers at the state Capitol. “This is our cause. This is our calling. Let us rise to the challenge and make California stand up as an exemplar of what true courage and compassion can achieve. Let's all get to work.”


In 2008, as Mayor of California, he established “ten year plan to end chronic homelessness in the city of San Francisco.” That didn’t seem to work out so well for him (and unfortunately SF workers, residents and small business owners), now did it?