letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Create a ‘Vision Zero’ for the Richmond District


The residents of the Richmond District love our district, with our cultural diversity, our unique businesses, and our natural beauty.

However, District One needs some help. We need the equivalent of Vision Zero, with its aim to reduce traffic fatalities. We need a Vision Zero to address the criminality that now exists in the Richmond and also address the degrading of the quality of life we see every day.

This Vision Zero would be more proactive to prevent burglaries. Also, it would respond to the problems of transients trashing our neighborhood and passed out in our doorways. The serial shoplifting could be addressed, along with the open-air drug and alcohol use and the rampant graffiti vandalism. Vision Zero would interact with the severely mentally ill and psychotic individuals roaming the streets at will. Right now, many of our politicians have ideologically driven responses to the aforementioned criminality and quality of life issues. Those responses have been essentially tacit endorsement of the behavior of those creating the problems. Excuses abound.

We are not getting the leadership we need from City Hall. As residents of the Richmond, we have a responsibility to be cognizant of the issues in our community and to be engaged in solving our problems. But realistically, we need the police and social workers’ involvement. I don’t see it happening.

I believe we need a Vision Zero-equivalent policy to bring sanity back to the Richmond. I have a novel idea that I believe would help implement a Vision Zero plan: What if we actually started enforcing our laws with the idea there will be consequences for people’s behavior?

Paul Slade

5 replies »

  1. Joe Eskenazi on staff shortages at the 2 operational city jail holding centers currently struggling with the historical low jail population of 1,200.


    To answer you last question Mr. Slade, this multi-faceted problem is more difficult than just enforcing the laws. I recently watched two bums walk out of Andronico’s on Clement and 32nd ave with multiple bottles of whiskey and plastic container salads (wierd yes but true). There are no politicians with ideologies that are causing this. There are larger macroscopic societal issues that are beyond the scope of the city to handle. Look at all of those RV’s around Lake Merced. That was not the case 15 years ago when similar folk ran city government.

    So it’s not about politicians with ideologies and the solution is not so simple as “enforcing our laws with the idea there will be consequences for people’s behavior”.


  2. I was born and raised in the Richmond District.
    I’ve lived in D1 except for time living, working, traveling abroad. Additionally, I’ve lived in conservative American towns, such as Elizabeth town in KY and Miami in FLA.
    I brought out the diversity of my living experiences to show I’ve benefited from exposure to a broad swath of cultural, societal, and political differences not possible for a provincial San Franciscan.
    I see none of the hysterical “sky is falling” and “crime is rampant” going on in D1 which has driven the writer into a frenzied reactionary rant.
    I take umbrage with the writer’s criminalizing mentally ill people whom he targets as “roaming the streets at will”. The writer has already decided that prison is the only solution for individuals who are not acting according to his straitjacket mental picture of normality. He stridently exploits historical stereotypes in labeling mentally ill as “psychotic”.
    I believe this writer has been brought to the brink of distorted reality through his own paranoia. He seeks a return to Prohibition days, talking about “open-air drug and alcohol use”.
    Thankfully we are attempting to live Enlightened here in the Richmond District. Many prohibited unhealthy indulgences have now become acceptable, like drinking alcohol or using soft drugs in public.
    As for screaming for the police to come out and arrest individuals the writer thinks are committing misdemeanors, the writer is ignorant of basic facts.
    Arrests by police officers for simple misdemeanors should not be performed unless witnessed by the officer’s “five senses”.
    There has been Zero Progress on Vision Zero in SF, thus compromising the writer’s misappropriation of it as a tool to measure “criminal” issues.
    We are experiencing an increase in traffic fatalities and injuries.
    Evidently Vision Zero is fatally flawed as a tool for enacting changes in people’s harmful behaviors.
    It has not changed drivers’ reckless speeding, running stop signs, failing to yield to people in crosswalks, or committing hit-runs in the Richmond District.
    Motorists now seek to take away the few measures public officials put into place to scaffold Vision Zero into a successful platform bringing down traffic injuries and deaths.
    Motorists are now on the warpath to obliterate any and all car free spaces contributing to Vision Zero’s success.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul Slade. If I wanted to revisit the Dick Tracy Crime stoppers 1950’s I would dig up my old comic books or hitch a ride on the Way Back Machine. Sorry, Dude. Those idyllic days of San Francisco are long gone. If they ever existed. That’s debatable.


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