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SF official says homelessness crisis ‘absolutely the result of capitalism’, calls for police cuts

By Jake Beardslee · December 12, 2023

In brief…

  • San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston cited capitalism and real estate speculation as contributors to homelessness in his district.
  • He disagreed with the city's approach of conducting police sweeps of homeless encampments.
  • He reiterated calls to cut the police budget by $100 million.
San Francisco District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston cited capitalism and real estate speculation as factors in the city's homelessness crisis, while defending encampments and calling for reduced policing budgets.  SFGovTV/Wikimedia

San Francisco District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston recently stated in the documentary The Battle for San Francisco that the homelessness crisis in his district, which includes the Tenderloin, is “absolutely the result of capitalism” and what happens at the “bottom rungs” of the economic system.

Preston argued that “the biggest driver” of homelessness is people losing jobs, income, or getting evicted for inability to pay rent. He blamed “major landlords literally causing folks to lose their homes” through evictions and “real estate speculation” pricing people out.

The Democratic Socialist supervisor disagreed with the city’s “completely counterproductive” approach of inconsistent arrests of drug users and homeless encampment sweeps, which he believes has “actually made it less safe” and “increases overdoses.”

When asked about constituent concerns regarding encampments and rampant open drug use, Preston responded: “I don’t think every instance of poverty or addiction or behavioral health issue is a safety threat to someone walking by.” He argued many people “are doing things that are very harmful to themselves on the streets, who aren’t necessarily a safety threat.”

Preston also doubled down on calls to defund San Francisco law enforcement, claiming “I could cut $100 million out of the department” and calling the budget “very, very bloated” with “all kinds of waste.”

In September, Tesla CEO Elon Musk slammed Preston as “most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco,” prompting Preston to fire back defending his democratic socialist policies, asserting on X, “It’s no surprise that a right-wing billionaire like Musk doesn’t like me.”