Leftist San Francisco Supervisor Admits City Has A Homeless Problem, Blames Capitalism
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 05: Supervisor Dean Preston introduces resolution calling for cease-fire in Israeli attacks on Gaza, which Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wait in line to comment during a Board of Supervisors meeting at City Hall in San Francisco, California, United States on December 5, 2023.
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images

As San Francisco continues to take heat for its growing homelessness and drug problem, at least one elected official blames capitalism for the crisis in his neighborhood. 

Leftist Supervisor Dean Preston, representing the city and county of San Francisco, acknowledged the homelessness problem in his neighborhood. The Democratic socialist oversees San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, notorious for its open-air drug markets, retail theft, and homeless encampments, which accounts for around half of the city’s homeless population per a 2022 count, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

“I think what you’re seeing in the Tenderloin is absolutely the result of capitalism and what happens in capitalism to the people at the bottom rungs,” Preston told Freddie Sayers of UnHerd in an interview. 

“The biggest driver of why folks are on the street is because they lost their jobs, income or were evicted from their homes, usually for not being able to pay the rent,” the supervisor added, according to The New York Post. “So you have major landlords literally causing folks to lose their homes, and real estate speculation making it impossible for folks to find an affordable place to live.”

Preston also criticized the city for arresting people who were using drugs in broad daylight, arguing that San Francisco’s approach to the issue has been “inconsistent.” The city reported a record of drug overdoses in August as 84 people died from overdoses in the month, equating to about five deaths every two days. San Francisco is on pace to hit more than 800 drug overdoses in 2023, which would pass the record set in 2020 when 720 died from overdoses. 

“I think it’s completely counterproductive to be arresting people for doing drugs,” Preston said. “Like, what’s the objective?” 

Sayers pressed Preston on how the issue could be resolved if he’s against enforcing laws against homeless encampments and drug use in the city. 

“The thing is, it has gotten worse, right? Because the approach that we’ve taken is very inconsistent as a city,” Preston responded. “Ramping up enforcement activities, whether it’s … sweeps of homeless people or drug use, doing a series of arrests, usually timed with some news cycle and then a few days later, a few weeks later, a few months later, the same thing happens.” 


Preston also wants to take more money away from the city’s police department, saying he would cut $100 million out of “the very bloated police budget.” San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed pledged to redirect $120 million away from the police budget in 2020 to support social justice causes in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing riots and demonstrations across the country. A year later, however, Breed submitted an emergency request to the Board of Supervisors for additional police funding as San Francisco faced a troubling shortage of officers.

Preston made headlines earlier this year when he suggested that San Francisco encourage tourists to keep belongings out of their cars, arguing the strategy would reduce car break-ins. A clip of Preston’s comments drew criticism from many people, including Tesla and X owner Elon Musk, who promised to donate $100,000 to help unseat Preston. 

“Dean Preston needs to be fired,” Musk wrote on X in September. “He is arguably the person most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco.”

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