The ever-progressive city of San Francisco is now allowing people to urinate on the sidewalk.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that San Francisco’s superior court judges have scrapped 66,000 warrants since 2011 for various quality of life crimes, including peeing and sleeping on the sidewalk as well as being publicly intoxicated.
Presiding judge John Stewart told the Chronicle‘s editorial board that their reasoning was that it was pointless to enforce the laws because the homeless aren’t able to afford the fines.
“You’re putting somebody in jail because they’re poor and can’t pay a fine,” Stewart said. “We got a lot of criticism, but we thought it was the right thing to do.”
San Francisco has long been plagued by the foul stench of urine. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders explained just how bad the the problem was in a 2015 column, via the American Spectator:
How bad is the urine situation in San Francisco? This is not a joke: Monday night, a light pole corroded by urine collapsed and crashed onto a car, narrowly missing the driver. The smell is worse than I have known since I started working for The Chronicle in 1992. It hits your nose on the BART escalator before you reach Market Street. That sour smell can bake for blocks where street people sleep wrapped in dirty blankets.
Mayor Ed Lee told Saunders that the public urination issue stems from street drug use that causes irrational behavior, like peeing on a sidewalk.
Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw points out that it is a problem when homeless people who are mired in drug addiction aren’t able to afford the fines that come from crimes like public urination, so they have to spend a brief amount of time in jail before going back on the streets that they pee on. But the solution isn’t to ignore the law.
“A judge has essentially decriminalized behavior which is against the law,” Shaw wrote. “That’s not how it works, your honor. That’s not how any of this works.”