San Francisco voters will decide in Tuesday’s election the fate of Proposition C, a measure that could generate $300 million in additional services for the homeless by increasing corporate taxes on the largest companies in the city. Contrary to expectations in one of the country’s most liberal cities, some progressive leaders are urging residents to vote no.
Historically, San Francisco has been at the forefront of liberal causes, such as the anti–Vietnam War protests or the LGBTQ-rights movement. San Francisco County overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 with almost 85 percent of the vote. Although the city prides itself on its progressive values, extreme wealth and poverty are on display, as homelessness is the city’s most visible problem. The endless shelter lines, panhandling on Market Street, and encampments across the city represent a fraction of the 7,500 homeless people who call San Francisco home, 58 percent of whom are unsheltered.
While disruption fuels the tech giants of Silicon Valley, the residual impact is widespread gentrification throughout the Bay Area. Companies*, like Twitter,* set up shop in the city after they were offered significant tax breaks, bringing with them thousands of jobs, but also exacerbating inequality.* In San Francisco, the median cost of a house is $1.57 million and the average salary for someone working in tech is $142,000, almost three times the national average. Over the years, as the titans of Silicon Valley have grown in wealth and unchecked power, the homeless have languished.