Kids and San Francisco

"San Francisco risks turning into Venice, Italy — a beautiful tourist town with few long-term residents and no families." — Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, quoted in the Washington Post

The Washington Post has a piece on kids and San Francisco. I guess all the families are bolting from the city — Where Did All the Children Go? Who can blame them? I can’t. My view of the city has changed substantially since my little kid came alone.

I’ve loved living in San Francisco for a few years, but with a child now I can’t see what the city has to offer us anymore. I mean, really. If you are not rich and can’t afford to live in the very best parts of town it’s a very different San Francisco indeed. The funky side of the city becomes less and less endearing when you factor in the needs of a family. If you use public transportation, you have to put up with filthy buses and trains that are almost never on time. If you walk, you have to consider carefully your location because the city is violent. And if you drive, you have to watch out for the buses because the drivers are, well, somewhat aggressive, at times. Then there’s the overwhelming homeless problem that seems to have policy makers utterly stumped. Most of these unfortunate people are absolutely harmless, I get that, but I’ve had several experiences when they’ve been aggressive and come after me. Not to mention that it’s just immoral to have so many people living on the streets. Something is very wrong with the culture of San Francisco to allow this to happen. Then there are the dogs — especially the pit bulls — and the dog owners — especially the pit bull owners — who think they own the place. So much for leash laws for predatory animals in public spaces, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco is beautiful and can be a very cool city in which to live — if you are young, single, and well off. And if you have a parking space.