Making Sense by Michael Reagan
Here in sunny Los Angeles, it’s raining.
It’s too bad it didn’t rain real hard last Saturday.
It might have helped firefighters put out the enormous fire under the 10 Freeway near downtown before the heat weakened the pillars and forced the highway to be closed.
The fire – which officials now say was arson – erupted near a village of homeless people living in their colorful tents, trailers and sleeping bags.
It was fed by huge stacks of wood pallets that were illegally stored in the underpass.
Gov. Gavin Newsom promised the freeway will only be closed for the next month or so while repairs are made 24/7.
I’m sure that’s good news for the 300,000 drivers who were using the highway each day.
Gov. Newsom would never dare say that “houseless” persons might have had anything to do with last Saturday’s inferno. He acted like the fire was an act of nature. A lightning strike, or maybe climate change.
He didn’t seem worried about the fate of the homeless people displaced by the freeway fire.
They were a small part of the city’s 70,000-plus homeless population, and they’ll be able to easily find other underpasses and sidewalks.
That happy ending might not happen for thousands of homeless citizens who suddenly disappeared from downtown San Francisco during the last two weeks.
They were living happily in their sidewalk homesteads until China’s Xi Jinping and other leaders came to town for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
The summit has been in the international news this week for several reasons, most of them embarrassing to the United States.
The good news was President Biden met face-to-face with Xi for four hours of serious talk without needing a nap.
The bad news was later, to the horror of the State Department, Biden referred to Xi in a speech as a “dictator,” which was probably the most truthful gaffe Biden has made in years.
The other big news from San Francisco was the mystery of the missing homeless people.
Seemingly overnight, many of the city’s permanent sidewalk population disappeared. So did their drug zones, tents, sleeping bags, junk piles, used needles and feces.
City crews power-hosed sidewalks, erased graffiti, painted murals and colorful crosswalk markings, installed planter boxes with wildflowers and erected fences around the Moscone Center where the summit was being held.
Presto, San Francisco suddenly looked clean, safe and civilized again. It looked like a place tourists from Iowa and dictators from China would feel comfortable visiting.
City hall’s cosmetic overhaul wasn’t anything new. Other American cities have cleaned up themselves in advance of the Pope’s visit, a Super Bowl game or the Olympics.
San Francisco’s sweeping of its unsafe and unsightly streets and sidewalks was so dramatic and quick that even the liberal media noticed, and asked Newsom for an explanation.
Newson, who’s been busy pretending not to be running for president, actually admitted that, yes, it was true that the city he used to be mayor of cleaned up its act for the benefit of Xi and the other leaders.
It was like when you tidy up your house when you invite guests for dinner, he claimed.
I don’t know if the voters of San Francisco will ever wake up, smell the BS and dethrone the Democrats who’ve been wrecking their city for decades.
For 30 years Newsom and his ilk spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t solve the city’s homeless problem. Then Dictator Xi came to town, and a week later a thousand flower boxes bloomed.
No one seems to know where San Francisco’s homeless people went. And so far, I haven’t seen the media demanding to know if they were flown to New York City, spent the week camped out on Newsom’s estate, or what.
But San Francisco’s miracle gave me an idea for any city in America that wants to quickly solve its homeless problem.
Get the mayor to invite Dictator Xi for dinner.
Copyright 2023 Michael Reagan, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, speaker and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. Send comments to [email protected] and follow @reaganworld on Twitter.