I lost my brain in San Francisco

I lost my brain in San Francisco

Amidst the homeless and debris

To be where Lincoln now is banned 

And reparations are in demand

The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care

The Woke waits there in San Francisco

To hand out lots of cash for free

When I come home to you, San Francisco

Your grifters will be waiting for me

Tony Bennett sang about a beautiful city by the bay, back in the day, before it turned upside down, and lost its freaking mind.

San Francisco, upside down

Sure, there were some annoying “street artists” during my first visit in 1980, but there was charm, too. 

Now, there is human waste on the streets — meaning both drug zombies shooting up, and their excrement.

Before all this “progress” happened, I returned several times, once even trying to land a job with the San Francisco Examiner. I’m eternally grateful I didn’t get that job because I could not live in SF today.

Not just because the sky-high cost of living is driving the middle class to distraction, and to leave the city, but the general extreme Woke craziness that makes you wonder who is in charge and how they get elected.

[I define Woke as viewing everything through a lens of racial disparity and victimhood, with an overlay of intolerance toward opposing points of view, and traditional American values.]

Current example is the report of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee that reads like an early April Fool’s joke, except these fools are dead serious.

Here are a few of the “wants” — there are some 100 — recommended by the committee for Black residents of San Francisco — 6% of the population, not one of whom was ever enslaved:

> $5 million, tax free, for every African American who has lived in SF for at least 13 years (subject to change) and has reported themselves as Black on public records for at least a decade.  Without that guard rail you can imagine the mass migration of millions of miraculously Black people, like Rachel Dolezal, to the city.

> Since $5 mil may not be enough to scrape by on, the committee  throws in another $97,000 — a year. For 250 years.  That’s an additional $24.35 million. Per person. 

> A demand that every Black San Franciscan  live 300 years so they can spend the $24.35 million. (OK, I made that one up.)

> Every AA SF gets a home for $1. Because they can’t afford a home from that $5 million?

> Eliminate all personal and tax debt.

There’s a lot more in the 60-page report, which you can see for yourself here

What I didn’t see was what magic hat the numbers were pulled from. Why  $5 million?Why 250 years? Why $1? No clue as to how to pay for it.

Seats on the committee were reserved for a person displaced from San Francisco by gentrification, someone older than 65 living in an African-American neighborhood, descendants of anyone incarcerated “in the failed war on drugs,” someone who has been incarcerated, along with business and tech people (who no doubt attended meetings with a hand on their wallets.)

The report opens with these words: “Since the forced enslavement of people of African descent, there has been both resistance to the institution of chattel slavery and demands for redress thereof. The genetic, psychological, financial, and racial trauma experienced by Black Americans through US chattel slavery is one of the greatest  crimes against humanity perpetrated by our nation.”

That is generally true. No reasonable person denies a history of racism in America. 

What is also true is that chattel slavery of African-Americans occurred briefly during the gold rush, 1848-54. There was no slavery from the time California entered the Union in 1850, roughly eight generations ago. 

If you go to the report, you’ll see other recommendations, such as for education for Blacks, and financial support of Black institutions. Those have merit and have a chance of enactment.

The monetary awards are ridiculous, displaying the committee’s lack of self-control. It reminds me of the child, when asked what he wants for dessert, replies ice cream, and Jell-O, and pudding, and cookies, and apple crisp. 

But SF should hold off on action because the state of California is also studying reparations and that committee is supposed to report on July 1.

I’m not sure the time for reparations has arrived, but the time for discussing reparations has arrived. Particularly among those who bought the bill of goods that whiteness is a crime and who have voluntarily accepted the burden of white guilt, which is collective guilt. 

There have been circumstances in which the U.S. has paid reparations.

The most notable were the reparations paid to Japanese who were interned during World War II — $20,000 per person, and payments made to the survivors of the Tuskegee medical experiments, and their infected families. That payment took the form of medical treatment.

In each case, payments were made only to those who directly suffered, not to distant descendants.

An estimate from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution said the proposed reparations would cost each non-Black family in the city at least $600,000.

Even the most hare-brained and guilt-burdened San Franciscan will move rather than pay that amount to satisfy someone’s flight of white guilt. I am trying to imagine a system in which a white barrista must go into bankruptcy to support a Black bank executive, because the committee recommends no means testing. It assumes all Blacks are financial and emotional cripples. 

The reparation demands are so ludicrous as to invite ridicule, which they have received from coast to coast, from Left to Right.

I’m sure the committee, in its most secret of hearts, knows its ask has as much chance as a mouse swallowing an elephant. It probably thinks this is a starting point.

The taxpayers should have a starting point too: A year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni for every Black San Franciscan.

Now, let the compromises begin.

17 thoughts on “I lost my brain in San Francisco”

  1. I think ludicrous is exactly the right word. Perhaps Germany would like to pay me $5 million for the suffering caused to my parents during World War II. They survived the camps, the uprising and the war, but were never the same. I’m not holding my breath. The German people today are not to blame for the derangement that happened then.
    I loved SF in the past. I mourn for what has happened to that once lovely city.

  2. I’m right there with you SB. I was close to having a job in Los Angeles a handful of years ago. I am very happy the gods of fate steered me in another direction. I’m (semi) happily ensconced in Philly. Which is a WHOLE other story! haha

  3. Your definition of ‘woke; is perfect; I always had a problem with clearly articulating its meaning. I am going to it going forward.

  4. San Francisco should be the capital of California. Then secede from the country. We can put a perfect border right there. Whatever those people started smoking in the 60’s has finally maxed out. I’ll never set foot there again, I’m surpised that they just don’t move the Treasury Dept. there and give everyone a debit card. Is Jim Kenney looking for a home there? He’s a perfect fit.

  5. Maybe it’s time to change the opening lyrics of that tune to: “I left my fart, in San Francisco….”

  6. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I just left SF. Was there for five days and the city is just as clean as Philadelphia, and I felt way safer walking the streets there than I do in Philly today. So all this talk about filth and human excrement is way overplayed, apparently as viewed through a tiny, distorted lens some 3,000 miles away. I’m sure the city has bad spots, and there are homeless, but it’s no worse than any other city in the country I’ve visited.

    I have no explanation for this reparations idea, however. That seems a bit nutty. No argument there. But to demonize this city seems inappropriate. I had a great experience here.

  7. In the African-American community, ‘woke’ meant ‘stay educated’ But the far left & far right wingnuts twisted the meaning, so that ‘woke’ is now everything under the sun. Trumpicans call everything they hate (LGBTQ people, liberal education, Democrats…) ‘woke’.
    Ron DeSanctimonius—tough on drag queens, weak on national security.

  8. Dear Stu, Oy!
    I grew up outside of Boston, a child of the 70s. I lived in Philadelphia from 1982 to 2015. Lived the last 14 years there in Penn Valley. Loved Philly, loved Penn Valley. In 2015, I moved to San Francisco, now living 30 miles east of S.F. I love S.F., don’t miss Philadelphia, much. The last time I visited Philadelphia, December 2022, I no longer realized that I missed it. However, I went to the Poconos and listened to great jazz at The Dear Head Inn, nothing like it here. Also, miss Hymie’s deli in Bala on Montgomery Ave., nothing like that here. Also miss my coop, Weavers Way in Mt. Airy, nothing like that here.

    I Love the Poconos, yet I live 5 minutes from the mountains, Mt. Diablo. I am still fond of Philadelphia, still have friends there. Of course, I can find lots of fault with Philadelphia, the violence and the ugliness bestowed upon Center City with those mini restaurant enclosures sitting on Center City streets. In any case, SF has its issues, homelessness, expensive, etc. I would bet that living in Center City is not so cheap either.

    San Francisco has a lot of breathtaking beauty.

    I could go on and on, but rather not. Good day Mr. Bykofsky.
    Stuart W.

    P.S. why use the alleged meaningless word “woke?” Nobody knows what it really means and the Republicans throw it around like it means something. How I use “woke” for example: “I woke up this morning!” Bye

    1. Winneg, it sounds like you lost your mind in San Fransisco, no cares about your travels, lol

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