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Disserving San Francisco

Terence P. Jeffrey on

When I was a boy growing up in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, my mom enforced an unwavering wardrobe rule on my brothers and me: When we went downtown in the city, we had to wear a suit and tie.

We did not have to dress that way in the suburbs or in the peripheral residential neighborhoods of the city. Nor did this dress code apply when we went to sporting events such as a 49ers or a Giants game, or to a high school football or basketball game.

And, of course, it did not apply when we took walks along Ocean Beach or had picnics in Golden Gate Park.

But it did apply when we ventured into the central business and shopping districts in the northeastern quadrant of the city. This was especially true when we went Christmas shopping at Union Square.

Late last Friday afternoon, I took a drive around San Francisco and through downtown. I noticed along the way that barriers had been placed on a few streets to discourage or prevent driving down them.

I ultimately arrived at Union Square and drove by the Macy's on Geary Street and the site of the now-defunct Blum's restaurant, where my mother used to take us for sandwiches and cake -- when we were wearing our suits and ties.

 

Next door to that Macy's there is now a Louis Vuitton shop. It became a focus of national attention, just hours after I drove by it, when a group of robbers smashed their way into it, grabbed whatever goods they could and then were apprehended by police as they tried to get away.

Now, flashback to the California election in November 2014, when Proposition 47 was on the ballot and was approved by 59.6% of the state's voters.

One of its primary beneficiaries: shoplifters.

The day after its passage, the Sacramento Bee ran a story that summarized this new California law as follows: "The initiative rewrites penalties for crimes such as grand theft, shoplifting, receiving stolen property, writing bad checks, check forgery and drug possession.

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