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The Problem With Jon Stewart

Rethinking Crime and Punishment With San Francisco’s Mayor

Wed Mar 29 2023
  • Bobby Slatonist was a famous comedian from San Francisco who took the speaker as his opening act in New York.

  • The podcast features John Stewart, London Brie, and writers Chris and Jimovich discussing various topics such as cancel culture and indictments, as well as Kanye West's opinions on Hitler and Pete Davidson.

  • The area around the courthouse is barricaded and filled with reporters, making it difficult for people to get to work. The hosts discuss the possibility of Donald Trump being indicted and imagine him arriving at his indictment via escalator. They also talk about AI-generated images of Trump being arrested in various styles. One host mentions a personal upcoming medical procedure and expresses a desire for an AI chatbot to handle the preparation process.

  • Jay Jordan, a passionate advocate for incarcerated individuals, was a guest on the show and impressed the hosts with his tenacity and story. San Francisco's complex issues are not limited to cities or political affiliations, and Mayor London Breed is a tenacious leader who takes criticism but continues to work towards solutions.

  • The guest grew up in San Francisco in public housing and faced challenges with poverty, crime, and police. They do their work to change outcomes for families who have grown up in similar circumstances. The guest believes in reforming the police rather than completely defunding them. They want fairness in treatment with law enforcement and to not be singled out. George Floyd's death brought more people together to express disapproval and frustration about racial inequality, which was a norm for African Americans.

  • San Francisco invested $60 million in the African American community through the Dream Keeper Initiative to bring about change and support. The quality of life argument is generally focused on gentrified areas rather than poorer neighborhoods, but Mayor Harris believes that all neighborhoods should be improved for all people. Mayor Harris has taken aggressive measures to tackle issues in neglected communities, including advocating for the arrest of fentanyl drug dealers and forcing people into treatment.

  • San Francisco's city council has members who claim to carry the torch for progressive values, but they often push against recommendations made by those living in poor communities. The root issue of homelessness and drug use in San Francisco requires a combination of solutions, including permanent supportive housing, wraparound services for mental illness and substance use, and new affordable housing developments. Open air drug dealing and fentanyl use are killing people at higher rates than during the COVID pandemic, making it necessary to focus on safe consumption sites.

  • Poverty and lack of opportunities are major factors contributing to the struggle with addiction and mental illness in cities like San Francisco. Providing safe consumption sites and making treatment more accessible can help address the issue, but it is a complex problem that requires meeting people where they are and providing support for those who need it most. The resources and willpower needed to tackle this crisis are immense, and interventions must happen earlier in the cycle to have a real impact.

  • San Francisco is struggling to address the mental health and substance abuse crisis, and needs help from state and federal government. The city needs more mental health facilities to provide care for those suffering from schizophrenia, dementia, and other issues that prevent them from taking care of themselves. Jails are being used to house mentally ill individuals who should be receiving treatment instead.

  • The current system of relying on crime as the only lever of intervention for those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse is flawed, and there needs to be a better way to support those without resources or family. There should be some level of force involved in providing services and care for people who cannot take care of themselves, especially seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's who may resist help. While there is no perfect model for getting people back to a place of function, it is important to recognize that people value flexibility in decision-making around their lives.

  • San Francisco has implemented alternatives to police, such as a street crisis response team and community ambassadors, to handle non-violent situations and mental health crises. This has resulted in over 15,000 calls being taken off the plate of police officers. Urban alchemy is a program of ambassadors who are former drug addicts or incarcerated individuals that communicate with people differently and offer peer-on-peer support to get them into treatment or jobs immediately.

  • San Francisco has implemented criminal justice reforms such as banning the box and eliminating fines and fees to make it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to find employment and get back on track in life. The city also offers programs to help with housing and opportunities for those looking to turn their lives around, including universal basic income programs. However, challenges remain, particularly with individuals struggling with addiction. A tiered system similar to that used for elderly care may be a potential solution for interventionist systems.

  • San Francisco has tiered programs for substance use disorder treatment, including an abstinence-based program and Delancy Street which is more intensive. The biggest challenge is the missing transition between treatment and long-term stability as it relates to housing. Housing is a big issue in San Francisco due to its high cost, but the state of California has required that the County of San Francisco build at least 82,000 units in the next eight years. This will require dramatic changes to housing policies to allow for faster construction.

  • San Francisco is working to cut down the time it takes to begin construction on housing projects, which could lead to over 50,000 units being built in the next five to eight years. Many of these units will be affordable and help with the missing middle. Mayor London Breed credits her praying grandmother and community support for helping her overcome obstacles and succeed in life.

  • The speaker reflects on the challenges she faced growing up and how she was saved by American sexism. She credits various people in her life for supporting and helping her, including Sharon at Wells Fargo Bank who gave her a job as a teller. The speaker feels honored and owes a debt of gratitude to those who helped her, which is why she works hard to turn people's lives around in the city. The speaker shares a rewarding experience of opening a 256 unit building for formerly homeless people and reconnecting them with their families.

  • San Francisco is a great city with a strong economy driven by startups and major businesses like Salesforce. The city has a 2% unemployment rate and offers job opportunities for people to thrive. While there is a need for police officers, the focus should also be on addressing core issues such as poverty and mental health, and providing alternatives to policing.

  • Mayor Breed's discussion on the humanity of people living in impoverished areas brought a new perspective to the conversation and highlighted the need for community-based governance. Poverty has an incumbency that needs to be overcome, and it takes funding, time, and diverse voices to make progress. Quality of life is important for everyone, not just those who can afford it.

  • It is difficult for people of color living in impoverished areas to take a stance on being pro or anti-police, but they are pro their neighbors and want them to feel safe. Society tends to only intervene when a crisis has already reached its peak, rather than addressing issues before they escalate. The hosts thank Mayor London Breed and guest Jay Jordan for their time on the podcast, which is available on Apple TV+.