San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston Targets Capitalism as Source of City’s Homelessness Issue

Dean Preston | Source:

San Francisco’s District 5 Supervisor, Dean Preston, has strongly linked the city’s prevalent homelessness issue to the effects of capitalism.

Preston, a Democrat and self-identified socialist, stated that the crisis is “absolutely the result of capitalism,” and criticized the actions of arresting individuals for open drug use as “counterproductive.”

District 5, overseen by Preston, encompasses the Tenderloin District, notorious for its rampant open-air drug trade. In 2022, almost half of San Francisco’s homeless population resided in this area, as per information from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Preston highlighted how his district is especially impacted by homelessness due to the country’s economic model. He was quoted in a documentary by UK organization UnHerd saying, “I think what you’re seeing in the Tenderloin is absolutely the result of capitalism and what happens in capitalism to the people at the bottom rungs”.

Preston further elaborated on the roots of homelessness in the interview. He pointed out that job loss, eviction, and inability to pay rent were key factors pushing people onto the streets. He criticized property owners and real estate speculators for contributing to the housing affordability crisis.

Preston expressed his disagreement with San Francisco’s “inconsistent” policy of arresting drug users and clearing homeless camps, labeling these actions as “completely counterproductive” and exacerbating the situation. According to him, such measures have not made the city safer, but instead, led to an increase in overdoses.

Preston also downplayed the worries of local citizens and business proprietors about the encampments and widespread drug dealing. He argued that not all instances of poverty, addiction, or behavioral health issues pose a safety risk.

The supervisor also reaffirmed his support for reducing funding for law enforcement in San Francisco. He claimed that the police budget was excessively large and prone to wastage, suggesting that he could cut $100 million from the department.

Preston faced significant criticism in May after proposing a law prohibiting security guards from using their weapons for property crimes, a time when many retailers and residents are leaving the city due to safety concerns. In September, Tesla CEO Elon Musk accused Preston of being “most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco.”

In response, Preston defended his record, stating: “I’m a Democratic socialist who has successfully stopped thousands of evictions, housed homeless families and taxed the rich to raise hundreds of millions of $ for affordable housing”. He added, “It’s no surprise that a right-wing billionaire like Musk doesn’t like me.”