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WEEKEND Sports stars slam San Francisco over crime, homelessness – Washington Examiner

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WEEKEND Sports stars slam San Francisco over crime, homelessness – Washington Examiner


SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco‘s bad rap as a city overrun with criminals, addicts, and the homeless has led to big business, residents, and tourists looking for the exit ramp.

Now, its lengthy list of problems is being blamed for driving away professional athletes considering signing with the city’s professional sports teams.  

The Northern California hub has been getting hammered by former NBA star-turned-sportscaster Charles Barkley who has been asked to rein in his smack talk but has refused to pull punches about the conditions. Barkley, never one to be shy about his opinion, recently went on an anti-San Francisco rant after it was announced the city would host the NBA All-Star Game in 2025.

FILE – In this June 24, 2019, file photo, Charles Barkley arrives at the NBA Awards (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

“Hey Reggie, if you had a chance to be in the cold [in Indianapolis] or be around a bunch of homeless crooks in San Francisco, which would you take?” Barkley asked Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller, who was announcing the game with him on TNT. 

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When commentator Taylor Rooks said off-camera, “We love San Francisco,” Barkley shot back, “No, we don’t,” prompting a back-and-forth with Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green about safety in the city. When Green said anyone could walk around unharmed on the city streets, Barkley sarcastically agreed, saying the statement was true as long as the person was wearing “a bulletproof vest.” 

It wasn’t the first time Barkley has gone after San Francisco.

When Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks was delayed in 2022 due to a leak from the roof of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Barkley claimed, “You know the bad thing about all this rain? It’s not raining in San Francisco to clean up all those dirty-ass streets they got there … all that dirtiness and homelessness, y’all, man, y’all gotta clean that off the streets.” 

But it’s not just Barkley who has a problem with San Francisco. 

Former San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey, who is now a member of the Giant’s ownership group, raised eyebrows when he claimed baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani might have chosen the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Giants because of the city’s drug and crime problem. He claimed in an interview with The Athletic that safety is among the top concerns free agents consider before signing. 

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San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey, right, slides to score in front of Washington Nationals catcher Jesus Flores in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in San Francisco. Posey scored on a single by Giants' Brandon Belt. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey, right, slides to score in front of Washington Nationals catcher Jesus Flores in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) | Ben Margot

“Something I think is noteworthy, something that unfortunately keeps popping up from players and even the players’ wives, is there’s a bit of an uneasiness with the city itself, as far as the state of the city, with crime, with drugs,” Posey said. “Whether that’s all completely fair or not, perception is reality. It’s a frustrating cycle, I think, and not just with baseball. Baseball is secondary to life and the important things in life. But as far as a free-agent pursuit goes, I have seen that it does affect things.”

While there are some notorious parts of San Francisco like the Tenderloin district, the area around Oracle Park, where the Giants play, is among the safest in the city. It’s within walking distance of luxury 5-star hotels, boutiques, and upscale restaurants and breweries. There is also plenty of public transportation and for the most part is well lit. 

Players line up on the field before a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Miami Marlins in San Francisco, Friday, April 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Despite the high-profile criticism, more and more people are coming to the city’s defense. 

Infielder Matt Chapman signed a three-year, $54 million deal with the Giants this month and said he purposely “chose to come [to San Francisco.]”

“I think everybody’s different, everybody has different things that matter to them, but I’m from California,” he said. “I played in the Bay Area. I’m comfortable here. And people say what they say, but I think at the end of the day when you look at the franchise, they want to win.”

Chapman added that he doesn’t “see why people wouldn’t want to come here” and that  “a lot of people have reached out and said they want to come play here and told me that.”

In December, the Giants signed South Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee. His agent, Scott Boras, also pushed back on claims that athletes were keeping away from San Francisco.

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“There are issues including homelessness near the ballpark in San Diego, in downtown L.A,” Boras told NBC Sports. “To identify that only with San Francisco is really unfair. In any of the major cities, we’ve got issues. Chicago, New York, whatever. The players’ major focus is the structure of the organization and winning and competing. The biggest issue the Giants have is the fact that the Dodgers are getting better. Players want to know if they come here, will they be able to compete with the Dodgers? And now Arizona. That’s the real major question that San Francisco has to answer.”

City leaders have also come to San Francisco’s defense.

Democratic mayoral candidate Ahsha Safai told SFGATE that while the city was solid, it still has room to improve, like the three teams Barkley played for during his 16 years in the NBA. 

“We have the talent, we have the desire — we just need a new head coach to lead our city!” Safai said. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

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Kyle Smeallie, chief of staff to District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, offered up what he thought set Barkley off about San Francisco in the first place.

“Our city rules — big baby Barkley is just mad he never got a ring,” Smeallie said, adding that the Warriors have seven NBA championships under their belt.



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Once estimated to cost $1.7 million, San Francisco’s long-mocked toilet is up and running

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Once estimated to cost $1.7 million, San Francisco’s long-mocked toilet is up and running


A San Francisco restroom once estimated to cost $1.7 million is now up and running for the public after the city received criticism, jokes and a generous donation.

San Francisco Recreation and Parks opened the single public restroom in the Noe Valley neighborhood after receiving a donation that cut the city’s cost to under $200,000, Daniel Montes, the city agency’s communication manager, told USA TODAY in an email.

“The bathroom has been well received by the Noe Valley community, and we’re happy to finally provide some relief for parkgoers,” Montes said.

Public Restroom Company’s and Volumetric Building Companies’ donations equate to a combined $425,000 and include a prefabricated modular restroom and all associated installation work, the city agency said in a January 2023 news release. Public Restroom Company, a Nevada-based business, also donated a toilet previously used for demonstration purposes in trade shows.

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“The gift also allows Rec and Park to save approximately $491,000 in design, construction management and other regulatory and design review costs,” according to the release.

San Francisco Rec and Park criticized for $1.7 million restroom

Before the donation, the city received criticism from community members who thought the restroom would be paid entirely by state funding, San Francisco Rec and Park said in the release. The initial “rough estimate” for the custom-designed and custom-built restroom at Noe Valley Town Square was $1.7 million with a two-year timeline, according to the city agency.

The donation will save the city $115,500 on construction, $91,800 in project management fees and $90,000 in architecture and engineering fees, San Francisco Rec and Park said.

“We are thrilled to accept this generous donation, which will allow us to deliver this important project to the Noe Valley community,” Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco Rec and Park, said in the release. “… It’s not easy navigating the city’s contracting and construction process, which of course is of small consolation when your 2-year-old needs a diaper change. We will fully support efforts by our city’s leaders to make small public works projects like this one − which aren’t always saved by philanthropy − less costly and more efficient to deliver.”

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Bill Maher, San Francisco residents find humor in the installation of $1.7 million restroom

Although the city received a donation to cover some expenses, the public and celebrities still made jokes about a restroom estimated to cost $1.7 million.

Comedian Bill Maher spoke about the bathroom in February 2023 on his talk show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which he reposted on Facebook. He called San Francisco the “poop capital of the world” and said the problem he has with the government is that it does not disclose other expenses needed for projects which “sucks the money out of America.”

One commenter under Maher’s clip on Facebook joked about cashing out on the new restroom.

“Imma gonna use it, slip and fall, and sue the city for $14 million,” the commenter said.

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San Francisco residents even found the idea of a $1.7 million toilet humorous when they held the “Toilet Bowl” on Sunday to commemorate the bathroom’s installation.

“We wanted to, you know, really roll with it,” Zach D’Angelo, dressed as a giant roll of toilet paper with a red plunger as his hat, told the New York Times at the event. D’Angelo stepped away from hosting trivia at a pub down the street to be the event’s emcee, or what he called “the Grand Poobah,” the outlet reported.

“I am flush with excitement!” D’Angelo told the outlet, before he began telling toilet jokes his 7-year-old nephew came up with.



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San Francisco Public Toilet Once Priced At $1.7M Opens To Fanfare, Relief For Lowered Cost

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San Francisco Public Toilet Once Priced At $1.7M Opens To Fanfare, Relief For Lowered Cost


April 22, 2024

People in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood celebrated the opening of a public toilet on Sunday that made headlines for its $1.7 million estimated cost before eventually being built for much less.

About 100 people packed Noe Valley Town Square to celebrate a brand-new bathroom that drew international mockery in 2022 for the astronomical price tag. The public outcry forced the city to flush that idea down the toilet.

“Noe Valley, let’s hear it for our ‘not-1.7-million-dollar-bathroom,’” declared event organizer Leslie Crawford to the cheering crowd.

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Bay Area Jewish community prepares for celebratory, yet somber Passover

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Bay Area Jewish community prepares for celebratory, yet somber Passover


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — As calls continue to bring the hostages home, the Bay Area Jewish community is preparing for a celebratory yet somber Passover Monday.

“I really hope that this holiday is what really brings us together is our humanity and compassion for each other,” said Berkeley resident Yael Nidam Kirsht, who is still holding out hope Hamas will release her brother-in-law. “We are struggling, we are working, we are doing everything we can”

“It is very difficult this year knowing so many are not free,” said Rabbi Mark Bloom of Temple Beth Abraham. “We’re about to celebrate a festival of freedom and our brothers and sisters in Israel are actually in hostage situations.”

And he says despite the weight of the October 7 attack on Israel, they will celebrate.

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MORE: Calls to ‘bring them home’ continue for Israeli hostages 6 months after Hamas attack

“Having known many holocaust survivors – they say celebrate when you can no matter the circumstances,” said Rabbi Bloom, adding people are finding ways to remember the hostages.

“Leaving an empty chair for those who can’t celebrate Passover. I have other people I know who are putting these mini chairs in the center of the table.”

“You know, usually we leave out a cup of wine for Elijah but I’m leaving it out just in case a hostage comes back and wants to join us,” said Oren Rubinstein, a Pacifica resident. He lost a cousin on Oct. 7 and had two other loved ones held hostage both freed and he’s hoping the same for the others.

“I think Passover is the perfect time to really demonstrate our hope that they are free and that they are safe,” Rubinstein said.

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And across the U.S., the FBI is warning of possible threats.

MORE: FBI on alert for threats to the Jewish community ahead of Passover, director says

“I want you to know that we at the FBI are closely tracking these very real threats that have your communities on edge and we’re actively hitting back at the perpetrators full force. “Christopher Wray, FBI Director.

Meanwhile in Oakland, Rabbi Bloom says they’re upping protections.

“We’re having private security, we’re installing upgraded glass, we’re making every door is very secure, getting codes, all these things,” he said.

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And with precautions are in place, he’s hopeful for a peaceful Passover.

“You just never know so it is in the back of our minds, but we’ve been reached out to by our friends, and our neighbors, and the police and we think we’re going to be safe here,” Rabbi Bloom said.

If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.



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