A local neighborhood advocate in Oakland, California, says his city is now “unlivable” due to the lax regulations about camping, the rampant theft, narcotic tourism and drug markets that abound everywhere.
In speaking with Fox News recently, Seneca Scott, who is the founder of Neighbors Together Oakland, said:
“Oakland and San Francisco have become the promised land of milk and fentanyl, and people are coming here. People who are homeless in Oakland now typically are not from here. They’re drug tourists.”
There’s even a part of West Oakland that’s now being referred to as “Fentanyl Island.” It stretches from Bush to 7th streets in Oakland, and where people have been coming to for what Scott says is basically an open-air drug market. There are dozens of vehicles that are burned out in the region, too.
As he said:
“They’re coming here for the safe and easy access to their drug of choice and the ability to also steal to support those habits because there’s no rule of law.”
In the seven years from 2015 through 2022, the overall population of homeless people in Oakland has increased by more than double, city data shows. There’s no more than 5,000 homeless people in the city.
What’s more, homelessness in the entire county that includes Oakland – Alameda County – has exploded, reaching 9,700 people over the last year, according to data from the county.
“Our homeless crisis has helped deteriorate our property value. If you combine that with the eviction moratorium and other government policies, we have a situation now where the property values of people are plummeting.”
A property manager in the city spoke with Fox News recently and said that multiple RVs lined the streets around the apartment building that she owned. Not only did it make the current apartment tenants angry, but it made it difficult for her to rent to new tenants.
Another major problem that this has caused is with fires. One person who was at the site died last year after a fire trapped them in an RV. Scott explained:
“A big part of Oakland’s homeless crisis are open-air drug markets and permissiveness of RV parking and basically anything goes for selling drugs. It’s created unlivable situations.”
Oakland’s residents believe that homelessness is one of the biggest problems that the city is facing. A recent poll found that 36% of respondents said that homelessness should be the city’s top priority in next year’s fiscal budget. In addition, 63% of respondents to that poll said they disapproved of the job that Oakland’s city government is doing in regard to homelessness.
Even the state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, said that the way the city is handling the encampments is “simply unacceptable.”
Scott said that Oakland has a very skilled labor force and great weather, but “you have a situation of homelessness that’s exploded. It’s creating a very untenable situation when it comes to our ability to have a healthy and thriving business community.”
“We have people who would love to invest in Oakland. But, as long as … our neo-progressives are in charge, who seem hell-bent on this policy, no one is going to come here.”