Senator Joni Ernst, a GOP legislator from Indiana, just called for the General Services Administration, which manages many federal buildings across the country, to shut down San Francisco’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building over the crime, particularly open-air drug dens, surrounding it.
In the letter, sent to GSA’s Administrator Carnahan, Ernst noted the danger the drug situation poses to employees of the office, along with being a mental and physical health hazard due to the frequent overdoses that occur in the area.
Beginning the letter, she wrote, “Dear Administrator Carnahan, The same day President Biden’s White House Chief of Staff called on agencies to return federal employees to their offices, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advised hundreds of employees working at the Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in San Francisco to stop coming to the office “for the foreseeable future” due to safety concerns with crime and violence outside.”
Continuing, she added details on what the situation has turned into, saying, “The General Services Administration (GSA), which manages the property, spent $3 million redesigning the building’s public plaza “in order to maximize its use by the community and employees.” When the new plaza opened less than two years ago, GSA stated it would “create a new safe space for public gatherings and education.” The exact opposite is occurring. The plaza is a dangerous, open-air drug market, with addicts shooting up, snorting, and smoking drugs in plain view.”
Further describing the post-apocalyptic-like scene surrounding the building, Sen. Ernst said, “Drug users pass out on the public benches and used needles litter the ground. Overdosing is “a commonplace horror,” with nearly 150 suspected overdoses— including more than 30 deaths—on the block surrounding the Federal Building reported in the first half of this year. Dozens of dealers show up daily, one of which opened fire with a gun near the building recently.”
And, deflecting the claim that some less extreme measures than putting up fencing will fix the situation, Ernst said, ‘While fencing has been put up, addicts and dealers still hang out around the plaza. According to its designer, the building was set up to represent “the way government should be and how the workplace should be.'”
She also turned the situation into a larger critique of government policy, saying, “Ironically, the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building is instead a symbol of the way government doesn’t work, with offices and workplaces largely empty due to drug and crime problems resulting from the misguided policies of the state and city governments. ‘The building has long been a locus of some of the city’s most intractable problems,’ reports The San Francisco Chronicle. Security around the building has long been a concern of employees and neighbors. ‘Almost since day one, they’ve complained that the plaza conceived as a community hub was uninviting at best, squalid and dangerous at worse.‘”
Finally, ending her argument with a few horrifying stories that summarize the terrible situation faced by the building’s employees, Sen. Ernst said, “Federal employees report having knives pulled on them and one was chased with a hammer. Working at a Department of Health and Human Services building shouldn’t be a risk to someone’s health, or life!“
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