Is there something strange in the drinking water in San Francisco? Perhaps a toxic spill near the city has sent a plume of brain-wasting chemicals that has settled upon the unsuspecting citizens. Long known as a bastion of Liberalism, the home of the most radical Progressive, ex-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco never ceases to bring the most lame-brain ideas forward.
The City’s Human Rights Commission held hearings this week to consider legislation to make ex-cons and felons a protected class; in San Francisco that’s a rather long list starting with categories such as people with disabilities, pregnant women, African-Americans and their infamous LBGT (Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Gay and Transgendered for those who have been living a sheltered life) residents. The proposal, if it becomes law, prohibits landlords and employers from asking applicants about their criminal past. Makes sense…in some bizarro world.
Why would a possible employer wish to know about a person’s criminal past? Just because they might be handling money, controlled substances or have access to confidential information doesn’t seem warrant a few questions relative to someone’s past actions; at least not in the land of medicinal pot for poison ivy.
Those who support the law believe it is necessary to assist former offenders get back on their feet. There was a time when ex-cons got $25, a new suit and a pat on the back.
Andrew Long, board member of the San Francisco Apartment association said, “My mother is an immigrant, my mother-in-law is a Jew and I’m a gay man. Those are all protected categories, but you’re going to put a felon in there as a protected category? That’s not right.”
As Sammy Davis once famously sung, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” It’s all about dealing with the ramifications of one’s actions. Ex-cons complain that doors are immediately closed to them by both landlords and employers who won’t give those who’ve served time a chance to prove they’ve changed. Perhaps a little forethought might have prevented the situation in the first place?
Many who’ve made a mistake in life serve their time and return to society having learned a hard lesson. The stain of a criminal conviction means forever you’ll be treated as a second class citizen. Employers don’t want to hire ex-cons, whether that time in their life is behind them or not, because hiring someone is often a crap-shoot at best. Armed with information about a job candidate’s criminal past has always been a major strike against a potential new hire; but not if San Francisco gets its way.
Perhaps had San Francisco a better record at returning ex-cons into society it might make a speck of sense. Unfortunately San Francisco has the highest recidivism rate of any big city in California: nearly 80 percent. If the best an employer could hope for when hiring any ex-felon was 50/50, should this become law in San Francisco employers and landlords will be faced little better odds than a toss-of-the-dice that their new hire or tenant will be an ex-con that getting ready for another stint in the “big house.”
California’s current budget crisis means thousands of criminals will be released shortly and may well stand on equal footing in employment and housing with the law-abiding citizens of the city. Yet in their search for social justice supporters argue felons need protections so they’re not disqualified simply because of their record. Should this become law, the citizens of San Francisco can expect the majority of those released from California prisons to become their new neighbors.
San Francisco is a beautiful city. The weather beats most places in the country, but let’s get real. This only means that the bigger employers will hire outside the city, where they stand a chance of hiring someone with a clean record and the little guy, as usual, will get screwed. San Francisco landlords, well, you’re pretty much out of luck.