The Greenberg Briefing: PandaGate – California Globe

In a triumphant announcement, San Francisco Mayor London Breed welcomed the agreement signed by China and the city of San Francisco to bring a pair of giant pandas to our zoo. Breed was in China, having just returned from meetings with heads of state, along with a contingent of thirty business and government leaders from San Francisco.

Breed smiled brightly in her latest post announcing the panda plan. She also recorded a video marveling at China’s high-speed rail line, praising the merits of their infrastructure investments to make citizens’ lives better and brighter. Apparently she’s quite beaten with the state of affairs in China.

Of course, she ignored China’s role in our fentanyl crisis.

Back home in San Francisco, drug dealers are slinging their fentanyl on the cheap to addicts who buy the deadly drug with taxpayer subsidies. Our police department and sheriff’s offices are both understaffed, so much so that jails are experiencing near-riots, lockdowns are required, and the National Guard is considered a tool to quell violence. City Hall is plagued by a massive annual budget deficit, which is growing even larger, and further store and restaurant closures are piling up. And besides, a report just published shows the dismal state of our zoo, both from the point of view of worker safety and animal health. Our zoo is no stranger to criticism and controversy. The voters are angry, especially with her. The contrast between the place Breed visited and where she reigns here could not be greater.

Still, amid the budget, crime, economy, safety and deteriorating conditions at the zoo, London Breed believes now is the best time to strike a new panda deal. It doesn’t matter that it’s 2024 and there will be elections in seven months. Pay no attention to Breed’s attempts to pander to the city’s Chinese voters. There is nothing wrong with spending taxpayer money to renovate existing zoo facilities – specifically to house the pandas – to the tune of $5 million plus panda leasing fees, or, alternatively, spending money to build a to build a completely new habitat for twenty million dollars. dollars.

Some yes-sayers argue that the money will be well spent on the pandas; Pandas will bring benefits including an increase in civic pride, increased tourism and stimulating the economy, offsetting initial expenses. More realistic, nay-saying residents deplore yet another nonsense of Mayor Breed’s irresponsible burning of taxpayer dollars for a wrong-time effort. We as a city are facing a humanitarian crisis in our midst and Breed and her supporters are pretending that the Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods are not overrun with tent-dwelling addicts, several of whom are dying every day. Furthermore, we put emphasis on the pandas, giving them top-notch billing, care and facilities, while the rest of the zoo’s animals and infrastructure are not up to par. It’s a delicate balance; Placing top animals in an otherwise dilapidated facility is not the best experience for tourists making a pilgrimage to the city.

Bringing in pandas requires extraordinary security. Remember the deadly disaster of 2007? The tiger disaster on Christmas Eve?

In reviewing PandaGate, the city’s legislative leaders – the San Francisco Board of Supervisors – should push back on Mayor Breed, elaborates in detail on the reasons for questioning her judgment. She needs to get our city in order first, even if that means the giant panda deal won’t be implemented until Breed is no longer in office.

Forty years have passed since the last time Chinese giant pandas stayed at the San Francisco Zoo, back in 1984 for a three-month temporary display. There are reasons for this; the zoo is unable to house such expensive and high-maintenance animals. And in this current time and place (and leadership) in 2024, San Francisco’s questionable reputation, the budget crisis at City Hall, and concerns about zoo safety all point to this Panda plan being rejected in the near future .

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