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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
1 Jul 2023

NextImg:San Francisco Is Losing Its Unique Culture to a ‘Vocal, Punitive Minority': Former Resident

The culture in San Francisco has changed from one of diverse viewpoints and backgrounds to one of oppressive, polarizing politics, according to a former resident who left to raise her family in Denver, Colorado.

“It’s hard to describe how much I loved it,” Jennifer Sey, former brand director for Levi’s and longtime resident of San Francisco before leaving two years ago, said on a recent episode of EpochTV’s California Insider. “I’ve never felt at home in a place like I did in San Francisco.”

She said the city she moved to was special because it was tolerant, a mixture of perspectives and income levels blending to form a unique community.

“It’s always been known for its progressive politics, and I liked that,” she said. “Until recently, I would have considered myself left of center.”

The arrival of COVID marked a distinct change in the direction of the city’s culture, with stay-at-home orders in 2020 leading to the closure of schools and many businesses.

Proof of vaccination was required for in-person dining and entertainment, effective August 2021, and remained in place until March 2022.

“It’s become a place of such aggressive conformity,” Sey told host Siyamak Khorrami. “And if you don’t uphold whatever the far-left narrative is, if you dare to ask questions, you will be smeared and vilified and pushed out of your job, and this is not the place I fell in love with.”

Public schools were closed for more than a year in San Francisco during the pandemic, though private schools were not subject to the same mandates, and many chose to remain open.

“Rich kids went to $60,000 a year private schools while poor kids were stuck home alone,” Sey said. “It’s gross, and it’s hypocritical.”

Additionally, all parks, beaches, hiking trails, and playgrounds were closed for nine months in the city during 2020.

“Anything that would be healthy for young people, they weren’t allowed to do,” Sey said. “It just became an unlivable place.”

Residents in the city were also asked to report violators of such mandates, with some neighbors calling police when they noticed visitors at other people’s homes and families using public spaces.

“My family probably had the police called on us at least 10 times for playing at a basketball court or a park that was empty,” she said. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see something like this in the United States.”

Witnessing the impact on her children and other residents, Sey chose to speak out about what she saw as unjust policies, an action that ultimately cost her a 23-year career as an executive with the company she loved.

As a former self-identified progressive, Sey said the leadership in the city has turned her away from the left’s political agenda.

“Lockdown during COVID was the policy of the far-left, even though it was harmful to the working class and children,” she said. “It was the most harmful … to the people they claim to be protecting.”

Citing evidence of dropping academic performance, an exodus of businesses and people out of San Francisco, and skyrocketing crime rates, Sey said the responsibility lies with those that mandated lockdowns.

“It was very clear from the beginning that the data did not suggest [the lockdown] was necessary,” she said. “Even if it did, I would argue it’s a violation of our basic human rights.”

While the one-party town is ruled by a Democratic supermajority, Sey said she believes most San Francisco residents are opposed to its current soft-on-crime public safety policies, which, she says, endanger the city.

“You have a small, very vocal minority of ideological left-wing activists … and it casts all the other citizens into silence,” she said during the 30-minute interview. “Most of the people there think a lot of it is crazy nonsense, but everyone’s afraid of this vocal, punitive minority.”

Those that do speak up are often faced with retaliation and ad hominem attacks, Sey said.

“You’re [labeled] an evil bigot that needed to be silenced … just for asking the question: ‘Are we sure this is the right thing to do?’” she said.

With homelessness and retail crime plaguing the city, Sey said she is concerned the future of San Francisco could be even worse.

“Unless they course correct and make it livable for families and law-abiding citizens, that’s the inevitable result,” she said. “Their policies aren’t working. I don’t know why anyone is following the lead of San Francisco or California more broadly, and if the states continue, they’ll experience the same failings.”