In San Francisco, rampant crime, soaring costs and a broken government are driving residents into the streets -- or out of state. Big Story reports on the unraveling of America’s largest economy.
San Francisco: From the Gold Rush boom to the Silicon Valley era, California’s “city by the bay” has long symbolized the prosperity of the American West, and the promise of new beginnings. Today, this city at the heart of America’s largest economy has become a representation of urban decay and government dysfunction. A place where the American Dream is dying in plain sight — as thousands of drug addicts and legions of poor are condemned to live on the streets .
In San Francisco, diminished police enforcement and a divided city council have left the city hostage to a crime epidemic, where brazen theft and assault are commonplace. In the Bay Area, streets are swelling with homeless who can no longer afford rising rents and health care, while tech entrepreneurs walk past them and promise to solve the world’s problems. Local officials have access to the largest tax base in the U.S. but remain hamstrung by infighting and party politics as more residents decamp to other states. The symptoms of staggering inequality continue to spread, and this once great city is becoming more and more unlivable.
As California’s urban crisis deepens, Big Story explores its most embattled city to understand the roots of its troubles. Can the Sunshine State turn itself around? Or are we witnessing a slow and irreversible descent into an American dystopia?