Wednesday, August 21, 2019


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Left-wing corporate media firms like The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and the Soros funded power groups want America to believe those who oppose illegal immigration are motivated by dangerous and irrational fears and racism.

Nothing could be further from the truth! The articles posted below are about many recent illegal immigration horrors which these big media corporations conceal and censor. They cover up the mass atrocities committed by illegals on US soil.

While ALIPAC tracks numerous problems associated with illegal immigration (View) in our archives at, please take a close look at the articles below which document some of the more recent horrors forced upon unsuspecting and innocent Americans by illegal immigrants and illegal immigration supported by these same power groups.

There is blood on the hands of illegal immigration and Amnesty supporters as well as the illegal immigrant perpetrators in these articles, which you can share with others by email and social media using the buttons on the site.

While we do not put these stories out to our email subscribers often, those of us who are compiling this information and building a lasting record of the crimes and victims at ALIPAC really appreciate your support. (Help us here)

It takes a great toll on our minds and hearts to immerse ourselves in this horrific information each day as we work to serve you and defend our nation through ALIPAC.

11-Year-Old Allegedly Raped Repeatedly By Two Illegal Immigrants

Family of student allegedly murdered by illegal immigrant wants justice for ‘preventable tragedy’

Suspect in crash that killed 
father of five was facing deportation

ICE: Illegal Alien Accused of Rape Allowed to Walk on Bail in Sanctuary County

Somali Wanted for Kidnapping Children as Mother’s Body is Identified

California gang members laugh in court while receiving life sentences for 
attempted murder of cop arrests illegal immigrant accused of rape 2 months after he was released on bond

34 Tons of Meth, Ingredients Seized in Western Mexico


Mexico City announced a major seizure of more than 34 tons of precursor chemicals and methamphetamine during a weekend raid in Michoacán.

en inhabilitó más de 34 toneladas y casi 47 mil litros de diversos narcóticos y precursores químicos, relacionados con el aseguramiento de laboratorios posiblemente utilizados para la fabricación de drogas sintéticas. 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

The Federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) announced the seizure, which consisted of 34 tons and approximately 12,403 gallons of precursor chemicals and methamphetamine in solid and liquid forms. The Federal Attorney General’s Office did not release a breakdown of specific substances discovered, nor the location in the state. Michoacán’s coastline provides valuable seaports for outbound product smuggling and incoming precursor loads. The chemicals were believed destined for major meth labs throughout the region.
The FGR announced that expert evidence personnel took responsibility for identifying, counting, weighing, sampling, documenting, and disabling the seized product—in addition to hazardous material cleanup tasks. The substances were transferred to a company in Mexico state that specializes in hazmat disposal under the guidance of law enforcement and military forces.
Michoacán is the center of highly disputed turf between the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) and Los Viagras’ regionally aligned gangs. Breitbart Texas recently reported on the grisly discovery of 19 corpses in Uruapan, to include nine badly beaten and tortured bodies that were hung from an overpass. The CJNG claimed responsibility and placed numerous narco-banners to that effect.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at

City Police Force in Mexican Border State Arrested for Protecting Drug Cartels

Mexican federal police arrive at crime scene. (File Photo: Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images)
File Photo: Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images

Investigators of the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office arrested 15 members of a Mexican border state municipal police force, including their commander, earlier this week for allegedly protecting drug cartels. The arrests took place in the border state of Chihuahua in the municipality of Ciudad Madera.

Investigative personnel of the Fiscalía General del Estado (FGE) de Chihuahua (state prosecutor’s office) arrested 15 members of the Municipal Police of Ciudad Madera on Wednesday. The arrest follows an attempt by the Madera police officers, led by their commander, to prevent investigators from the state prosecutors office from carrying out arrest warrants in Mesa del Huracán. The area is located in the rural community of Ejido El Largo Maderal which is in the outskirts of the municipality of Ciudad Madera.
During an operation by investigative elements of the state prosecutor’s office,  uniformed state police officers and the Mexican army approached a roadblock staged by the Ciudad Madera municipal police officers. The Madera municipal police used two official marked police vehicles and two trucks equipped with homemade armor plating to block the roadway into the area where prosecutors intended to execute search warrants. Their commander, later identified as José Luis M. M, confronted state officers by pointing a handgun at them warning them to turn around and leave the area, according to local media reports. State police and military forces disarmed the commander and 14 of his officers and placed them under arrest. Officials ordered the police commander held under investigative detention while later dismissing his 14 officers pending a future court date and further investigation, according to local media reports.
The state investigators had been attempting to carry out arrests warrants of suspected cartel gunmen who had been involved in a deadly confrontation approximately a week earlier in Las Varas —  a small rural community in the northeast section of the municipality of Ciudad Madera. At least six gunmen were killed and numerous others wounded during the armed confrontation between rival cartel affiliated gangs. These gangs operate in key drug trafficking mountainous communities along the Sonora and Chihuahua border.
The areas along the Sonora and Chihuahua border witnessed an uptick in cartel-related violence as criminal gangs affiliated with the Cartel de Juarez/La Linea battle with Sinaloa cartel affiliated criminal gangs. In some cases, criminal cells affiliated with the Sinaloa cartel are fighting amongst each other in both Sonora and Chihuahua.
Breitbart Texas reported on the discovery of a cartel camp in Northern Mexico along the Sonora/Chihuahua border, near rural Sahuaripa, Sonora, where Mexican army personnel discovered three trucks equipped with homemade armor plating — including a cloned state police vehicle. Two of the fake police vehicles featured gun turrets.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at


"While other witnesses at Mr. Guzmán’s trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn have testified about huge payoffs from traffickers to the Mexican police and public officials, the testimony about Mr. Peña Nieto was the most egregious allegation yet. If true, it suggests that corruption by drug cartels had reached into the highest level of Mexico’s political establishment."


The former president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, took a $100 million bribe from Joaquín
Guzmán Loera, the infamous crime lord known as El Chapo, according to a witness at Mr. Guzman’s trial. ALAN FEUER

“Mexican drug cartels are the “other” terrorist threat to America. Militant Islamists have the goal of destroying the United States. Mexican drug cartels are now accomplishing that mission – from within, every day, in virtually every community across this country.” JUDICIAL WATCH



"Mexican president candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador called for mass immigration to the United States, declaring it a "human right". We will defend all the (Mexican) invaders in the American," Obrador said, adding that immigrants "must leave their towns and find a life, job, welfare, and free medical in the United States."



 "Fox’s Tucker Carlson noted Thursday that Obrador has previously proposed granting AMNESTY TO MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS. “America is now Mexico’s social safety net, and that’s a very good deal for the Mexican ruling class,” Carlson added."

"Many Americans forget is that our country is located against a socialist failed state that is promising to descend even further into chaos – not California, the other one. And the Mexicans, having reached the bottom of the hole they have dug for themselves, just chose to keep digging by electing a new leftist presidente who wants to surrender to the cartels and who thinks that Mexicans have some sort of “human right” to sneak into the U.S. and demographically reconquer it." KURT SCHLICHTER

El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says

The bribe was delivered to Enrique Peña Nieto, the former president of Mexico, through an intermediary, according to a witness at the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo.

By Alan Feuer

The former president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, took a $100 million bribe from Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the infamous crime lord known as El Chapo, according to a witness at Mr. Guzman’s trial.
The stunning testimony was delivered Tuesday in a New York courtroom by Alex Cifuentes Villa, a Colombian drug lord who worked closely with Mr. Guzmán from 2007 to 2013, when the kingpin was hiding from the law at a series of remote ranches in the Sierra Madre mountains.

“Mr. Guzmán paid a bribe of $100 million to President Peña Nieto?” Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Mr. Guzmán’s lawyers, asked Mr. Cifuentes during cross-examination.

“Yes,” Mr. Cifuentes said.

Mr. Guzmán may offer more details soon. Shortly after the jury was excused around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mr. Lichtman submitted his client’s name to the prosecution as a potential witness for the defense, confirming that the drug trafficker might testify in his own trial.

Mr. Lichtman said that adding Mr. Guzman’s name to the witness list does not guarantee that he will testify. It is simply “possible.”
“If I didn’t put him on the list, it would possibly foreclose the possibility for him to testify,” Mr. Lichtman said in an interview. “So, I was just being inclusive.”

Mr. Guzmán’s testimony would be a stunning development. While his lieutenants have shared details about the Sinaloa cartel’s operations, the kingpin himself could offer even more intimate information, such as how he possibly bribed a president of Mexico.
According to Mr. Cifuentes, Mr. Peña Nieto first reached out to Mr. Guzmán about the time he was elected president in late 2012, asking the drug lord for $250 million in exchange for calling off a nationwide manhunt for him.

But Mr. Guzmán made a counteroffer, Mr. Cifuentes added, saying he would give Mr. Peña Nieto only $100 million.

“The message was that Mr. Guzmán didn’t have to stay in hiding?” Mr. Lichtman asked.

“Yes,” Mr. Cifuentes said, “that very thing is what Joaquin said to me.”

Mr. Lichtman, quoting Mr. Cifuentes’s notes from an interview he gave to American authorities in 2016, asked whether Felipe Calderón, who preceded Mr. Peña Nieto as Mexico’s president, took a bribe in 2008 from one of Mr. Guzmán’s rivals, the Beltrán-Leyva brothers.

“I don’t recall this incident very well,” Mr. Cifuentes answered. He added moments later, “Right now, I do not remember that.”

Mr. Peña Nieto and Mr. Calderón could not yet be reached for comment.

While other witnesses at Mr. Guzmán’s trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn have testified about huge payoffs from traffickers to the Mexican police and public officials, the testimony about Mr. Peña Nieto was the most egregious allegation yet. If true, it suggests that corruption by drug cartels had reached into the highest level of Mexico’s political establishment.

After testifying about the two presidents, Mr. Cifuentes rattled off other bribes that Mr. Guzmán and his allies had paid to Mexican officials. On at least two occasions, he said, the kingpin gave the Mexican military between $10 million and $12 million to launch operations to “either kill or capture” associates of the Beltrán-Leyva brothers during his war with them.

Mr. Cifuentes also said the Mexican federal police not only turned a blind eye to drug trafficking, but occasionally took part in it. Once, he told jurors, traffickers gave the police photographs of several suitcases packed with cocaine that were sent by the cartel on an airplane from Argentina to Mexico. The police picked up the suitcases from the baggage claim, Mr. Cifuentes said, and sold the drugs themselves.

All of this came on Mr. Cifuentes’s exhausting second day as a witness at Mr. Guzmán’s trial. He has already confessed to a staggering array of crimes.

On the stand, Mr. Cifuentes admitted to hatching a failed murder plot with the Hell’s Angels in Canada. He acknowledged buying plastic explosives from the widow of a Honduran drug trafficker. He said he paid a judge in Ecuador $500,000 to throw out the case of an Ecuadorean military officer accused of working with the cartel, adding that he later helped kidnap the officer when it seemed that he was cheating Mr. Guzmán.

There were lurid hints that top Mexican leaders might have been compromised by dirty money from the start of the trial in November. In his opening statement, Mr. Lichtman claimed his client had been framed for years by a conspiracy hatched by his partner, Ismael Zambada García, in league with “crooked” American drug agents and a “completely corrupt” Mexican government, including two of its presidents.

At the time, Mr. Peña Nieto and Mr. Calderón released statements calling the accusations false. The judge in the case, Brian M. 
Cogan, later cautioned Mr. Lichtman against making promises to the jury that the evidence in the case would not support.

Then, as the first week of the trial came to an end, Mr. Guzmán’s lawyers informed Judge Cogan at a sidebar conference that a coming witness, Jesus Zambada García, Ismael Zambada’s brother, would testify, if asked, that Mexican presidents had taken bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel.

But Judge Cogan forbade the testimony, citing the embarrassment it would cause to unnamed “individuals and entities” who were not directly involved in the case.

On Tuesday, however, Judge Cogan allowed Mr. Cifuentes to testify about what he knew concerning bribes to Mexican presidents with only a few interruptions.

At one point, under questioning by Mr. Lichtman, Mr. Cifuentes acknowledged that his personal assistant, Andrea Velez Fernandez, had worked for a political consultant, J.J. Rendón, who was hired by Mr. Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign. Mr. Cifuentes said Ms. Velez had once sent him photographs of “suitcases filled with cash.”

When Mr. Lichtman asked if the suitcases were “destined for Mr. Peña Nieto,” prosecutors objected on the grounds of relevance.
“Agreed,” Judge Cogan said.

After that, there was no more discussion of the suitcases.

Emily Palmer contributed reporting.



"Also, Rubin did not mention the moral responsibility of the child’s father who brought her through the desert in an apparent effort to use the catch-and-release Flores loophole to get past border guards. The loophole was created by Judge Dolly Gee who has ordered border officials to release migrants after 20 days if they bring a child with them."

Mexican Presidents Deny 

They Took Bribes from El 


  14 Nov 201898

Two former Mexican presidents publicly denied taking bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel. The statements came after the legal defense for Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera made contrary claims this week.

The drug lord is facing several money laundering and drug trafficking charges at a federal trial in New York. In his opening statement, defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman spoke of bribes “including the very top, the current president of Mexico and the former.”
Soon after the statements became public, Mexico’s government issued a statement denying the allegations. Eduardo Sanchez, the spokesman for current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said the statements were false and “defamatory.”

El gobierno de @EPN persiguió, capturó y extraditó al criminal Joaquín Guzmán Loera. Las afirmaciones atribuidas a su abogado son completamente falsas y difamatorias
— Eduardo Sánchez H. (@ESanchezHdz) November 13, 2018
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon took to social media to personally deny the allegations, claiming that neither El Chapo or the Sinaloa Cartel paid him bribes.

Son absolutamente falsas y temerarias las afirmaciones que se dice realizó el abogado de Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán. Ni él, ni el cártel de Sinaloa ni ningún otro realizó pagos a mi persona.
— Felipe Calderón (@FelipeCalderon) November 13, 2018
Under Guzman’s leadership, the Sinaloa Cartel became the largest drug trafficking organization in the world with influence in every major U.S. city.
The allegations against Pena Nieto are not new. In 2016, Breitbart News reported on an investigation by Mexican journalists which revealed how Juarez Cartel operators funneled money into the 2012 presidential campaign. The investigation was carried out by Mexican award-winning journalist Carmen Aristegui and her team. The subsequent scandal became known as “Monexgate” for the cash cards that were given out during Peña Nieto’s campaign. The allegations against Pena Nieto went largely unreported by U.S. news outlets.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon.  You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at


Should We Invade Mexico?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of
One fact a lot of Americans forget is that our country is located right up against a socialist failed state that is promising to descend even further into chaos – not California, the other one. And the Mexicans, having reached the bottom of the hole they have dug for themselves, just chose to keep digging by electing a new leftist presidente who wants to surrender to the cartels and who thinks that Mexicans have some sort of hitherto unknown “human right” to sneak into the United States and demographically reconquer it. There’s a Spanish phrase that describes his ideology, and one of the words is toro.

Foreign meddling? Mexican ex-envoy urges Mexico to sic Trump's US political opponents on him

Sic 'em!
That's the threat we read from Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. who wrote in an op-ed in the Financial Times Sunday stating that while Mexico was "the adult in the room" for placating Trump over his threat to impose tariffs if Mexico doesn't halt the border surge of late, he wanted to see Mexico get a lot tougher on the U.S. over the agreement it made.  Quite explicitly, he asked Mexico to use President Trump's domestic political opponents against him if Trump gets any tougher on Mexico for failing to keep up its end of the bargain, as the latter has vowed to do.
Mr López Obrador should not blink and kowtow as both countries ascertain whether Mexico’s efforts to deter Central American transmigration have worked. But if Mr Trump does return to the warpath, Mexico needs to hold the line and work with its many allies and stakeholders in the US to pile political pressure on the White House.
"Many allies and stakeholders in the U.S."?  Does the writer of this, the Mexican ambassador from the country's previous conservative administration (2007–2013) mean registered foreign agents?  Because he's certainly calling on Mexico's current president to ask these people to do Mexico's bidding.  Sounds like a real interesting one for the lawmen to look into, now that they are busting people on that rap for not registering these days, as Tony Podesta and Paul Manafort can attest.
Or does he mean activating and working with House speaker Nancy Pelosi?  Look how cozy he is with her, in this 2009 Cinco de Mayo celebration photo posted on one of Pelosi's own Flickr sites.
He ends his op-ed with a warning to Trump that he won't like the result if he gets any tougher with Mexico in trying get it to keep its end of the bargain in trying to halt the border surge:
In the coming weeks and months, while Mr Trump plays checkers, Mexico will need to play chess. The US has had the luxury of an ally nation at its southern border for decades. Wrecking the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and its political and economic foundations, will have a hugely detrimental impact on the bilateral relationship that has been built so painstakingly since the creation of Nafta and in the aftermath of 9-11. Mr Trump should be very careful what he wishes for.
Careful what he wishes for?  What we are reading here is a threat, from a foreign power, to activate Trump's domestic leftist enemies (and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) against him, all in the name of advancing Mexico's interests.
Sarukhan is not a Mexican official now, but as a former senior diplomat, he remains a pretty influential person linked to Mexico.  It's not far-fetched to ask if he remains in contact with the Mexican government.  We know he has some impressive buddies on that front — as well as some impressive ones over here, given his long exposure to life in the states.
The Chinese often will use someone outside government to state what they really think, while maintaining a cover of deniability.  It's quite possible Mexico is using Sarukhan through this tactic, too.
Sarukhan also is an experienced professional diplomat.  He knows how to choose his words precisely and avoid gaffes, which is the bottom-line work of diplomacy.  There is no doubt he meant to write what he wrote with that threat. 
In making a statement like this, it's quite possible to think Mexico has effectively announced that it will work to oppose the elected president to advance its own national interests.  One can only wonder what exactly they have in mind.
Whatever it is, it's foreign meddling.  So where are the Democrats' howls?  Don't hear them, at least not yet, and given that Democrats are clearly the people Sarukhan is talking about getting the help from, don't expect we will.  But it doesn't make the matter any less outrageous to voters here, who'd like to be able to choose their president for what he says he will do for them without foreign powers placing their interests ahead of them and using local pawns to get it all done.  Sunlight is about the only tool we have for now.  They're coming for our president.


“Democrat lawmakers care more about illegal aliens than they care about their own constituents,” he said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Remark on Homelessness Crisis in San Francisco Rated ‘Pants on Fire’

Gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom called on the National Rifle Assn. to take down a controversial new video that he argued villanizes political rivals and could lead to violence.
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is under fire for neglecting the homelessness crisis festering in his state.

PolitiFact recently rated one of his remarks “Pants on Fire” after he claimed that the “vast majority” of the homeless population in San Francisco comes from Texas:

“The vast majority (of San Francisco’s homeless people) also come in from — and we know this — from Texas. Just (an) interesting fact,” Newsom said during an interview with Axios on HBO in June.
“San Francisco’s own homeless surveys contradict this. They show a large majority reported living in the city before becoming homeless, and just a fraction coming in from out-of-state,” PolitiFact assessed.
It continued:
Newsom’s office pointed to data from San Francisco’s bus ticket program for homeless people. But that defense doesn’t hold up. It shows just a small fraction, less than 7 percent, left for Texas, and doesn’t demonstrate that they originally came to San Francisco from that state.
In the end, we found Newsom made a ridiculous claim.
We rated it Pants on Fire.
Newsom’s problematic remark only added to the mounting tensions in the state.
Sacramento salon owner Elizabeth Novak recently posted a viral video directed at Newsom, detailing how the unaddressed homelessness crisis in the state is affecting her business.
“I’ve had a business in downtown Sacramento for 15 years. I just want to tell you what happens when I get to work: I have to clean up the poop and the pee off of my doorstep,” she said in the viral post.
“I have to politely ask people, who I care for, I care for these people who are homeless, to move their tent,” she continued. “So, I want to know what you’re going to do for us”:
Because of that, she is forced to move her business elsewhere, telling Fox News that she is “never sure what [she is] going to walk into” when she goes to work every day.
“When I come into work, I’m never sure what I am going to walk into. I’ve been broken into; I’ve had my glass broken; I clean up human excrement off of my doorstep every week, cups of urine, things like that,” she explained.
“And, I do have compassion for these people – but, they’re sleeping in front of your door and they’re leaving trash and they’re turning over garbage cans, and I can’t do that anymore,” she continued, explaining that some of the roots of the issue – such as drug abuse – have yet to be properly addressed.
Homelessness has been an ongoing problem, particularly in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
According to a June report, the homeless population jumped 12 percent in the last year alone in Los Angeles County, “nearly 59,000 living on the streets.”
As Breitbart News reported:
The newly released data revealed that nearly three-fourths of the homeless population, which includes 58,936 people, are sleeping in cars, tents, and other make-do shelters.
Released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to the Board of Supervisors, the data found that the majority of homeless people were residing in the city of Los Angeles, which saw an increase of 16 percent to 36,300.
Additionally, an estimated 16,000 live in cars, according to the Los Angeles Times, spurring the creation of  “safe parking” areas, which serve as an alternative to homeless shelters. However, the LA City Council recently reinstated an ordinance, banning people from sleeping in cars parked in residential areas.
“This law … is going to directly contribute to these people being on the street,” Mel Tillekeratne, executive director of nonprofit homelessness group The Shower of Hope said.
Meanwhile, San Francisco’s homelessness population has risen 17 percent in the last two years alone as the result of  “the pressure of rising housing costs, and the social devastation of the opioid epidemic,” as Breitbart News reported.
Newsom signed California’s 2019-2020 state budget in June, pledging a “historic” $1 billion investment to address the crisis. According to the release, the investment will:
  • Provide homelessness emergency aid to local governments for emergency housing vouchers, rapid rehousing programs and emergency shelter construction
  • Increase mental health supports, which includes expanding Whole Person Care services that provide wrap-around health, behavioral health and housing services, and building strategies to address the shortage of mental health professionals in the public mental health system
  • Fund rapid rehousing and basic needs initiatives for students in the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems
However, the state has yet to see any tangible improvements on the homelessness front.


Where Has the Money Gone?

San Francisco’s political leadership has squandered a fortune.
August 20, 2019
Economy, finance, and budgets
Politics and law
In 2009, San Francisco’s municipal budget totaled $6.5 billion—$8.6 billion in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation and population. San Francisco’s budget for 2019 is an eye-popping $12.2 billion, a 10 percent increase just since 2018. The city has failed to match this staggering budget growth with a similar increase in capital investment or services, however, providing an object lesson in the limits of what money can do.
Companies like Google, Salesforce, and Uber, headquartered in and around the city, pour sky-high salaries and stock-option windfalls into the local economy, which has seen real estate values—and the cost of everything else—soar. City coffers overflow with tax revenue. Though the effect has been most pronounced for the past decade, it extends as far back as the first dot-com boom, 20 years ago—in 1999, the city budget was $4.2 billion, equivalent to $7.7 billion today. The excess budget above inflation and population growth over those 20 years totals an astonishing $23 billion.
What has San Francisco done with this wealth? Not much. The Municipal Transportation Agency (“Muni”), which runs the busses and metro, has struggled with failure after failure this year. The housing shortage in the city is so bad that it is driving people to live in cars and even boats. Homelessness is up 14 percent in the past 6 years. Dirty streets, with needles and worse on the sidewalks, were an issue in last year’s mayoral race. A city seemingly rich enough to pave its roads with gold finds them covered in trash.
San Francisco has squandered its fortune. Proclaiming itself a “Transit First” city, density and geography make it one of the U.S. cities best suited for public transport. The city could have used its $23 billion excess to build dozens of miles of subway. Instead, it dug just 1.6 miles of the Central Subway, still not open. San Francisco did build a downtown train station, the Salesforce Transit Center, billed as the “Grand Central of the West”—except that it didn’t fund a tunnel to the station, so no trains go there yet, only busses.
San Francisco politicians also claim to care about affordable housing. Even at the inflated rate to build such housing in the Bay Area—up to $700,000 per unit—$23 billion could have built 33,000 units in the past 20 years. The total number of subsidized units in the city was only about 33,000 in 2018, and just 3,741 of them came from city programs like public housing or the mayor’s office. The rest came from federal, state, or private investment.
San Francisco also claims to care greatly about green energy and rising sea levels. With $23 billion, it could have installed solar panels on every building in the city at no cost to the owner, with almost $16 billion to spare for coastal defenses. Instead, San Francisco offers an anemic $1,500 credit for a typical solar installation, and seawalls have gotten no further than an “action plan” and a “vulnerability and consequences assessment.”
It wasn’t always this way. In the 20 years from 1917 to 1937, San Francisco dug the Twin Peaks and Sunset tunnels that remain central to its metro system; completed the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which provides some of America’s cleanest water; and built both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, which connect it to the region and sustain its jobs. All these projects are still used daily.
There have been some success stories. The city’s OneSF capital plan has been making long overdue improvements to streets and sewers. The Public Utilities Commission has completed several major seismic upgrades to the Hetch Hetchy water system, helping prepare for the eventual major earthquake. Two parks bonds, in 2008 and 2012, led to spectacular renovations of city parks and playgrounds. But these largely represent good governance and incremental improvements, not the fruits of billions of dollars of spending. With no grand projects to point to, it’s reasonable to wonder where all the money has gone.
Municipal employment has eaten up a large share. Salaries and benefits account for almost 45 percent of the budget, averaging $175,004 per employee, in a city where median household income is $96,265. The city employs 31,830 people, one for every 28 residents and six employees for every city block. The $873 million spent on grants—payments to nonprofits or other groups for various social services—almost equals the total spent on capital projects and facilities maintenance combined.
The larger issues, however, are political indifference and bureaucratic mismanagement. San Francisco carries principal debt of $3.63 billion, which could have been paid down since 2015 with millions to spare. Instead of making this long investment in the city’s financial future, San Francisco’s leaders have grown used to revenue that grow without effort and issued more than $1 billion of additional debt. The current budget is now burdened with $1.6 billion of debt service.
The paltry results from exceptional budget growth are also a story of mismanagement. The Central Subway, though one of the most expensivesubway projects in the world, has almost run out of money; its opening was recently delayed another 18 months. Last year, Muni made critical upgrades to the century old Twin Peaks tunnel, requiring additional busses to substitute for trains during the work. Muni didn’t plan for the extra drivers and took them from other routes, leaving the city short on service and causing a system-wide “meltdown.” The “Grand Central of the West,” despite having no tunnel or tracks, still cost $2.2 billion; it closed only six weeks after opening, due to structural cracks. The city spent $2 million to build a public bathroom at $4,700 per square foot, a construction cost similar to high-rise luxury condos. As successful as the OneSF capital plan has been, searching for a list of projects on its website returns the message, “the requested page could not be found.” San Francisco demonstrates that throwing in more money will compound mismanagement, not solve it.
The story of San Francisco’s budget over the past two decades shows that the city’s leadership doesn’t really value many of the issues—transit, affordable housing, clean energy—that it says it does. Given how little the city has done with its incredible windfall, year after year, it’s not clear what it values at all.