Homeless leaving area near megamallBy Sue Kwon
San Francisco's Frankie Lynn says Market Street, near the fancy shops is a great place to perform. "I'm sitting here on the street...to make money to eat..." he sings.
But his shoppers serenade was quickly interrupted, by police patrolling in front of the new Westfield Center Mall and Bloomingdales.
There is no official city order to shoo the homeless away, but Frankie gets it.
"Its not the police," he said. "It's the businesses and this..." Lynn then rubs his fingers together.
Yes, there is a lot of money at stake. Mall executives expect to draw in $600 million in retail business in the first year alone, with some 25 million visitors.
And while mall security can't stop homeless from hanging out on the public sidewalk, they can, and have called police to usher them along.
Robin Williams took his panhandling to the BART station across the street. He says the homeless migration is underway.
"They come here, or go down Powell or up to Third and Market and move around."
Shopper Michael Carlson thought something was missing.
"I noticed it from the end of block to here. I find that's probably no concidence," Carlson said.
He realizes spending $100 on cologne may be "irrational," but so is thinking the homeless are gone for good.
"For the tourist economy, the homeless population is a big issue," Carlson said. "But to simply push them away to a different area doesn't mean we are addressing it appropriately. Will it stay this way I doubt it."
Williams agrees. "As soon as police are gone they'll be back like bees," he said.
After all, Frankie has a song to finish. "All I want to do is make ends meet..." he sings.
Copyright ©2006 CBS-5. Published 09/29/2006.