Is former San Francisco fire commissioner Don Carmignani the Marina District vigilante?

Originally published at: Is former San Francisco fire commissioner Don Carmignani the Marina District vigilante? | Boing Boing


Why is this person assaulting people being called a vigilante? It’s not like he’s teaching them a lesson and they’ll never commit lack of housing again.


It’s a good thing they caught him – if they’d given Carmignani another few months, he probably would’ve graduated to serial murder. And he might yet, if they make the mistake of letting him go.


Weird how the cities with the most restrictive housing policies also have housing crisis. I mean, correlation is not causation, but it’s a fucking hint.


So do I have this right - it’s a fact that the man who “attacked” the commissioner with a crowbar did so in self-defense after being attacked first, and the only thing under any question is if the commissioner also attacked a bunch of people previously?

He went after them for the terrible crime of obstructing a sidewalk. Loitering? Littering? Something egregious. /s

Seriously, though - it sounds like the guy who attacked him with a crowbar is the only one in this story who could conceivably be labeled a “vigilante.”


Can’t say I’d blame Doty. I’d pretty much feel the same if someone bear sprayed me. :man_shrugging:


The way he casually strolls up to the unhoused person before making him is chilling. The sociopath thought there would be no consequences … until there were.


When you see a stat like “54% of San Francisco homes would be illegal to build today” you have to remember that it’s totally normal for building codes to evolve over time and a huge portion of homes in San Francisco were built half a century ago or more.

The house I lived in in the Outer Sunset district was by no means one of the older homes in the city but it had asbestos siding so I’m 100% sure it wouldn’t be in compliance with modern building codes.


Thankfully neither did the prosecutors once they got the full story.


With 18,790 people per square mile San Francisco currently has the highest housing density of any big city in California by far. About triple that of Los Angeles. For major American cities only New York has a higher density.

Of course there’s more that they can and should do to help make homes more affordable, but San Francisco is definitely not uniquely bad in failing to allow homes to be built. Odds are they’re already more built-up than whatever city you live in. (Chicago, if you public bio is accurate, which has a density of 11,846 people per square mile)


So, this isn’t nearly as true as you imply and to the extend it is true, other factors are a much larger driver. San Francisco’s zoning codes are far less restrictive than a lot of suburban areas and even a lot of cities. What most of those places don’t have is an economy powered by some of the highest wages on the planet in giant numbers. Houses in Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo aren’t cheap because of our rapid pace of new construction, but because the high dollar value competition isn’t there. You’re talking about a penninsula with the second highest existing residential density in the country, prices aren’t largely tied to the sticks and bricks of it all.


It’s not the “terrible” crimes of this one individual, it’s frustration that our cities look worse than third world cities. The entities which are collecting large amounts of taxes and are supposed to solving this, are not. So this guy got so angry about it he lost his self control. Plenty of people are genuinely angry about the situation. The money going to these problems is already huge, and we’re being told that we can’t actually solve it without some astronomically larger funding, like it costs more to “help” a homeless person get out of a tent than it would to send him to Harvard.

Starbucks in SF are having to pull out their furniture. It just shouldn’t be like that in a civilized country. The city spent $60k a year per tent to set up a tent encampment. Is there any amount of money that’s enough to get someone out of a tent?

I personally support spending astronomical money on this problem to really see if it can finally work. But I don’t think many people see it that way.

He’s potentially in huge legal trouble. There’s assault, obviously, but beyond that… Use of bear spray on humans is I believe a crime. Misuse of pepper spray is its own specific felony in California, aside from assault. And possession of pepper spray over 2.5oz is also a crime in California.


Yes, clearly the way to express displeasure with the housing crisis is to physically attack the very people who are its victims. Makes sense.


“This American carnage stops right here!” :thinking:


Hell, my home built in the 80’s isn’t up to current code. It’s not a death trap, either, so… I’ve got that going for me?


This alleged frustration isn’t usually expressed by what you later acknowledge is an actual crime. His target was not the municipal government, either, but rather the people it’s trying to help.

Also, “third world” is a tell.

Actually, they are getting closer as they finally move to Housing First solutions and requiring the property developers who created the situation to offer affordable housing as well as luxury dwellings. The same goes for targetted social work to transition the temporary housing situations into permanent ones. Unlike the
past approaches of the shelter system and blunt-force solution by cop, this doesn’t sweep the issue under the rug for one night or send it out of town.

Also, the main suspect here was an employee of the bad ol’ government.

Really? As noted above, in the video he seems very deliberate as he approaches his victims. And he does this multiple times. This is about hate more than it is about anger.

Strangely, the people who make complaints about this are often completely silent when a city spends millions of dollars using the police to forcibly clear encampments and put unhoused people behind bars. It’s sort of like how they whinge about teachers and public sector unions but don’t blink when the police union asks for yet another salary increase or more money for military gear.

The truth is, the cost issue is a self-fulfilling prophecy of NIMBYism. Addressing homelessness is always going to be expensive because it involves real estate in a country that’s spent the last 40 years cementing a basic human need into a speculative asset. It’s also expensive because the previous conservative attitude during that same period amounted to “I’m not gonna pay taxes to support the ‘undeserving’ so let them fend for themselves on the street”. However, Housing First and delivering services directly to the people who need them is a new and better application of the funds.

That’s about as useful a statement as Biff’s standby "people are saying…’ Who are these people and why aren’t they as compassionate as you obviously are? What are their proposed solutions besides “moar cops and prisons” and making excuses for so-called “vigilantes”?

Thanks for tacking that paragraph on. Some readers might think it’s obvious and superfluous, but it serves a real purpose in your comment considering what came before.



Yeah, I know that the term “vigilante” wasn’t first applied to this asshole by Boing Boing, but we really shouldn’t perpetuate it. It’s definitely a misleading and inaccurate way to describe his actions and I’d bet he’d take the “vigilante” title as a badge of honor.

Webster’s definition is typical, and certainly wouldn’t include the act of bear-spraying unhoused people in their sleep as an example of vigilante justice:


So nice to know someone who carries a pistol every day because of how “criminal” his area is, also thinks this is the natural result of someone getting angry over how their city looks. Definitely doesn’t make me think that’s a murder waiting to happen.


“You know I love you, babe, but sometimes you make me so mad…”