2007/07/25

Can San Francisco clean up its act?

Mayor Gavin Newsom has wasted a lot of breath on how he'll clean up San Francisco. Most of his initiatives have come to naught, and a recent Chronicle article takes him to task for the deplorable situation of the homeless encampments in Golden Gate Park.
But I contend that there's plenty of blame to go around. From the Mayor, to the City Council, to the police...everybody has an excuse for why they're unable to do anything to help clean up our city. Some of my hot button issues:

Sweepers That Can't-Don't-Won't Sweep...
...because the Department of Parking and Traffic refuses to tow cars off the streets ahead of the sweepers. They say they don't make the rules--the City Council does. The City Council says that ticketing is too lucrative for the city to pass up. What? And towing isn't?! Either way, the trash piles up from week after week of neglect.

Whose Sidewalk Is It Anyway?
When it needs to be repaired, swept, or hosed down because some bum vomited on it, the 10 feet of concrete between my flat and the street is my responsibility. But when I ask the police to help me run off a junkie whose loitering on my stoop... "Hey...that's public property. Nothing we can do about that."

It's A Recycle Bin, Not An ATM
I'm not saying that there's a conspiracy going on here, but when my recycle bins end up on the curb for an hour before getting emptied--and in that hour a half dozen scavengers go through them--something's up. What's also up...or more correctly out...on the street...are any recyclables that the scavengers can't trade for pennies.

It's Not Advertising, It's Trash
This city needs to outlaw the pizza / Thai / Chinese / acupuncture / housecleaning / whatever-the-f*ck-you-want-to-sell-me-today flyer. The damn things arrive on my doorstep by the hundreds. I'm expecting flyers from the local prostitutes any day now, and where will they end up? Uh-huh! Right in the god-damned street with all the others. In California, forests die so that I can get Free delivery and bonus spring roll!.

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23 Comments:

same probs here in nyc, except the traffic cops follow the street sweepers and give hefty fines... but they don't resort to towing. so the trash remains. i remember when i first moved here, i couldn't believe how much trash and how dirty nyc was (this is in comparison to so.cal). now i believe it, and for whatever reason, nobody really cares.
Yep, I get a ton of those flyers too and they are a waste of paper!

Good article! ;)
Same here except for the sweepers.

No tow and no tickets. Usually they just go around. When they have a huge cleaning project, they'll stop and knock on my door so I can move the car.

We keep the area (sidewalk and gutter)in front of our house swept most of the time.

That wouldn't work in San Francisco though.
well so living in a small town does have some advantages afterall. here, the sweepers will only go around your car once & leave you a nasty note. After that, you get a must-move-vehicle notice. Our biggest complaint is leaf-blowers which I think are evil inventions designed to force me to clean up other people's yard debris (not to mention wake me up at the unholy hour of 6effingAM).

Oh you want some "escort" flyers? Try living in vegas. No minimum cover charge ads (who are they kidding) & no rules about what age group might be most likely to see all these skin-aplenty flyers on their way home from school (adult education?). Tons of dead tree recyclable mat'l there, for sure. ~~ D.K.
RAFFI... Our traffic cops do the same --give out fines--which is why the city seems reluctant to change the system. Towing takes more resources, I guess.

Suzie-Q... Thanks. I've bitched about the flyer thing before. It's a particular bug-a-boo I have.
Granny... I have to sweep in front of our flat constantly. My biggest headaches are people who just dump bags of trash next to our tree. If I ever catch one...BOOM...POW!

D.K... Leaf blowers are evil! We have a guy uphill from us who does a similar thing. He cleans his sidewalk by spraying it down and forcing all the garbage onto the sidewalks of the people downhill from him.
And here in potentially beautiful Port Macquarie in the sub tropical South Pacific the same story holds.
I would love to see kebab shops banned withing 5 miles of pubs and drinking holes. That might reduce the foil dotted vomit on our footpaths.
But it won't stop marauding drunks emptying trash cans in the street.
As for the street sweeper - just one - lessons on where kerbs actually are and how to approach them might improve his performance.
I was of the same opinion on the scavengers (collecting cans and bottles from the recycling bins) but I just read an article in The NY Times Magazine section about bottled water and recycling. Apparently (and I don't have the article in front of me being at work...)there are some interesting issues of how the deposit money recirculates depending on who recycles the object. The beverage manufacturers actually get to keep money they've set aside if contracted agencies do the actual pick-up.

Let me get home and I'll dig up the article to get my facts straight. But it did change my mind about the urban scavengers.
Cartledge... And there you have a totally different, and harder to control problem, the close conjunction of bad food and purgatives. Eeeewwww!

CultureGhost... I wouldn't have a problem with the scavengers if they were careful to replace the cardboard, paper, etc that also occupy the bins. But they don't! They simply dump the bins over and leave the recyclables they don't want in the street.

Likewise, the fact that the haulers may be colluding with the scavengers is really objectionable because our building has to pay extra to have the bins hauled out from within our breezeway. To have them then left on the curb for the scavengers to get at means that that we're paying extra to get f*cked by the haulers! Because who has to clean up the mess? Me!
That's nothing. I had a lady come by who let her 4 year old son pee in front of my house. Yes, I have a tree. Not it does NOT need to be "fertilized". This is my home, not a public toilet people. Who raised you?!
I have a neighbor behind our home with which we share a portion of a common fence. Unfortunately, this is a CHAIN LINK fence, not a nice wooden or vinyl one. He is a COP... keep this in mind. When he gets home from work around 3pm every day, he and his friend... another COP, sit outside (no matter what the weather is here in N.E. Ohio) drinking beers until the one's wife arrives home. But the entire time they are outside drinking they do not bother to take the 3 or 4 steps it would require to go inside the kitchen door to get to the bathroom to go pee. Oh no. Instead, BabyGirl, Lil Man, and I get the extreme pleasure of seeing them walk all the way down to the very transparent chain link fence, whip it out, and whizz. Niiiice. Who am I gonna call? The COPS???
The neighbor beside our house is an ex-cop, and she had had enough of it too, so she videotaped them pissing to the world, and took it up with their superior. Do ya know what he said? Why don't you try putting in some nice bushes or flowers? One day while pushing BabyGirl on her swing, and both of them were especially crude towards me while whipping it out, I announced loudly (far too loudly in front of my kids): "Isn't that cute? It's like a prick. Only smaller."
In Georgia we have what is known as a Storm water Utility Bill, due every year. There are no sweepers here, except in Downtown Atlanta.

We do not have the type cities here that you, guys have, so when trash and such end on the street we have prisoners to do the pick up and a Utility Bills that pay for the act of nature running rain, storm and debris into our sewage and rivers.
I live in an apartment complex, which generously provides one dumpster for every two units, but do you think some of my neighbors can find the darned thing? Why walk the extra twenty feet when you can just throw it on the ground and let it blow in to the woods surrounding this place.

I don't know if the city sweeps the streets here anymore, I haven't seen them in quite a while, I think they have more in the budget for snow removal than garbage removal.
Fashiongirl, Tina... In both your cases photograph the perps and take it to the cops (other cops in your case Tina). Exposing oneself in public is crime everywhere and a sex crime in some places.

Tina, as for the superior, if they actually refused to prosecute a crime when evidence was submitted that would be grounds for suing the city-equal protection under the law and all that.
Let's Talk... Would never fly in California I suspect. Though, if I could get the local junkies to do the work, I'd be all for it.

Lew... We get that all the time. The bins in neighboring buildings fill up and people just dump the bags on the street. Un-f*cking-believable.
Speaking of fences, my neighbor burned our common six foot high redwood fence down while I was on vacation. If our catsitter hadn't come home early that evening...

Now the mofo has decided to build the Great Wall of Concord. He dug an enormous trench all the way around his property. He's already put in reinforcing rods and last evening he must have unloaded an additional half ton of friggin' rebar. I just wanted the original wood fence back...should have let the insurance company handle it.
I'm sooo with you on this one!
Your stoop is public property???
Since we had a little hail storm a couple of weeks back, I have probably received 100 fliers for construction and roofing companies.

I recently learned that the front 4 feet of my yard is city property. They just don't have to mow or maintain it. If they decide to put a sidewalk though, they will let me pay for it
Take Mike Bloomberg, please...
Whose Sidewalk Is It Anyway?

That's the biggest sign of bureaucratic BS ...

Good rant, Frog. Every last thing you've mentioned here Could Be Easily resolved if someone in charge simply decided to have it done.

But where's the MONEY in it for them?

{sigh}

Hang in there. At least y'all got Barroid's homerun record to cheer about. Errrmmm... uh, nevermind.

{-;
CultureGhost... He did what?! Sue the mother-f*cker! EEK! Dont' stand for the 'Great Wall'. Next thing you know he'll be putting in guard towers and arrow slits.

Sumo... Seems everybody has similar troubles, doesn't it?

Nvisiblewmn... Actually we don't really have a stoop, but I needed a way to refer to the space in front of our door where the junkies and vagrants occasionally plunk down.
Scott... That's pretty common. We're on the hook--here in Babylon by the Bay--for sidewalk repairs. Concrete buckles under someone's car (you know when they park on the sidewalk, does happen if you can believe it) I'm on the hook for the repairs.

Fred... No way! ;-)

Michael... I'm talking most of these to the City Council. Gonna raise a ruckus.

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