The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the city spent more than $70 million cleaning feces and drug paraphernalia from streets and sidewalks in the 2019 fiscal year, but it's nowhere near what is needed to make San Francisco's streets safe for pedestrians.
by Emily Zanotti and Hank Berrian with Ranger Kidwell-Ross
The city says crews are operating constantly, trying to get the "poop problem" that plagues San Francisco's streets under control, but even as the city finds new and innovative ways for residents to report and avoid piles of feces on public sidewalks, the poop problem, they say, keeps growing.
The Daily Wire's Hank Berrien reported recently that a "poop map" of San Francisco's dirty deposits shows a city under siege from feces. The interactive map of the San Francisco area shows all 118,352 incidents of public poop since 2011 and demonstrates the sharp increase in poop-related incidents that San Francisco has suffered over the last eight years.
No neighborhood is spared; although the "Tenderloin" district is the worst for sidewalk feces, posh areas like Nob Hill had their fare share of reports as well.
Now, the Chronicle reports, San Francisco is facing a unique development in the feces problem: homelessness appears to be abating and the tent cities responsible for most of the filth seem to be thinning out, thanks to new city efforts at housing at-risk populations in public buildings. "Tent camps" have shrunk by at least 10%.
The change has had some effect on how much drug paraphernalia – especially used and discarded needles – can be found on San Francisco's sidewalks, but it's has had no effect whatsoever on the feces problem. In fact, the Chronicle says, the poop issue has only gotten worse.
"The city's 311 call center clocked 5,874 calls reporting waste on the streets and sidewalks in the first three months of the year – about 65 calls a day – a 7% increase over the same time period last year," the Chronicle reported.
San Francisco's official "Poop Patrol" puts in a lot of work trying to keep the streets and sidewalks feces-free. Seven days a week, crews are on site, cleaning up around tent cities, identifying and neutralizing potential biohazards, and then manually sweeping streets and alleyways. In the Tenderloin alone, crews sweep twice per day manually, sweep once per day with a street sweeper, empty garbage cans three times per day, and staff clean "Pit Stop" public toilet facilities "daily until 8pm."
"The dawn-to-dusk work represents a $32 million increase in street-cleaning spending since fiscal 2013-2014, an increase of over $6 million a year. And the city expects to spend at least $72 million next year," the Chronicle says.
That's not enough. At least one city supervisor says San Francisco needs to spend at least $12 million more on trash cans and cleaning crews before he believes the city will make a dent in the poop problem. But even that's not a guarantee. San Francisco rarely cites people for urinating and defecating on public streets and sidewalks, and the mayor's office is far more focused on lecturing tech companies for raising rents than it is on cracking down on its homeless population.
This article utilized information written by Emily Zanotti that appeared in The Daily Wire, as well as an article by Phil Matier written in the San Francisco Chronicle. Click on the logos or news agency names for more information about either or both of these publications.
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