Aug 12 2019
08:32 am

Apparently there are areas in San Francisco where a person has to dodge human waste along the sidewalks. "The city received nearly 27,000 requests for feces removal in the most recent fiscal year, although not all are human."

"San Francisco started its "Pit Stop" program in July 2014 with public toilets in the city's homeless-heavy Tenderloin, after children complained of dodging human waste on their way to school. "

"Advocates say steam cleaning requests have dropped in areas surrounding some of the public toilets. The mayor signed a budget Thursday that includes more than $9 million for the Pit Stop toilets this year, up from $5 million last fiscal year. San Francisco will add seven new bathrooms in a city where a one-night count of homeless people grew 17% in the past two years."

$9 million dollars for public toilets for the homeless?!?!? Yes, it is good that the city is doing something. But, wow, they must really have a homeless problem and it does not appear to be getting any better.

Alex_Falk's picture

conservatives have been talking about this for years

conservatives have been talking about this for years and absolutely savor the topic

the spin is that it is a feature of "socialism" (big air quotes) rather than capitalism, because "california" of course

in a couple weeks i will be staying a few nights in this neighborhood & can report back on the extreme class stratification in big tech's capital city

cafkia's picture

I call bullshit

At least on the whole homeless thing.

I have been a guy for a long time and I can tell you with some authority that wealthy guys with nice homes are just about as likely to indulge the urge to crap in your neighborhood as are homeless guys.

I will give you that the homeless are more likely to crap (or piss) where/when they/it can be seen but given even a modicum of privacy then khaki slacks and polo shirt wearing country club types will shit on your sidewalk in a minute. And not think twice about it.

If you are gonna gig the homeless on this, point the blame gun in the rest of the directions too.

Up Goose Creek's picture


At first I wondered if your post was a metaphor for the rich dumping on the poor and middle class.

Should I assume you live downtown?

Seems like it would be a good investment for the city to provide some discreetly placed porta-potties. It wouldn't have to cost $9 million.

michael kaplan's picture

Why spend money on toilets

Why spend money on toilets and showers when vagrants can use the woods for toilets and bath in Walgreen's rest rooms?

Alex_Falk's picture

there are facebook groups for that


if you’re a homeowner whose feelings about the “least of these” are becoming sociopathic / dehumanizing, you’ll be delighted to learn that there are facebook groups where you can comiserate and plot with fellow vigilantes.

michael kaplan's picture

Several arrests on my block

Several arrests on my block last night. One officer assaulted.

barker's picture

bathing in walgreens

I've not seen anybody bathing in Walgreens on Broadway (which is three blocks from my house), but it wouldn't bother me if they did. They can take a dump there too. They don't have access to deodorant in the store any longer, so whatever they can do, they should do. Allow the homeless some freaking dignity.

michael kaplan's picture

Why don't you interview the

Why don't you interview the clerks along Chapman Highway who have been threatened? Start with Walgreens, Dollar General, Goodwill, Szechuan Garden, Ace Hardware, Grocery Outlet, Kroger, T-Mobile, and Dollar Tree.

barker's picture


Sorry, but I think people who look down on the homeless are misguided at best and evil at worst. Most of the homeless people I know -- and I know a few -- are mentally ill. I don't give panhandlers money, but I don't deny a cigarette to anyone who asks. People have used the spiggot on the side of my house for bathing -- it's only about 10 feet from the curb and not easily monitored, but I don't care. It might cost me a few pennies a month but so what? I've never been threatened by a homeless person and sometimes have been stunned by their humanity. Get over yourself.

bizgrrl's picture

You have an interesting

You have an interesting outlook on allowing unknown people to use your facilities. I'm sure many of us appreciate your ability to allow unknown people with possible mental problems roam your yard. I guess I'm too afraid to enable this type of behavior. More power to you. If someone uses the water spigot attached to my house I'll probably call the police for fear that if I walk outside during this activity I might get bonked on the head. Hopefully, the police will direct the person to a facility that helps those in need. I do not think it means I am inhumane.

barker's picture


If my spiggot was in a different location I might get upset, but it's only 10 feet or so from a side street commonly used by people on foot -- either homeless or too poor to own a car. Shoot, when I was growing up, admittedly in a relatively crime-free small town, all the spiggots in the neighborhood were fair game for kids. Property lines were obvious but violated with impunity. Somehow we survived and became relatively upstanding adults who respect personal property and don't trespass.

It's also difficult to see the spiggot from most places in my house so I have no idea how many people actually take advantage of it. I've seen a couple of people do it over the past few years. One woman managed to bathe and change clothes without exposing herself. I saw her do it but for the life of me I couldn't explain exactly how she managed it. If they get a drink from the hose and move on, I generally don't say anything. I'll tell them to move along if they linger too long and invariably they are very nice and thank me for the water.

I live in an urban neighborhood with a huge mix of income levels. There are professionals on my street. There are immigrants. There are poor people. Across the street is a halfway house for men transitioning from prison. Occasionally someone passing by will see me on my front porch and ask for money (I never give anybody cash). Three blocks away is the Walgreens on Broadway, which is probably the most robbed establishment in the city. A couple of years ago two teenagers stole a chair and a table off my front porch -- I know who they were from the surveillance video provided by the guy who runs the halfway house.

In general, though, I feel safe in my neighborhood. Yes, there are a few unstable and unsavory characters around (some of my neighbors might put me in one of those categories) and occasionally I am wary of them, but for the most part people are either friendly or mind their own business. I absolutely love living in the city.

I don't think showing some compassion for someone less fortunate is a bad thing, though I'm not exactly Mother Theresa just for letting somebody drink from my garden hose. And I shouldn't have implied that anybody who doesn't let random people use their spiggots has a character flaw. We all live in different circumstances and have different experiences and are going through our own personal dramas that color how we act and react. This is a long and boring way of saying I just don't give a damn if somebody takes a drink of water from my garden hose. I've got a lot of other things to worry about. Cheers.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Good on you

I think I'd share your sentiment, Barker.

I built a house near the North Knoxville greenway and was aware hobos were using the porta potty. I didn't have a problem with that. I figured it was payback for the porta-potties I'd ducked into while visiting Charleston, SC and other historic neighborhoods.

It sounds like you have a good neighborhood with a functioning set of neighbors. Many neighborhoods can tolerate a limited number of people with challenges - it helps to have the right attitude.

From what I understand, Kaplan's neighborhood is overwhelmed because the property manager for an elderly person is sub leasing rooms to any and all. So not all are technically homeless but do have problem behavior. When it reaches a boiling point and I can understand Kaplan's aggravation.

barker's picture


Thanks, Up Goose Creek. My neighborhood isn't perfect, but it's functional. And sometimes it's fun to watch the shenanigans that go on (as long as they don't turn violent, which hasn't happened so far).

Sounds like Kaplan's beef is with one particular person, not city policies in general. Maybe he should focus on that.

But I don't want to proscribe people's actions. Do what you do.

Knoxoasis's picture

Ahh. I just saw "$9 public

Ahh. I just saw "$9 public toilet program" and thought this was a thread about the UT football program. But then I thought hey, that can't be right, it's waaaay more than $9 million...

Alex_Falk's picture

great pod from the Citations Needed crew

soundcloud link: (54min)

Episode 85: Incitement Against the Homeless (Part I) - The Infestation Rhetoric of Local News

As housing costs skyrocket and inequality grows, homelessness is reaching crisis levels in large metropolitan areas. In response, the media––namely local news stations––routinely treat the homeless like an invading species, a vermin to be, at best, contained, and at worst eradicated.

The result has been a slew of stories pathologizing those experiencing homelessness as uniquely dangerous. Panhandlers are viewed as con men out to screw over the working man, chased down by vigilantes with the help of outraged local news “standing up” to the poor. The housing status of those who commit crimes is only mentioned when they’re homeless––never for the housed––and every transgression committed by the homeless is viewed by our media as evidence that the homeless population in general is out to attack us all.

But this narrative flies in the face of the evidence, and tracks––like most “crime coverage”––with the needs of real estate interests who set the tone for local media coverage, and who have every reason to highlight and oversell the threat of homeless to pressure lawmakers and police to displace “eye sores” for the yuppie clientele they’re attempting to sell and ultimately serve.

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