Thursday, August 30, 2012

BAR & Wiener Ignore
Milk Plaza Improvements

(The spanking new pigeon-poop free rainbow banner, on the Milk Plaza street light now free of birds. Credit: Andrea Aiello, CBD.)

Earlier this week I told my buddy Tommi Avicolli Mecca that when the Bay Area Reporter came out today, there would be nothing in it about the recent visible and tangible cleaning and improvements this month at Harvey Milk Plaza. Let's recap.

Just over two-weeks back, I complained to Barbara Garcia who heads the Department of Public Health about the health menace to people with AIDS of the gross pigeon poop at HMP's always-crowed corner at Castro and Market Street. Garcia, who was on vacation at the time but still reading emails, directed her staff to investigate the menace and she contacted the pigeon control unit at the Department of Public Works.

Within days, I heard from Mohammed Nuru, DPW's chief, about his department steam cleaning HMP, while DPW plastered posters telling people not to feed the birds. The owner of the news rack befouled with poop, Clear Channel, through its community liaison at my request had the structure refurbished with a new shell because the previous one was too caked with poop that couldn't be scraped off.

On her own, the executive director of the Castro Benefit District Andrea Aiello coordinated with Muni and a subcontractor last Thursday to apply bird repellent gel on the cable wires and street light where the pigeons roosted. My complaint to Merchants of Upper Market Castro president Terry Bennett, about their filthy poop-smeared rainbow banner on the utility pole, produced its removal and replacement with beautiful new banner.

So, we have this activist launching an effort that engages DPH and DPW chiefs and staff, Clear Channel, the CBD and their work with Muni and a subcontractor, and MUMC. Three city agencies, two civic groups and a private advertising company all moved to make HMP more healthy, vibrant, clean and inviting. Something all parties involved should be proud of.

And not one word about any of the improvements were newsworthy for the BAR. I wish I knew why editor Cynthia Laird, and her reporting staff of Matthew Bajko, Seth Hemmelgarn and Chris Carson opted to ignore the betterment of HMP this month.

Here we had several stakeholders coordinating a number of positive changes to this historical public space, and in an almost unheard of short period of time, and it's not news to the BAR folks. At the same time, Scott Wiener on his Twitter feed and Facebook page has remained silent about these improvements in his district.

The BAR has a story today about problems with the benches at HMP and a meeting held on Monday to address several plaza related issues and the work of DPH, DPW, CBD, Muni, a subcontractor, MUMC and Clear Channel to make the plaza better was omitted.

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