Monday, August 13, 2012

DPH & Pigeon Poop:
Milk Plaza Health Menace to PWAs

 (Bird poop smeared on lamppost rainbow flag, Castro and Market Streets, the heart of LGBT America.)

The following request for help was sent today to Barbara Garcia, MPA, the director of San Francisco's Department of Public Health. It's my sincere hope that she agrees to immediately deal with the problem laid out here. Once I hear back from her, I'll present an update.
Dear Ms. Garcia,

As a person living with AIDS and an LGBT community advocate quite concerned with public health risks for all people with compromised immune systems, I turn to you for help developing a sound public health response to the outrageous menace of pigeon droppings befouling a sizable section of Harvey Milk Plaza.

The problem is bird poop presently and regularly covers much of the wide top of one of the empty news racks near the Market Street pedestrian walkway, pictured. Every day hundreds of San Franciscans and guests from out of town stand near this useless street furniture cluttering the sidewalk and the disease-riddled droppings, speaking with friends or enduring long waits for a Muni buses.

Frankly, the droppings are twice as gross up close than in photos.  

The red brick sidewalk in front of the useless news rack, is splattered with more droppings. In recent I saw one toddler accidentally tumble onto the infested sidewalk, to the horror of her concerned parent.

I believe it is the duty of the Department of Public Health to direct city resources to clean up the disease-spreading fecal matter posing many risks to folks with good health and those who are immune-challenged.

My first suggestion to rid Harvey Milk Plaza of the droppings is for you to convene a meeting of the following stakeholders:

1. DPH environmental disease and safety experts
2. Department of Public Works cleaning crews for the plaza
3. Myself and other District 8 people with AIDS
4. Members of the Castro Benefits District
5. A representative from Supervisor Scott Wiener's office

We need to address having the entire plaza immediately steam cleaned, as the first step. Next, the city must install bird control spikes on all wires and structures upon which a bird can land, sit and poop above Harvey Milk Plaza and Jane Warner Plaza to prevent pigeons from creating a risky health situation.

You may be wondering why I am not turning to Wiener first for assistance. The answer is that he has made it known he and his staff will ignore anything I have to say regarding Harvey Milk Plaza because of my continuing campaign to reclaim the rainbow flag at the city-owned plaza, every square inch of which belongs to the people of San Francisco.

Since he and his staff have not returned an email or call of mine in 18-months, there is no reason for me to approach him directly about the droppings. However, if his office is willing to work with DPH, DPW, myself and others to rid the plaza of the longstanding and disgusting befouling bird poop, I would welcome his assistance.

I will follow up on this note later today with a phone call to your executive assistant. Looking forward to collaborating with you and health department to address this problem.

Best regards,
Michael Petrelis

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