Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Plaza Pigeon Poop Cleaned;
Birds Quickly Befoul News Rack

Recapping, as a person with AIDS I've launched an effort to end hazardous bird pooping on the empty and nuisance news racks at Market and Castro Streets. Details here.

A reader informed me that Supervisor Scott Wiener's aide for public spaces in District 8 is Andres Power, who does not live in the district, heck, doesn't live in the city, but instead resides in Oakland. Power most likely in the morning takes BART from the East Bay to Civic Center, strolls along Grove and Polk Streets to get to his job at City Hall, then reverses his route home and perhaps not daily passing through Harvey Milk Plaza or the district. This may explain why Wiener's office has surprisingly not made any discernible moves to eradicate the pigeon poop public health hazard in the public plaza.

Let's get to the various and terrific quick moves by folks at the Department of Public Health and Department of Public Works to rid the gateway of LGBT America of disease-riddled animal poop. First up is DPH director Barbara Garcia:

Hi Michael. I'm on vacation this week. I have [contacted] our representative from DPH environmental health and a DPW representative. Richard Lee of DPH could inspect and then work with DPW on this. Thanks.

From Darius Kayhan of DPW's street environmental bureau:

Monday: The news racks are Clear Channel’s responsibility. We will get this cleaned up. Tuesday: My team cleaned it all up last night. 

From DPH environmental inspector Nader Shatara to DPH's environmental health regulatory director Richard Lee:

I will enter this complaint into our database and pass by today to post signs and evaluate. I will follow up with recommendations.

This came from DPH director Mohammed Nuru:

Michael, It is a priority for DPW to keep all public plazas clean, beautiful and functional for our residents and visitors. As we do in all cases across the City, we devote resources where they are needed the most to respond to cleanup requests as they come in, and we work with the appropriate agencies and residents to keep the plazas clean. Thank you for your attention to this matter. DPW also works to educate the public that feeding pigeons can be harmful to neighborhoods and to the birds via this link: http://www.sfdpw.org/index.aspx?page=1329 .

The last DPH communication today is from Nader Shatara:

Pigeons were noted in the area on top of the street light pole above the news stands in question. Although pigeon spikes/wires would help deter the pigeons, an incentive for pigeons to stay in the area will always exist if people keep feeding them. According to a neighboring business operator, pigeon feeding exists on this corner on a regular basis. 'No Pigeon Feeding' signs were posted on the southwest corner and southeast corner of this intersection. Clear Channel will be contacted to do their part in keeping the area clean. Structural pigeon deterrents are affective to a certain point, but if pigeon feeding is the root of the problem, then the discontinuation of feeding pigeons will have better results. 

And if feeding is not THE root, but a contributing over all factor then we must have a more expansive view of several solutions working in combination smoothly.

I am grateful quite a few folks at two city agencies yesterday and today wasted no time in starting to address this problem. My response to DPH's Shatara is that a two-pronged approach is needed. Spikes on lampposts and Muni cables deterring birds from landing, and posters deterring humans from littering the plaza with bread crumbs.

Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro Benefit District, has been copied on all of the emails and I've suggested that the CBD work with DPH and DPW to jointly fund installing more bird spikes at Milk Plaza. 

On my inspection of Milk Plaza this afternoon, I snapped photos of the useless clutter known as the news rack with stubborn old poop stains not totally removed by DPW's cleaning, new droppings since last night's scrubbing, and the street lamp and pole caked in poop. The lamp and pole are in immediate need of spiking.

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