Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Public Pooping Pix:
Castro's Broken Free-Use Toilet

A short while ago, I left a voice mail for San Francisco's homeless czar Bevan Dufty on his cell phone, asking that he take charge of dealing with an unacceptable situation involving the free-use public kiosk toilet at Castro and Market Streets.

After catching a screening of "Chinatown" at the Castro Theatre, (it was a poor print with long sections flecked with "green rain" on the celluloid), I tried to use that toilet. My friend Todd and I came approached the toilet and noticed the door was open, and saw a strung-out homeless man was chatting to himself as he moved his bowels.

Todd said, "Oh, my," and I muttered, "What the hell?"

Soon enough, I had my camera out and snapped a photo of the guy doing his pooping. Seeing me with my camera pointed his way, he let out a loud laugh and another homeless guy and buddy of his came along. This new guy shook the inoperable door, looked on his pal on the toilet and said, "Hey, dude!"

I believe it's the duty of Dufty to investigate the trashing of the public toilet, have his city-funded homeless outreach team try and find the guys responsible for this bad behavior, contact the maintenance crew for the toilet and have it fixed and tell us what his plan is to prevent homeless folks from again rendering the toilet inoperable.

It is pathetic that Dufty, Scott Wiener and the Merchants of Upper Market Castro have done all they can to prevent activists from being able to use the rainbow flag in Harvey Milk Plaza.

As the homeless population at the plaza, half a block away from the toilet, expands and hostile behavior keeps more locals from using the upper level's pedestrian walkway, and so few locals even think about wanting to hang out in Harvey Milk Plaza for more than two-seconds, Dufty, Wiener and MUMC adamantly refuse to work with activists who want to use the flagpole and bring responsible citizens to the plaza.

Memo to those leaders: You can expend all the hot air you want about removing the purple benches, bringing more police presence and planting thorny shrubbery and other methods to repel the strung-out homeless people messing up the plaza, and think you're solving your problem.

Mull this over. Let's call it Castro Inc for shorthand - all the official components that rule over the neighborhood. Castro Inc talks a great line about "activating" the plaza, the latest PC term to reclaim abused public squares, and more energy is spent on keeping political activists from activating in the plaza.

Two years of controversy because of MUMC rainbow flag intransigence, instead of two years of cooperation allowing us use of the flag. MUMC is as guilty as the abusive homeless people in making the plaza the repellent pit that it is.

But until such time as you finally get in your heads to work with activist stakeholders who want to come to - not avoid - Harvey Milk Plaza, the crap will continue at Market and Castro Streets pleasing no one.

Memo to the homeless and transients passing through town: Treat our neighborhood with respect. Stop trashing our public spaces.

Memo to Homeless Inc: I have no idea if you all do a damn thing to alleviate the homeless problems at this plaza.

Let's see what our homeless czar does tomorrow about restoring the kiosk toilet to working order.

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