San Francisco, The Number Two City!

illustration of the trash sunde white finds in her alley

So much trash!

San Francisco is dirty.  Really dirty and it’s only gotten worse during the pandemic.  When the tent city was up on my block during the lockdown the trash got really bad.  For some reason SF didn’t think they should put up a dumpster to collect the tent people’s trash so the people living in the encampments would just bundle piles of it up and leave it out in the street.  Also they would pee and poo in the alley connected to my backyard.  And again, for some reason, SF didn’t think they should just put up a temporary port-a-potty to handle this.  After all, we are in a pandemic and it is a fact that Covid is carried in feces. But SF is like, whatever, shrug.

Listen, I don’t have a solution to the homeless problem here.  Literally no idea.  For humanitarian and health reasons for the city, maybe we should just own a couple of motels and have a system to check in and out people that need shelter so everyone has a refrigerator and a bathroom and a safe place to be.  I DON’T KNOW.  But I do have a solution to the trash problem, provide trash cans!

The point is is that SF makes very little effort to clean up trash whether there is an encampment in the neighborhood or not.  They have put in zero effort to have a clean city for the past twenty years or so.  I used to have four trash cans on my block–one on each corner– and then one day the city removed them.  All the trash that used to go in the cans now floats around the streets and imbeds in the bushes and gutters, eventually drifting out to the ocean to pollute it.

I asked my city supervisor in person once why we don’t have trash cans anymore and he said it was because people were dumping their trash in them.  They took away the trash cans because people were putting trash in them.  I just stood there staring at him with a lit up question mark floating over my head.  Like, you don’t want trash cans because people put trash in them?????? Now people that have to throw things away  just place piles or bags, boxes, McDonald’s trash, soda cans and whatever else on the street corners and let the wind take it away.  It’s crazy!

I guess the city doesn’t want to pay for trash collection even though that’s literally one of the main things a city government is for.  Instead SF likes to spend tons of money on other random projects that don’t contribute at all. One year, SF put up cement islands in the middle of downhill, narrow, straight roads with not so much as a light, a reflector or painted lines warning innocent drivers there is a triangle shaped cement block in the middle of the road now.  Maybe they were going to put up reflectors later but they didn’t get around to it right away so people all over the city, never having experienced an island on their usual route before, drove straight into the metal poles stuck in curb of the island.  Based on the swerve marks and damaged property, some people seemed to have driven right up over the island’s curb and either flipped over and crashed or veered into a nearby house, tree or shrub.  All the islands were removed within a few weeks.  Imagine the amount of trash cans that could have been distributed around the city for the cost of building and then removing those weird islands.

Recently the city has built giant speed bumps that are only good for skateboarders to launch ollies off of.   They’ve put them on crowded straight roads that are prone to congestion so speeding isn’t really a possibility.  I think to myself how many large dumpsters they could deposit at Ocean Beach for the cost of these speed bumps.  Instead SF loves to have piles of trash down at the beach float out into the beautiful Pacific Ocean because they care so much about the environment, I guess.

Anyway, here is the list of items that I have outside my back gate as of this morning.  Obviously I leave my shoes outside when I enter my home.

  1. Dirty black sweatshirt
  2. A Christmas Tree
  3. Two small vodka bottles
  4. Urine
  5. Human poo in the nook between our fence and the next door building
  6. A pigeon’s wing with the bones attached.
  7. A plastic bag full of who knows what.
  8. A flattened cardboard box
  9. Empty pack of cigarettes
  10. Soggy paper
  11. Burrito tin foil
  12. A smashed can of Pacifico


trash from yesterday in san francisco

Trash in my alley yesterday