It’s Time to Start Rolling Out My Campaign Platform
Since I officially announced that I was running for mayor the main question everyone has been asking me is “So, what’s your platform?” because that’s what you’re supposed to ask. The thing that most people don’t get though is that platforms are rolled out throughout a campaign. Like, what’s Hillary Clinton’s platform? You have no idea, right? Hillary has been running for President for like eight years and she hasn’t even announced her platform yet, so if you’ve been wondering why I’ve been vague its because, I’ve been working on it holmes.
As you know, mine is an unconventional campaign. I’m not rich, I’m not backed by millionaires (or billionaires), and I want to keep San Francisco what it has always been: a haven for everyone who doesn’t fit in anywhere else. I know…shocking. I’m the Democratic-Socialist your grandparents always warned you about. I’m what keeps people like Ed Lee and Ron Conway up at night – someone with a conscience, a large following, a real love for my city, and a willingness to put those things to work. So that’s exactly what I’m doing with my platform. I’m sticking up for San Francisco because, I have to. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.
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So with that said, I’m beginning to roll out my platform right now! But as this is an unconventional campaign (you know…like I just mentioned in the previous paragraph) I’m releasing bits of my platform every two weeks, plank by plank, instead of all at once. Part of this is because putting it all out there is just a ton of information and I don’t want anything to get lost or glazed over. Another reason is that, by rolling out the different planks every two weeks, it gives you a fortnight to fully digest each issue and completely understand it. And the final reason is because I really wanted a chance to use fortnight in a sentence.
So here it is, the first plank in my platform (cue the trumpets and fanfare!):
The Poop Plan
There is human shit on the sidewalks and streets all over San Francisco. Not just a little bit like the time you thought you farted and ended up sharting. There is a shitload of human feces on our streets. And it is absolutely disgusting. When I polled people on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram what things they wanted to see change for the future of San Francisco this was way up at the top. I’m not gonna say it was #1, but human shit was definitely #2 (see what I did there?!?)
For reals though, human feces on our streets is not just gross, it’s also a public health issue; poop spreads diseases. Plus it’s a major problem for tourism, which accounts for more of San Francisco’s revenue than the tech industry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people who were like “Your city is amazing, but a man waved at me while leaning up against a Buick and taking a shit.” And even more important than the previous two, this is a human dignity issue. While Wavy Dave might be used to Buick leaning while answering nature’s call, he has only become so because he literally has nowhere else to go.
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San Francisco has roughly 10,000 homeless citizens with very little to no access to public restrooms. This hasn’t always been the case though; our poop problem has actually been growing! After 9/11 BART closed it’s restrooms and then in 2009 San Francisco closed even more public restrooms (in places like public parks) because Phil Ginsburg, head of Parks & Rec is privatizing our public parks. But oh wait, it gets shittier: nearly 50% of drop-in centers in San Francisco have closed in the past decade. And this my friends is why there is a metric shit-ton of poop in our streets (ok metric shit-ton may be an unsubstantiated number).
Right now you’re like “Hey, I get it Stu, but how do we fix this?” I’m so glad you asked. This is issue is not only solvable, it’s easily solvable! Here’s how:
- Reopen, fix and maintain all of the existing public toilets in the city and hire attendants to keep them clean. The downtown branch of the San Francisco Public Library has this going on exactly, and it’s amazing how well maintained the bathroom is, especially considering how much traffic it gets. This part of the plan also includes urging transit authorities like BART and Muni to do the same.
- Expand funding and support for programs like Lava Mae and Pit Stop. Both these organizations are doing really wonderful work and are on the front lines of cleaning up our poop problem. Lava Mae takes retired Muni buses and converts them into rolling shower/bathrooms on wheels. Pit Stop is a program where popup bathrooms, with attendants, show up on street corners. There are currently three SF locations. Lava Mae is a nonprofit that has some funding from google while Pit Stop is a program done by SF Public Works. I’d like to see both programs get a mixture of public and privateer funding to help their expansion.
- Create a “Free to Pee” program which provides financial incentives (grants and tax rebates) to businesses that open their restrooms to the public. Each of these businesses would put a sign in their window letting homeless, tourists, and citizens alike know that they are welcome to use the business’s facilities.
- Finally, we can build more public restrooms that are safe and easy to maintain. Portland has done something similar and it’s working brilliantly.
Here’s a funny little video that will illustrate this all for you:
While I know my poop plan is just a Band-Aid for the larger issue of our homelessness epidemic (ok, more like a humongous gauze bandage with lots of medical tape) it’s the first step to furthering San Francisco’s place as a world class city. World class cities don’t let their citizens poop in the street because they have worlds of class. So we need to step up our game. And don’t worry I’ve got some ideas on how to handle our homelessness situation, but you’ll just have to wait a fortnight until I roll out the next plank of my platform.
If you like these ideas and want to see them work, please donate to my campaign. I need your help!
Stuart Schuffman for Mayor 2015,FPPC ID #1377997