SF Lamp Post, Corroded by Urine, Nearly Kills Motorist

 
920x920

Since residents aren’t potty trained, San Francisco now coating public walls with urine-proof paint. (San Francisco Chronicle)

San Francisco is disgusting. Yes, the bay, mountains, and ocean are beautiful. The geography might make it the most scenic setting for a metropolis outside of Rio de Janiero. But the city itself? Yuck.

Viewed from a high-rise or a fine restaurant, San Francisco remains striking, but stroll down a crumbling sidewalk and you’ll see the uglier reality. Trash blowing through the streets, grime coating every stationary object, and a putrid dumpster smell wafting through it all. Any identifiable tourist is quickly surrounded by scammers, vagrants and the meanest beggars you’ll find in the states.

The city’s Spanish-language motto is translated “Gold in Peace, Iron in War.”  The first three words are accurate enough (“peace” might be misspelled), but the lamp posts are going to need a lot more iron if the residents can’t win their war on incontinence.

Concerns about San Francisco’s decaying light poles were ignited Monday night after one corroded by urine toppled onto a car, narrowly missing the driver.

The three-story-tall lamp post at Pine and Taylor streets snapped around 6:30 Monday and landed on a nearby car, almost crushing the driver. No one was injured.

A perfect storm of conditions rusted out the base of the pole, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials say, and caused it to fall. At the time, the lamp post, which was already old, was damaged by urine and weighed down by an oversized banner.

“We believe there was some contribution of dog or human urine on the base of the pole,” PUC spokesman Tyrone Jue said. “It has actually been an issue for us in the past. We encourage people and dogs alike to do their business in other places, like a proper restroom or one of our fire hydrants, which are stronger and made out of cast iron.”

I’ve never run a mayoral campaign, but opposing death by urine-corroded lamp posts might be a winning issue for the next challenger. Maybe the Ricochetti can help me in the comments. For all their talk about environmentalism, sustainability and stewardship, why are liberal cities so filthy?

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  1. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    But, hey, Sanctuary.

    Eric Hines

    • #1
  2. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:
    Maybe the Ricochetti can help me in the comments. For all their talk about environmentalism, sustainability and stewardship, why are liberal cities so filthy?

    Blue City Governance. It’s now legal to pee in the streets of NY… and it will get worse.

    • #2
  3. blank generation member Inactive
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Hey man.  All those tech workers have to go somewhere after partying until 2:00 AM.

    • #3
  4. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    I had the same impression of San Francisco the last time I visited the place 25 years ago.  It’s comforting to learn that nothing has changed.

    • #4
  5. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    “We encourage people and dogs alike to do their business in other places, like a proper restroom or one of our fire hydrants, which are stronger and made out of cast iron.”

    Clearly the problem here is a city with insufficient fire hydrants.

    Then there is this:

    Housing in San Francisco is expensive.

    So expensive, in fact, the city’s schools can’t hire enough teachers because the cost of living is so onerous.

    Truly the best of both worlds, the City by the Bay has it all.

    • #5
  6. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    It’s called the Golden Gate Bridge for a reason.

    • #6
  7. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    I was just there last weekend. Driving around the residential areas of the city, the main impression is one of dinginess. Everything looks old and ill-maintained. Previous visits left me with a better impression; it seems to be getting worse.

    • #7
  8. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Places with generous policies toward the homeless tend to attract…the homeless. I know that the SFPD has a specially trained unit just for dealing with  homeless people—so that when a homeowner calls saying some guy is camping out in the foyer and piddling in the stairwell, they’ll send the specially trained officer to talk the guy into moving up the street.

    Naturally, the SFPD are thrilled by this.

    Also—according to SFPD chums—-the SFPD’s hiring board considers prior military service or participation in high school contact sports (football) to be antithetical to good police work, and actively resists hiring veterans or football players.

    • #8
  9. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Kate Braestrup:Places with generous policies toward the homeless tend to attract…the homeless. I know that the SFPD has a specially trained unit just for dealing with homeless people—so that when a homeowner calls saying some guy is camping out in the foyer and piddling in the stairwell, they’ll send the specially trained officer to talk the guy into moving up the street.

    Moving up the street to piddle on the next homeowner’s stairwell? Good idea!

    • #9
  10. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    drlorentz:

    Kate Braestrup:Places with generous policies toward the homeless tend to attract…the homeless. I know that the SFPD has a specially trained unit just for dealing with homeless people—so that when a homeowner calls saying some guy is camping out in the foyer and piddling in the stairwell, they’ll send the specially trained officer to talk the guy into moving up the street.

    Moving up the street to piddle on the next homeowner’s stairwell? Good idea!

    Redistribution in action. Every stairwell can be equally peed upon. Well, not the super-wealthy. They have fences than can be peed upon.

    • #10
  11. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Trash blowing through the streets, grime coating every stationary object, and a putrid dumpster smell wafting through it all

    Well, that answers My question,”What do They do with the SF Examiner when They’re done wiping with it?”

    • #11
  12. Terry Mott Member
    Terry Mott
    @TerryMott

    David Sussman:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Maybe the Ricochetti can help me in the comments. For all their talk about environmentalism, sustainability and stewardship, why are liberal cities so filthy?

    Blue City Governance. It’s now legal to pee in the streets of NY… and it will get worse.

    The liberals have succeeded in their primary mission, and so can’t be bothered with little things like actually governing the city.

    What primary mission?  Indulging their moral vanity, of course.

    • #12
  13. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Trash blowing through the streets, grime coating every stationary object, and a putrid dumpster smell wafting through it all. Any identifiable tourist is quickly surrounded by scammers, vagrants and the meanest beggars you’ll find in the states.

    It sounds like NYC in the 80’s and early 90’s.

    First, in Liberal cities, every other person is required to own a dog–that pees. In those cities, everything “belongs” to everybody, which means nothing belongs to anyone, and therefore no one takes care it. A Utopian socialist dream.

    • #13
  14. Dustoff Inactive
    Dustoff
    @Dustoff

    Jon,

    Up until a moment ago, my iconic image of the urban Lamp Post, was that included in Gene Kelly’s great dance routine in the classic 1952 film, Singing in the Rain. I rather liked that image. I’m hoping that in time I can shed the newer version that just lodged itself in my brain. Odd, but electing a conservative president would some how help.

    • #14
  15. blank generation member Inactive
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Dustoff:Jon,

    Up until a moment ago, my iconic image of the urban Lamp Post, was that included in Gene Kelly’s great dance routine in the classic 1952 film, Singing in the Rain.I rather liked that image.I’m hoping that in time I can shed the newer version that just lodged itself in my brain. Odd, but electing a conservative president would some how help.

    Oh no!  Now I’ve got this image of Lucy being brained by a lamp post in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

    • #15
  16. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I had a similar impression in Seattle a few weeks ago. When the bum smell is more noticeable than the perfume drifting off the fish market, you have a problem.

    • #16
  17. Kay Ludlow Member
    Kay Ludlow
    @KayLudlow

    drlorentz:

    Kate Braestrup:Places with generous policies toward the homeless tend to attract…the homeless. I know that the SFPD has a specially trained unit just for dealing with homeless people—so that when a homeowner calls saying some guy is camping out in the foyer and piddling in the stairwell, they’ll send the specially trained officer to talk the guy into moving up the street.

    Moving up the street to piddle on the next homeowner’s stairwell? Good idea!

    Frankly, I’d prefer they piddle near my stairwell than some of the other things I encountered them doing when I lived in Manhattan.

    • #17
  18. Dustoff Inactive
    Dustoff
    @Dustoff

    Hey Blank generation mem.

    Not that I know first hand the Lucy image, but a urine corroded SF lamp post smashing a vehicle and nearly killing an innocent (albeit) San Francisco
    bystander, or bysitter as the case may be, is so utterly apocalyptic and Blade Runneresque, can’t imagine the comparison. Nevertheless I’ll do a search.

    • #18
  19. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Kate Braestrup:Places with generous policies toward the homeless tend to attract…the homeless. I know that the SFPD has a specially trained unit just for dealing with homeless people—so that when a homeowner calls saying some guy is camping out in the foyer and piddling in the stairwell, they’ll send the specially trained officer to talk the guy into moving up the street.

    Naturally, the SFPD are thrilled by this.

    Also—according to SFPD chums—-the SFPD’s hiring board considers prior military service or participation in high school contact sports (football) to be antithetical to good police work, and actively resists hiring veterans or football players.

    Moving what up the street?

    • #19
  20. Stephen Dawson Inactive
    Stephen Dawson
    @StephenDawson

    May I differ a little. I was in SF several times in March, and I thought the place delightful. Although clearly a tourist, neither I nor my family were accosted. Perhaps it is declining, but it wasn’t obvious to me.

    That said, I did notice that most of the stores at Haight-Ashbury had a legal notice in their windows, essentially giving the police permission to move people on. Here’s the one from the tie-die shop:

    No Tresspass

    • #20
  21. The Forgotten Man Inactive
    The Forgotten Man
    @TheForgottenMan

    Coming to a lamp post near you.

    • #21
  22. Stephen Dawson Inactive
    Stephen Dawson
    @StephenDawson

    As for falling light poles, did they investigate excessive stapling? Generations of poster placement on lightpoles in Haight-Ashbury may constitute a danger. From earlier this year:

    Staples

    • #22
  23. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    I’ve only been to San Francisco one time, for a weekend in 1993.  A lovely town in many ways, but yeah, I felt like our hotel was in the urine district.  And speaking of aggressive panhandling, I believe I met the man with the loudest banjo in the world.  I like banjo music but this guy figured out how to turn one into an aural weapon.  And he wasn’t asking for spare change, he was yelling for it.

    • #23
  24. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    My parents were brought up in NYC in the 1950’s and 60’s and moved to the burbs in the 70’s where I was raised. We were talking about the state of NYC now under De Blasio the homeless are back as well as the squeegie men and the city smells like a giant urinal (like it did in the 80’s. My dad was saying back in the 60’s they didn’t have the homeless that they did in the 80’s or now. I determined that it was because most homeless are either mentally ill or addicts (or both), but back in the 60’s those people were still institutionalized. Now we know that many of those institutions were deplorable and inhumane. However would be better to open up those institutions with better care and treament for people. better for these people to be in a place where they could be cared for instead of on the street. Again I was brought up after many of these places were shut down and I acknowledge the horrors inflicted on many of the patients. Just saying why throw the baby out with the bath water.

    • #24
  25. Stephen Dawson Inactive
    Stephen Dawson
    @StephenDawson

    It isn’t only the homeless that’s the problem for SF. It’s also the naked! Also Haight-Ashbury, naturally:

    Naked

    • #25
  26. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Stephen Dawson:It isn’t only the homeless that’s the problem for SF. It’s also the naked! Also

    Eeeww… gross.

    • #26
  27. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Regrettably I commute into SF every day.  I take a train that isn’t filthy but nor is it awesome.  The first SF station is embarcadero and it is a toilet, the Powell and Civic Center stations further down the line aren’t much better.

    I walk a couple miles up to Fisherman’s Wharf where our office is.  That area is thick with tourists and yet it is still filthy.  The city doesn’t tolerate the homeless, they seem to embrace them.  I see them under most trees and in most doorways in my long walk.  Hardly a week goes by where I don’t witness someone defecating in the street.  Most of the city smells of urine with only short breaks for marijuana stench.  The sidewalk is stained with feces and it has gotten much worse now that the drought makes pressure washing the sidewalk awkward.  (They do it enough to make it clear the city doesn’t give a wit about the drought, they just don’t want to be too brazen about it)

    There are many gorgeous site lines in SF to be sure but it is a sewer and I can’t wait to leave it permanently.

    A new feature of the city I’m noticing more and more is how often traffic lights are now ignored, I see 3 or 4 people run red lights every day.

    • #27
  28. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    blank generation member:Hey man. All those tech workers have to go somewhere after partying until 2:00 AM.

    Entertainment follows the money. I’d be surprised if Palo Alto tech workers have to go all the way to San Fran to find decent night life.

    • #28
  29. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    If I lived there I would move to Detroit.

    • #29
  30. blank generation member Inactive
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Misthiocracy:

    blank generation member:Hey man. All those tech workers have to go somewhere after partying until 2:00 AM.

    Entertainment follows the money. I’d be surprised if Palo Alto tech workers have to go all the way to San Fran to find decent night life.

    Can’t speak to Palo Alto, but Mountain View/Sunnyvale is down market from San Francsico in that aspect.

    • #30
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