The Right to Poo and Van Jones Skepticism: Just Another Day at OccupySF
As I noted in my previous post with the self-explanatory title "Excrement, urine, vomit and tampons" mark new site of OccupySF, San Francisco's municipal health department recently cited the OccupySF encampment for numerous sanitation violations. But an article that subsequently appeared on SFGate claimed that by noon on Thursday, OccupySF was "an utterly transformed encampment" that was no longer "a crash pad for chronically homeless people, with a contingent of activists thrown in":
Suddenly, there were people who looked more like office workers than hippies strolling among the 50 tents pitched on the concrete and grass. Tourists gave high-fives to the campers. A group resembling yoga instructors set up a huge rug and spent the afternoon meditating.
Overnight, it went from Rainbow Nation redux to a kind of cross between an antiwar demonstration and a company picnic.
By happenstance I passed by OccupySF while doing errands later that same day (Thursday afternoon), and I took the opportunity the check out its latest location (my previous coverage of OccupySF had been at its three earlier locations, before it moved to the Embarcadero). But what I saw during my ten-minute visit just before nightfall didn't jibe at all with the SFGate description of the encampment as "relatively tidy."
We've been reassured that as of today there may be less human feces in the area — but there is still a serious problem with dog feces, which can be seen and smelled at various places around OccupySF. Many of the homeless or semi-homeless Occupiers keep dogs as pets (pit bulls being the most popular breed) as well as puppies that haven't all been properly housebroken, and the owners either simply let the dogs do their business wherever they want, or take them on "walks" about 20 feet away from the tents for the dogs to relieve themselves.
The encampment is directly on top of some new bocce ball courts that the city had just installed. The area on the right side of this picture I found to be particularly malodorous, though I didn't see any large steaming piles as I had on the other side of the camp (as seen in the previous picture). I think what happens is that people unwittingly step in the dog poop and then tramp it all around the camp.
As for the human feces situation: Almost every single item on the official OccupySF bulletin board concerned itself with the poop crisis (see following pictures for close-ups).
"Defensive posture on compost solution to fecal BC prob imposed on us. Consider: a.) self-defense b.) freedom of speech in re: Better system! c.) RIGHT TO POO!"
"RESPONSE TO TODAY'S BLACK P.R. Editor, the lack of porta-potties is equivalent to B.C warfare and Black Press. VI5 suggests to demonstrate WELL-MANAGED (Key: must be well-managed) composting of fecal matter. It is better than chemtoilets they refuse + good P.R. and better than BC warfare as well."
I'm not entirely fluent in Occupese, so I'm not sure what the abbreviations "BC" or "B.C." stand for in this context. "Black P.R." and "Black Press" seem to be Occupese for "unsympathetic media coverage." (As an aside: Can you imagine the uproar if the Tea Party used the term "Black Press" to complain about media coverage they didn't like?)
"Composta Potty: need Toilet Seat = Good PR! REAL solutions!"