San Francisco may be suffering from an overwhelming "poop problem" but at least a few enterprising residents are making cash off the city's forgiving policies on public elimination.
According to a recent report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the city has hired a team of five people (and one supervisor) whose only job is to patrol San Fran's streets and sidewalks looking for — and cleaning up — human waste. But applications for the "crap job" weren't exactly pouring in, so the city made being a member of its "poop patrol" worth workers' whiles, offering up to $185,000 in salary and benefits to every member of its human waste task force.
The Chronicle reports that city has already instituted "the new $830,977-a-year Poop Patrol to actively hunt down and clean up human waste," and then adds, casually, in parentheses, the real cost of the job. "By the way, the poop patrolers earn $71,760 a year, which swells to $184,678 with mandated benefits."
Of course, you still have to clean up human waste for a living (and live in San Francisco, where a $100,000 salary barely covers the cost of living).
Unwilling to crack down on transient populations (or reverse its policy on decriminalizing public urination), San Francisco is paying a hefty price, and not just to employ professional poop-clearers. The city's latest budget includes nearly $100 million in expenses designed to mitigate the disaster plaguing San Fran's public streets and sidewalks.
In addition to the Poop Patrol, the city is spending $72.5 million on a street cleaning budget, $12 million on cleanup services for homeless encampments, $2.8 million on biohazard removal, $.23 million for specially designed street sweepers that use steam (which can effectively sanitize areas affected by human waste and drug use), $3.1 million for a series of portable toilets that won't be open at night, $364,000 for a "needle team" similar to the "Poop Patrol" but charged with locating and eliminating drug use waste, and $700,000 for a "needle cleanup squad" that requires its own vehicle to transport bio-hazardous waste.
The mayor also says she plans to start daily "walk-arounds" so that she can see for herself whether cleanup measures are effective.
So far, the policies seem to have a shaky record. In July, the city received an average of 70 calls a day reporting human waste in a public location.