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March 28, 2003


My Birthday Wish

By Jim Reid (www.SFMayor.com )

Today is my birthday and I heard that San Francisco is about to lose the fountain at U.N. Plaza because of the homeless problem. I wish that San Francisco would elect a mayor who will address homelessness with real solutions.

Imagine if Rome or Paris or London removed their great public fountains because their homeless used them as a toilet. What a disgrace to remove one of San Francisco’s last public fountains to demonstrate that the city that once knew how, no longer has a clue.

Rather than work to solve the cause of homelessness, Mayor Brown has continued to pour money on the symptoms. How much taxpayer money will it take to pave over this fountain and where will it come from?

Sterilizing our public spaces is not a solution to the homeless problem. It does not make our city attractive to tourists or residents. It proves that our leadership cannot solve tough problems. Our expensive and mechanically complex French toilets are often useless and force humans to piss elsewhere.

If our homeless had any decent place to live or sit or piss, they would not do this in public. We need a mayor who will build housing for our homeless in spite of the budget deficits by using public land and homeless labor and get these people off the streets and out of our faces and fountains.

Hunters Point Shipyard is 500 acres of public land away from Civic Center. We should build simple emergency housing there with food and basic medical care, as we had after the 1906 earthquake. We could again build a model that the nation will again copy.

Housing the homeless is much more cost effective that removing a fountain.