SAN FRANCISCO AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
The City of San Francisco boasts a night population of about 740,000 and this grows in the day by over a million or may be more. Lots of people love to work in the City and County of San Francisco and when lots of people live, work, or just congregate in one place as they do when the Giants play - there is a lot of garbage. In the old days we called it garbage but today we say in soft tones - waste and the art of saving and reusing waste - waste management.
In the early 1960s I got involved in planting trees, cleaning rivers, and what we call recycling and waste management today. In the 1980s I was able to work with Sixth U.S. Army and Presidio of San Francisco with Mr. Bowen to create a working recycling model. At that time we really did not have the beautiful and colorful recycling containers we have today but we made them, painted them and labeled them.
It was fun to recycle white paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, wood, aluminum, silver from microfiche plates, pellets, furniture - you name it. We donated stuff to schools but we also saw that little waste went to the landfills.
I created the first Recycling Site at the Presidio of San Francisco in building 1243. Later the Presidio Trust handed the operation to the San Francisco Conservation Corps. HANC the Haight Ashbury Recycling entity that still is in operation worked with me a little. They first made big money using Presidio Deconstruction wood and opened the Building Resources at 3rd and Cargo more on Amador Street on SF Port Property.
This little history because I learned at the Presidio which is 1480 acres and at one time had a working population of 10,000 people - techniques to save our landfills and create various strategic models to help small, medium and large groups - recycle.
We also enticed the kids to learn to save our trees by having some creative workshops. We taught woodcarving and painting. We helped them learn about little plants and created the Presidio Nursery at building 1244. Those were the days when we had Sharon Farrel and other good people.
President Bill Clinton signed the Executive Order mandating Waste Management in the mid 1990s and this instrument allowed some of us to organize ourselves and promote recycling and send less toxins and waste to the landfills.
The City and County of San Francisco in which I reside makes big noises about recycling and waste management. But it is big noise and nothing more. The City of San Francisco spends about 7 million dollars sending waste to the landfills every year.
A lot of this waste is construction material. A lot of it goes to Pier 94 and much of it dubious in nature. I say dubious in nature because often times the entity that receives it - has no say and cannot say no. While recycling is good - the modus operandi should be legal. Perhaps the entities that do not enforce such illegal practices should be called upon to find out - why toxins are sent to places that should not.
The San Francisco Environment a City Department is just a mouth piece - shouting at the top of their voices about things - waste management, composting, mercury collection, battery collection, and other such novelty collection that tap into little of the waste in the above categories.
The City of San Francisco states that it recycles 54 percent of its waste. The real statistics in more like 30 percent. If one really investigates and does the analysis a lot of this is construction material and no one really keeps real count of tonnage. The City of San Francisco waste money paying personnel to recycle but all they do is mostly - talk and encourages waste.
No one has audited the City on recycling and waste management. The reason this has not happen is because the City of San Francisco prides itself in various City Departments - as wasters.
On any given day one has just to go to say 501 Tunnel Road and take count of City trucks that bring in waste material. You will see City trucks half full, others quarter full - and this is wrong because they waste fossil fuel driving from one end of the City to another just to drop - little. While recycling is very good - one has to learn the principles of sustainability. Of course most Department of Public Works (DPW) under Mohammed Nuru and Lee cannot spell - sustainability.
The City of San Francisco has some City Inspectors who go to certain streets and cite those who litter. Once constituents are cited - most of the fines cannot be collected. There is no enforcement. Some time ago the City decided to terminate the Litter Inspectors (that is my own name). Can you imagine the only City personnel doing something good and the Department Heads - telling them to go take a hike?
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority gives the City and County of San Francisco millions of dollars to clean our streets and plant trees. The City also gives DPW more millions. This Department of Public Works is corrupt and has worked with other non-profit entities like SLUG - to waste millions. There is some little investigation but the Supervisors and the City Authorities - are really not paying attention.
In 2005 the United Nations will be having a World Forum on the Environment. Every aspect of Waste Management will be discussed. Global Warming, Carbon Dioxide in the air, other pollutants like mercury, lead, pathogens will be discussed. We will have to bus delegates to various facilities and the only one we have to showcase is Norcal Waste Systems.
San Francisco Environment with Jerold Blumfeld has nothing to showcase except hot air. He will try with Jesse Blout to showcase Aspire and Solar Panels but that is not his work. Jarold will try to say he propagated composting but that a far cry from the truth.
Norcal Waste Systems has been the lead private agency in using cleaner fuels for their trucks and they can do this because they are a monopoly with a focused policy and mission objective.
Our City of San Francisco has failed on such a policy with MUNI and Michael Burns. Speaks that talks from both sides of his mouth have failed to address the diesel issues - MUNI. Years have passed and we do not have particulate traps. We have some and they took years to install on Diesel MUNI buses.
Our City is now held hostage with the injunction by Judge Warren and the Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Tom Ammiano has introduced a shoddy band-aid ordinance to fix the problem. Contracts are tied with the WBE and MBE companies and in many cases - such contracts save the City and County. But, if the Judge does not revert his adjudication - the City of San Francisco will see real wastage.
Human Rights Commission (HRC) is there to enforce certain laws but does not do its work. 85 percent of the contracts go outside the City and this is a shame. When so much goes outside you can bet there is wastage. A City that has fiscal constraints has little wastage in all areas.
San Francisco Environment is full of inept people like Yvonne Webb, Cal Bromhead, Ann Kelly, Anna Eng and they all make tons of money. They have an Integrated Pest Control Department that once boasted about poisoning rats in the Sewer System. Little did they know that this in turn goes to the Phelps Raw Sewage Treatment Plant and then into the Bay - with adverse impacts. All this before Parin Shah and his cronies on the Environmental Commission. Such jerks I tell you it is pathetic.
It is good to recycle but we ought to do it the right way. We look forward to the World Environment Day forums in which I hope to participate.
Some little news about San Francisco and Waste Management.
National Recycling Coalition
top - back