Social media platforms are rife with posts that say the California State has enacted “Alternative Side of the street pooping”, apparently a law to put a curb on the menace of open defecation on the streets of San Francisco.
A legion of social media users shared an article published in Mad House Magazine and titled “California Enacts Alternative Side of the Street Pooping” to assert that the California State in the United States has passed a law to tackle the scourge of street pooping in San Francisco.
Citing the article, the users claim California State has passed a law institutionalising pooping on the street. The article attributes New York City’s alternate side of the street parking as the inspiration behind the recent law allegedly passed by Governor Newsom.
“For example, On a street running east to west, degenerates can only poop on the south side of the street for a few hours a day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On the other days, you poop on the north side. It’s very easy. Of course, Sundays and Holidays will be free for all. Poop where ever you want until your heart is content,” Governor Newsom was seemingly quoted as saying in the article.
The article further said that those who are found contravening the law will be given a fine of $65, besides being deloused and sprayed with DDT by code enforcement. In addition to this, the offenders will also be provided with free hypodermic needles, condoms and candy, the article claimed. They would be automatically registered to vote and given a stimulus check and unemployment, it added.
However, has California State really passed a law on street pooping as alleged by social media users and the article shared by them?
The truth about the article that claims California State passed a law on street pooping
While social media users cite the report to back their claims about California state passing a law to regulate street pooping, the reality is starkly different. A cursory glance at the website and the article shows that the piece on Street Pooping was a work of satire and not reality.
Therefore, the claim that the California State has passed “Alternative Side of the Street Pooping” that is being bandied around on social media websites is wrong and misleading. The state has passed no such law as being talked about.
The article published in Mad House Magazine is a satirical piece, aimed at mocking the chronic problem of open defecation faced in San Francisco. A sarcastic take on an issue plaguing California is being used as an authoritative source of information to peddle that California has indeed passed a law institutionalising street pooping.
The chronic issue of open defecation facing San Francisco
While the satirical article takes a swipe at the California State, it nevertheless brings under the spotlight the persistent problem of open defecation in San Francisco. A report published in SFGate in July 2021 brought forth the extent of the scourge facing the city.
Street pooping has been an escalating problem for San Francisco. Since 2015, the number of reports of human and animal waste on streets for the period from Jan 1 to July 12 had steadily grown, underscoring the severity of racking the west coast city. The number of incidents had risen steeply in the last 4 years. However, the only consolation was that 2021 saw a declining trend.
In the same period in 2018, 12,287 incidents of human and animal excrement were reported. A year later, the number grew to 14, 337. And then in 2020, it was highest with 16,547 reports of waste on streets between Jan. 1 and July 12.
However, in 2021, the number drastically came down, with 13,856 incidents of open defecation reported from the city. In terms of the total number of incidents in an entire year, 2019 saw the highest case incidents, following which there was a marked reduction in the years 2020 and 2021.
San Francisco Public Works, which oversees street cleaning efforts, largely ascribes the steep rise in a number of instances when excrement was found on streets to coronavirus lockdown, which led to the closure of many indoor private and public restrooms.
Though the instances of human and animal faeces on streets have been come down precipitously, it is still a serious issue for a city that is located at the heart of the hallowed Silicon Valley and which has the highest concentration of high-tech companies in the United States.