Occupy SF: Urine, Feces, and Vomit

Living in San Francisco, I have an intimate relationship with bodily fluids. I stencil hunt and give tours down stinky Mission District alleys, and have seen urine, feces, and vomit all over public streets and sidewalks. I have seen mothers hold their children up to public trash cans to urinate into. I have seen drunk women crouch between cars while friends take photographs. My Western Addition neighborhood has a daily dog feces problem, making Harvey Milk turn in his grave. Since I have to look down at, and over to, the sidewalks while riding my bike, in order to discover stencils, I have seen very private matters play out on the streets of this City.

Funny that the SF Health Department decided to give Occupy SF an eviction notice because of urine, feces, and vomit. I haven’t seen any of these bodily fluids during my visits down to Justin Herman Plaza (the recent appearance of Porta-Potties was a pleasant surprise). I even spent some time picking up litter and intimately seeing and touching the ground, but saw no fluids. Yet this is why Mayor Ed Lee’s San Francisco government decided to raid Occupy SF last night. Well, at least he decided.

Ed Lee’s eviction plan ran into problems Wednesday morning. If the Oakland city government spent a week organizing a huge reaction to Occupy Oakland on Tuesday, then Lee and SFPD Chief Suhr had probably spent just as much time on the Wednesday night action. Oakland’s eviction of protesters got messy, so Lee and Suhr probably had a political hot potato to pass around the day after Oakland’s mess.
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Wet Paint and the San Francisco Model at Occupy SF

I didn’t go down to Justin Herman Plaza today because Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine was planning on performing. I went down because I realized that my Tuesday visit wasn’t really at Occupy SF. Tuesday evening, I biked down Market Street and stopped at the Federal Reserve building. There, I saw infrastructure for the Occupy folks, but only about four crusty people on site. I was embarrassed and left a bit disillusioned. Last night, I chatted with my friend Al about this, and he was confused. He’d been down there over the weekend and saw a huge crowd… at Justin Herman Plaza.

So, with my weekend schedule full, I made a window of about three hours to go down again and try to plug in. Their website said that they needed a “warehouse.” I happen to be connected to a warehouse so hoped to find someone to talk to about what they needed. When I got there, I found the seasonal ice skating rink under construction. I found the vendors selling tourist schlock, and I found Occupy SF over by the bocci ball courts (when did those show up?!). On the Eastern side of the Plaza, a line of tents and tarps made an encampment for those who were spending the night. A dozen people sat in a circle and met on the grass, a radio station was set up on the corner at Market, and a piece of yellow canvas was on a 40-foot long table.

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