Thursday, December 17, 2009

$7.5 million to pick up cigarette butts?

I've seen this mentioned before in the Chronicle and the Examiner, that San Francisco spends $7.5 million a year to clean up cigarette butts. I find that hard to believe, since it sounds like hyperbolic anti-smoking propaganda. Today the Examiner (below in italics) cites as a source for the number a study by the Health Economics Consulting Group, but I can't find the study on their website: http://www.hecg-llc.com/

City: Here’s an ashtray, now use it
Mike Aldax
Examiner Staff Writer
12/16/09

City officials not only want to limit
where smokers can light up in San Francisco, they’re also trying new ways to discourage them from chucking their cigarette butts on sidewalks and streets.

The Department of Public Works announced at a press conference today that it has partnered with a neighborhood group to test three types of public ashtray canisters, hoping to find a solution to the illegal dumping of butts.

The City spends $7.5 million annually to clean up illegally discarded cigarettes, a Health Economics Consulting Group study said.

The canisters were placed in the Mid-Polk Street neighborhood. One canister is affixed to city litter receptacles, another is affixed to participating businesses and a third will be placed at curbs alongside participating businesses, DPW said.

“Mid-Polk volunteers conducted cigarette litter counts before the canisters were placed and will continue to monitor and provide data to DPW to assess which model could work best in other commercial areas,” DPW said in a release.

Meanwhile, the agency announced the winners of its new Anti-Cigarette Litter Slogan Naming Contest. They were quite clever.

The winning slogan: “Don’t be an ash, put your butts in the trash.” Second and third place slogans: “No butts about it, keep our neighborhood clean” and “The butt stops here.”

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11 Comments:

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm overjoyed about the proposed new smoking restrictions, but they don't go far enough. The city should ban smoking on public sidewalks, at least in commercial districts, as they've done in places like Berkeley.

I'm so sick of having to breathe in peoples' cigarette smoke as I walk on the sidewalk. Plus, smokers almost never look where they flick their ashes or throw their butts; I've had both hot ashes and a live butt carelessly dropped on my dog as we were walking along the sidewalk. (It's enough to make me wish that he was a biter.)

 
At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep hearing how much San Francisco spends on critical mass. I find it hard to believe, since it sounds like hyperbolic anti-cycling propaganda.

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I just don't believe that the city is actually paying $7.5 million a year to pick up cigarette butts. I'd like to see a breakdown of what exactly the money pays for. On Critical Mass: it was Channel 5's Joe Vazquez, who reported the numbers on Critical Mass (http://cbs5.com/local/critical.mass.cyclists.2.1002044.html). Channel 5 doesn't do propaganda for District 5 Diary. In his report, Vazquez noted that this is what Critical Mass's babysitting requires: "For 20 officers, it's more than $112,000 a year, and another $13,000 for two sergeants."

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we look forward to a Rob Anderson injunction against this ridiculous notion of putting ashtrays in public? Did the city file an EIR for this? Only heroic Rob Anderson stands in the way of the anti-smoking nuts taking over the city!

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

$7.5 million for ashtrays? I'm just skeptical and would like to see the report the story in the Examiner cited to learn more about this issue.

I really got under the skin of you bike assholes with the injunction, didn't I? I find that very gratifying.

 
At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I can only speak for myself, but yes, you got way under my skin and your injunction caused me a good deal of inconvenience and made my daily life more dangerous than it would otherwise be, probably. I'm the kind of cyclist who obeys traffic signs, yields to pedestrians, thinks Critical Mass is counterproductive and generally is a reasonable person and not a bike nut, and my life got messed with just as much as the most outrageous, law-flaunting fixie rider. I'm also not an asshole and I try to restrain from throwing around insults to people I've never met. This is one area where the two of us are different. So please, enjoy your gratification.

 
At 4:58 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Thanks, I will.

Here's the thing: I post about a lot of different topics, mostly city issues. I do a post on this rather mysterious $7.5 million to deal with cigarette butts, and I get your witless comment referring to the injunction.

Do you have something substantive to say about the Bicycle Plan litigation? If so let's have it. How exactly did it the injunction make riding a bike in SF "more dangerous"? Do I detect a bit of self-pity in your comment? I understand that some of you bike people think they are victims, an oppressed class of people. Tim Holt even compared the bike movement to the Civil Rights movement!

 
At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exactly did it the injunction make riding a bike in SF "more dangerous"?

It put a smile on your face which melted my tires.

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Oh my god...we found an actual biker in SF who says he obeys all the traffic laws...

a Christmas miracle for sure.

 
At 1:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, for starters the MTA has recently cited the bike injunction as their rationale for not doing anything about the mess at Fell and Divisadero:

http://ibikenopa.blogspot.com/2009/12/mta-cites-bike-injunction-for-delay-on.html

The MTA is certainly not a perfect institution and there's no guarantee that whatever solution they came up with would make the situation better and not worse, but it's pretty clear that the threat of litigation has made them timid, and that's prevented action at an intersection that's horribly broken for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

Also if you thought you detected some self-pity you were mistaken, and it's been my impression that you have an unfortunate tendency to overgeneralize and group all cyclists into the "bike nut" category when in fact it is a large population with a wide range of diverse opinions (much like motorists and pedestrians).

 
At 9:01 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Let the record show that you insist on turning a blog post on an entirely different topic into a discussion of---guess what?---the plight of oppressed cyclists in San Francisco. That there's a bike lane on Fell Street at all shows how nutty you bike people are. Why would anyone with any sense even want to ride a bike on Fell Street? You link to a bike website of a young guy who just arrived from Florida to tell us how to redesign our streets on behalf of you bike people. Thanks a lot, pal. How did SF get by before you and all your comrades arrived?

The site quotes MTA's Mike Sallaberry, who opined on a recent radio show that it was okay if the Bicycle Plan slowed down Muni. Sallaberry and MTA were only stopped from screwing up Divisadero a year ago by a united front of Diviz merchants and local residents. The city now has a budget deficit of more than $500 million, but MTA still has 10 people working on its Bike Program. It's just nuts, and I think you folks are complete assholes much like religious fanatics who insist on imposing your crackpot ideology on the rest of us. And then you get sullen and resentful when we resist!

 

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