A handful of residents who live near Dolores Park are proposing an extra $100-$250 tax per household to do the maintenance and cleaning work that city is already supposed to be doing.
The persistent littering, violence, and drug sales at Dolores Park have almost become part of the fabric of the popular destination with the unbeatable hillside view, but many people who live near the park would like to remind you that these are completely correctable problems. A coalition of fed-up residents might take matters into their own hands, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Dolores Park neighbors are considering slapping an extra tax onto themselves by forming a Green Benefits District (GBD). Such a designation would add an extra $100-$250 annual tax fee onto more than 4,000 property owners who live in a roughly 30-block area surrounding the park.
Unsurprisingly, the idea of a new tax is not universally popular among the people who would have to pay it.
“We’re talking about paying a third party to organize and perform activities that the city should already be doing,” resident Rick Carell complained to the Chronicle. “How about we get the cops and Public Works to do their damn jobs?”
The Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association also came out swinging against the GBD proposal in a February letter distributed to residents.They complain of an allegedly rigged and biased neighborhood survey where “only 9% of the property owners participated,” and claim that “one third of all money raised will go to administration costs” — that is, six-figure salaries for desk jobs instead the actual manual cleaning of the park.
According to the Department of Public Works, a Green Benefits District oversees a heightened level of maintenance for replacing neighborhood street lamp light bulbs, sidewalk and tree care, and of course, the removal of trash and poop. But DPW also admits that only one GBD has ever been approved by residents, despite at least five of them having been proposed.
One proposed Inner Sunset GBD has been placed on hold, and West Twin Peaks resident Sally Stephens explains why in a San Francisco Examiner op-ed. “A GBD only pays for enhancements of existing services,” she says. “But the City has not provided opponents with an accounting of the existing level of services in the Inner Sunset.” Stephens also points out that the voting process to officially pay for GBD services is operated by the GBD itself, not the Department of Elections, leaving rife opportunities for vote manipulation.
Private contractors will of course lobby hard for these kinds of additional paid services, because it guarantees them more revenue. And the votes are weighted by property size, so large retailers get more votes than homeowners. But as San Francisco poop hysteria reaches ever-more-epic levels, you can see why some people are willing to just pay to make it go away.