Mayor wages war on San Francisco's filthy streets

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The streets of San Francisco, Mayor Mark Farrell says, are "filthy, filled with debris, litter, human waste and drug paraphernalia."

Farrell wants to spend nearly $13 million the next two years to clean up the filth.

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He wants five new pit stops built like the famous "Painted Ladies" with dog waste bags and needle disposals nearby. Three and a half million dollars will be earmarked for new steam street cleaning equipment.

SF Public Works' Mohammed Nuru says they're getting hundreds of calls for service every day. "We're doubling and triple shifting our steam cleaners and a lot of other equipment."

The plan will include hiring 44 new cleaning workers who'll target districts which need help the most.

Loretta Lawrence says her Excelsior neighborhood is one of them. "I've had to walk through human feces all over the sidewalks."

Some residents are skeptical. They've heard the promises before. "I think they're putting a lot of money into programs that aren't working," said Isabel Pagano.

Joe D'Alessandro, who heads SF Travel, the City's convention and visitors agency, calls it "a crisis and we need to act."

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We took a short walk down Market Street near the financial district and didn't have to look far before we found trash blocking part of a roadway.

The dirty, unsafe streets, he says, are taking a toll. "We are losing business. We have definite groups who say they can't come to San Francisco as long as the streets are like this."

The message from Mayor Farrell is time to stop talking trash, time to do something about it.

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