This week, Mohammed Nuru, the Director of Public Works in San Francisco, was arrested and charged by the FBI on allegations of bribery, wire fraud, violations of honest service, and… porta potty contract corruption.
Nuru calls himself @MrCleanSF on Twitter and is the official best known for failed efforts to keep feces and hypodermic needles out of the public way. He oversees a $500 million budget, and, according to our data displayed at OpentheBooks.com, Nuru earned a $250,548 annual salary in 2017. Apparently, that wasn’t enough in light of an arrest that included allegations of bribery.
The indictment has yet to be proven in court. However, the feds, in part, referenced a porta potty scandal – a breach of honest services in the procurement of mobile potties and tiny container-type portable housing for the homeless.
Nuru’s tactics were always questionable. For example, fancy portable toilettes were designed in the architectural style of “Painted Lady” residences. These porta-potties cost $200,000 each to operate. Five employees were staffed on a “poop patrol” with pay, perquisites, and pension benefits costing $184,000 each per year.
Sadly, these strategies weren’t working — based year-end data. We’ve reached out to him for comment and will update the piece if he responds.
New analysis – released by our organization at OpenTheBooks.com – shows that reports of human waste in the public way spiked to an all-time high last year.
Consider the following:
- In 2019, there were 30,996 calls to the city’s 311 non-emergency hotline which dwarfed the 28,084 reported incidents in 2018.
- A 50 percent jump in reports from 20,668 (2017) to 30,996 (2019).
- A triple in human waste in the public way from 10,644 (2014) to 30,996 (2019).
Last spring, in a column at Forbes, we launched our San Fransisco ‘poop map’ that trended on national Twitter, was showcased on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, and was covered internationally.
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com plotted all 118,352 reports of human waste since 2011 using latitude and longitude address coordinates of all cases closed by the San Francisco Department of Public Works.
Using our interactive map, just click a pin and scroll down to review the results (all closed cases by neighborhood) rendered in the chart beneath the map. Available data is the result of resident reporting to the city’s 311 dispatchers during the years 2011-2019.
Now, our findings show that during calendar year 2019 the brownout in the Bay Area continued.
In fact, 50 percent of all incidents in 2019 occurred in just three ZIP Codes. These are some of the city’s fanciest neighborhoods. Here are the three areas with the highest concentration of reports.
#1 ZIP Code: 94103
Human waste was reported 6,996 times within this prominent San Francisco ZIP code. Roughly one in every 4.4 cases citywide occurred in this ZIP Code.
Neighborhoods affected include Mission, South of Market, Mission Dolores, Showplace Square, and Mint Hill. Avoid the South of Market neighborhood which had the most cases reported (5,727) last year.
#2 ZIP Code 94110
Since 2008, there were 5,040 instances of human waste reported. That’s an average of 420 reports per month for the last 12 months in this area. That’s up from an average of 135 over the past 99 months. Neighborhoods affected include Noe Valley, Peralta Heights, Mission, Potrero Hill, Dolores Heights, and Bernal Heights. Avoid the neighborhood of Mission with 3,369 cases last year.
#3 ZIP Code 94102
Last year, over 4,026 cases of human waste were reported in the heart of San Francisco. Affected neighborhoods include Civic Center, Hayes Valley, Tenderloin, Cathedral Hill, Lower Haight, and Downtown/ Union Square. Over the previous 99 months, this ZIP Code had the most reports. Last year, it fell to third place.
Some homeless advocates tried to confuse the issue by blaming dog owners for fecal matter on city streets. The city even changed the title of its 311 data to “Human or Animal Waste.” However, the claims aren’t taken too seriously – even by the advocates.
In 2018, new mayor, London Breed, won election by promising to clean things up. She’s walked city streets with television crews in an effort to hold cleanup teams accountable. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on “solutions.”
Unfortunately, the mayor’s efforts aren’t working and this new indictment isn’t a sign a solution is on the horizon. Again, we reached out to her for comment and will update the piece if she responds.
Read our original report published last year at Forbes.