Shotwell Neighbors Exasperated by Public Pooping Guy

There’s a public toilet nearby, but this man prefers to poop on Shotwell Street. (Photo: A neighbor)

Bernal neighbors who live along Shotwell near Cesar Chavez are frustrated with a bearded man who frequently poops on the southwest corner of their street.

A Shotwell neighbor writes:

Alas, we have a consistent public pooper at the corner of Shotwell and Cesar Chavez.

He poops fully waist-down naked in the same spot about three or so times a week, leaving behind a big giant mess about a half block from the preschool.. Urgh.

We ask Bernalwood readers to call the police if they see him. That isn’t generally my approach, but it’s gotten out of hand, and I have tried to ask him to stop on many occasions.

UPDATE Sept 25, 7 pm: In response to some of the comments on this post, the Bernal neighbor who shared the photo of the man provides some additional context:

I knew that the post was going to get some controversy and agree with many of the folks who posted that calling the police is mostly NOT the right response when it comes to homelessness. But I also agree that there aren’t a lot of good responses.

I have watched small kids walk past this guy when he is doing his doo – and very very exposed. I have talked to him – he is both very mentally ill but also well enough to make clear to me that he is making a point by doing what he is doing and is fully aware of his actions.

The school down the street have complained very regularly and to no avail. I will also be trying to reach out to the Nav Center and have tried to reach out to St. Anthony’s – so far, of no avail.

Is citing him going to do anything? Possibly not, but something has to be tried and maybe, just maybe, a citation might be a disincentive – I honestly don’t know but have been at a loss.

If I had a good answer to these kinds of problems, and I wish I did, I would have [SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing director] Jeff Kozitsky’s job.. But alas, it is, as one reader points out, a federal problem that trickles down to a city problem that trickles down to the challenges we see in SF and most major cities these days.

59 thoughts on “Shotwell Neighbors Exasperated by Public Pooping Guy

  1. “… it’s gotten out of hand, and I have tried to ask him to stop on many occasions.” Just curious if “tried” to ask him to stop means you actually did ask him to stop.

  2. Posting a picture of a homeless person and asking the neighbors to call the cops on them is…weird. I don’t condone what this man is doing, but this seems wrong too.

  3. To all the people stating that calling the police is the wrong move here, it would be great if you offered a practical solution vs. your benign opinion. Defecating in the street is not only incredibly disgusting but it’s a straight up public health issue. How long should we continue to walk past this type of behavior before we actually try to make our streets a cleaner, safer place?
    If you think the cops are the wrong people to call, please be a good neighbor and provide insight into what you deem is a appropriate response.

    • Only speaking for myself… My problem is NOT with people calling the police (or any other agency that can help, and “help” here being for the neighbors as well as the pooper).
      My issue is that a blog is running a picture of a man with the directive to call the police if you see him.

      I would have preferred that the picture taker + concerned neighbors + blog author to engage authorities in a less “this specific man is a scourge on your community!!!” manner.

      It doesn’t seem dignified to me.

      I agree wholeheartedly that the man’s actions need to be addressed (not only for the well being of the community, but for the man himself, as I believe these types of actions are indicative of a mental health situation).
      I’m (personally) just not sure if this particular method is the most appropriate.

      • I couldn’t have stated it better. The blog post says “call the cops if you see this man!” What if somebody calls the cops on a different homeless man? How do we know that it is in fact this person in the picture who is doing this grossness? Whoever this person is now has a target on his back. That’s pretty crappy (no pun intended) without anything to go by other than the word of an anonymous neighbor who shoved a camera in some guy’s face. Public shaming posts are risky and honestly really juvenile.

      • All fair points. I have seen this man defecating on Shotwell several times, so I’m confident the man shown in the photo is the same individual.

        What we don’t know, and which is not asserted here, is that he is homeless.

    • How about the Hot Team? I’ve got them programmed into my phone. Probably call once a month.

      San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team

      Contact information:

      For homeless individuals in distress on the street: 415-355-7401 or Call 311 and ask for SFHOT’s Street Outreach Team

      • Thank you! I just entered these numbers into my phone. I wouldn’t have known about them unless it were for your post. Feces on the public streets (along with used needles, condoms etc. ) are a public health problem. We ask dog owners to pick up after their dogs for just that reason. We need more public toilets, but it doesn’t sound like this guy would use one.

    • Look, if he insists on pooping on the street, he should at least pick up his poop and put it in the trash. San Francisco is the only place where people get more upset with a dog pooping on the street than a person!

  4. This is where the lack of enforcement measures comes into play.

    If police did give him a public health or nuisance citation, the chances of the DA filing charges and a judge allowing them to proceed are close to zero.

    I’d love to hear what our Supervisor, Hillary Ronen, has to say about the matter.

  5. I called 311 on this guy about 3 weeks ago because he was scaring families walking their kids to school in the morning on Precita. I was told the policy is to transfer those calls to the police, so I talked to an officer, who really only wanted to know if the guy was dangerous. Well, how should I know? He was definitely “not ok” in some fundamental ways. The cops did….nothing! And now this guy is defecating on Shotwell. This homeless problem is the shame of the city and their policies do not work. This should not be just a city problem, but a national problem since our homeless population comes here from all over. There is no compassion in leaving these people to live in their own filth and why should we have to put up with this abhorrent behavior?

    • Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your experience calling 3-1-1. That’s really disappointing to me, that they just pushed u off on the police. The City’s HOT team, IMHO, should be checking in with this guy & seeing if they can get him in the system of case management, etc. I understand the frustration & the suggestion to call the police, but I think it’s a dead end & possibly just putting a deeply mentally ill human in jeopardy. Calling 3-1-1 may be a dead end, but with a direct suggestion to involve the HOT team & not the cops seems a good course of action.
      http://www.sfhsa.org/96.htm

      • The city’s budget is over 9 Billion and our population is less than a 1 Million. Let’s be real, taxing the rich won’t solve this Bernals issue with his guy shitting on the street near children.

      • Edna you seem to be rather misinformed, the wealthy pay far more taxes than the poor do when it comes to dollar amount. Seems incompetent city management is the problem.

      • That 9 billion dollar budget is paying a lot of former employees to sit around the yard in Lake Havasu and laugh at the City & County.
        Meanwhile, there’s shit on the sidewalks. Ugh.

      • if anyone if keen, you can see the proposed budget at the link below. its $10B proposed and includes over $3.6B for Human Welfare & Neighborhood Development and Community Health. Surely somewhere in there is enough money to stop people defecating near pre-schools. As someone who paid well over 100K in taxes last year, I’m keen on understanding how much more I am expected to pay in order for the city to get their poop together and deal with this lunacy.

        http://sfmayor.org/sites/default/files/CSF_Budget_Book_2017_Final_CMYK_LowRes.pdf

  6. Not good to turn Bernalwood into a vigilante site. This post/article should be removed.

    Unless… this news is just a clever way to keep Bernal rents from rising further?

  7. Let’s stipulate for a moment that what “A. Neighbor” has posted is true; this man defecates on the sidewalk three times a week, he does it with impunity, 311 has been notified as has SFPD, no punitive criminal action has taken place against the alleged defecator, and the citizen has asked the individual to cease and desist.
    If you believe this post amounts to vigilantism, I am honestly curious how you believe this situation should be approached by the citizen if you stipulate that all of the above are true.

  8. I was born and raised in San Francisco. These problems have gotten much much worse over the last 30+ years. I don’t understand the acceptance of this behavior. It really seems like some of our neighbors are proposing tolerance for someone exposing himself regularly to children and other residents and defecating in public. How is that a sustainable approach? Bernalwood is supposed to be about improving our home. Behavior like this man’s moves us away from community–b/c we all end up putting our heads down and ignore these kind of very disturbing problems and stay in our houses. For those of you criticizing Todd and the OP, perhaps you could share your address or intersection and we could send this fellow your way.

    • Deal with it, it is part of what makes San Francisco San Francisco.
      We live in a city that does not want to punish homeless people unless they have already harmed someone. “No harm, no faul.”

    • Progressive politics is as dead end and unsustainable as Marxisum was. It will just take years for the dogmatics to admit it. But anyone who looks without the dogma pulled over their eyes, can see this clearly right now.

  9. The entrance to the new navigation center is 500 feet away from this human pooping site. I can’t think of a better opportunity for this center to demonstrate it’s value to the neighborhood and provide this person the support he needs so that he no longer creates a biohazard on a public sidewalk.

  10. This is absolutely the guy who was squatting, naked from ankles to waist, halfway into Shotwell, taking a dump at 8AM one Saturday morning as I walked my child to Precita Park. My 8 year-old was shocked, I was appalled, and left wondering what message she gets by seeing this disturbed man roaming our city streets.

    IMHO it’d be unreasonable NOT to alert the city-hired professionals paid and trained to deal with this. And bonus point addressing their inattention by asking neighbors to up the volume. Yes those professionals are overstretched, the system backlogged, & case managers swamped so that nothing may result from the call. But that’s not an excuse to do nothing, even if there remains more to be done.

  11. When you post about this online, please also email Hillary Ronen, HOT & Jeff Kosistsky. Ask them to arrange outreach. If no reply, email every few days. Also report to 311 in 2 categories, for cleanup and under “homeless concerns”. The more reports the better. Although you are frustrated, be polite. I know how it feels, I cleaned up poop in front of my house daily for several years. It seemed too gross to let it sit. The poop stopped about when the new Navigation Center opened.

  12. Something that I don’t understand is why this guy wouldn’t be arrested for indecent exposure around minors. The pooping is one thing, the full exposure around kids at the school is much different and should result in felony charges.

    • I think – and I will stipulate that I am not a lawyer and may be misunderstanding what I was told – that there actually has to be sexual conduct of some sort involved before it becomes “indecent exposure.” So straightforward public nudity may not meet the threshold. Of course, if there’s a kid involved, the rules may be different, so who knows.

      • Based on what Todd said in his update, this guy is well aware of what he is doing and the fact that he’s exposing himself. I’ve included what I could find online regarding indecent exposure (California Penal Code Section 314). I imagine that adding in the fact that he’s doing this in front of children could add additional charges:

        “Exposing yourself inappropriately is a crime against the person under California indecent exposure laws. A prosecutor must prove several elements to convict a defendant for indecent exposure, which falls under the broad category of sex crimes. First, the prosecutor must show that the defendant willfully exposed his or her person or private parts. If the defendant did not know about the exposed private parts or accidentally exposed a body part, the prosecutor likely cannot establish the elements of the crime”

  13. Man this is what I love about SF. No matter how indefensible the behavior, there is always someone willing to take up the cause. Even when the cause is literally __Shitting In The Street__! LOL

    –Public shaming is wrong!
    –Tim is being a vigilante!
    –The real problem is that we need to tax the rich!
    –Oh just deal with it. No harm no foul!

    Thanks for making me laugh on an otherwise boring morning.

    • It’s almost like there’s a continuously-running contest here for this sort of contrarianistic excuse-making.

    • Yes it’s posts like these that bring out the sheer ludicrousness of progressives and you’ve hit the nail exactly on the head. How many times must we hear these rote progressive progresdive party lines that coddle the homeless as though they are a special class that deserves complete carte blanche to act with total disregard for the laws.

      Enough already. The actions are disgusting, unsanitary, unsafe and should not be tolerated. Yes… even if he’s homeless. Even in a city. Even in a city with a 10 BILLION dollar budget. Even young children know if you let them get away with it repeatedly they’ll just continue to do it. Something progressives still haven’t grasped.

  14. Totally agree with Denise and b. This guy is a public nuisance to the neighborhood. There are many families, children around that area. Indecent exposure is a felony. With what the city pays these so-called homeless advocates/non-profits, the problems should have been solved years ago..District 9 Supervisor will most likely do nothing. Like the supervisor before, they both think this is normal behavior. Living in SF for 40 years and a Bernal Heights homeowner for 17, the problem has gotten worse. And for what I and other home/business owners pay in taxes, SF should be the best in education, safety, clean streets, etc. etc.

  15. Citizens of Bernalwood! Ask not what your government can do for you, butt what you can do for your government! Take matters into your own hands, and find a sanitation solution:

    http://www.mrpottyrental.com/portable-toilet-rental-San-Francisco-ca/

    For a small percentage of your annual property taxes, you can be rid of this public menace TODAY — simply call the good folks at Mr Potty and install a port-a-john at Shotwell and Chavez. The Citizens of Bernalwood will thank you, and perhaps celebrate you as a hero!

    • There is a public toilet, literally, a block away in front of the gas station. You can actually see it in the picture of the guy posted above. The problem is not access to a bathroom.

      • Aren’t homeless / indigent people granted free access into those public toilets somehow — via tokens or some other mechanism? I recall that being a feature of their introduction but can’t find details of how it works, or specifically how this guy would practically gain access to it. (Regardless of whether he actually would…)

  16. @kimbrogue. Access to the public toilet on South Van Ness – the green one you can see in the photo, to his right, over his shoulder, next to the pedestrian count down clock – is FREE to anyone. No token or cash required. There is no excuse. Human shit on the streets is a health hazard and disgusting and not something we should accept.

  17. All emotions aside as to how we feel about the homeless, this is a public health issue.

    http://khn.org/news/california-scrambles-to-contain-unprecedented-hepatitis-a-outbreaks/

    311 will not come to clean up the mess if the pooper choses to come onto your porch or your business “entry alcove” to do his business – this is now YOUR problem to clean up. As a store manager, I’ve had a lot of up front experience with the ensuing clean up so we can open for business – this makes me rather intolerant of the pooper’s disregard for others who deal with his mess.

  18. As a long time Shotwell St. Resident (25 yrs.) I have to say that this pooping man, and many like him, are insane. There will be no reasoning with him.

    Since the time of Ur, basic things like cleanliness for public property have been sacrosanct.
    San Diego has a massive outbreak of Hep. A. They are bleaching their streets every day to avoid wholesale death to the city population. That will come here. This comes from pee and poop on the streets.

    If your answer is to put out more public restrooms and give out more tents, please move somewhere else, or invite the homeless population into your home. All of them. At once.

    Thank you.

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