Like Cassandra, doomed to predict the future but not to be believed, back in May SF Weekly predicted that, if the City were to impose a 20 cent surcharge (which we did) on packs of cigarettes, could a tax on packs of gum, “the product that often comes out No. 1 on city litter surveys” be far behind?

They are TOTALLY “we told you so“ing today, as the Examiner’s reporting that

We’re going to contemplate an expansion of litter fees,” Department of Public Works director Ed Reiskin told the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday. “There are other pieces of litter that the Department of Environment in its audits has identified as contributing to our litter problem in the streets, so there is a nexus there that we may be able to establish.

We looked into this back in May, too, and noted that the litter surveys the city had done remarked that

An interesting observation was made in terms of what brands of printed materials are on the ground in San Francisco. MUNI tickets and transfers are a contributor to paper litter on city streets.

At the time, we jokingly suggested:

You know what this town needs? A TAX ON MUNI TRANSFERS. Because then we can subsidize cleanup of ticket trash and deter people from riding Muni. We get this to work, maybe one day no one will ride Muni and the City can shut it down, saving millions.

Which, hahaha, doesn’t that seem to be the current strategy, to make Muni suck so bad that no one uses it?

ANYWAY, the most recent little survey lists things like gum and butts and packing peanuts and bottle caps.

But it seems to be missing something, something I know we’ve ALL bitched about, way more than we bitch about fucking bottle caps. DOG SHIT.

“But Eve,” you’re saying “does the DPW even bother to clean dog shit up off the sidewalk? IT SURE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT.”

And the answer is that I do not know! But I called the DPW and left a message, so that should count as my gesture towards journalism (as will my updating when they get back to me — 685-3832, y’all!).

Because, you guys, I think I found the way for SF to make a ton of money — a tax on dog food. You see where I’m headed (your dog’s butt)? After all, as Laura noted, we hella love our dogs here in SF, and a tax on their food isn’t going to make folks give up Fido any more than it’s going to make smokers give up Camels. Think about it.

Of course, there is a possible downside: the Weekly quoted a source as saying that the “cigarette fee could lead to disgruntled smokers shrugging their shoulders and tossing their butts on the ground with impugnity. After all — why not? They’re paying for those butts to be picked up anyway.”

What if, in light of this new tax that I totally made up right now, no one picked up their dog crap? Hmm. I guess I wonder, would things really be that different than they are now?

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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