San Fran (the city littered with feces and needles) approves $20K trash cans to be placed around city


The following contains editorial content written by a current staff writer of Law Enforcement Today. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The city of San Francisco is working to replace the old green garbage cans scattered throughout the city with something a little more hip ‘n flip: sleek, prototype trashcans ranging from $12K to $20K per unit.

Just when you thought government spending couldn’t get any more ridiculous, here comes San Francisco being the equivalent of the drunk uncle at the government spending cookout that says “hold my beer” before one-upping the standard of bloated spending.

A Board of Supervisors committee voted on July 21st to approve three new prototype “smart” trashcans that will cost between $12,000 – $20,000 per unit, with the committee approving 15 of these cans to be produced and placed throughout San Francisco from November 2021 to January 2022.

It’s a pilot program where the hopes are that these fancy trashcans will be a big hit and that mass production can go into effect thereafter and drive down the cost per unit.

Even though he was among those who agreed with the proposal, Supervisor Matt Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle that:

“$20,000 a can is ridiculous.”

It’s a fair point that Supervisor Haney made. In fact, here’s a list of things that $20,000 could purchase: 

And you know what San Francisco does with $20K? They made a garbage can.

A single garbage can.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown recently weighed in on the pricey trashcans, noting that at the price they cost, they surely must be robotic and empty themselves:

“Obviously, they must not have told us all of what the trash cans do, because clearly those trash cans must be robotic. They must go empty themselves. They must walk around the streets. They let you drop in so you don’t have to go to the trash can.”

For the ticket price of these trashcans, certainly they have to resemble something akin to what someone would find in an episode of The Jetsons. 

So, are these trashcans self-tending? No, not even close.

According to a release from the San Francisco Public Works announcing these high-dollar trashcans, the high-tech aspect of these trashcans is a sensor “that send alerts when they’re nearing capacity so they can be emptied before they overflow.”

And not only are these garbage bins fitted with sensors, but they are also “aesthetically pleasing”, according to Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried:

“San Francisco is a beautiful city and keeping it clean can be a challenge. Finding the right public trash can to serve our needs at a reasonable cost has driven this design process. All three contending designs meet our requirements conceptually: They are durable, hard to tamper with, easy to service and aesthetically pleasing.”

There are literally cat litter boxes that actually empty the waste into a pullout tray while utilizing sensors that are 2.5% of the cost of these trashcans – and San Francisco manages to fund $20K trashcans that look neat and alert that they’re full. 

Former Mayor Brown says that he’s glad he’s no longer in politics, because he wouldn’t want to entertain having to explain to taxpayers about $20K trashcans:

“I’m really pleased that I’m not in government now. How do you explain to somebody you’ve got to pay $20,000 for a trash can?”

So, there are three models of these trashcans, which there will be five made of each, that are dubbed “Salt & Pepper”, “Slim Silhouette”, and “Soft Square”. Each of the tops are curved/rounded out to avoid items being placed atop the trashcans, as well.

While the idea and motivations behind these new trashcans are noble, namely designed to stop “scavengers, who rummage through them and leave behind a mess”, Supervisor Haney says that it’s “frustrating” that this costly approach was taken:

“Our streets and our sidewalks are a mess and the cans we have out there now are actually part of the problem. At this point they’ve already come up with designs, we won’t save time now to go backwards, but it’s really frustrating that they chose this route.”

When one begins to ponder how many people had to have brainstormed, presented this idea, courted heads nodding in agreeance in various meetings, and brought to life the $20K trashcan – it begins to make one wonder how these sorts of folks were entrusted with large sums of tax revenue.

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San Francisco has a fairly abysmal track record when it comes to smart-spending on efforts meant to behoove the city in general. Take for instance the city’s uncanny ability to spend an average of $60K per tent for a single year meant to house the homeless on the city streets.

We at Law Enforcement Today reported on this daft expenditure back in June.

Here’s that previous report.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing recently requested $20 million from the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee to keep operations running over the next two fiscal years of six homeless tent encampments.

These six homeless encampments, which support roughly 260 tents, have already raised eyebrows in terms of cost, since they were launched early on in the pandemic and the first year cost approximately $18.2 million.

Back in November of 2018, a San Francisco ballot measure that was meant to address homelessness via increasing taxes managed to pass.

The ballot measure, known as Prop C, estimated that increasing taxes on corporate entities could raise roughly $250 million to $300 million annually to allocate toward combatting homelessness.

And the spoils that were reaped were emblematic of the idiocracy associated with government spending, as the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing managed to craft tent camps in various areas of San Francisco in 2020 that came with an annual cost of roughly $60,000 per tent, per year.

On June 23rd, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing came before the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee and had asked for additional money to keep the tent cities functioning.

As mentioned earlier, these tent encampments came to fruition during the early stages of the pandemic under good intentions in an effort to have vagrants in San Francisco taken out of crowded shelters and into more open-air environments so as to allow practicable social distancing.

But with these six separate encampments, the campsites also had created accessible showers, around the clock security, and meals brought to the encampments. The cost associated with that first year was to the tune of roughly $18.2 million for about 260 tents spread across all six encampments.

In a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, it noted that these tents were costing taxpayers over $60,000 per year, per tent. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly twice the average cost of an apartment within San Francisco for an entire year.

In a nutshell, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing managed to have vagrants sleeping in tents on the streets at just about twice the cost of having these same individuals being afforded the dignity of an apartment.

When Supervisor Ahsha Safai addressed the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s request for $20 million to keep things running for an additional two years, she rightfully voiced concerns over the costs to keep something running that the city is trying to transition out of:

“$15 million in year one for safe sleeping and $5 million in year two for safe sleeping seems like an exorbitant amount for something we’re trying to transition as quickly as possible. When you factor 260 beds at $15 million for year one, that’s $57,000 per tent.”

Gigi Whitley, a Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing staffer, explained to Safai that when reviewing the prior years’ costs of $18.2 million, $1.2 million was for the showers, $3 million was for providing meals on-site, and $13 million was for that 24-hour security.

Whitley acknowledged that security was expensive, but framed it as a means to make sure the vagrants don’t get uppity and leave the “safe sleeping” areas and camp out outside the designated zones:

“Costs that also include things like security and 24-hour staffing – those are expensive costs, you are correct, but those are also necessary so that someone doesn’t leave the site and go into the neighborhood and maybe establish their intent there.”

Keep in mind that a staffer from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing pointed out, indirectly, that it actually costs more to have 24-hour security to make sure people don’t leave designated areas than it would cost to have these 260 tent inhabitors to reside in an actual apartment in San Francisco.

That is certainly some top-notch spending.

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