Conversation With Campos

Editor’s note: “Conversation With Campos” is a weekly series of conversations with District 9 Supervisor David Campos addressing issues and events in the Mission. If you have questions for Campos, send an email to

Mission Local: The streets near the 16th Street BART station are cluttered with trash, and generally the Mission seems to have more litter than other parts of the city. Why is this the case?

David Campos: I don’t know what the answer is in terms to why this part of town is not as clean as another.

It’s something that we have been trying to deal with for quite some time. We’ve met with the Department of Public Works numerous times … to see if they can increase the number of times the streets are cleaned … to increase the number of trashcans.

That’s one of the big beefs that I have. We don’t have enough trashcans in our neighborhood. [Ed. note: The city reduced the number of street trashcans in 2007.] That’s not what we did at the Board of Supervisors or in my office. That stems from the prior administration under [Mayor Gavin Newsom].

[The previous administration] felt that too many people were using the street trashcans for the purpose of throwing away their own trash. And some businesses were doing that … it was a misguided decision. If you don’t have enough trashcans, you make it more likely that people will litter. You have to make it easier for people to put the trash away.

ML: On to our “Prop. of the Week.” Some say that Prop. 32 is pushed by large corporations who want to silence unions. Others say it’s an effort to limit the influence of special interests in politics. What do you think?

DC: I’m against Prop. 32. You can tell a lot about a ballot measure by who’s funding it. You have a lot of corporate special interests behind the prop.

[The prop] is presented as trying to fight special interests, but it’s disguised in that sense because the very purpose is to allow other interests, in this case corporations, to have more influence than they have. It’s a [means to] … limit the voice of laboring interests to speak out.

Look at the people who are funding it … if you look at the expenditure, they’ve spent millions of dollars influencing Sacramento … and they’re spending the kind of money they’re spending on it for a reason.

If we want to talk about limiting special interests in government, we need a larger discussion of what that means. No one has an answer to that right now. [Let’s] find ways to take money out of political system. I do support public financing. When you have that available to candidates, when candidates are not funded by special corporate interests, you level the playing field in politics.

When you have super-PACs like you have at the federal level because of the way the Supreme Court has interpreted finance law, it’s billionaires trying to influence the election. That’s the real problem. Prop. 32 doesn’t do anything to address that issue.

ML: We’ve begun to incorporate reader questions/concerns in our column. One reader is a parent with two children. He is concerned with the lack of spaces — at least near his neighborhood — where kids can play safely. He suggests creating more pocket parks. What do you think?

DC: We’re always looking for ways to add recreational spaces or parks especially. There is a parks bond on the ballot in November. There will be money dedicated to Garfield Park to improve the park, including improving the play area of kids.

One of the things we’re always looking for is ideas. If [the reader] feels that there are specific things they would like to see at Garfield Park, I would like to hear directly from them. We have allotted money for that purpose.

I also encourage people, if there’s a specific area where they believe a park or recreational space may be appropriate, let us know. Parque Niños Unidos on 23rd and Folsom streets is a perfect example of the parks we have built in the last few years. The neighborhood came together, working to make that happen.

[The reader] can come to office hours, email me and my office. I’d be happy to respond and engage with them.

ML: Shifting gears, I’d like to know: What is your favorite SF sports team?

DC: I love the Giants. For me, I grew up with my dad watching sports; he’s a big fan and he has liked different kinds of sports: baseball, basketball, soccer.

Baseball is always something that has a special place in my heart because of him. I think the Giants in many respects embody the San Francisco spirit. When they won [the World Series] a couple of years ago, it was a come-from-behind win — that’s something that inspires so many of us.

I have to say that I haven’t gone [to a game] this year because it’s been a busy year for us. I try to make it from time to time.

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  1. randolph mortimer

    If Campos actually spent any time at 16th and Mission, he would know the problem is not lack of trashcans. There are trashcans there, they’re mostly used as open air urinals though. The DPW is not the issue, the issue is the tolerance of littering and other antisocial or illegal behavior at this location, which Campos seems physically incapable of admitting for some reason.

    I also find it amusing Campos says to email him when it’s been widely documented by commenters on this site that he does not reply to their emails.

    If only someone would run against this guy.

    • tony

      Har, I e-mailed Campos about something like this years ago. After no response I sent the same e-mail again, after getting no response I figured he was busy voting on happy meals.

      The reason that parts of the Mission are a mess is because the people that live or hang out and sell drugs in that area don’t give a shit. Trying to make this a “the city at fault issue,” when it is a citizen “I don’t give a fuck” issue is so comical.

      Look at the losers at 16th and Mission, Campos and his sniveling enabling, while he blames the city for all the garbage swirling around 16th and Mission.

      What can our progressives not turn upside down? Campos makes policy where kids travel across town to go to school to fulfill his political agenda, then he complains that too many kids can’t afford the bus to fulfill this agenda.

      He needs a refund on his law degree because he missed out on the critical thinking class.

      • Joe

        Amen. I too have been on the other end of unanswered Campos’ emails. “I don’t know what the answer is” – WTF!!!

        Go to the fricking corner and the answer is crystal clear. It’s SRO inhabitants eating McDonalids, drinking 40s and throwing their shit on the ground.

        There needs to be some respect for the neighborhood – not more fricking trashcans. Campos is an idiot.

    • Wilson

      He replied to my email….three months after I emailed him and after two reminders from me. The answer that I received was boiler plate.

  2. Josh

    I want to know the Campos Campaign position on asking our Sheriff to do this, as well? There isn’t an answer to what to do about littering, other than community groups showing up and doing clean up days, which in that area, would take a long term commitment to make a difference.

  3. Cionda Jane

    Newsom wanted to get rid of trash cans because they encouraged to dump even more trash on the streets.

    Nothing makes sense here. You know what? You need to make it “uncool” to litter in the public’s perception. Oakland has signs up that say “Don’t Trash Oakland. It’s Home” why not try something like that here. This is one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

  4. Carlos

    It’s easy to blame Sup. Campos for what’s happening right now, but I disagree. The reality is that 16th has had some of these problems (such as drugs) for decades. Policing serves some purpose, as do social services in the area, but nothing has solved the problems completely.

    • Ben

      I think people are more frustrated that when asked point blank what is the source of problems at 16th, his answer is not enough trash cans and infrequent street cleaning.

      Finding a politically viable solution to that area’s problem is tough as hell, but that’s his job. How serious can he be about fixing it if that’s his idea of what the problem is?

      • Carlos

        I see your point. There are bigger issues than the lack of trash cans and he unfortunately highlighted that issue instead of the more serious ones.

  5. Pamela

    Does Campos actually live in District 9?! He makes it sound like no garbage cans is the worst problem the district has. Look around…The Mission is full of SROs, public housing projects, schlock shops, vagrants, drug dealers/users, gang members, pimps/hookers, etc. The list goes on regarding the criminal element that is allowed to live in District 9 & that law abiding citizens are subjected to on a daily basis. Mission St (corners of 16 & 24 being the worst) running thru Districts 6, 9 & 11 all the way to Daly City line is one big junk yard. Get tough on crime & get rid of the trash.

    • Blurpy

      I agree. Sadly, I’m betting nothing will really happen to make this area better until it becomes completely gentrified. That seems to work for every other part of town that used to be shady.

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