Next time you are taking your dog for a walk and he drops a doggie-duke, do San Francisco a favor and leave it where it lies. As a dog owner in San Francisco, I am painfully aware of all the not-so-subtle signage posted all over this ‘dog-friendly’ city letting dog owners know that it’s our responsibility to clean up after our dogs. Some parks and beaches will even go so far as to provide little plastic baggies so that private citizens can follow behind their dogs and clean up after them. Well I have to say it: Making dog owners clean up dog droppings is harmful to both the economy and the culture of San Francisco.
Culturally speaking, making private citizens pick up dog-poop is demeaning and downright degrading. When you picture San Francisco do you picture a bunch of idea makers and dream realizers bending over to grab a handful of feces? And let’s face it, many of us could spend our time more efficiently; would you rather have me picking up poops or improving the economy of our sphere?
Let’s talk about that economy: as a person who builds venture-capital-funded startups from the ground up and turns them into well-oiled machines, I feel qualified to speak to the topic of job creation; in fact, I am quite literally a professional job creator, but my powers are limited to the private sector. When it comes to the public sector, I can only point out glaring inefficiencies when I see them, and this one is low-hanging fruit.
Cleaning up doggy droppings is a maintenance task that belongs in the hands of the City of San Francisco, plain and simple. We could create dozens of full-time jobs to tackle this problem. I know what you’re thinking: where would the money to pay these new city employees come from? Here’s the good news: We already have the money, it’s called taxes, dummy! People with dogs already pay more taxes than those without dogs: taxes on dog food, dog treats, dog walkers, dog entertainment, doggie daycare, the list goes on.
Right now many of our tax dollars get thrown at the ‘homeless problem’. Instead of just throwing our money at homeless people and ignoring the problem, why not provide them with a job that will give them a sense of pride and dignity: cleaning up after our dogs’ waste?
I’ve put a lot of thought into creating a solution here, and I even think a useful app could be developed to increase efficiency. This app would be called SNAPU (or Snap-Poo? I still have to do the market research) and would help alert city employees to where there is a dog poo that needs to be cleaned up. I would even be willing to develop this app pro-bono as a gift to the city; I would of course have to charge the city for the hours that my developers work on the app, but we would not implement any monetization.
Your move, San Francisco.