SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The city of San Francisco is cracking down on merchants who don’t keep the area in front of their businesses clean.

That includes fines of up to $500 if they don’t scrape chewing gum off the sidewalks.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

Heather Raich owns Charanga, a restaurant on Mission Street. She said she received a notice on her window last week that she had seven days to clean her sidewalks.

“I was told I was going to get a $500 fine and I don’t need that, not in this economy,” said Raich.

Raich said she doesn’t understand why merchants are being targeted. But Christine Halvey with the Department of Public Works said it’s all part of a campaign to beautify busy neighborhoods.

“As part of that program, there is an inspection part where, after three years, we have started to enforce some of the sidewalk cleanliness issues and that’s what people are seeing today,” said Halvey.

Charanga was closed on Monday, but Raich was there in front of her restaurant, WD-40 and scraper in hand and not pleased.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (16)
  1. tj says:

    Why don’t they have all of these lazy DPW workers that I see leaning on the shovel clean this stuff-up!

    1. JoMama says:

      @tj, how will the DPW find the time to clean up the mess when they’re so busy leaning on their shovels?

  2. cy lucas says:

    They taxed smokers for clean up of their butts. How about taxing gum chewers for discarding their spent wads too??

    1. Og says:

      First their butts – then their wads?

    2. Mad Mike says:

      My thoughts EXACTLY!

  3. Nickolas Robinson says:

    Unfair to business owners. How can they be held accountable for random peoples waste.

    1. tn says:

      @ N. Robinson- maybe because the ground outside is part of their business entrance (even though it’s used by other pedestrians)? It’s kind of like owning your house and having to sweep up your front of your house, not only to beautify your home, but for safety’s sake. In this case, there isn’t much safety at stake, but I will say, I’m more inclined to patronize a store with clean floors, glass, etc. than a store with gum all over the floor. Just think if you owned a business right next door to this business owner, and you did everything you could to make your business attractive to customers, and your next door neighbor did, nothing.

  4. robin says:

    Why not get the community to get involved. Have a city cleanup day like they do at the beaches. Hold fun raffles and make it a fun city event.

  5. Erich Stratmann says:

    Please tell these folks that the technique can be placing an ice cube on each spot, waiting until the gum is cold, then remove ice cube abd hit gum with hammer. Then sweepm away bulk of mess.

  6. Mark says:

    This is more of the same. They will ticket a person who crosses a street on a red light while people sit 20 feet away smoking dope. This city is only punishing people who work and they know they can get money out of. It is getting sadder by the day. Clean up the problems instead of the sidewalks.

  7. Alan says:

    The supes have shown the ability to handle problems like this time and time again. Why aren’t they making gum illegal in the city like plastic bags and childrens toys….

  8. tn says:

    What this owner has to do to “battle” the city hall capital coffers is to say this is a freedom of speech; to make the gum floor an “art statement” that is a collective contribution by its community to the unique make-up of this storefront. Since it isn’t a safety or health issue, it should be considered “self-expression.” How’s that one?

  9. savecalifornia says:

    Is this even legal? Where are the littering laws against people who spit gum?

    Please call your councilor and protest this law.

  10. IGY says:

    It’s absurb of Ms. Halvey’s comment about beautifying the streets. Why should she and the City government victimize the store owners for social misconducts of the gum spitters? Would she gladly pay for gums spitted in front of her house?

  11. Linda says:

    This is NOT gum, folks! Every big city has this kind of black/dark gray spots on its sidewalks. Don’t know what it’s from–but vey little of it is gum.

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