Interview: San Francisco Activist Leads Petition to 'Honor' Bush's Environmental Legacy


The impact of President George W. Bush’s sizable carbon footprint is yet to be determined. But his legacy could be directly linked to sewage if a group of San Francisco activists has its way.

Calling itself “The Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco” the group of volunteers has been gathering at Cafe Flore at Noe and Market streets, among other neighborhood spots, to collect signatures for its controversial campaign: renaming the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Facility the George W. Bush Sewage Plant. The plant is located near the San Francisco Zoo and processes about 17 million gallons of wastewater a day.

Volunteers need 10,000 signatures by July to place the measure on the November 2008 San Francisco ballot. The sewage scheme is the brainchild of San Francisco resident, Brian McConnell, who works in the technology field and maintains a solar-powered, WWI-era home. McConnell goes by the name T. Wayne Pickering on the initiative, which he co-sponsored with longtime friend, Michael Jacinto.

“Politicans have a habit of writing their own history and a lot of things went badly the last eight years,” he told me in an interview. “We think the Bush Administration should be remembered for failures and mismanagement, like a trillion dollar war and a major American city wiped off the map and left dangling.”

No airports or schools named for Bush? So far, 3,060 have given the nod to the sewer homage as a statement about what the President has done to undermine the planet, from denying California the Clean Air Act waiver to opening up millions of acres of public land in the Rocky Mountain West and Alaska North Slope to oil and gas drilling.

Republicans dismiss the petitions as only suitable for wiping behinds. Guess no one is looking at sewage treatment as a positive thing.

News agencies like the Washington Post and Fox News are weighing in on the Republican response. In in a recent interview with the Commission. Republican Party spokesman, Leo Lacayo, told Fox, “It’s just another move from the hate-Bush crowd.” The local GOP says it will fight the initiative, calling it another “crazy” idea from the “weirdo” transients in the city.

Those so-called weirdos plan a “meetup” at the Haight Ashbury Street Fair on June 8, which seems an ideal spot for critics who see the idea as silly and insulting. But shaming our leader and his cronies is exactly the point, according to McConnell and friends.

“If this gets on the ballot it has a good chance of passing,” argues McConnell, a.k.a. Pickering. “We have run into almost no opposition, and, ironically, the only opposition comes from people who don’t want to name anything after George W. Bush.”

What say you, fair readers?

Image: boliston

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.