The City of San Diego has a weird way of saying "Thank You"

Originally published at: The City of San Diego has a weird way of saying "Thank You" | Boing Boing


La Jolla problems.


This is one of those policies that may seem silly on the surface but has some logic behind it. If an amateur takes it upon themselves to fix some public infrastructure but doesn’t actually know what they’re doing they could create a dangerous situation that the city would be liable for if they allowed it to happen.

I’ve done some minor “guerrilla repair” work myself but I’m always careful not to draw too much attention to myself in the process.


Still, when you added the extra lane at the I-5/805 interchange in Sorrento? Brilliant.





Yeah the solution would’ve been to fix it without letting others know who did it. Still. now that the cat’s out of the bag i guess the next best thing is to let the news put pressure on the city to relent on giving this guy a hard time.


I was once told in no uncertain terms from city officials to back off from shovelling out a fire hydrant near my home (it is usually buried when the city plow goes by). Their justification is that I might damage the hydrant… with my plastic shovel/hulk strength I guess? Now I harass the city to come and clear it after every storm, lest there be a fire on the street and fire crews unable to access the hydrant - that would certainly leave them in a spot from a liability standpoint!

The problem is that climate change is making it worse wear I live… more freezing rain and rain, which can freeze rapidly around the hydrants and encase them in hardpacked snow-ice if they aren’t cleared out quickly.


As a Boy Scout project I cleaned a bunch of poison ivy out of a local park, approved by the park’s board of directors and much appreciated by the users of the park. I put on a Tyvek bunny suit, goggles, gloves, taped all the sleeves and pantslegs, and pulled 15 trash bags of poison ivy out over three days. An article was written about it, and then I received a $50 ticket from the town for destroying and removing a wild plant from the park.
Didn’t matter that I had permission, that the park paths in question were almost unusable due to the toxic weeds, or that nobody objected to the removal. ACAB, though I never did find out who exactly ordered the ticketing (it arrived in the mail, we just paid it because heaven forbid my parents defend my actions in any way, shape, or form.)


Life isn’t always easy for renegade repair people, but sometimes you gotta just go with your calling and try to stay one step ahead of The Man.



Good thing he didn’t live in Philly. A few decades back the city workers went on strike. This left city gardens and parks untended and they turned into quite the mess. A local garden group (mostly grey hairs) showed up at one park to weed, mow, mulch, fertilize. They’d just gotten started when a crew of union thugs showed up and explained that the work the volunteers was doing was union work and the old folk needed to vacate the area. The volunteers pushed back by noting that the union was on strike and the place was a mess. I don’t think it ever got to the point of ‘youse guys like your kneecaps?’ but the volunteers were forced to relent.


They should have reimbursed you for the PPE. Buttholes.


Love to see cost-benefit analysis of this. How does the municipality benefit overall from N acts of public spirit in improving facilities vs the added exposure you mention?

I understand the point about keeping your head down if you choose to do things like this, but why shouldn’t you and any other folks doing this type of work for their community be recognized and appreciated?


When I lived in Sausalito residents took to just guerilla planting stuff in the medians and weeding out the hillsides next to stairs not unlike the ones in La Jolla, etc. After a while, the City basically offered them letters of marque. The women doing the median flowers on the north end of town had a nice civic name for their org and rather than fight people doing a clear service – they were given permission and I think the city then began to help temporarily narrow lanes and make spaces safer for workers.


If someone is “recognized and appreciated” by a municipality for doing repair work, that’s akin to an official endorsement of the work by the municipality and makes a strong legal case that the municipality would be fully liable for any injuries that occurred as a result of substandard work, or, for that matter, injuries sustained by the volunteer in the process of doing the repair. It’s much easier for everyone if they can maintain plausible deniability.


On the one hand, it is bad to threaten volunteers. On the other hand; scabs!


Yeah, for example if he painted the stairs without the appropriate grit for traction, leaving them slippery and dangerous, or using paint that leeched out toxic substances into the ocean or left behind residue on the clothing of people who sat there… all pretty easy to avoid, but that assumes some basic competence and this is pretty much the least complicated project a volunteer could tackle.

Cities really need to have simply explained sets of standards that volunteers can reference in these situations so it’s not an issue, rather than punishing people after the fact (or requiring difficult to acquire permits), though.


Your efforts are always appreciated even if they don’t get the respect they deserve.


No, no, no… don’t you know that ALL unions are made up of violent thugs! Things were far better for workers when they had no rights and knew their place! /s


sorry, I know why it is that way now, I mean it more in the sense of why should it be if society was organized in a maximally sensible way.

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I lay the blame at our over-lawyered “someone must be legally to blame for anything bad that happens, anytime/anywhere”. San Diego also was going to remove the popular beach firepits, rather than allowing volunteers to deal with their maintanance. Same excuse, and it became apparent the crux of the problem was volunteers vs. paid city positions. Really, it’s never a good look for gov’t to be opposed to civic minded people who are willing to donate their time to make their community better, but good luck getting anyone to stick their neck out to make the required changes to our legal system based on “someone has to be liable”.