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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
City of Berkeley freezing shopping carts for the homeless
The SF Chronicle has a piece on the city of Berkeley's use of a large freezer unit to store items lost or abandoned by the homeless. The state requires cities to store lost items for the homeless, but a freezer? The article describes the chilling, metal storage unit:
About a year ago, Berkeley bought a 40-foot-long, 8-foot-wide refrigerated container for $8,200 after public works officials complained about vermin infesting carts stored at the city's outdoor corporation yard.
The city signed a five-year, $61,500 lease with Caltrans for land under the University Avenue overpass at Interstate 80 to put the container on, and ran power to the unit.
I wonder if it would have been cheaper to just spray the carts with pesticides once in a while (though I'm sure eco-conscious Berkeley and homeless advocacy groups wouldn't have been too keen on that idea).
The article goes on to point out numerous criticisms of this idea:
-Cost of about $3,000 a year annually in refrigeration and $50,000 dollars for the entire program.
-Hardly anything is picked up, due to bureaucracy and sheer distance away from Berkeley.
-Dumping of unclaimed shopping carts, which costs about $100 each (that's a cost the stores pass on to you)
-And the big one, most people (especially the homeless) don't know anything about this program.
No wonder Berkeley voters aren't approving taxes as readily as they used to (see Daily Cal opinion).
Update: 1. slight correction on the cost, it was stated earlier stated it cost $3,000 a year without saying that was only the cost of keeping the container cold
2. Angry Clam points out the Chronicle's article made the Drudge Report (see the archived page). Hopefully, Calstuff had something to do with it.Email This Post!
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