Movement to Rename Sewage Plant After Bush Gains Steam in San Francisco

A renegade voter movement to rename a San Francisco sewage plant after President Bush is flush with support in the liberal West Coast city.

A group called the Presidential Memorial Commission has reportedly picked up more than enough signatures to put the ballot initiative to the San Francisco public in the November election.

If the measure passes, it would rename the city’s Oceanside Treatment Plant as the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

That’s not exactly a presidential library, but sponsors of the ballot measure say it’s a fitting tribute to a president who made a big mess.

Local Republicans and sewage officials say the measure is an effort to straddle the line between satire and absurdity.

Howard Epstein, chairman of the local GOP, told the San Francisco Chronicle the proposal is “loony bin direct democracy.” He said he’ll “use all means” to defeat it.

But the Chronicle reported this week that the commission, which apparently hatched the idea one night over beers, has collected 8,500 signatures — 1,300 more than the 7,168 needed to get a measure on the November ballot. If officials verify that those signatures are from registered city voters, proposition rename-the-sewage-plant is a go.

According to the San Francisco elections department, it only takes a simple majority of 50 percent-plus-one to adopt such a measure.

Virginia-born activist and ordained minister John Rinaldi, a co-sponsor of the petition and unsuccessful mayoral candidate who ran last year under his nickname "Chicken John," said the initiative would turn "every toilet in San Francisco into basically a shrine for George W. Bush and all his great achievements in his eight years as our commander in chief."

It’s “the highest honor available to us,” he said.

It’s also apparently a popular lark in the Bay area.

An unscientific online poll on the Chronicle Web site found 81 percent thought it was a “legitimate political statement.” The poll, of course, was an informal test. The second-most popular conclusion offered to respondents, which earned 14 percent, was: “Who didn’t get out of fourth grade?”

The sewage plant initiative has, if nothing else, stirred the creativity of voters in coming up with better poop-related puns.

One local plumber told the Chronicle that Bush “has always done well for the affluent … anyone that does well for the affluent should be named for the effluent.”

But like a racy tattoo after a night of binge drinking, a new sewage plant name could be a permanent fixture that loses its charm over time — and some say voters should think twice.

Officials at the agency that owns the plant in question told the Chronicle that they get the joke, but the plant keeps the city and ocean clean — so don’t rename it.

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