“Vinny” the Garbage Man

So Monday night we have to put out our garbage. Twice in the last six months for some reason they haven’t picked up our garbage. I call and they tell me that they’ll pick it up the next day. OK, fine by me, but today we had a knock on the door…

The guy who’s picking up our trash says to my wife that the next time they don’t pick up our trash and have to come back the next day that they’re going to charge us $20. Does this sound like a shake down to you? I put it out, you pick it up. I put it out, you don’t pick it up that’s not my problem. I’m paying you to pick it up.

I called up Sunset Scavengers [kind of sounds like their seagulls doesn’t it?] and the woman I talked to was typing up a ticket for me to the Supervisor and she’s a nice woman, but she speaks what she’s typing and says, Didn’t pick up garbage twice in last six months, driver said there would be $20 charge next time, what the f*ck is going on here?

Well, it wasn’t the best customer service, but I have to agree with her.I think if this happens again I’ll have to ask my wife to ask the guy’s name and it’ll probably be Vinny.

Does A Raccoon Sh*t At The Zoo?

Friday was all about the lack of seagulls so it seems fitting to talk about raccoons today. We made a trip to the zoo over the weekend and while we didn’t see any raccoons, not even in cages there was evidence of them everywhere in the zoo by the small piles of raccoon crap that was everywhere.

How do I know it came from a raccoon? They’re everywhere in San Francisco, I’ve even seen them at night in the financial district. I’ve had a family of them living in my backyard that I used to feed sometimes when they’d come out in the evenings. I know feeding raccoons isn’t the smartest thing to do, but because I’ve been around a lot of them I know what their feces look like. Some of you might remember my article on the horrid sounds of raccoon sex I had written before.

Now when I said they were everywhere at the zoo, I mean everywhere once you’ve given up your ticket and gotten in. I’m actually oddly surprised that no one’s written about this before because unless you know what you’re looking at you may not notice which was obvious by all the flattened patties as we were walking around the zoo.

Actually, the children’s playground was pretty clean as is the entrance where you buy your tickets so the SF Zoo must know that there is tons of raccoon crap since raccoons don’t have any fear of sand or children’s play toys. On the other hand feral cats would use the sand in the area like a giant litter box. I know this because I had a sandbox in my backyard when I was a kid and ended up having to change it over to a large planter box because the cats were using it as a litter box. But I digress…

Walking the zoo you have to be especially careful when walking from the sea lion exhibit to the kangaroo and wallaby exhibits. The reason is that the trees planted there drop acorns that help to disguise the raccoon poop making it harder to avoid stepping in it. I actually saw a little kid trip and fall and luckily didn’t face plant into a steaming pile, but his hand did hit it giving him some lubrication to his fall and boom — face plant. His parents were more concerned at first with the raccoon crap all over their son than whether or not he had actually gotten hurt. Luckily we had some wet ones they were giving out free at the children’s zoo, so I came to their rescue and told them what it was. I’m sure the zoo officials got an earful on their way out, especially after I told them that it’s all over the place and you have to watch out for it.

So does a raccoon sh*t at the zoo? Yes and they do it everywhere.

Now on to the sea gulls. You’ll find plenty of them at the zoo and they are like a mafia crime family. All the food areas at the zoo need to have some notice about this as I see someone get hit every time. My daughter dropped a bagel and bang, there was sea gull casually walking up to it and didn’t even back away when i picked it up. I tore a piece off after I gave the bagel back to my daughter and the sea gull walked casually along with us as we started our walk. I suppose he was not yet a made man in the sea gull mafia family yet so he had to play it cool.

Eventually I tossed him his crumb so he got his vig and walked off. This was one of the nice encounters with a sea gull at the zoo. My wife once ordered a burger and didn’t hold it in close to her body and once again, bang the sea gull took it right out of her hand. Incidentally, if this happens to you don’t bother going back and telling the people that you were just attacked by a sea gull as they will just tell you that you should have been more careful. I can see it happen before it does and it’s usually the people with food on trays who like to hold the tray out in front of them or hold their food up around shoulder height. Why they do this, I don’t know, but the zoo should have some signs warning them like the sign warning people of flying gorilla poop when you’re leaning over the fence staring at the gorillas.

Don’t leave any open food out at the zoo because a sea gull will swoop down for a quick smash and grab. The sea gull mafia is ruthless and I have even seen them fly into the middle of a group of people at a table and steal food. I think the lesser squirrel mafia of the zoo is in cahoots with the sea gulls as I saw a family who left their cart outside the petting zoo with an open bag of chips come out to find the squirrels had swarmed into the open bag and were running off with the contents.

So in short, Zoo, food, sea gulls, squirrels, watch your back.


It’s Not Easy Stealing Green…

I was prompted to write today’s post by events of last night. Tuesday Morning is garbage pick up day for us and so we put our cans out Monday evening. I get preoccupied every Monday and I can put the cans out between 6pm and 10pm. The same thing happens every time I put them out. Within five minutes I hear a rustling outside to find the picture included with this post.

Now while you can’t exactly tell from this picture, the woman rifling through my recycling is an elderly Chinese woman. You can see them throughout the day traveling around with shopping carts filled with stolen recycling or rifling through public garbage cans on the street in commercial areas.

Here is where I have a couple of points I’d like to make:

  1. First off, you may not realize this, but this is technically theft. To go through the cans that are the property of the City and Country of San Francisco to retrieve material of value [i.e. aluminum cans and other recyclable material] you are robbing the City and County of San Francisco of money that could be used in the long run to reduce costs of garbage collection. I’ll admit that while they won’t get rich off of it, they have the trucks to process it more quickly than a person walking down the street with paper bags so they can get more bang for the buck than the average recycle raccoon going through your bin can.
  2. This is aimed at all the Tiger Mom’s and Dad’s out there. I understand that you want your children to make something of themselves in life, who wouldn’t? How does this make your kids feel when they are told to work hard, get a good job, build a good family so that when you are retirement age you retire and walk around in salvation army clothes digging through other people’s garbage in the dark of night? Do you really want these people to send that message to your kids?

These are not role models I want my daughter to learn and even though the people are nice when I encounter them saying thank you, they need to realize that I and other people in San Francisco don’t put out our recycling to support you. We put it out to support the city and help lower prices a bit. If you’re going to steal my recycling to cash in then I’m going to have to ask for a cut of your profit. After I’m finished with this article I am going to make a sign and put it on my recycling container that says, If you remove recycling from this container I expect to have a $20 bill dropped in my mailbox on the first of every month. If I do not receive $20 per month I will photograph you removing my property and turn it over to the police.

Let’s face it, if THEY’RE going to make a buck on me, then I’m going to make a buck on them.

A lawyer walks into a store with a disabled person, repeatedly!

Heeeere's Tommy!

This is a story that I read about yesterday. Actually it’s about several stories I read about yesterday concerning a lawyer named Thomas Frankovich, he works for the rights of the disabled. Normally that is something to feel good about, but this time it’s not. Several businesses in the Sunset and Mission District have been sued by Mr. Frankovich with the assistance of a disabled man named Craig Yates. How they do it appears to look more like an organized crime shake down maneuver than a cry for help for the disabled. Mr. Frankovich’s offices I have just learned are located at the top of 19 steps with no elevator access, hence Mr. Frankovich’s law offices are non-ADA compliant.

Now let me set the record straight that my mother was disabled. She had had four hip replacements and was morbidly obese so getting up and down the stairs was something she stopped doing during the last year of her life and prior to that it would take her about ten minutes to navigate down our thirteen stairs. While she could walk it could be barely considered walking and caused her great pain. When she would go out she would have to ride in a wheelchair that she herself couldn’t even maneuver. Now, here’s how Mr. Frankovich works.

Mr. Yates [sometimes accompanied by Mr. Frankovich] travel to a local business and test to see whether or not Mr. Yates can get into the building usually a restaurant to eat and use the facilities. If Mr. Yates could not he would write a letter to the business telling them they were non-complient with the ADA act. He would visit the business a few weeks later and if no changes had been made he would send a second letter then visit again in a few weeks. If he still had trouble there would be a third letter which included a summons to court from Mr. Frankovich.

Over the past three years six business in the Sunset alone have been targeted. Three have settled out of court, two are in mediation and one of the business has shut its doors for good. From the research I’ve done it appears that the out of court settlements have yielded Mr. Yates and Frankovich money in the tens of thousands of dollars from each settlement. These six law suits are not the only ones though. The grand total comes to over 30 law suits by Mr. Yates and Frankovich over the past three years. If you run the numbers in your head you can easily see how on a 50/50 split that each one of them would be sitting on a seven figure income per year. What’s more is that settlement funds are not taxable, so Mr. Yates after deducting his expenses from paying off Mr. Frankovich is in a pretty good place for a disabled man.

I should note that not all cases have been won by Mr. Frankovich. As I previously mentioned, one of the businesses has shut its doors as have also a few in the Mission District. Mr. Frankovich has also received three disciplinary actions over the last three years on ethics violations according to information obtained from the State Bar Association. What makes this story even more compelling is that prior to this Mr. Frankovich had levied over 100 law suits for non-ADA compliance in the Los Angeles area with a Mr. Jarek Molski using the same tactics.

[mappress mapid=”28″]I have tried to find pictures of Mr. Frankovich and Mr. Yates so that any business owners who visit my site can see what they look like so they would know to close down their businesses if they see them coming to avoid their racketeering-like ways, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a picture of them anywhere and I’m quite good with search engines. So far all I could find was Mr. Frankovich’s website at http://www.disabilitieslaw.com/. From my years of work as a graphic designer it is of my opinion that this was a very quickly put up website with a cartoonish picture of a man in a cowboy hat with a phone to his ear riding in a tank  labeled “access blaster” and a couple of disabled people in wheelchairs on either side with a throng of others walking behind the tank.

There is also another picture to the right that says, “One for all, all for one. The power of a class action lawsuit” yet so far Mr. Frankovich’s name only comes up associated with non-ADA compliance cases among two individuals. I haven’t seen anything about Mr. Yates or Mr. Molski saying that they are fighting for the disabled. It appears that they are both lining their own coffers with the money of small businesses.

San Francisco is an old city trying to keep its feel for the days of old somewhat. Landlords who purchase buildings built in the 20’s through 40’s LONG before there was the American’s with Disabilities Act usually don’t have the money to put into making their businesses ADA compliant or simply leave it to the people who rent from them to make the changes, but the majority of these businesses do everything they can to help out the disabled. I remember a business owner of a small coffee shop helping me bring the coffee and pastries I purchased out to my car because my mother didn’t want to get out of the car because it would be too painful for her. I’m am all in favor of assisting people with disabilities because I know what it’s like, but these two people insult the disabled by their practices and I feel it should stop now. Destroying local small businesses to line your own pockets is a crime in my humble opinion and I urge all you who read this to contact your local Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee to help bring this to an end.