Get SF Weekly Newsletters

People & Places

Best Refusenik 

Unnamed DPW Worker

In case you've been TaskRabbiting your way through life and haven't had the chance to leave the micro-loft to stroll the alleys and streets of central San Francisco, the number of homeless tent encampments in town is approaching epic levels — as in Hooverville and Great Depression levels. The poor and huddled masses are getting a pointed message from City Hall: You can't stay here (at least they're dispensing with the "you don't have to go home" part). Things reached a fever pitch in the run-up to Super Bowl 50, when Mayor Ed Lee infamously told reporters that the homeless along the Embarcadero would "have to leave." That was when the encampments in the Mission District started to appear — and that's when city workers started taking them down, from the Shotwell Street camp where a 45-year-old homeless man allegedly wielding a knife was shot dead, to the freeway underpass near Cesar Chavez. There isn't room at the homeless shelter inn for these souls, but they still got to go. Those camps? "They aren't safe," Lee told the Chronicle.

But not everyone in city government thinks this way. During one such routine cleanup, when a homeless denizen's shelter was being removed and some of his possessions trucked away for disposal, an unnamed city worker, who, according to the Department of Public Works may now face disciplinary action for "insubordination," put up a fight. In a video clip-cum-protest manifesto recorded via her smartphone, the female worker refuses to throw away homeless people's possessions and tents in Mission Bay, saying: "I don't want no part of it, so I'm gonna sit in my truck and watch. It ain't right, and karma's a bitch."

"Ain't none of my shit getting used to tear that man's house up," she added.

The video was posted, tweeted, and reblogged across the internet, becoming a two-minute reminder that yes, there is good in the world. A digital sticky-note, if you will, to maybe reconsider that cannonball off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Unnamed city worker: we salute thee with one hand, and with the other cross our fingers you didn't lose your job over the incident.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


Comments are closed.

Search Best Of Awards