A "fitting monument" for Dubya

San Franciscans may get a chance to vote to name their sewage treatment plant in honor of President Bush.

Published June 24, 2008 4:11PM (EDT)

This November, San Francisco voters may have a chance to rename a local sewage treatment plant after George W. Bush, thanks to some resident wags. The Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco wants to "honor" President Bush by renaming the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant after him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The commission's Web site states: "As we near the end of George W. Bush's presidency, we think it is important to select a fitting monument to this president's work." So far, the group has collected some 8,500 signatures toward getting an initiative on the November ballot that would rename the plant after Bush. (The minimum number of signatures needed to get a measure on the ballot is 7,168, but election officials have not yet verified that all the signers are San Francisco voters.)

Bright Winn, a San Francisco plumber who signed the petition, told the Chronicle: Bush "has always done well for the affluent of America, and anyone that does well for the affluent should be named for the effluent." But the chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, Howard Epstein is not amused, calling the ballot measure an abuse of the system and "loony bin direct democracy": "There's no use other than to make these nutcases feel good," he told the Chronicle. "It's typical San Francisco crazies."

Frankly, the funniest thing about this whole tempest in a teapot is the reaction of the San Francisco Utilities Commission, which owns the plant in question. Officials, who insist they get the joke, seem miffed that their plant might be named for the 43rd president of the United States, even in jest.

Noting that the Oceanside plant is an "award-winning facility" that keeps the streets and ocean clean, Tony Winnicker, a spokesman for the agency, said: "If you are looking for a place to make a negative statement about the Bush administration's impact on the environment, this would be the last place to do it."

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections George W. Bush San Francisco War Room