Screenshot via Twitter/Michael McConnell

Our reporting relies on your support. Contribute today! 

Help us reach our goal of $250,000. The countdown is on!

In the early morning of Padres Opening Day Thursday, April 14, cleanup crews with the city of San Diego began collecting bikes, tents and other personal belongings lining an area of 16th Street in downtown.

It’s something the city does regularly. And something often documented by homeless advocates who take issue with the city’s response to a crisis that has continued to grow on our streets.

But on Thursday, homeless advocate Michael McConnell posted a video on Twitter documenting workers throwing several bikes away to be crushed by the packer blade of a garbage truck. The video was shared by hundreds of people who were outraged that the city crews were throwing away bikes.

The city’s response to the bikes being thrown away was that they, “were evaluated and determined to be inoperable due to missing or broken parts.”

Notices were displayed in the area ahead of Thursday’s cleanup efforts, the city said, which gave the owners time to claim their items. The city posted a three-hour notice ahead of the cleanup.

“Crews make every effort to reach out to people in the area in the attempt to preserve personal belongings. The City is open to evaluating donation opportunities and we are looking into it,” the city responded on its Twitter account.

That response didn’t seem to put an end to concerns from people pointing out that the city routinely throws away tents, sleeping bags, food and once nearly killed a person who was sleeping in their tent by placing them into a garbage truck in 2018.

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Managing Editor, Daily News Andrea oversees the production of daily news stories for Voice of San Diego. She...

Join the Conversation

10 Comments

  1. As someone who has worked with houseless San Diegans for over 10 yrs and sheltered a few dozen myself — they are incredibly resourceful by necessity, & do amazing things w/ very little. The City on the other hand is incredibly wasteful.

  2. Those wolves in sheep’s clothing are also incredibly resourceful and do amazing things with stolen property, as a majority of those bicycles are. The SDPD should have catalogued their serial numbers and published them, in hopes of returning them to their rightful owners.
    Where are the SD Bicycle Coalition and other cycling “activists” on this problem?

    1. On what basis do you conclude that a majority of the bikes that were trashed by the City were stolen?

      1. They have no basis whatsoever other than the demonization and ostracization of the homeless community.

        1. If you love them so much, why don’t you take them all home with you. At the very least, have them live in your yard if you don’t want them in your house. I bet you anything you won’t be making these ignorant comments protecting these disgusting, subhuman animals.

    1. Why weren’t the bikes properly recycled? Now they’re off to a landfill for years to come.

  3. The City’s claim that all of those bikes were “inoperable” is a crock of you-know-what and is a calculated CYA move. Anyone with an ounce of experience could see from the video that most (if not all) of those bikes were operable. This is just more heavy-handed action by the City in its efforts to clean up homeless encampments. That is something necessary, but it is counter-productive (and probably inhumane) to destroy usable transportation these homeless folks rely on to make their lives work.

    1. Your comment shows just how out of touch with reality you are. These homeless pieces of garbage don’t do anything to “make their lives work”. They steal, use drugs and trash the community they “live” in. If you really want to be informed, go live in East Village where these sub-human animals congregate. And I am not talking about visiting and mingling like McConnell and then going back to your home north of the I-8. LIVE down there and you will never post another ignorant comment like yours AGAIN!

  4. If a bike is just missing a part or two, it’s not “broken”. The city could repair those bikes at little cost and sell them to help offset the cost of clearing urban camping sites

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.