With all of the major problems facing us these days, it’s sometimes a relief to worry about a problem that doesn’t actual threaten world disaster. The Chronicle gave us a chance to do that today with its story of how the city is requiring merchants in the Richmond District to clean the gum off their sidewalks. Now keeping our streets and sidewalks clean is a laudable goal, this plan does seem to go too far. Ancient chewing gum that has been ground into the sidewalks for years is almost impossible to remove. Futhermore, really old gum, as far as I know, never does stick to your shoe. It clings to its sidewalk home like a bit of mica, although not as attractive. Perhaps the requirement could be changed to ask merchants to clean off newly dropped gum, say within 24 or 48 hours, rather than go to work on petrified gum that doesn’t really bother anyone.
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