By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
The Independent (UK)
Friday, 27 June 2008
Some presidents get carved into Mt Rushmore; others have airports, motorways, and even entire cities named in their honour. But when George Bush leaves office, his most visible memorial may be a mouldering patch of human effluent.
In November, alongside casting their ballot for the next president, the people of San Francisco will also vote on a measure to rename one of the city's largest sewage works the George W Bush Sewage Plant, to provide a "fitting monument" to the outgoing commander-in-chief's achievements.
Activists from the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco, a mischievously-named group behind the move, will ask supporters to participate in a "synchronised flush".
It may sound like a student prank, but the proposal is almost certain to be passed. Democrats usually secure between 70 and 80 per cent of the vote in San Francisco – and in 2006 passed a proposition to impeach Mr Bush and his Vice-President Dick Cheney by a majority of almost two to one.
"In 50 years from now, we want people to see George Bush's name on that plant, and ask each other what went wrong," said Brian McConnell, the Memorial Commission's organiser. "We want them to be reminded of the Iraq war, and his other dramatic mistakes, and this is the perfect way to do it."
The ballot takes advantage of local government rules, which state that any proposal supported by a petition carrying the signatures of more than 7,168 voters must go to the polls. At present, the supporters of the sewage plant proposal claim to have 8,500 signatures, and counting. If the measure passes, city authorities will be forced to erect a prominent sign bearing the legend "George W Bush Sewage Plant" at the site of the bayside facility.
Local Republicans call it an "abuse of process" and promised to "use all means" to defeat it, Howard Epstein, the party's spokesman, told the San Francisco Chronicle: "There's no use to this other than to make these nutcases feel good." The proposal even jollified yesterday's White House press briefing, where a spokesman three times refused to comment.
However, Mr McConnell claimed to have only noticed two forms of opposition during his campaign so far. "First, we get people who say they just want to forget George Bush's presidency," he said. "Second, we hear from those who say that sewage plants perform a valuable public service and, as such, it does not make sense to name one after George Bush."