By Tim Redmond
The more I think about this cookie-odor thing, the worse it sounds. There's some real agitiation out there from people who are allergic to or offended by chemical odors, and who rely on public transit. All the way out in Milwaukee, they have heard about this and think it's a dumb idea.
What I really want to know, and can't find out, is exactly what chemicals are in the odiferous strips that will be attached to the bus shelters.
I called Maggie Lynch, the spokesperson for Muni, and asked her; she said she was trying to find out. But as of today, all she could tell me was that the ingredients that will assault our nostrils are "an FDA-appreoved food product" and "a widely used flavoring in hundreds of food items." That sound pretty innocent, but frankly, a lot of what the FDA says is okay for food is kind of nasty stuff.
The difference is that people can choose to buy organic food without FDA-approved chemicals. They can't choose to ignore the cookie odor at the bus shelters. This is an infringement on public space in the worst kind of way: People rely on Muni. It's not an optional experience.
As the very least, the supervisors need to demand a full list of the chemical compounds that this ad campaign will release into the shelter air. Better yet, let's just ban the whole idea.