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No Sweepy McSweepface for you, San Diego

Turns out the chance to name the city of San Diego's new electric street sweeper wasn't actually a popularity contest.

The city received more than 300 name submissions, ranging from “Bristleface McGee, Defender of the Waterways” to “Meryl Sweep” to the always popular “Sweepy McSweepface,” but no one tabulated the results to see what names were suggested most, said Craig Gustafson, the Think Blue program manager in the city’s Stormwater Department.

“The number of times a name was suggested didn’t factor into the decision-making,” Gustafson said.


The Stormwater Department leadership team crafted a short list of names they thought would be good based on two criteria: names that gave the street sweeper personality (like T.E.S.S), or names that alluded to its function (like “SWEEP-E” or “Blue Broomba”).

So while other naming contests have ended with honorifics such as Boaty McBoatface, Ferry McFerryface, and a San Diego group’s effort to name its Major League Soccer team “Footy McFooty Face,” “Sweepy McSweepface” didn’t make the final cut. The name was included as one of the submissions, but the city didn’t count how many people sent it in.

Gustafson said his team “excluded any inappropriate/offensive names” and also any names that are being used by other cities — for example, “OK Broomer” is Seattle’s street sweeper name.

The list was then sent to the mayor’s office with three recommendations and those were then put before a vote.

After more than 1,000 votes were cast between the three pre-selected finalists, “SWEEP-E” won with 43.3% of the votes, just 11 more votes than “T.E.S.S. (The Electric Street Sweeper).” “The Blue Broomba” came in third with 14.4% of the votes.


The naming contest was part of a campaign through the city’s Think Blue San Diego public education and outreach program. Its goal was to raise awareness of the importance of street sweeping to neighborhood quality of life.

SWEEP-E, with its new name and paint job, has already christened its bristles. The new electric street sweeper is cleaning up Balboa Park in preparation for December Nights, said Bethany Bezak, the interim director of the Stormwater Department.

“SWEEP-E will be working hard to keep our streets clean and our waterways healthy for years to come,” Bezak said.

Alongside the city’s fleet of 20 street sweepers, SWEEP-E joins an effort that cleans 2,700 miles of streets annually, removing 220,000 pounds of trash and debris, according to the city.

For a full list of the names submitted to the contest, see the table below.