San Diego Fast, part I

Virginia Sellner (
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 17:07:54 -0800


>THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE.  December 12, 1997.
>By Ron Powell
>Larry Milligan, his face gaunt and his pants sagging, entered his eighth
>day of fasting yesterday in an attempt to persuade San Diego city
>government to open 24-hour bathroom facilities downtown for homeless
> Milligan began the fast Dec. 4 because the city closes its public
>restrooms at 10 p.m. The homeless activist said he is trying to get the
>City to live up to a homeless policy adopted by the City Council in July
>1995 that calls for 24-hour restroom facilities for street people.
>Milligan, 50, whose last meal was hot dogs, orange sherbet and vanilla
>ice cream, said he will continue until the bathrooms are open overnight.
>He has been joined by at least two other people in the fast, including
>Richard Meade, 35, who yesterday entered his seventh day without food.
> A spokesman for Mayor Susan Golding said last week that she opposed
>opening the restrooms overnight because it is too expensive -- as much
>as $40,000 a year to pay for an overnight attendant.
> The mayor's office said the restrooms cannot be open overnight without
>supervision. When the city tried to do so for a two-week period after
>approving the homeless policy, it said, $3,000 in damage was sustained
>by one restroom.
>Ross McCollum, coordinator of the city's homeless shelter program, said
>bathroom facilities will be available at the three shelters that the
>city will open Monday. The shelters will be open around-the-clock from
>Monday through March 14, and will provide 650 beds each night for
>homeless men, women and children.
>But Milligan said the bathrooms at the shelters will be closed to
>nonresidents at 9 p.m. each night.  He said that many of an estimated
>3,200 homeless individuals in the urban core, who normally cannot find a
>bed in a social service agency, will choose not to reside in a shelter.
> The unsheltered will need a bathroom overnight, said Milligan, who
>conducts his fast for several hours each day outside the public bathroom
>at Third Avenue and C Street in the shadow of City Hall.
> He took his case to City Councilman George Stevens this week and has a
>meeting scheduled today with city Councilman Byron Wear.
>Yesterday, Milligan had Christmas carols playing on a small boom box
>While he has lost a few pounds, he said he has not lost his resolve to
>fast for a cause.  "Hygiene and human rights are not negotiable," he
Virginia D. Sellner
Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless
P. O. Box 1232
Cheyenne, WY 82003-1232
(307) 637-8634