SD bathrooms unlocked

Andrew Rose (arose@macromedia.com)
Mon, 15 Dec 1997 12:31:35 -0800 (PST)


http://www.uniontribune.com/news/uniontrib/sat/metro/news_7m13fast.html

                        Big victory for fasting homeless,
                        advocates

                        City hall restrooms to be open 24 hours

                        By Ray Huard
                        STAFF WRITER

                        December 13, 1997


An eight-day fast by homeless people and their advocates outside San
Diego's City Hall ended last night when City Councilman Bryon Wear
announced that a nearby public restroom would be kept open 24 hours
starting immediately.

"The people of San Diego got the bathrooms open," said homeless advocate
Larry Milligan, who had been fasting with at least two other people on the
sidewalk.

Wear, whose district includes downtown, said the restrooms outside City
Hall will be kept open around the clock with an attendant on duty for a
trial period of 90 days.

If there are no problems, Wear said a second set of city-owned restrooms at
Sixth Avenue and L Street could be kept open at night.

Mayor Susan Golding, in a memo to city manager Michael Uberuaga late
yesterday, had also called for the restrooms to be opened at night.

A spokesman for Golding said last week that she opposed opening the
restrooms at night because of the expense.

Keeping the one set of restrooms outside City Hall open all night will cost
about $2,900 a month, Wear said.

The restrooms had been closing at 10 p.m. and reopening at 7 a.m.

But homeless advocates complained that the night-time closings left the
homeless who couldn't get into overnight shelters little choice but to use
the streets and building walls as restrooms.

Richard Meade, who was among those refusing to eat until the restrooms
opened all night, said he and others had been using a parking lot across
the street as a restroom during the fast.

Wear said it has been City Council policy to keep city restrooms open all
night but he said the policy was not enforced for fear of vandalism.

Miller said he was confident that the homeless would not vandalize the
facilities once they were told that the restrooms had been opened
specifically for their use.

Officials in charge of the city's homeless program said restrooms would be
available at three shelters that the city plans to open Monday.

But Wear said it was important to open the additional restrooms outside
City Hall for those who could not get into a shelter or who didn't want to
stay there.

With the restrooms open at night, Wear said police will strictly enforce
city ordinances against urinating and defecating in public.

                        Copyright 1997 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.


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