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Indybay Feature

City Council Unanimously Votes on Two 24-hour Bathrooms

by Downtown Bathroom Task Force
A determined Pamela Comstock drives a unanimous city council vote for $25K to fund a 3 month pilot period to keep two downtown parking garage public restrooms open 24 hours per day.
During the day-long City of Santa Cruz budget hearings by the city council on Wednesday, May 27, councilperson Comstock got the drop on all other councilmembers by going rogue and finding a contracting company to provide after-hours cleaning. Facing down Public Works Director Mark Dettle, Comstock asserted that the problem of "open excrement" in downtown areas necessitates the full-time opening of those two restrooms that are housed in two of the three downtown parking structures.

Councilperson Cynthia Matthews expressed disagreement with the proposal supported by two comments concerning potential vandalism; these were issues raised by Director Dettle which Comstock seemed to regard as less important than the free access to toilets.

The Downtown Bathroom Task Force has instituted a Cleaning Team that has been servicing the city's ONLY CURRENTLY 24hour bathroom, which is the porta potty located on the corner of Front St. and Laurel St. The unit is only cleaned 3 days per week, thus the Team cleans it the remaining 4 days. While Director Dettle insisted that he would look into the problem of the 3 day professional cleaning service schedule, Councilperson asserted that if the 24hour bathroom proposal passes, the porta pottie contract should be terminated because "porta potties are disgusting."

When put to a vote, Comstock's proposal passed unanimously. Now both the Locust St./Cedar St. and Soquel Ave./Front St. public restrooms will (at some point in the future) be open 24hours a day as part of a 3 month pilot project.

The Downtown Bathroom Task Force will continue to clean the 24hour porta potty until either, a new cleaning service is added or that the porta potty is removed in leu of 24 hour access to the two public restrooms in the parking structures. Those two locations have been redesigned in recent years to be more "vandalization proof" because of the see through wire mesh front enclosure and more secure bathroom fixtures.
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