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Bathroom Baloney--Expanded Speech to City Council on its anti-homeless restrooms policies

by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at]
A highly shortened version of this speech was given Tuesday evening at City Council. It anticipated and announced the Thursday June 14th noon protest demanding reopening of the Louden Nelson Center and San Lorenzo Park bathrooms for public use. This was done without public notice, discussion, or vote.
A cut-and-paste version of this speech follows.
§Cut-and-Paste Version of the Speech
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at]
Less Crap, More Crappers—Restore Decency to Santa Cruz
Modified & Extended Speech to Santa Cruz Community and Council 6-12-18 by Robert Norse

Lots of budget blathering, but no specifics on emergency shelter for those to be made internal refugees on June 30th when the Barbed Wire Boneyard Campground closes down, not to mention the many others being cited, harassed, and stripped of their property by cops, rangers, security thugs, and—no doubt—the return of the merchant private goon squad—the Hosts, slated to return in half a year.

Others have proposed the obvious—open the bathrooms to stop people from shitting and pissing all over town. I see as part of the usual genteel masquerade, you’ve opened up the bathrooms outside City Council briefly for this meeting, so middle class people don’t have to do their business in their pants or on the ground—as you force those outside to do.

A hug and a handshake to activist Ed Frey who provided a nighttime portapotty for the PeaceCamp 2010 Sleeping Ban protesters in front of the County Building more than three months.
… to the many Occupy Santa Cruz activists in 2011 whose San Lorenzo Campground provided shelter and facilities to several hundred at the same time Mayor Coonerty’s Council refused to keep the Park’s bathrooms open at night.
…to the 2015 Freedom Sleepers who brought a portapotty to City Hall when City Manager Martin Bernal shut down the bathrooms there to “discourage” the protesters.
…to Bathroom Task Force Activist Brent Adams who has constantly worked to provide sometime emergency facilities for a warming center at night, a newly-opened 24-hour homeless storage program, cleaner portapotties, and video documentation of the City’s dubious doodoo doings.
…to former Councilmembers Posner and Comstock—who opened up—however briefly and in spite of staff obstruction an overnight restroom (Soquel-Front garage) & a still surviving 24-hour portapotty (Laurel and Front).
…even an acknowledgment to former Parks and Rec boss, Mauro Garcia—who addressed the Hepatitis A epidemic. He set up portapotties and wash stations along the San Lorenzo walkway during the campground last fall. Outrageously, they are all gone now and the regular Park bathroom there locked.
…plus particularly honorable mention to Zav Hershfield, Pat Colby, and others who unsuccessfully tried to talk reason to City Council with their “Give a Shit” campaign last year trying to restore City Hall bathroom access.

But many bathrooms remain closed during the day, and all are closed at night.

Those of you who are tired of this crappy situation are of course welcome to help Conscience in Action. That’s the Coalition offering ideas, suggestions, and impromptu assistance to those trying to hold their bowels and their water. I’ll be joining them Thursday at noon across the street in front of the P & R 323 Church St. in search of public restrooms.

How explicit do we have to be to shame the shameless politicians and staff? I don’t know. Do we have to bring breathing gear and bags of poop to the next Council meeting?

(Mayor David Terrazas has regularly cut back public speaking time during Oral Communications from three minutes to two minutes. Much of this speech was not given because of Terrazas arbitrarily imposed a 90 second limit on each speaker, violating promises given. He also made a dozen or more people wait 45 minutes beyond the scheduled time to speak—and then announcing the shortened time.)

More info HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz 6-13-18

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by Adams, Pleich, & McHenry (compiledf by Norse)
Steve Pleich's report on the protest is at .

Keith McHenry's latest contribution to Public Sanitation and Parks-and-Recreation-Department Discipline (photo by Brent Adams of the Downtown Bathroom Task Force)


Are city officials really concerned about public sanitation or do they just use it as an excuse to drive the poor out of town?

Santa Cruz City officials often make the point that the reason they must pass laws restricting the activities of those who have no home is that they urinate and defecate outside. The downtown Post Office also complained of having to clean up human waste and responded by erecting a chain link fence.

People don’t want to relieve themselves like feral humans so Food Not Bombs has provided a portable toilet with hand washing basin at the Town Clock no charge to the city.

On Tuesday, June 12, 2018 Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs spoke at City Council announcing the placement of a community funded toilet near the Post Office. Parks and Recreation Director, Carol Scurich was told about the toilet at the Town Clock during the Open The Bathrooms protest outside her office on Thursday, June 14th.

Keith McHenry received a call early today from the potable toilet company saying that a Meta Rhodeos had called demanding the toilet be removed. 

If the city is not willing to provide proper sanitation to its residence it has no business interfering with the communities self funded initiative to solve this crisis.

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