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View other events for the week of 7/ 1/2019
Parks and Rec Set to Sabotage Glover "Open the Bathrooms" Proposal
Date Monday July 01
Time 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Event Type Meeting
Organizer/AuthorRobert Norse
Emailrnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone831 423-4833
Location Details
Santa Cruz Council Chambers at 809 Center St.
BATHROOM BUFFONERY ON TODAY'S AGENDA
Item #4 on the P and R Advisory Commission Agenda today is Hours of Public Facilities (for bathrooms over seen by their department. That's most of the public ones.) The body, appointed mostly by a homeless-hostile City Council, is only advisory but will be providing an anti-progressive push to Mayor Watkins's (and shadow Mayor Cynthia Mathews's) status quo policies. There are no City Council meetings planned until the 2nd Tuesday in August.

Instead of directing Tony Elliot to immediately reopen the Louden Nelson bathrooms--closed to the public since March 2018, the staff proposal supports continued closure. As a kind of "split the baby" diversion, the pro-closure staff report also suggests forwarding to City Council a second proposal to require City Council vote before any further closure of bathrooms

This might also include portapotties--the night-time bathrooms for poor and unhoused people. That proposal was part of a packet of items presented by Councilmember Glover back in January-February, but set aside by Mayor Watkins.

Power remains in the hands of Louden Nelson bathroom baroness Iseth Rae--whose decision initially closed the bathrooms over a year ago. Higher-up's like Mauro Garcia, Carol Scurich, and Tony Elliot have by their silence approved Rae's exclusionary policy.

THE PROPOSAL
Today's hearing on item #4 covers the two recommendations--specifically:
"That the Parks & Recreation Commission consider the request to modify Santa Cruz Municipal Code 13.04.011 to establish a new provision that park closures lasting more than 14 days must have City Council authorization; and
That the Parks & Recreation Commission consider the request to support the current administrative policy to provide restroom facilities at Louden Nelson Community Center to patrons using the facility for classes, programs, or other scheduled uses."
The staff report makes no mention of any actual evidence requiring the locking down of the bathrooms last spring. This coincided with the closing of the San Lorenzo campground that sent homeless people streaming into the parks and neighborhoods. Meanwhile an anti-homeless fence was created around the adjacent Laurel Park & First Alarm security "guards" sent in to patrol the park. this aligns with the homeless-hostile measures by the Terrazas, Mathews, Robinson, & Bryant Councils--a new normalized-discrimination narrative.

HISTORY OF STRUGGLE
In one of the candidate forums in the fall of 2018, 8 of the candidates, including the conservative-reactionaries agreed that Louden Nelson bathrooms should be reopened "immediately."

Conscience and Action has held meetings with City Manager Martin Bernal and P & R Director Tony Eliot. It has also engaged in public protests in front of the P & R department, at City Hall, and at Louden Nelson last year and petitioned the Council to act to restore the traditional open status of the bathrooms.

Last year the local ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) weighed in demanding reopening of the bathrooms there and moved its meetings away from the Center in protest. See https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/06/09/18815564.php .

As an outgrowth of the Freedom Sleepers and the subsequent Survival Sleepers actions of 2015-2017, the "Give a Shit" campaign arose urging reopening of the City Hall bathrooms--closed by City Manager Martin Bernal to "discourage" protest and homeless use. (See https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/05/19/18786558.php)

THE STALL CONTINUES
Aided by a fourth vote from Vice-Mayor Justin Cummings to delay action until a "Charter" is created, City Council's Watkins-Mathews reactionary minority has stalled any action on the issue (and none is currently scheduled). First delayed until August, the issue has been further stalled until action by the Community Advisory Homeless Committee (CaCH) which is not likely to report anything out for 3-4 months at the earliest.

TOILET TRAINING FOR THE ELDERLY, DISABLED, & UNHOUSED?

Louden Nelson's bathroom shutdown requires those holding their water to ask the staff for permission to use the bathrooms. Some using the daily Senior meal have complained that they have found the limited hours of the bathroom (the code changes an hour after the meal ends) burdensome.

Women with medical conditions report being told to walk to the police station (when available) or the Depot Park--which can result in embarrassing and health-threatening "accidents". No exceptions have been made for the sick or disabled.

Private attempts to fill the "bathroom gap" created by City Council and P & R's refusal to restore bathrooms were thwarted by city action removing a privately-funded portapotty. See "Further Developments in Poo Poo Politics" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/06/13/18815669.php?show_comments=1#18815707

The 8 portapotties (2 of them disabled accessible for the first time) and 3 wash stations finally set up at the Ross Camp before it was destroyed by police and rangers have not been replaced since their removal in early May.

Ironically, it was concerns about preventing a Hepatitis A out break initially led to the setting up of portapotties first at the San Lorenzo campground in 2017, and then at Ross Camp in 2019.

PROTEST SLATED FOR JULY 8TH
Conscience & Action and HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) urge the community to show up at 323 Church St. 3 PM on Monday July 8th to demand a restoration of bathroom access. Rumor has it that the groups will be supplying facilities int he event that City bathrooms remain closed during the day as they have since at least the summer of 2015.

The two groups will hold a final organizational meeting on Wednesday July 3 at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 11 AM. Bathroom access and coffee will be provided.

EARLIER ARTICLES
--"Liberate Locked Lavatories" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09/30/18817923.php
--"Bathrooms, Winter Survival, and Community Caring — A Rally — Join Us!" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09
--"Pee & Poo Protest: Reopen Essential Bathrooms for the Public and the Poor" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/07/14/18816456.php
--"Santa Cruz City Manager Refuses to Reopen Louden Nelson/San Lorenzo Park Bathrooms" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/07/08/18816393.php
--"Bathroom Baloney--Expanded Speech to City Council on its anti-homeless restrooms policies" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/06/13/18815669.php
/18/18817622.php

Added to the calendar on Monday Jul 1st, 2019 10:17 AM

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