From the 1.2.13 issue
By Daniel Mintz
The county’s Human Rights Commission has gotten numerous comments about lack of public restrooms and is working on identifying how many there actually are and where.
The restroom inventory is part of an annual report that covers the one-year period through June 2012. Dave Heise, who was the commission’s chairman, summarized the report at the Dec. 18 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Asked about the public restroom issue, he said that people have “intermittently” been at commission meetings to comment about “a perceived lack of public restrooms in the county.” He added, “At some point, we heard enough of those to look at that.”
Heise said commission members decided to find out the actual number of restrooms in the county and its cities. They expected that it would be easy to determine but found that wasn’t the case, he continued.
“We actually had to try to compile that ourselves,” Heise said. “One of the things we found was that that information really isn’t well known – the first response we get is, ‘We don’t know, let’s look into it.’ ”
The commission compiled a list of restrooms that are available to the public, although many are in restaurants and other customer-serving businesses. Supervisor Mark Lovelace said an important step is to determine where the need is greatest.
Supervisor Rex Bohn said public restrooms represent a considerable maintenance expense. He said it will be easier to establish public restrooms “if we can find a way to cure that problem.”
Heise said the “next step” will be getting an accurate inventory of restrooms and checking on what other counties and cities are doing.
Other concerns the commission took up during the year included availability of health care, the level of public participation in the county’s General Plan Update and the effects of the county’s urgency ordinance restricting protest activity on county property.
The commission-recommended Law Enforcement Liaison committee also gained enough members to be formed.