Skip to the Loo?
Last week, the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless reported that homelessness in San Diego County’s up by 7.8 percent from last year. Given that there’s been no significant increase in shelter beds, that means more people living on the street.
Amid what’s sure to be a long and complicated discussion at today’s San Diego City Council meeting about next year’s redevelopment-agency budgets is a relatively small request: $900,000 for more public restrooms downtown. Through their “Basic Dignity” campaign, a nonprofit called the Girls Think Tank (“Girls” is deceptive—the group was started by female attorneys) wants the city to add more public restrooms Downtown, specifically some Portland Loos, solar-powered, stainless-steel “urban” toilets, the first of which was installed in Portland in December 2008. The Loos, the girls say, are to supplement the port-o-potties that homeless-advocate and retiree David Ross has installed, and paid for, in East Village.
Last month, City Councilmember Marti Emerald sent a memo to Center City Development Corp. Chair Fred Maas and CCDC Executive Vice President Frank Alessi, asking that they amend CCDC’s FY 2011 budget to include funding for “at least six restrooms in the downtown area by… June 30, 2011.”
A Portland Loo costs $87,500 plus roughly $20,000 for installation. To compare, CCDC’s set aside $900,000 to install one public restroom in Little Italy. Emerald writes, “…it seems possible that we could install one Loo in Little Italy and five or more Loos throughout downtown for the same or less cost than the single constructed restroom presently in the FY 2011 CCDC budget.”