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Fee to use San Diego public bathrooms proposed

By Aaron Dickens, Jermaine Ong,


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A proposal to charge people to use public restrooms in city of San Diego is receiving mixed reaction.

San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera has suggested overturning a California law that prevents cities from charging a fee to use public restrooms. It would also allow cities to recover the costs to maintain them.

"We have heard from multiple people in the community that they would gladly pay a quarter, 50 cents in order to have access to a clean restroom,” Elo-Rivera said during a City Council meeting in December. "This is not meant to be a barrier to access, but to increase the number that we have."

When it comes to maintenance of the City of San Diego’s public restroom’s, the city can’t keep up. City crews have had to close some of its public bathrooms permanently, mostly due to vandalism.

ABC 10News went to one restroom at Balboa Park that was boarded up, but that apparently did not stop people from relieving themselves, as a bag of human feces was spotted near the closed door.

When asked how the city should pay for restroom maintenance, homeless advocate Mitchelle Woodson responded, “The city has the funding. It’s about reallocating funds.”

Woodson, the executive director of Think Dignity, said she thinks the proposal is inhumane, adding, "Using public restrooms and access to public restrooms is a basic human need. We find it abhorrent that we are looking to charge people to have access to facilities to perform a basic human function."

Woodson said she plans to go to Sacramento to fight against it.

Elo-Rivera’s proposal received unanimous support from the City Council, but it could face an uphill battle in the State Capitol, where it will have to be approved by the state Assembly and Senate.

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