Republished from Watchdog.org, by Kenric Ward, May 9, 2016. Image credit: Kenric Ward
San Antonio Councilman Roberto Trevino is plopping his pet project, a $100,000 toilet, onto a downtown plaza above the River Walk.
If San Diego’s experience is any guide, tourists will stay away in droves.
While the councilman complains about a lack of toilets, several nearby public restrooms go unused. City facilities that had been open until 2 a.m. are now locked shut at night.
Trevino said restroom vendor Portland Loos and unidentified “stakeholders” opted to locate the sidewalk toilet near the Torch of Friendship, a block south of the Alamo between Commerce and Market streets.
“People don’t realize how much we spend in time and energy and effort. So many people urinate or defecate on our downtown streets and sidewalks,” Trevino told KSAT News.
Watchdog.org interviews with San Antonio police officers and downtown Centro maintenance personnel did not confirm Trevino’s assertions.
The Centro information and restroom facility less than 200 feet away from the “loo” location was spotless and quiet on a recent Friday night, as it is during the daytime. Evening hours have been scaled back due to lack of use.
Curbside loos, by contrast, have become magnets for vagrants, petty thieves, drug deals and worse. A San Diego loo attracted more panhandlers than tourists, and was moved to a homeless shelter after businesses complained of rising criminal activity.
Trevino did not respond to Watchdog’s inquiry about the sidewalk restroom’s ongoing need for maintenance and cleaning, which more than tripled the purchase price of San Diego’s loo. Trevino, who drew the $100,000 from office funds controlled by each council member, has yet to provide budget figures or a copy of the contract.
Citing “issues with nefarious activities” at public restrooms, Trevino said SAPD will provide security for San Antonio’s 24-hour toilet.
“That’s news to me,” Police Officer Association President Mike Helle told Watchdog. “In his mind, if we requested it, it’s probably coming out of our department budget … right down the crapper.”
Installation is scheduled for later this month.
Kenric Ward reports for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Contact him at email@example.com and @Kenricward
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