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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Bonin Calls for More Pubic Restrooms to Combat Hepatitis A Outbreak

(Photo courtesy of Rick Swinger.) This photo was taken of an alley near 3rd Ave in Venice. It has since been cleaned.

LOS ANGELES–Councilmember Mike Bonin today called for the City of Los Angeles to dramatically expand access to allow round-the-clock public restrooms in an effort to curb and combat an outbreak of Hepatitis A among the city’s homeless population.

Days after County officials declared a Hepatitis A outbreak and social service agencies and homeless advocates called for public health measures, Bonin submitted a motion asking City officials to identify funding for emergency portable restrooms with attendants, and to explore creation of a mobile toilet program similar to one operating in San Francisco.

“This is a public health crisis, and we need to act with urgency,” Bonin said. “It is inhumane and unsafe to deny people access to restrooms. It endangers people living on the street, and it endangers neighbors who find human feces in their alleys and on their sidewalks.”

Bonin’s motion’s cited the success of San Francisco’s “Pit Stop” program, which provides mobile bathrooms and sinks at more than a dozen locations. It is modeled after a similar program, Lava Mae, which provides mobile showers for people who are homeless. Lava Mae also started in San Francisco, and Bonin led the effort to bring the program to Los Angeles, where it operates in Venice, Westchester and downtown Los Angeles.

Bonin’s motion also asked City officials to identify funding to open existing and emergency portable toilets 24-7, staffed by attendants. Bonin said that staffing public restrooms with attendants to keep them clean and free of crime is a “best practice” that should be replicated here.

Bonin also urged Department of Recreation and Parks officials to move swiftly to open restrooms at Venice Beach around the clock. Bonin secured funds for the 24-7 restrooms during budget deliberations earlier this year, but the department has yet to start the expanded access.

“Providing clean and safe restroom access is a matter of basic decency–and smart public health policy,” said Bonin. “The recent public health crisis is another frightening reminder of the real costs of continued inaction. We cannot allow red tape to prolong suffering–we must act now to offer people safe places to use the restroom and get cleaned up. This is a solvable problem.”

Many of LA’s estimated 25,000 unsheltered homeless individuals lack access to restroom facilities in the evening. This lack of access has created adverse conditions for the homeless population, service providers and the general public. Without access to the basic right of a restroom, people living on the streets are at a significantly increased risk of contracting diseases like Hepatitis A that are spread through human feces. According to a recent report, there are only nine public restrooms available at night for the individuals living on the streets of Skid Row. Venice Beach faces an even more dire shortage with funding for only one set of beach restrooms. A June report by a group of homeless service providers, advocates and residents found that the conditions do not even meet the standards the United Nations sets for refugee camps.

In addition to funding concerns, there is often a lack of adequate space in dense neighborhoods to place restrooms without encroaching into the public right-of-way. Bonin’s motion directs City departments to evaluate how to permit portable restroom facilities, especially those managed by a social service agency.

Comments (21)

  1. No this 3rd st is ground zero for an outbreak my friend. More than any other place because of the pollution cause by Public Storage, the Norway Rat infestation, the open perishables being dumped, the meth heads, mental patiences and the storm drains close by that go into a toxic pond that young unvaccinated children play in. There is nothing like this danger zone here in Venice Beach. Its truly the worst Camp anywhere West of the Mississippi. This camp needs to be shut down permanently!

    • Jack Kelly

      Mr. Swinger is very good at playing the fear card but like his fear mongering over the non-existent staph outbreak earlier this year, his information is generally incorrect and designed to stoke fear and nothing else. While the situation on 3rd Street certainly plays a part, the fact is that all of Los Angeles and not just the residents around 3rd and Rose are currently experiencing a rat infestation. And that infestation has more to do with the heat wave we had this summer than anything else. Ask any exterminator if you don’t believe me.

  2. Thanks to Mr. Bonin we live in a 3rd world environment here near 3rd so this film made for India applies to us as well. Its not really that funny is it? Take a poo to the loo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_peUxE_BKcU&feature=youtu.be

  3. Anonymous

    Bonin is FINALLY cornered on his crusade to build up the homeless encampment on 3rd and Rose. Why, just look at the Hep A outbreak in San Diego, it’s a public health crisis and Bonin is starting to feel the pressure given he recent recall effort.

    Now the city if (thank God) using it’s rightful authority to haul away items that don’t fit into a 60 gallon drum which is MOST of the shit (and stolen bikes) that these transients pile up. There are families with children near this encampment of feces and disease. If one of these kids gets Hep A or (God forbid) someone dies because of this 3rd world situation, than THAT’S IT – Bonin is recalled and his crusade to build a “Skid Row West” will for his social services constituents will in the end fail. God bless, couldn’t happen to a nice guy!

  4. SEA


    • Anonymous

      Bonin is a piece of work. The ANSWER to Hep A outbreak among homeless population is NOT smelly public toilets, it’s to get rid of the homeless encampment and force them into shelters.

      Come on folks! Where does this end? Bonin just keeps trying to prop up this encampment at the expense of residents.

  5. Don’t be a Bonehead and Clueless! Save taxpayers Money and just simply open up the bathrooms we have already paid for!

  6. Will

    I’m not sure I agree that mobile toilets are the answer either. I would need to see a more developed plane then what’s been provided so far before offering support. But there has got to be other options than dropping mobile toilets in residential areas.

    If we’re talking about “after-hours” usage Then we already public toilets located at the beach, at Penmar Golf Course, Venice High School, Vera Davis Center, Oakwood Rec Center and at each of the local fire houses that could be used for this. And that’s just a few of resources that are owned by the city. The city should utillize those existing resources before spending money on redundant assets and placing mobile toilets in residential areas.

  7. All we have to do is open them 6.5 more hours with 6 staffers and we will have around 36 24/7 bathrooms! Public restrooms are available up and down the Venice Beach Boardwalk, with multiple rest rooms, sinks and shower spray for washing off sand. Restrooms are located at the following locations:
    Washington – Venice Pier Parking Lot
    North Venice – Beach Parking Lot
    17th Ave & Ocean Front Walk by Basketball Courts
    Horizon Ave & Ocean Front Walk
    Brooks Ave & Ocean Front Walk
    Ozone & Ocean Front Walk – Beach Parking Lot

    • Anonymous

      Just one more step to free outdoor beachfront housing for homeless, transients and drug addicts. So let’s summarize, free food, free services, free oceanfront property, free weekly housekeepers, free showers and now mobile toilets attended by a valet. What a joke. We residents don’t have these kinds of services.

  8. Jack Kelly

    I think it is important to note here that the reason the restrooms at the beach are no longer open 24 hours a day is because of Mark Ryavec’s beach curfew. It’s pretty amazing actually that everything that Mr. Ryavec has done to “help” the homeless has always just made the situation worse.

    • Anonymous

      Jack Kelly blames the present street-dwelling situation on Rose and at the beach on Mark Ryavec? Mr. Ryavec and the Venice Stakeholders Association are the only reason that we don’t have an even bigger campground and occupied RVs lined up in front of our homes between Walgrove and the beach. I guess that displeases the bums and the multi-million dollar local nonprofits that use the streets of Venice for their own fun and profit at the expense of residents.

      • Jack Kelly

        Mark Ryavec has cost the taxpayers of this city thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees paid out to lawyers like Carol Sobel. Everything he has done in regards to the homeless has always ended up with a civil rights lawsuit filed against the City of Los Amgeles. And the city has always lost those lawsuits. He’s not nearly as smrt as he thinks he is. And the people who support him and his endeavors are all a bunch of morons as well.

        • Anonymous

          Morons? Apparently we are morons BECAUSE jerks like you and Bonin put the community into a situation where these lawsuits are necessary to keep from a complete takeover by transients and overpaid social service nonprofits that do little more than enable. Without VSA Venice would be a complete disaster, instead of just a partial disaster. Your ilk avoids answers at all costs and thinks that a good name calling is worth way more that answers and facts. OK, how would things be better for the community as a whole (and not just the homeless campers) if the VSA did not take any action? Looks like this is what the non-morons see as what Venice is becoming:

          • Jack Kelly

            Your reply demonstrates exactly why you’re a moron dude. I’m not talking about lawsuits filed by the VSA. I’m taklking about lawsuits filed againat the City of Los Angeles by Carol Sobel that the City of Los Angeles always loses. And the reason those lawsuits are necessary is because of people like you and Mark Ryavec who have never read the U.S. Constitution, have no interest in reading it, and have done nothing but cost the taxpayers of this city thousands and thousands of dollars for violating the Constitutionally protected civil rights of the homeless. For somebody with money you sure are dumb. You have the reading comprehension skills of a 2nd grader.

          • Jack Kelly

            Oh and by the way the link you provided here ? Do you even know what O Brother Where Art Thou is about ? It is a homage to a Preston Sturges film released in 1941 called “Sullivan’s Travels. ” And Sullivans Travels is a movie about an author who writes a book called O Brother Where Art Thou that gets picked up by a studio to be made into a movie. And this writer sets out on a journey to discover the “real America.” And the “real America” is in the throes of a Great Depression that was caused by wealthy morons like you who lived in bubbles and did not care how their actions negatively affected society as long as they got paid.

          • Anonymous

            Jack Kelly – If you are trying to compare the dust bowl and depression of the 1930s with what is happening in Venice today, you are out of your mind! Comparing the Joad family, or any other family that was driven from their farms by the weather with the sorry group of self-entitled substance abusers who have gravitated to Venice to take advantage of the Mike Bonin/Carol Sobel enabled campground you are not playing with a full deck. And still, no answers – EXACTLY WHAT THE HELL DO YOU AND YOUR COMRADES WANT? Other than to be served by “the rich” who are anyone who is not you, and be left alone to drink and drug on the beach. You are great with bending the facts to suit your arguments but quite short on solutions that are both practical and would be acceptable to the street camping population. Or are we just supposed to just put up with any crap that those people bring to town. Exactly what are YOU doing besides casting blame and calling names?

  9. The beach bathrooms have to be open. The 3rd st cannot handle all these homeless and they should not be packed on 3rd . That will only increase the probably of this disease spreading. The best option is to open the bathrooms we already have on the beach 24/7 with staff.The homeless will poop on the beach without it exposing unvaccinated 5 years olds and under to a possible death sentence if infected with Hepatitis A!

  10. We have two choice as I see it. Either have 24/7 toilets at the beach or the homeless will poop on the beach. I choose the option of opening up the beach bathrooms with staff. It not the most ideal but to save the beach from all this defecation that could spread hepatitis A to the most vulnerable 5 year olds and younger its worth it

  11. Good News! Venice Beach has many stainless steel toilets available now! No need for any mobile units or other costly solutions just staff them and they are ready to go! Mr. Bonin could have them staff tonight if he wanted too!

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