Thank God for the recent rains (and I mean that, God) because Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach after 6 rainless months smelled like a dirty toilet. After the heavenly cleaning, the sidewalks are much brighter and even the scraped off vomit stains are slightly improved, and most of all it cut down on the underlying stench. It is not God’s fault that all the filth washed right down the storm drains 5,4,3,2,1 blocks to dump right on the beautiful sandy beaches of Pacific Beach, it is our fault.
Y’all understand that you shouldn’t really go swimming in the ocean after a rain because of unsanitary microbes, right? I would go so far as to say, don’t be touching the sand in the drain pipe areas either if you know what’s good for you and your children.
Welcome to Pacific Beach, or Pee Beach as we have begun calling it around here.
Bank of America on Garnet Ave. and Bayard St. has a popular dark little secret corner near the entrance of the bank that doubles as an open air urinal. The employees try to scrub IT clean every day, but IT just comes back again the next evening. Lucky guys that have an easier time, and even enjoy, taking a leak outside. Women are usually obliged to stand in lines to use the limited and dubious bar toilets, unless it is an emergency, and they are drunk, and don’t care who sees them squat to pee on the street or in some dark corner.
When you’re drunk, you don’t care about public vomiting either. In fact, when you are drunk, you don’t really care about anything much, which is, of course, the reason we drink until we are drunk, right? Forget school, forget work, forget loneliness, and dysfunctional relationships, forget where you parked your car or who you were with… a classic temporary solution to people problems.
No comment on people’s problems or how they manage them; I ‘m just concerned with the smell and general sanitation of our town in the summer and whenever we don’t get regular rains, which is most of the time. There are lots of other architecturally designed nifty spaces to pee all around the neighborhood, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is even an “app” map for the “best” outdoor places in Pacific Beach to relieve yourself.
The “hospitality industry” is always whining, “it’s not OUR fault that our customers leave the bar and vomit and pee somewhere down the street or around the corner on their way home.” Well, all I can say is: you drink a lot, you pee a lot, and if toilets are not available, then you do it where you can.
A Modest Proposal
Do the San Diego building codes for toilets in bars and restaurants and cafes, liquor stores, drug stores and supermarkets that sell drinks of all kinds abundantly to everyone who comes to visit the public beach towns, provide for the equal and opposite re-action to all this drinking? I found this code for food establishment toilet requirements on the city building code website:
g) Public toilet facilities shall be provided in each permanent food facility when there is onsite consumption of food or when the food facility has more than 20,000 square feet of floor space.
A food facility with more than 20,000 square feet of floor space shall provide at least one separate toilet facility for men and one separate toilet facility for women. [CRFC 114276]
Are the City of San Diego taxpayers and public works department going to be held responsible for building public toilets on every block of Pacific Beach to handle this “hospitality industry” problem because restaurants and restaurants that have morphed into bars, have only to legally provide 2 toilets for 20,000 sq ft of floor space? And shops are not even obliged to provide toilets for their customers, I believe.
Is the envisaged “hospitality industry” solution to this problem: to establish another special benefits tax district in Pacific Beach to raise money to hose down the adjacent blocks around the bars with power cleaners twice a week projecting cleaning chemical dirty vapor into the air and some washing down the storm drains (even though it is not supposed to) the best way to handle this problem?
What you see when you are strolling the avenue around here by the beach are signs on every door saying: “no public toilets”, or “toilets for customers only.” Why? Is that “hospitable” to our visitors?
My proposal: All these commercial establishments, and even the ones that don’t sell drinks, but souvenirs or clothes, but profit just as much from the visitors, should be as “hospitable” as they like to claim they are, and expand their toilet facilities beyond (way beyond) the code requirements and join in a collective business improvement effort of open hospitality of comfort and necessity, and make toilets in every commercial enterprise ALL AVAILABLE to the public who come here to enjoy (and pay for whether in the liquor store or bar) this “fun at the beach hospitality.”
Instead of being a smelly, dirty town, we will set new standards of excellent and REAL hospitality by having the best “comfort facilities” available to everyone thanks to the voluntary efforts of every shop/bar/restaurant/café/supermarket/drugstore/liquor store in town, cleaned and maintained by the ones who profit most from the visitors, (the shops and bars) and not make local taxpayers, and our city, responsible for the public urination problem. If not voluntarily, then perhaps it is time to upgrade the building codes, because 20,000 square feet of bar space holds a lot of drinking people and a couple of toilets ain’t enough!
I like to imagine that maybe some of the better “ hospitable” bars might even enter into a friendly competition to see who could have the NICEST and MOST AVAILABLE “comfort facilities” in the beach area? Wouldn’t that be nice? I would buy that “app.”
Sub-Committee is the nom de plume of a Pacific Beach activist.
This article first appeared at San Diego Free Press.