Evidently public restrooms, or the lack of them, have been an issue in Santa Cruz for a long time. My position is that if a business sells food or drink it is their moral obligation to provide a working, clean, available pubic toilet. It should be a code violation not to do so, and one that can result in losing your license to do business.
If you sell or provide for free food or drink of any kind, providing public toilets is part of your cost of doing business. If safe disposal of pollution from corporations is a cost of doing business then providing a public toilet if you sell food or drink is a cost of doing business.
I support requiring all businesses that sell food or drink in any form to provide a working and available public restroom. This should be required in order to obtain a license to do business. Additionally, code enforcement should periodically, and randomly, inspect all businesses in town that sell food or drink, and particularly those on The Mall, to make sure they have a working, available, clean public restroom. Failure to pass this inspection should be a code violation, and if it's not corrected in 72 hours that should be another code violation. Three such code violations would result in suspension of the business license.
Recently the city council proposed giving local businesses $5,000 per year to make existing toilets available to the public. I don't think the city should be subsidizing the cost of doing business for restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops. Nor do I think The City should be bribing them to do what is right, moral, and decent. However, I support the goal of making Santa Cruz a more humane and friendly place and therefore applaud and support this proposal.
Some months ago the Vet's Hall, of all places, declared their toilets private. This is just plain WRONG. It is being a bad citizen and a bad neighbor.
<ul class="postlist"><li><a href="http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_10058951?IADID=Search-www.santacruzsentinel.com-www.santacruzsentinel.com" target="_blank">City of Santa Cruz wants businesses to help answer nature's call</a> - 31 Jul 2008, <i>Santa Cruz Sentinel</i></li>
<li><a href="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004425645_toilets20m.html" target="_blank">City Council OKs removal of 5 high-tech public toilets</a> - 20 May 2008, <i>The Seattle Times</i></li>
<li><a href="http://www.americanrestroom.org/pr/problem.htm" target="_blank">The American Restroom Association</a></li></ul>