Better Bathrooms goes to City Council

CCT-TOWNHALL-0118-03-L(Update:  Video excerpts of this event are now posted on this website here.)
The Better Bathrooms campaign has now reached the eyes and ears of Berkeley’s City Council. At a special working session of City Council this afternoon, Tuesday March 24, I had the opportunity to speak briefly on the need for better bathrooms in the park. I was able to get copies of the petition with the first 500 signatures into the hands of the council members present. I saw a number of council heads nodding in agreement with my words.
Councilmember Laurie Capitelli (5th District) said that after hearing about the issue a week earlier, he personally visited Cesar Chavez Park on Sunday evening, and that my description of how bad the porta-potties were was probably understated. He suggested that modern commercial-grade composting toilets of the type widely used in Europe might be a good solution.
Councilmember Jesse Arreguin (4th District) spoke up strongly in support of better bathrooms in the park, and asked park staff to find ways and means of accelerating this issue.
Mayor Tom Bates didn’t mention bathrooms but thanked me for my “beautiful book.”  (I passed out copies of my photo book, From Trash to Treasure, to the council members present.)
Nobody spoke against the project.
Now the problem is to move from contemplation to action. The five-year plan that city park staff presented earlier in the council session makes no mention of bathrooms in Cesar Chavez Park. This plan is going to need amendment by City Council.
The plan weirdly includes spending $600,000 to build another permanent bathroom on the south side of the boat basin, where there are already eight, but zero bathrooms for our park. What’s up with THAT?
You can help move this thing forward by sending a short email to your city council person. Just click the email address below; the subject line already says “Better Bathrooms in Cesar Chavez Park.” That’s really enough, but you can add a heartfelt personal message if you want.
Here is a list of their email addresses:
Mayor Tom Bates:
*District 1, Linda Maio:
District 2, Darryl Moore:
District 3, Max Anderson:
District 4, Jesse Arreguin:
District 5, Laurie Capitelli:
District 6, Susan Wengraf:
District 7, Kriss Worthingon:
District 8, Lori Droste:
*The park happens to be in Linda Maio’s district, so emails to her would be particularly useful.
You can always follow the Better Bathrooms campaign here on VIVA, the park blog.
Thanks for your support.  I plan to be in the park on warm weekend afternoons to go after another 500 signatures for an even thousand. Contact me if you want to lend a hand.
P.S.  — The City’s official video of the session (1 hour 18 minutes) is now online on the city website here.   My presentation begins at 41:21.

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