HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) HAS NO MEETING TOMORROW. It will next meet Wednesday July 11th at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa. It generally meets every other Wednesday at the same time and place. Alternate Wednesdays the group Conscience and Action meets there at 11 AM.
Conscience and Action is the group formed in memory of activist David Silva. They organized last Thursday’s protest demanding reopening of the Louden Nelson and San Lorenzo bathrooms. In a CHANGE OF NORMAL MEETING PLACE AND TIME, THEY WILL MEET THURSDAY 11 AM AT THE REC HALL OF THE EL RIO MOBILE HOME PARK.
El Rio Mobile Home Park is located at 2120 N. Pacific Turn right on entering the park. You can walk from the tower or park in the Lenz art parking and short walk to the Rec hall. Please bring others whom you think might want to be a part of a group that is committed to considering justice and issues of conscience in SC and acting on them. We will be discussing the meeting with City Manager Martin Bernal, and considering our next action.
Last Friday several activists from the protest met with Bernal. Phil Posner took these minutes:
Meeting of Conscience and Action group with City Manager, Martin Bernal
6-29-18 3:00 regarding closed bathrooms. Present: Nicholas, Keith, Steve, Robert, Philip, Jean, and Jesse and Gloria who came in late …
Phil thanked him for meeting with us; we introduced ourselves and Phil and Nicholas told him what C&A was about, that we were a newly formed group committed to addressing local issues that raise the conscience of injustice etc and call for action.
He began by stating that “nobody was opposed to bathrooms and that there are more than there were, though some are closed at night. He said the issues having to do with them being open or closed is not the cost, but because of problems with vandalism. For example he cited San Lorenzo Park, and City Hall bathrooms having feces being spread all over. Similarly at Louden there have been persistent problems with vandalism etc.
Philip spoke of and showed him his statement* that would be posted in bathrooms. He was not impressed, suggested that those who vandalize are not acting rationally, meaning that such statements would have no value. However, he said he would follow up with Parks and Rec. regarding the possibility of reopening San Lorenzo and that he was “not opposed to adding more bathrooms.” … Spoke passionately about individuals that do (inappropriate) behavior is the result of their anger and helplessness at their situation. However when Robert later specifically requested Martin open the San Lorenzo and/or Louden Nelson bathrooms, he directly said “no:” The best he would do, as Robert remembers, is “look at the situation” (including the prospect of opening some more portapotties, though he continued to stress that the two previously locked-during-the-daytime portapotties on Cedar St were now open during the day.
Keith asked him what was the problem with the toilet he paid for and had placed by the Post Office, having gotten the postmaster’s ok? He responded that it just wasn’t possible for anyone to place bathrooms anywhere.
Robert him asked him, “do you have the power to open bathrooms?” He answered: “Probably.” He later acknowledged that he had the power to do so, but would not without the consent or consultation with staff members below, notably Carol Scurich.
Philip raised the idea of a task force made up of a few homeless individuals, homeless activists and city representatives, like from his office and or Parks and Rec that would try to find solutions to the problem?
He did not respond positively to the suggestion. He said the City wants to prioritize, my word, shelters as the real solution.
Posner said to him, “Martin, I don’t think you are listening to us. The issue is suffering that is occurring right now to homeless who have no place to shit or pee.”
He said he would “look at the possibility of more portapotties.” And made the point that “finances are not the predominant issue, but finding solutions that work.”
We raised the issue of monitors. He said First Alarm did not want to do it because there have been confrontational situations.
Robert raised the issue of a list of inappropriate incidents? Martin agreed to forward any documents that currently existed around the Louden Nelson bathroom closings (i.e. incidents of vandalism, disruptive behavior, unsafe needle disposal, etc.), but refused to create a list of incidents that lead to the closing of the bathrooms (which, Robert thinks, included San Lorenzo Park).
We concluded by asking him what we could expect from him? He answered by saying that:
He would consider reopening San Lorenzo.
More – ADA accessible – portapotties
Individuals signing (their names when they want) to use the bathroom at Louden Center
and will try to find out if there is a list of incidents that have occurred (that caused the closing of bathrooms)
And at the end added that he would look into the process for permitting private toilets (like Keith’s).. He suggested Keith get a list of neighbors who wanted a portapotty around the post office.
Meeting concluded at 4:05 with our thanks for meeting with us.
Respectfully submitted, Phil Posner and Robert Norse.
* To those who are using this bathroom
As you may know our city makes this facility available to the public even though some bathrooms have been vandalized, or in other ways used inappropriately.
Please respect the right of everyone to use this facility, by abstaining from behavior that may necessitate the city having to close it, thus preventing you and others from having it to use the next time we need it.
Conscience and Action
Food not Bombs
Downtown Bathroom Task Force
The Homeless Depot
Police Chief Mills