Tag Archives: Public Defecation

LAMC 41.47.1: This Seemingly Unknown Municipal Bathroom Law Could Change the Whole Public Urination Discussion in Los Angeles, but it has Never Been Used

These signs are hanging all over the City of Los Angeles, and it turns out that they're completely unenforceable.
These signs are hanging all over the City of Los Angeles, and it turns out that they’re completely unenforceable.

Arrests for public urination/defecation are a fundamental tool in the war against homeless people in Los Angeles, as well as being a major part of the BID Patrol’s work in Hollywood. In 2015, for instance, the BID’s data shows that about 8%1 of the arrests that Andrews International made across the two HPOA BIDs2 were for public urination/defecation, which is a violation of LAMC 41.47.2.

When the City Council passed LAMC 41.47.2 in 2003, they were roundly (and rightly) criticized by advocates for the rights of homeless people, who pointed out that it was inhumane to criminalize an activity that is necessary to sustain life without providing a practical alternative. My colleagues have written before about how Councilmembers responded to this by promising informally that it wouldn’t be enforced if there were no nearby public restrooms and by promising to install more public restrooms around the City. However, they failed to amend the actual statute, which has led to widespread abuse.3 And 13 years later there aren’t significantly more public restrooms.

However, there is another part of the public urination law, LAMC 41.47.1, which is never even mentioned in discussions of the issue, and yet it is not only relevant, but radically, transformatively relevant. It was adopted by the Council in 1988 and says:

If restroom facilities are made available for the public, clients, or employees, no person owning, controlling, or having charge of such accommodation or facility shall prohibit or prevent the use of such restroom facilities by a person with a physical handicap, regardless of whether that person is a customer, client, employee, or paid entrant to the accommodation or facility. Employee restrooms need not be made available if there are other restroom facilities available on the premises unless employee restroom facilities have been constructed or altered to accommodate the physically handicapped and such facilities are not available elsewhere on the premises.

This has the potential to change the entire conversation about public restrooms, public urination, and homelessness in Los Angeles.
Continue reading LAMC 41.47.1: This Seemingly Unknown Municipal Bathroom Law Could Change the Whole Public Urination Discussion in Los Angeles, but it has Never Been Used

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Retraction: Documents Attesting to More than a Decade of Tragically Futile HPOA Support for Public Toilets in Hollywood Show Conclusively that City of Los Angeles is 100% to Blame for their Lack

Screenshot of LA City Approval for a public toilet at Hollywood Blvd and Orange Drive.
Screenshot of LA City Approval for a public toilet at Hollywood Blvd and Orange Drive.
Well, long-time readers of this blog will recall a number of shrill screeds on our part about how the BID Patrol keeps arresting people for public urination but the HPOA doesn’t do anything to get public toilets installed. And aren’t we embarrassed now. We had assumed that the HPOA had so much political juice that they could get anything they wanted out of the city, so the fact that Hollywood has no public toilets, we wrongly assumed, was proof that the HPOA was opposed to them.

It turns out that we were dead wrong about that. The HPOA has been trying for over a decade to get the city to put public toilets around Hollywood without any success. Just mere moments ago our faithful correspondent received documents that demonstrate this in great detail, and we apologize for our hasty leaping at conclusions. You can browse through the documents via the new Public Toilets subdirectory of the HPOA directory in the menu structure above.
Continue reading Retraction: Documents Attesting to More than a Decade of Tragically Futile HPOA Support for Public Toilets in Hollywood Show Conclusively that City of Los Angeles is 100% to Blame for their Lack

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Hollywood Farmers’ Market Patrons Can Even Wash Hands After Not Shitting In Public Street

Not only are porta-potties provided for patrons of the Hollywood Farmers' Market, two portable hand-washing fountains are provided as well.  But, as Lady Macbeth knew too well, some things don't wash off so easy.
Not only are porta-potties provided for patrons of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, two portable hand-washing fountains are provided as well. But, as Lady Macbeth knew too well, some things don’t wash off so easy.
We’ve written before about the shameless hypocrisy of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, whose bully-boy BID patrol agents arrest homeless people on a regular basis for relieving themselves on the public street.

We’ve argued that the HPOA consciously chooses to deprive the homeless of access to bathrooms, and is thus culpable for the broken lives and pain caused by the collateral consequences of these hundreds of arrests over the years. We’ve discussed the fact that the HPOA not only sets these people up for arrest by not having public restrooms available and then compounds their crime by arresting them, but they also mock them for the fact that they’re forced to shit in the streets.

Lady Macbeth discovering that water isn't always enough to wash away sins from the hands that committed them.
Lady Macbeth discovering that water isn’t always enough to wash away sins from the hands that committed them.

Anyway, this morning, we noticed, strolling through the pleasant environs of Ivar and Selma, that not only are there porta-potties provided for the rich folk who shop at the Market, but there are even portable hand-washing stations, shown in the images above. We expect the porta-potties. That’s an expected level of hypocrisy. And we do appreciate hand-washing, both in ourselves and in others. We expect that the BID Patrol will arrest homeless people for sitting on the sidewalk but not even warn Farmers’ Market patrons for violating the same law.
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A Short History of Dehumanization Through Defecation

Everyone Poops, but some poopers are more privileged than others.
Everyone Poops, but some poopers are more privileged than others.
Human shit has a number of remarkable properties. First of all, every human produces shit. Secondly, every fully autonomous human handles the disposal of their own shit. In fact, properly disposing of one’s own shit is a necessary condition for being considered a fully autonomous human being. Thus it is possible to efficiently and completely dehumanize people by preventing them from dealing competently with their shit.

Polish authorities in 1947 explaining to Rudolph H&oumlaut;ss, erstwhile commandant of Auschwitz, that it's not OK to force people to live in their own shit in order to facilitate genocide
Polish authorities in 1947 explaining to Rudolph Höss, erstwhile commandant of Auschwitz, that it’s not OK to force people to live in their own shit in order to facilitate genocide
This principle was grasped early on by the National Socialist founders of the infamous complex of concentration camps known collectively as Auschwitz,1 where the subhuman (Jews, Russians, etc.) inmates were allotted only 0.2 square feet of toilet space, less than one twelfth the amount allocated for ordinary criminal prisoners. Historian Robert-Jan Van Pelt summarizes the view of historian Terrence Des Pres that design choices like this, which resulted in every surface in the camps including human flesh, being covered with shit, were “the result of a deliberate policy to destroy the last vestiges of the prisoners’ sense of self-worth. It was not enough just to kill the prisoners. They had to be totally broken first.2 As Van Pelt summarizes, “with the latrines submerged in excrement, with very little water to be had at very few points, and with mud all around, what remained was an inmate population without the means to preserve any outward sign of human dignity.”2

It’s not discussed in the article we’re citing, but it’s surely plausible that such degradation made it easier for the SS to go about their unholy work of genocide. No matter how cruel the project, the guards carrying it out were still human beings, and is it not easier to send millions of people to their deaths if they’re smeared with their own shit and therefore, at least in that one sense, not fully human? Or to move them away from their native land so that you and your totalitarian buddies can move in? This principle has been rediscovered throughout history by those who have need of such a tool.

Steve Seyler, thinking deep thoughts about deep shit and who ultimately ends up in it
Steve Seyler, thinking deep thoughts about deep shit and who ultimately ends up in it

Which brings us back around to Steve Seyler, bully boy bossman of the BID security patrols and Reinhard Heydrich of the HPOA’s campaign to ethnically cleanse Hollywood of its homeless untermenschen.
Continue reading A Short History of Dehumanization Through Defecation

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