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Solutions Sought for Dirty Restrooms

The Department of Beaches and Harbors is working out a plan to open more beach bathrooms—and keep them clean.

Complaints about closed and dirty restrooms at Los Angeles County beaches have prompted the Board of Supervisors to ask the Department of Beaches and Harbors to find a solution.

In a report to the board Tuesday, Santos Kreimann, the head of Department of Beaches and Harbors, suggested the county hire 13 more janitors to keep the bathrooms clean and functioning. The new hires would cost the county $372,000.

The county could get the money from fees it plans to charge summer camp operators for using the beaches as well as Marina del Rey lease option and lease extension fees it will collect this summer, Kreimann wrote.

Supervisor Gloria Molina called the plan "solid"; however, she also called the situation "not business as usual" and said public services would still have to be cut.

"We are going to get more complaints. That doesn't mean that restrooms have to be dirty," Molina said. "We have to look at a fair balance … to maximize and meet the needs of the general public" rather than "some cranky jogger."

Chastising the department, Supervisor Don Knabe said Tuesday it was "not an option to use that low-hanging fruit [the janitorial jobs] to satisfy your budget needs when you have millions of people coming to your beaches."

The Board of Supervisors did not make a decision about funding bathroom maintenance Tuesday; however, the Department of Beaches and Harbors adjusted staffing Saturday to make sure seven county bathrooms——were open early.

Last week, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he had about the restrooms being a "major health issue."

The Department of Beaches instituted its new cleaning schedule May 1. The original plan called for janitors to start cleaning the restrooms at 7 a.m. instead of 5:30 or 6 a.m.

The department, which maintains 52 restrooms and 36 parking lots at county beaches, announced the schedule changes in April.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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