Residents want Halloween portable toilets

Hints emerged at a community meeting Thursday night that could reassure Castro locals who fear their buildings, yards and streets will be used as urinals and toilet bowls by throngs of costumed revelers at the annual, unofficial Halloween bash this year, after The City previously announced it would not provide public restrooms.

Despite officials’ concerted efforts to prevent partiers from gathering in the Castro this Halloween due to violence in recent years, officials nonetheless expect people to descend upon the district. This year’s public relations campaign to discourage people comes after nine people were shot last year as the city-sponsored entertainment ended. In 2002, four people were stabbed.

“More Porta Potties,” chanted a handful of people during the meeting in spontaneous unity, after a 20th Street resident complained about problems in previous years. “We need more Porta Potties.”

Martha Cohen, who is coordinating Halloween for the Mayor’s Office, was coy when asked by a resident whether The City has a secret plan to provide public restrooms.

“Right here and now, I cannot tell you yes or no,” Cohen said. “I will tell you that we are very aware of our responsibilities, and we are still discussing it.”

Permit applications by Castro businesses and individuals, including Michael Staley, to install temporary public restrooms have been turned down by The City.

“It wasn’t going to work for The City to have a number of different [portable toilet] deliveries made and load-outs done,” Cohen told Staley. “Secondly, I know this may sound ridiculous, but those portable stand-alone toilets can become weapons, because they can be lifted and they can become projectiles.”

About 25 businesses, including some bars, have agreed to close early in the Castro on Halloween, Supervisor Bevan Dufty said.

Dufty said the skies above the Castro might be declared a no-fly zone on Halloween, after resident Felix Jones complained about television news exaggerating crowd sizes last year.

jupton@examiner.com

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