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City to Get 150 Public Toilets and 3,200 Signs

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mindful of tourists, the homeless and others, the Los Angeles City Council made a deal Friday that will provide 150 public toilets in exchange for the right to put up 3,200 advertising signs.

The contract with Viacom Decaux LLC will provide the city with at least $2 million per year over the next two decades. Opponents charged that the deal, which could provide as much as $150 million, is not worth the visual blight from the thousands of new advertisements.

In addition to the 150 self-cleaning toilets that will be installed over the next seven years without advertising, about 3,200 other pieces of street furniture will be provided, including bus shelters and information kiosks that will include advertising.

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“What we are doing is selling ads on the back of this city,” said Councilman Jack Weiss, who joined Councilman Nate Holden in voting against the contract.

“At this time, when we have an explosion of billboards, an explosion of illegal signs, an explosion of visual blight, to add to that clutter . . . is a mistake,” Weiss said.

Mort Allen, a San Fernando Valley activist and real estate agent, said stretches of Ventura Boulevard and other areas of the Valley are likely to fight.

“If this goes to the San Fernando Valley, you are guaranteed the biggest secession fight you have ever seen,” Allen told the council. “We do not want toilets on street corners in the Valley.”

Central district City Council members, including Jan Perry, said the toilets are desperately needed to provide relief for the homeless.

“This provides me with an extraordinary opportunity to confront a significant social problem in the 9th District,” said Perry, who represents skid row.

East Los Angeles neighborhoods should welcome the stylish street furnishings, said Councilman Nick Pacheco, who wrote the motion to create the program.

Councilman Dennis Zine supported the contract, but said some areas of his West Valley district may not want the pay toilets.

The contract calls for Viacom Decaux LLC to respond to vandalism and graffiti within 24 hours. Each council member has veto power over any street furniture in his or her district, said Ed Wallace, an attorney for the firm.

Council members said neighborhood councils also will be consulted about locations.


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