- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An outdoor, public urinal installed earlier this year in a San Francisco park has prompted a local religious group to file a civil suit in hopes of having it removed.

Attorneys for the Chinese Christian Union of San Francisco filed a civil complaint in Superior Court last Thursday that takes aims at the Mission Dolores Park “pissoir” — an open-air urinal that was put in place in February as part of a $20.5 million renovation plan.

Scott Wiener, a Democrat on the city’s Board of Supervisors, told the San Francisco Chronicle that “at least 50 community meetings” were held before officials agreed to install the urinal with the goal of expanding restroom options within the park. But the Chinese Christian Union said the pissoir violates various codes and ordinances ranging from plumbing provisions to privacy laws.

“This complaint is brought as a taxpayer action for equitable relief to prevent the continued illegal and wasteful expenditure of public funds to install and maintain the pissoir,” attorneys for the religious group wrote in the 25-page complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief filed last week.

“The basis for the requested relief is that the pissoir violates the law and public policy regarding privacy, sex discrimination, public health, access for persons with disabilities and the Plumbing Code. Because the City Attorney and Attorney General have failed to bring an action to halt the pissoir as a public nuisance, the Plaintiffs bring this Complaint.”

Attorneys for the group allege that the pissoir violates the privacy of those who wish to use it because using the hole inevitably lends oneself to “expose their bodies and suffer the shame and degradation of urinating in public view.” They add that it’s “particularly onerous” with respect to the privacy rights of women, and allege the pissoir was installed for the exclusive use of males and thereby infringes on California law and public policy provisions dealing with equal facilities for both sexes.

The complaint also alleges that the absence of a sink with running water “is inconsistent with public health policy in relation to hygiene,” and that the pissoir violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and other anti-discrimination laws because the facility is not readily accessible.

Additionally, the attorneys claim the urinal falls short of meeting the state’s requirements with regards to plumbing fixture requirements and generally “creates the conditions for a public nuisance.”

“The installation of the pissoir creates the conditions for a public nuisance,” “is injurious to health,” “promotes conduct which is indecent” and “is offensive to the senses,” the group alleges.

Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for the City’s Attorney’s Office, said San Francisco’s top-ranked nude park on Yelp is hardly synonymous with wholesome, with or without the public urinal. He said in a statement that the city plans to challenge the suit and noted the 16-acre park is well-known for its “counter culture, immodest sunbathers, pot brownie vendors, spectacular city views and famously irreverent ‘Hunky Jesus’ contest.”

“If I had to predict the top 100 things in Dolores Park likely to offend these plaintiffs, I wouldn’t have guessed that this would make the cut,” Mr. Dorsey said in the statement.


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