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Budget Cuts At L.A. County Beaches Mean Dirty Restrooms

Public restrooms at county beaches pose a “major health issue,” now that cleaning has been scaled back due to budget cuts and the number of beachgoers is increasing, a county supervisor said today.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he received “a large number of complaints” on the topic and asked that the Department of Beaches and Harbors find other ways to save money.

“They find that it’s not clean, that it’s not properly maintained and have the same reaction as when the city doesn’t empty garbage cans, which is a problem,” Yaroslavsky said. “Summer is here. Beach visitation is up. Twelve million people this year.”

About 30 janitorial positions were cut when funding for a federal welfare-to-work jobs program was eliminated, explained county Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka.

“There were some competing needs,” he said, but added that he would look for other solutions, perhaps hiring temporary employees for the summer.

The department announced in April that it would reduce maintenance at county parks and beaches, closing some restrooms and opening others later in the day.

Supervisor Gloria Molina said she thought public health was important and did not object to the request for an alternative cuts.

But she warned that correcting one problem would likely create another elsewhere.

“Before we just say do it, let’s find out what else is being cut back on,” Molina said.

The board asked the CEO to return next week with some answers.

Copyright © 2011 City News Service

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