Why is it so hard? If you don't want shit on the streets, the obvious solution is public toilets, no?
Instead, most of the people complaining about the shit on the streets blame it on homeless people, as if it's their fault that there's nowhere for them to shit except on the streets. What are they supposed to do? Hold it in?
One group of people has the wherewithal to solve this problem, and it's not the mentally ill homeless people who can barely take care of themselves.
You'd think one of the wealthiest countries on the planet would have gotten basic sanitation right by now.
You can very much see it in the attitude in the US towards taxes. People do not like taxes. Without taxes, you can only do so much.
I used to work as a cook, and before I could cook I had to learn every other job in the restaurant. Believe me I've cleaned my share of junkie-occupied toilets. It's a problem, but not the insurmountable problem you claim.
> Community sharps are needles, syringes and lancets that are used to administer medications and drugs outside a clinical setting.
> We need to dispose of sharps safely to prevent needlestick injury in our public places, at home and for workers who remove waste or clean facilities.
> Whether or not a community sharp is used for medication or drug use, sharps are to be treated as clinical waste, like they would be in a hospital.
> Local councils have a number of community sharps bins installed in community centres, libraries and public toilets to encourage sharps waste to be managed separately from general waste.
While annoying, it's better than no public toilets; and presumably easier for the people maintaining the toilets than dealing with junkies.
(I think they still had sharp bins.)
Most telling if you had twice as many of them you would not get twice as many people shooting up.
Public municipal toilets in Europe are staffed, just one person constantly keeping the place clean, and ready to call the police if anything like that goes on.
And it works. Certainly works better than having elevator shafts in MUNI and BART smell of excrement.
Those should make it difficult for anyone to hog them.
Don't think they're self cleaning though.
Melbourne also has pop-up urinals that come out of the sidewalk late at night because all the drunks used to just piss on the street or the sides of buildings...
Because what's better than being 20 minutes into the worst diarrhoea shit of your life whilst away from home? Oh yeah, the door deciding to swing open when you're 21 minutes in.
Lots of reasons why a small building providing nothing but toilet services gets re-purposed. I think the German system would work in San Francisco, but if the Bremen experience is correct it should be possible to pay a restaurant $500 a month for leaving their toilet open. That might help fund the additional cleaning and supplies needed.
I've noticed that since I was a kid, something has developed such that the public library seems to be used as a free day care center for poor people. The solution to that societal ill is probably not to ban libraries, or ban being poor.
The book Chasing the Scream explores this in detail.
The poor people simply don't have a place to shit and nobody wants to give it to them for free.
Before the privatization attempts, the Deutsche Bahn used real announcers on the major train stations.
Now, after decades of cost-cutting, it's pre-recorded audio pieces played by a computer. They sound broken and mismatching (because it's no TTS engine), they fail to be played half the time (and frequent rail users would claim the failure rate at 90%+) and of course the stuff breaks down when something unexpected happens (like emergency rail closures, due to people on the rails, med emergencies, police action, ...).
"The nineteen fifty two ... Southern service to ... Brighton ... is delayed by approximately ... twelve ... minutes due to ... trespassers-on-the-railway. Please listen for further announcements. We apologize for the inconvenience."
(Replace with "a passenger taken ill on a train" or "action by the police".)
"The train approaching platform ... two ... is the ... delayed ... nineteen fifty-two ... Southern ... service to ... Brighton ... calling at ... Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Haywards Heath and Brighton. This train has ... twelve ... coaches. Platform ... two ... for the nineteen fifty-two service to ... Brighton."
I much prefer it to a live announcement. The slightly ... odd pauses are distinctive, but mean derivations from the usual announcement stand out, whilst the whole thing is soporific for commuters. For others, there's the much-needed repetition of the most important bits; the destination of the train is spoken three times.
Examples: https://youtu.be/0cg-n-GF38E?t=139 (At 3:20 there's a Welsh one!)
(I don't like the repeated keep-your-luggage announcements, but maybe they're justified since people are still trying to bomb railways with abandoned luggage.)
But on a station it is possible to only put people in front of the mike who speak accent-free German and English, and to properly adjust and maintain the amps, speakers and wiring.
But also, I disagree with the failure rate of 90+%, from my experience I'd say it works pretty well in 90+% of the time. The system can even announce the "umgekehrte Wagenreihung" ;)
The pronunciation of city names is also rather lacking in many instances, and like you say often doesn't match the surrounding speech.
Aren't these people are voluntary doing this work?
Summing up, my conclusion is the opposite of yours - those jobs would probably exist in pure capitalism.
For instance, until recently ir was unusual for a person to have more than one employer in their lifetime. You entered the workforce just after high school or college and stayed with that employer for the rest of your career. People didn't quit and get a different job. And employers didn't fire people.
The elderly person standing in front of the construction fence warning people to be careful because of the danger used to be construction worker. Maybe they worked their way up in the company until they bumped into the Peter principle or until they physically or mentally couldn't do the job. Then then moved over, around, and down as their abilities declined. The folks who made it high enough to earn a retirement retire. The folks who didn't build a nest egg or spent their egg on Grandma's hospice care, or whatever, depend on the company to keep them in the mail room or sweeping the front lobby or something that will pay the rent and buy groceries.
I have seen many US companies that created Mission Statements and formalized a list of Corporate Values that included Loyalty. But I have seen very few US companies that are loyal to their employees. I suppose there are a lot of ways to be disloyal, but Japanese companies have generally been loyal in maintaining some level of employment to even the least competent of their employees.
Such laws subsidize automation research. As I think this research is undersupplied by a market with access to cheap labour, I'm all for them.
I mean, sure, I'll do whatever if it keeps me and mine alive; but if I'm gonna starve either way, I'm gonna starve hanging out in the sun reading a book.
It's not because Japanese people are cleaner in public toilets - I have seen enough "dirty" toilets in Japan to convince me that it's not the key factor. The secret is simply very frequent cleaning - in some toilets you'll see a list with stamps showing when the cleaning lady came during the day, and it can be as frequent as every hour.
I'm all for it. Having no free public toilets is just another reason not to go out or to feel annoyed staying out for too long. In Japan since this is free people can shop for longer and spend more time in public places and I am pretty sure this kind of factor has a positive effect on consumption, which is why malls and areas with large concentration of shops usually have the cleanest toilets.
In Germany, in many places, you've got paid public toilets - usually a few cents per use - but there will be a cleaning lady cleaning every few minutes.
Just another rewording of:
In (rich, homogenous country X) they managed to organize (nice, progressive social program Y) and had good success. I wonder how they do it ?
It's easy to pay for your neighbor to have free health care when his name is also Lars Larson. It's easy to fund public initiatives when the end users are also named Asahi Ito, just like you.
For example Australia is just as multicultural as the US, has a good public health system, and public toilets are clean and ubiquitous. Maybe not quite as clean as Japanese toilets, but far cleaner than what you'd find in San Francisco.
IMO disrespect to public spaces arises from apathy (India/China are good examples), social tensions and abstractions (government taxes/responsibility).
While I don't think racial homogeneity is apart of it, cultural compatibility absolutely is. It's mostly co-incidence that differing racial groups carry differing culture baggage. As any race can adopt kinder cultural values and principals.
Cheap labor is possibly relevant. Salaries and the cost of living are dramatically lower in Malaysia so apparently large numbers of Malaysians work in Singapore, often illegally, while essentially commuting from Malaysia.
Having a large pool of cheap possibly undocumented labor would certainly seem to make getting repetitive unskilled tasks done easier and cheaper.
And yes, small failures like that seriously annoy me because they leave the bathroom looking dirtier than when they came in.
(Or those people who do not flush properly - don't get me started on them...)
I can appreciate it's a difficult problem, but we have the means to change the design of the bowl itself and many other aspects. While there are self-cleaning pods in parks, I've never seen the approach taken to internal toilets.
Melbourne even has toilets in train stations!
I'm not sure this initiative is actually improving matters. I more believe it is trying to stem the tide of key codes at toilet doors. See this article from last year mentioning "nice toilet" initiative: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/wc-nur-fuer-gaeste-fra...
Google translate: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=h...
There are similar regulations in NYC (and I think most of the US, although it is at a local level) that mandate customer bathrooms although they do not sound as strict. For example, small coffee shops (less than ~15 seats) frequently have no customer bathrooms.
That sucks. As a person with a mild case of "what's-the-closest-toilet?"-angst I would feel quite awkward drinking a coffee and probably eating a cookie on the side knowing that there's no toilet close-by. As a matter of fact that would make me avoid those coffee shops entirely.
Bonus link, here's this Seinfeld clip where George speaks for all the people like me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYVBRQ7t46g
Slightly OT: A shopping mall in germany, where paying for the use of the toilet is voluntary (50Ct / use) makes on avg. ~300€/day, during christmas season up to 8000€/day . If I would own a venue at a highly frequented place I'd rather request 50Ct from the user. ;)
 https://www.welt.de/regionales/koeln/article13794805/Nette-T... (german)
 http://waz.m.derwesten.de/dw/staedte/oberhausen/gladbecker-f... (german)
1. Participating in the program will cause you additional costs
2. Participating will decrease the voluntary payments
I have no data to back this up but my gut feeling is that neither is true. People will prefer toilets in restaurants anyway and at least the locals are used to favour them over public toilets. My thesis is that putting up the "Nette Toilette" sticker will not draw more "customers".
When it comes to the voluntary payment: It's considered tipping money for the cleaning staff, so people will probably tip the same. And even if they did not it shouldn't make a difference for you as a restaurant owner, because it's not your money anyway. At least in theory...
(I'm approaching this as an Australian, where public toilets and toilets in shopping malls / department stores are always free. But I don't mind a user-pays system.)
Another scheme is usually found at Autobahn rest stops, where you actually have to pay for toilets, but get a voucher over the full amount that you can then use in their shops.
I'd say it's a good habit to always throw 50 Ct on the table - except if the person is as agressive/unfriendly as you describe. ;)
I can't believe you would claim that point # 1 would be false.
You're talking about letting the world into your establishment to use the restroom. You should know the state most public toilets are in.
The city has now moved that into your restaurant or bar. Your employees will have to clean it, or you will have to pay for the cleaning services.
So I must say, 150euros seems extremely low for this service.
My second thought was that this could be easily exploited. I assume controllers verify that signs are not ripped down or obscured for all those receiving the grant but for 150 euro a month I see no large incentive to cheat in this program anyways.
That's exactly my point. No one uses them, everyone goes to restaurants and pubs anyway - so nothing changes.
But heroin addicts aside, you'll get drunk teenagers, tagging, careless behavior and even vandalism.
BTW: I'm not sure about the neighbor. As I would only ask for a voluntary 50 Ct. there's no reason to prefer the other guys toilet. I assume my toilet would be preferred because it's cleaner (cause I'd pay more to my cleaning staff).
cleaning staff never gets a lot of money and if you need 50 ct to use your toilet it will probably not be the preferred one because people who pay direct money mostly think they can do whatever they want (they paid for it) so every use is more problematic than somebody who can use the toilet for free (exceptions confirm the rule).
Or, for the opposite type of person, runners at 5 in the morning have the same problem. Miles away from home, sudden need to go to the bathroom, everything is closed.
Germany doesn't have that problem, because, if you go to a club or bar before midnight, you're very early.
The real fun only starts at 2AM, and most clubs and bars close after 5am - when others are already opening again.
In the UK the councils subsidise the local transport to stay open till 1/2am.
See also: no alcohol sales before noon on Sunday, no discounted liquor at restaurants, and every bar/pub that sells liquor must also sell food.
Public transport loses money in the evenings, across the world they get shut down unless subsidised.
Don't interrupt the discussion to meta-discuss the scoring system.
I'm getting confused by HN these days, it's like you get random d/vs for absolutely nothing.
It is a cultural thing and I expect most British people would expect their council to maintain public toilets rather than not bother and have some community business scheme. It reeks of privatisation and down sizing the local council.
> If a venue took the cash and didn't display its sticker, for example, the public would soon report it to the city.
How exactly would "the public" know the venue takes part in the program if they don't display the sticker?
Aside from that, every place serving drinks or foods with the possibility to eat in the premises must have fully equipped toilets, and those are usually in good condition, so what most people do is walk into a bar or restaurant and use those. Some people just ask if it's OK to use the toilet, others will buy an espresso or bottle of water. Personally I ask and then pay for someone else's coffee or tip the barman, but I'm neither Spanish or Italian. Paid toilets are unknown there and would be seen with hostility. Toilets at shopping centres and motorway stops can always be used freely. Petrol stations and underground car parks also tend to have toilets that one can use, sometimes you have to ask for the key.
In France, it is mostly the same except that bar/restaurant toilets tend to be, let us say, a character building experience and being a different culture, the "let me use the toilet and I'll buy a bottle of water from you" thing does not quite work (apart from the water being at least €2.-) There are, however, a lot more public toilets, often the self-cleaning type (the French are big on automation, due to their awkward labour laws), and best of all, the "pissoirs" (from "pisser": to piss). There aren't many left, but you can still see them in some villages and small towns.
Some pics and history here: http://untappedcities.com/2010/07/08/i-need-to-pee-public-to... (also shows the newer automatic toilets), and a bit of an extreme and not completely serious example here: http://www.pwfg.de/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/open-air-pisso...
In case anyone wonders about the hose, that's for people of North African or Middle Eastern origin who in addition to or instead of toilet paper, prefer to use water and their (conventionally, left) hand to clean up after full relief--a method which in fact does a far better job than smearing it all over one's arse cheeks.
When I went to Germany I was amazed at how bad their toilets were and I often had to pay to use them.
Firstly, there are multiple toilets within a relatively small area, so one cleaning team can service multiple toilets. Secondly, the small area of a mall minimises travel time (wastage) between toilets. Thirdly, in places where keeping the toilets clean doesn't take enough time to keep the cleaners occupied full-time, there are other general cleaning tasks to occupy them.
It's also worth considering the deterrent effect of footfall and supervision: if the toilets are used frequently, and checked/cleaned frequently, people are less likely to carry out wanton acts of vandalism, for fear of getting caught.
If you take the example of a city with public toilets on the streets, either each toilet has to be staffed, which would generally be expensive/inefficient, as each toilet wouldn't require a full-time cleaner, or you would need a cleaning team to travel from toilet to toilet, spending time stuck in traffic, looking for a parking space, etc.
One thing to keep in mind when comparing homelessness in Berlin and SF is the clima. I don't know how much it contributes but homeless people in Berlin risk to freeze to dead. So I could imaging homeless people prefering warmer cities.
If someone becomes homeless in a place where homelessness has a significantly increased risk of death (such as freezing to death in Berlin), then either they move away, they engage with local support services, or they carry on as they are, risking death (and some of them will die as a result). Either way, the effect is a reduction in the number of homeless people at that location.
Thankfully a lot of places recognise some of the risks and try to address them. In the UK, many cities have a cold-weather response: when the temperature drops below Xº, additional shelters are opened, and street-teams look for people sleeping rough and guide them towards the shelters.
If LA had a program paying cafes and restaurants a monthly fee to allow the general population (which would have to include the homeless) to use their restrooms, I predict that the vast majority of businesses would not participate. A restaurant owner would simply not want a smelly person parading through their dining space to get to the restroom.
In short, I don't see a way to make this work in Los Angeles.
The main downside is that the bathrooms are only open when the businesses are open. That means folks living on the streets still don't have access to toilets for a big chunk of the day.
It looks like a nice thing, but the headline is a little misleading, its not in "all German cities", just some.
So, it's actually not that misleading.
No one forces these 70 years olds to work there. I honestly believe that the people who do are happy to be able to earn some money (because they may not find a "better" job).
In Germany no one is really forced to accept a job because of the reasonable good-enough social benefits / welfare systems (not saying that you can live a good life with it though).
Anyway, you probably didn't want to discuss a real issue but rather spread your, umh, questionable ideas about the "army" of immigrants. :-/
If you earn £1 you lose £1 of welfare.
So if you want to do a hour a day of toilet maintenance you need either a very strong sense of community or another income.
One of the reasons a Negative Income Tax might work better than means tested benefits
At least that's how I understood the mechanics just now, having never been forced to actually understand them.
However, if they don't find themselves in a situation where they can live at home with their children, there's very little alternative for them.
I would be happy to discus my "questionable ideas". I live in Athens and I actually tried to hire some of them for manual labor. Most of them had better shoes than me, were lazy as fuck, and all want to go to Germany.
To start a discussion, please post employment rates among migrants ;-)
Greece has a 25% unemployment rate. Therefore if you did not find anyone wanting to do your job, it must have been a really bad one. Or - my guess - you just didn't offered to pay a reasonable amount.
I don't know the exact employment rate among migrants, but I guess it makes no sense to discuss it here. I'm just sure that, if the unemployment rate amongst the migrants would be low, you were crying about the bad migrants taking over our jobs.
Anyway this discussion is pointless.
Oh ok, you're definitely just repeating extreme right-wing propaganda now. Thanks for clarifying that.
It is not OK at all to force someone to work. And especially not if all you offer to refugees is menial cleaning work.
That's a highly racist opinion you have, and IMO you deserve the downvotes.
Aren't the bathrooms the places where somebody can bathe?
I wonder if other languages have such an array of words for a toilet, and how much confusion they cause for foreigners.
"Toilet" is also a euphemism, it's Middle French for a type of cloth.
So is "lavatory", it means wash room.
I can't think of a word that isn't vulgar or a euphemism.
"Toilet" was by etymology a euphemism, but is no longer understood as such. As old euphemisms have become the standard term, they have been progressively replaced by newer ones, an example of the euphemism treadmill at work.
Washroom. Lavatory. Outhouse. Mens' room. Little girls' room room. Potty. Half bath. And many more (mostly NSFHN).
I suspect there's a deep reason for all the different words, probably because of the basic nature of what goes on within such rooms. I wouldn't be surprised if other languages have the same profusion of synonyms.
Let me try in Spanish: servicio, baño, excusado, w.c, mingitorio, tigre (this is slang)
I'm serious, not a native speaker.
Brace yourself: in the US and from what I've seen of the UK, the toilet and the shower are in the same room.