While you were getting prepped for your weekend last Friday, the city was getting sued over a park urinal.
The San Francisco Chinese Christian Union and lawyers from the Pacific Justice Institute, a California-based legal group noted for championing conservative causes, filed a suit against the city last week over an outdoor urinal in Dolores Park, alleging that it’s indecent, a health hazard, and discriminatory.
The City Attorney’s Office, which will defend the city in any subsequent litigation, responded with a blog titled "Ain’t That a Pissoir?" and noted that the PCI had been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which suggests that they might not be losing a lot of sleep over the potential legal fallout of this one.
The contentious pissoir (common in Europe) consists entirely of a concrete slab, a drain in the ground, and a partition for modesty, planted within kicking distance of the J Church stop.
This, of course, is where the park’s least modest regulars were in the habit of peeing anyway, so the city decided to implement a little bit of harm reduction by giving them something to aim for and a direct path to the sewer.
The PCI sent a letter of complaint (titled, "RE: Outdoor Urination Hole" and spelling the park's name "Delores") to the city back in February, alleging that it is indecent to force the urinating public to expose themselves in front of the J Church and the whole world if they want to use the facilities.
The complaint also alleges that the pissoir is discriminatory, since it’s harder for women to use and isn’t ADA compliant, and also that it’s a health hazard, since there’s no sink.
The actual suit, SFCCU v San Francisco, was filed Thursday, and uses the word "pissoir" 94 times in 25 pages. Says City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey, "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."
Live and learn.
Plaintiff’s attorney Kevin Snider wasn’t available for comment. We’ll update you as soon as we hear more.