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County Supervisor: Beach Restrooms Pose ‘Major Health Issue’

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A county supervisor Tuesday said public restrooms at county beaches pose a “major health issue” now that cleaning has been scaled back as a result of budget cuts and an increasing number of beachgoers.

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.”

County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka explains that about 30 janitorial positions were cut when funding for a federal welfare-to-work jobs program was eliminated.

“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.

“We pride ourselves on the cleanliness of our facilities,” said department spokeswoman Debbie Talbot, who added that she monitors a website as well as Facebook and Twitter sites daily for complaints and hadn’t seen any.

Under the new cleaning plan, which took effect May 1, bathrooms that used to be cleaned at 5:30 or 6 a.m. aren’t cleaned until 7 a.m. But, as a result, cleaning crews work later into the afternoon than in the past, a move Talbot thought would actually mean cleaner restrooms when attendance was at its peak.

The board has asked Fujioka to return next week with some answers.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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