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From Seattle to LA, Toilet Troubles

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The New York Times' Christopher Maag has a story on Seattle shutting down its automatic public toilets (commodes that clean and sanitize themselves after every use) after they became filthy homes for drug-addled hookers. There was also an issue with money; these dumpers are usually financed by outdoor advertising companies, which maintain and operate them in exchange for advertising on bus benches and such. Seattle had a law prohibiting a deal like that, so taxpayers had to bear the cost. But LA loves advertising, and has somehow managed to keep the crappers clean (we have 13, mostly in Downtown, specifically Skid Row, although some downtown toilets are still awaiting opening). But neighborhood groups are fighting additional advertising, which means no money for additional toilets. Well, as every Angeleno knows, if there's no toilet around, people will always find an alley to stink up. [NY Times]