Group Appeals Public Urination Lawsuit Against San Francisco

December 28, 2018 Updated: December 28, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO—A lawsuit has been filed against the city with the California Court of Appeals for allegedly encouraging public urination, according to the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the organization behind the lawsuit.

The city was accused of public nuisance, as well as violations of disability access and basic health and safety laws of the city.

San Francisco built a non-enclosed public pissoir at the corner of Dolores Park in 2016, which caused alleged indecent exposures by users of the urination facility.

The semi-circular structure is built on a concrete base around a hole in the ground. The facility is completely open at the back without a roof or doors. A metal open fence covers the hole, with green leaves and vinyl panels partially blocking the view.

Men using the pissoir are easily visible to children playing in the park and to people on adjacent streets, sidewalks, buses, and light rails. City residents living nearby can also see the men’s activities from their homes.

The city attorney previously stated in court that the reason for building the pissoir was because too many people urinated in the area.

Kevin Snider, the Chief Counsel of PJI, told The Epoch Times that residents in the city worried there would be more of these types of pissoirs built on the city streets.

PJI is a nonprofit organization specialized in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. In this case, PJI represents plaintiffs including a Chinese Gospel Church, and several residents in the neighborhood around the urination facility.

“San Francisco’s use of tax dollars to promote public urination is not only disgusting; it is also blatantly illegal,” said Brad Marcus, PJI’s president.

PJI stated that the city has released documents confirming that it spent at least $15,000 to construct the pissoir.

Frank Lee, Chair of PJI’s San Francisco Bay Area Advisory Board, said that these kinds of actions by the City has contributed to the “moral degradation of the society.”

“Why does the City want its residents to go backwards, and to live in conditions of a few hundred years ago?” asked Jim Chow, a pastor at Chinese Christian Union.

The case was previously filed in the state’s lower court. But after the City and County of San Francisco filed a motion to dismiss the case, the case was dismissed by a San Francisco Superior Court judge.

Snider said that it would possibly take the appeals court one to six months to make a decision.

Lee said that PJI was also seriously considering filing a lawsuit in federal court and reporting the problem to the Department of Justice.