sanjan-toilet2Politicians are known for contorting themselves into so many positions on a political issue that in no time they are so twisted out of shape that a pretzel looks straight compared to them. Last Tuesday, city council in their continued pandering for public attention once again took up the San Jacinto bathroom issue. As is normal with politicians, a simple molehill has been converted into a mountain.

The bathroom issue at San Jacinto Park has nothing to do with public policy about bathrooms in parks and everything to do with political stupidity. The bathroom discussion at city council revolved around the cost and the notion that the city has a policy dictating bathrooms in public parks, by the size of the park.

The problem is that San Jacinto, although labelled a park, is not a park as traditionally expected. San Jacinto is not a neighborhood park. Instead, San Jacinto is a gathering place, a focal point and the central area for El Paso downtown.

Neighborhood parks do not normally have chessboards and most definitely do not have Huacha courts. Neighborhood parks are neighborhood parks because they are intended for neighbors to use for outdoor activities. Because they are intended for the neighborhood, the bathroom issue is not an issue because users simply go home to use the toilet. It is as simple as that. However, this simple fact is glossed over because it betrays the stupidity of the politicians who screwed up that San Jacinto project so badly that all they have left is rhetoric to distract from the simple truth.

San Jacinto is not a neighborhood park. It was not intended as such. As a matter of fact, it was designed as the central focus to the much-touted public policy to drive El Pasoans downtown as part of downtown revitalization.

The problem though is that politicians neglected functionality in their renaissance quest and are now faced with having to admit it. Instead, as politicians do, they are pretending everything is honkey-dory and the lack of toilets at San Jacinto is simply resolved by a façade of rhetoric and posturing.

The truth is that the politicians screwed it up and do not have the honesty to admit it and much less address it. But what do you expect from politicians that can’t even deal with a toilet problem.

I was going to write; “typical provincial El Paso” but the fact is that a provincial El Paso politician would have put a bathroom in place at the focal point of the city.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

2 replies on “The San Jacinto Bathroom”

  1. How can anyone renovate a plaza and overlook the fact that if you make it a resting or gathering place, you need at least one toilet.

    The plaza was renovated because of its proximity to the ball stadium, lure tourists to downtown and draw local residents to enjoy a nice afternoon or evening. Well, that idea just went out the window. The El Paso solution, simply re-classify the plaza. That solution doesn’t negate the need for people to relief themselves. Well, let’s just reclassify the city council to city comedy center. That relieves them of the responsibility for making sound decisions.

    Oh well, there’s always the alleys, trees, next to cars or just sling a dirty baby and adult diaper. The plaza theme could be “Let’s give them something to talk about”.

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