Editorial: Antioch Should Flush Marina Bathroom Plans Down the Toilet

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Construction is currently underway at the Antioch Marina on L Street for a new toilet facility that has been in the works since 2010. The placement of this toilet has upset many local veterans and members of the community.

And for good reason.

For whatever the thought process, the City believed it would be a good idea to place a toilet just feet away from the Veterans Memorial which has now created some terrible optics of the City “pooping on Veterans”—yes, I probably should use a stronger word, but wished to keep this PG-13.

Many veterans in Antioch are now talking about boycotting veterans events and even suggesting that they attend other events in neighboring cities.

Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, a veteran, expressed disappointment that in the 9-years this project was in the works, that the Veterans, VFW and American Legion in Antioch were not consulted from the beginning.

JR Wilson of the Delta Veterans Group is now advocating the restroom be moved.

Wilson explained he was shocked to learn the structure being built was a bathroom after he was told by a city council member that it was going to be grass with sprinklers to make it look nice and that the bathroom was on the other side of the parking lot near the boat launch.

When he learned it was going to be a bathroom after construction had started. He called it “unacceptable” and suggested the City needs to move it away from the memorial.

Wilson further stated if the bathroom was not moved, it would be a Memorial in name only because veterans would stop visiting it and find other plans for veterans events while boycotting the city hosted events.

He is right.

It is sad that over 9-years of planning. No one thought to think about the veterans and the impression it would give. No one thought how every photograph taken at the memorial would have the backdrop of a bathroom? And let’s not forget, there is already a restroom a 50-yards away across the parking lot!

If one is going to walk across the parking lot at the boat launch to use one bathroom, what is another 50-yards?

Antioch, who is in the middle of the L Street beautification project, now gets to see the tip of L Street come to an end with a toilet overlooking the delta. This is poor planning and not well thought out.

The City Council was either mislead on the location of this restroom, had no idea of its location, or were simply asleep at the wheel.

So how did this happen?

This goes back to 2010 when the city spent $3.7 million on the boat launch ramp which it received grant money in 2004.  It was at this point, the city removed Barbara Price Park by tearing out the park and paving over it with the now parking lot of 125+ parking spaces.

Many residents still contend they believed the restroom, along with a bait shop, were to be placed closer to the boat launch. Some have even stated on social media that the placement of this bathroom makes little sense as boaters still have to walk to far between the water and bathroom.

According to City Manager Ron Bernal, the plan was designed in 2010 and he confirmed the bathrooms were always going to be at this location.

In 2012, the city attempted to bid the restroom facility, but ultimately rejected all bids after the contractors questioned the Scope of Work in 2013. Fast forward to December of 2018, the city re-bid the project and during the January 8, 2019 meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve the bid–the staff report did not include plans of the project, a map, or real background of what had transpired since 2010.

During the bid award, not one councilmember thought to ask the City of where the placement of this bathroom would be. Not one councilmember raised the question of why the winning bid was $424,417 which was $77,417 more than the engineers estimate. Lastly, not one city councilmember thought to look at how this would impact the veteran’s memorial.

In an email Monday, Bernal explained:

“The original project encountered permitting and construction issues which contributed to delays in completing construction and significant cost escalation. The increased cost resulted in a reduction of the original project scope resulting in the proposed restroom structure and third boarding float being removed from the original project. In anticipation of the restroom being constructed in the future, utilities were stubbed to the current location in 2012.

Continuing to seek funding from the State for the restroom, a $400,000 grant was approved in 2016 to construct the restroom at the current location. The project was awarded in January of this year and construction has commenced. The building has been ordered. Relocating the facility at this point is not an option in my opinion. Staff is working on options to minimize the impact of the restroom as it relates to the Veterans Memorial which I believe can be done in a way that is acceptable to the veteran community.

In speaking with Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, she stated a 4-foot wall and some trees might be included in the future to create a buffer between the memorial and the restroom.

Wilson contends that will not satisfy the Veterans Community.

“The tip of our spear at L Street is now a toilet. Imagine a drone view of L Street with the veterans memorial with the Veterans memorial banners and to cap it off, they have a toilet,” said Wilson. “The pummel of the sword.  We will have WW II Veterans take pictures in front of the Memorial with the toilet in the background. It will become a Memorial in name only. We will move the Veterans Day Ceremonies and redirect the Veterans Day Parade.”

You can’t blame them.

At this point, the city has two options which the City Council needs to now lead on this issue versus staff. Stop the project in its tracks immediately and work on a compromise with the Veterans. Or find another location for the restroom. Moving the memorial could be an option but highly unlikely from what I’ve been told.

The council should have been ahead of this, not act surprised and be placed in a reactionary position. Now they need to fix this erroneous error by city staff that is apparently a decade in the making.

The council should have already known the location, not act surprised that this is where its going—yes, multiple councilmembers had no idea where this restroom was going to be placed.

What staff should have done was create a restroom that also takes into account the L Street beautification project and created a bathroom with a façade of possibly a lighthouse, a boat, or something water related—it could have been a win for everyone and it would look attractive somewhere near the boat launch.

Instead, the City decides to piss off the veteran’s community by disrespecting them with the smell of feces and potential this restroom has with homeless now hanging around a veterans memorial.

In a city that is pushing how “opportunity lives here” while attempting to lure residents and business to Antioch, by poor planning, this city is actually taking away its own opportunity to work with and attract veterans.

The City Council must use common sense and stop this project immediately.  I can’t imagine Antioch would like veterans related events without any veterans showing up.

That is optics the city of Antioch can’t afford.


Mike Burkholder
Publisher of ECT
[email protected]

 


 


30 COMMENTS

  1. I guess that is an odd place for it. Seems it should be closer to the pier for fishermen etc…

    Oh wait…Fisher-people. Wouldn’t want to upset the snowflake Berkley folks.

  2. This is the same city council that approved a contractor to use “like material” to resurface the most important street in the city. The city manager had the nerve to be upset when the contractor then took the city up on there approved offer to use said cheaper materials. Antioch has been truly leader less since the housing recession and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. As long as the residents fail in there duty to research and elect qualified individuals that not only care but have experience leading, this city is doomed to continue its ever spiraling descent into Darkness.

  3. As a veteran myself, it’s not the wisest place for the restroom, but it doesn’t tick me off. Nor do I feel disrespected. Restrooms are for public use, and residents and vets have no right to dictate where something can or can’t be. Get over yourself. Unless you OWN THE PROPERTY, you have no right to say what can or can’t be built. It’s a sense of entitlement, and that’s your problem – not Antioch.

    I’ve taken pictures (back East) of war memorials with a restroom in the backround. I think there was an issue in Napa as well. It’s not that big of a deal.

    I’m not defending Antioch – a city I dislike. I’m defending common sense. It works both ways. Unless you have a “deed of trust” in YOUR NAME, you can have an opinion, but it’s not your land.

  4. Having toilets build close to a veterans memorial where veteran events take place is perfect. Most veterans are of the age where they are having prostate problems and need to get to a toilet fast. This way, it’s just a few steps to one and the problem is taken care of without “leakage.”

  5. I’ve lived in Antioch for almost 28 years I am a California veteran how many mistakes and those years the Antioch City councils have produce is ridiculous but putting a toilet next to the veterans Monuments for veterans across the state and this County and this city is the biggest s*** job I’ve ever seen in my life you people need to have one put next to your car so you can smell it when you get into it move the damn toilet or flush your own careers down the drain anyone wanting to take a picture of the monument for the veterans of city of Antioch and California shouldn’t have to have a portable toilet in it

  6. I don’t really care one way or the other, but the “homeless will ruin it” argument doesn’t hold water. The homeless could ruin it already if they really wanted to (think graphically). It’s a public restroom, not a strip club. If this bothers you, as a vet or non-vet, I think you’re being overly sensitive. You can be respectful towards veterans by honoring them, and still build a public restroom. Society has gotten to the point where you can’t do or say anything without upsetting someone, and it’s ridiculous.

  7. I can’t believe I am agreeing with Burkholder, it probably says more about how terrible Antioch is run than anything else. The City should remove the bathroom immediately and put an end to the embarrassment of taking 9 years of placing a restroom at the marina. I do think there are valid questions on the placement of the bathroom, why it was overbid and why it took so long. The City Council has some explaining to do.

  8. The comment I take issue with is “work on a compromise with the Veterans.” Not all veterans think alike. It’s ridiculous to lump us all together. Especially if you’re NOT a vet. You’re painting everyone with a broad brush, a very narrow minded way of thinking. And I agree with Nelson that veterans are aging and could use the restroom, a welcome relief.

    • No real veteran would support a shitter next to a memorial. End of story. It is disrespectful and not right that we should have to smell shit while visiting a memorial. I support JR and hope the city moves this bathroom elsewhere. The aging veterans you mention can go across the parking lot to use the restroom already there

      • Tell that to the other memorials that have restrooms close by. You won’t smell it if they keep the restroom clean. You speak for yourself, and no one else. Nick is entitled to his opinion whether you like it or not.

        As far as disrespect, it’s Antioch – not Atherton. The entire town is trashy. You want anything respectful, you don’t put it in a town like Antioch. It’s been a trashy town since the 60s.

      • Bobby Lott! What if it hits them so fast that the veteran cannot manage to walk across the street or the traffic prevents them from hot-footing it there? Do they just stand there and squirm?

        VMost veterans are of an advanced age and even the younger ones may have had injuries which make a fast trip to the head necessary…. like if they have replacement limbs thanks to RPG attacks from our buddies in Iraq!

        • Vito – You’re speaking very reasonably. It’s a public restroom at the Antioch Marina. If people get that upset over a public restroom, I’d hate to see how they react when a family member gets cancer or their child dies. Some people are incapable of keeping things in perspective. Unbelievable.

    • Yes! Having a restroom a few steps away from the monument would be a welcome relief for sure. It could be built along the lines of a Taj Mahal or a quaint French farm cottage and add to the aesthetics of the area. It doesn’t have to look LIKE A RESTROOM … there could be some sound attenuation added so that one doesn’t hear loud flushing. . . or other bathroom “sounds.” And …….. no filling up with beans and cabbage before attending a veterans events there!

  9. It is decisions like this as to why I no longer live in Antioch and moved away. This is embarrassing and lacks taste by the City Staff. The City Council should be ashamed of themselves.

  10. Whenever I go to the VA in Martinez (which I try to avoid) all I hear is Veterans complaining about some injustice. I served for 13 years and I have my battle scars from the numerous tours to the Middle East. The one thing I hated the most was to shit in a hole sitting on my e tool during a sand storm. As long as the city maintains the bathroom and makes it presentable who gives a rat ass, at least we don’t have to shit in a hole. The other complaint I have Is those pansy ass Veterans who think they deserve a “discount” everywhere they go. Man you signed the dotted you wanted to serve your country so stop asking for handouts. Have some dignity and pride in yourselves, I hope they taught you that shit in basic. All I hear at the VFW is cry baby ass mother fuckers complain about discounts and recognition. Don’t let your dog tags dingle dangle in the dirt, pick those fuckers up and tuck them in your shirt. Hold your chest up high and stop fucking crying.

    • I totally agree. Whether you served voluntarily or were drafted, you served. Period. America owes us nothing, and if you think you’re “owed” you’re crazy. The veterans I see that continue to whine are probably depressed, were miserable all their life or they haven’t done anything with their life (but serve) and they can’t move on. Be proud and “man up.” Who gives a rats ass about a restroom is CORRECT.

  11. Leave it to Lori Ogorchock to suggest a 4 foot wall and some trees to separate the Veterans Memorial and the “toilet facility”. This is the same MORON who a month before the last election shouted out loud for all to hear, “2000 more parking spaces at eBART …. well in it won’t happen till 2020/21– maybe” after the facility was constructed.

  12. The reality is, it will be a staging area for the drug addled bums that plague Antioch. As a Vet, this is what concerns me the most.

  13. If they put the bathrooms further away than they would complain it’s to far. You can’t please these modern day vets

  14. Let’s not bet pissy about all this!

    If trees are planted to obscure the head from the memorial, then some jokers will just piss against the trees instead of heading inside the building. The lazy bums!

  15. Antioch Leaders
    First it was spit, now its piss and Shit…
    Do me a favor take your false (Thank You for your service) platitudes and put them in your 500K Crapper.

  16. Better optics for Antioch: Bums pooping on the sidewalks downtown because some shell shocked vets couldn’t deal with a public bathroom next to it.
    Maybe a compromise could be just turning the Amtrak station into a public toilet?
    Oh wait that already is, sorry.

  17. Unreal. The cost, location, etc. Antioch is a mess. Lacks leadership, management, vision, pride, etc. The 50% of residents who have jobs and take pride in their homes/community are scorned. Only will get worst!

  18. It’s been a while, but the last time I walked/cycled west from the parking lot- my 30 year old son was 15 then, the veterans memorial looked like shit- missing letters, some graffiti, and not a place of honest reflection for a former Marine. I left and went to the Antioch VFW, had a warm Olympia canned beer, and the damn manager told me to get my “fucking bicycle “ out of the bar. Antioch- not a welcoming place for this veteran. I teach history at Deer Valley. I have never shared this with my students. Maybe I should.

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