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Los Angeles County says it will reopen some beach restrooms early [Updated]

June 2, 2011 |  5:55 pm

While trying to quell a furor over the cleanliness of Los Angeles County's beach restrooms, officials on Thursday moved to resolve a different problem, saying they would reopen seven restrooms as early as 7 a.m. beginning Saturday.

Some restrooms this summer were scheduled to open as late as 11 a.m. in response to budget concerns, and that had triggered its own set of complaints, according to Supervisor Don Knabe.

[Updated at 7:48 p.m.: The cleanliness controversy erupted Tuesday when Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said during a meeting of the Board of Supervisors that he had heard from constituents that the toilets at county beaches were not clean and not properly maintained. He called it a "major health issue."]

Yet on Thursday, Knabe released a statement saying the Department of Beaches and Harbors has not received any calls regarding complaints about restroom cleanliness. "Rather, patrons were frustrated that the restrooms were not open early enough, a schedule change that had been made over the last month due to severe budget cuts."

Knabe said in addition to opening the seven restrooms earlier, the county will begin hiring more staff in the next 30 days to open as many restrooms as possible in the early morning. This reverses a decision announced in April to keep some restrooms closed and open others later as the county copes with fewer workers.

County Chief Executive William T Fujioka is expected to provide more details about the plan at Tuesday's meeting.

The restrooms that will open by 7 a.m. are Will Rogers at Temescal in Los Angeles; Zuma No. 6 and Point Dume in Malibu; El Porto and 26th Street in Manhattan Beach; Knob Hill in Redondo Beach; and White Point in San Pedro.

In April, Fujioka presented a $23.3-billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, which he said preserved most services despite a $220.9-million revenue shortfall. Fujioka said he did not believe the cuts in the budget were major. For example, he said recent cutbacks at the library system, which left some branches open only four days a week, were not too significant given that other municipalities have been forced to close entire branches.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Alexandra Zavis