Politically correct Sacramento seems to be very interested in restrooms.
There's nothing new about potty talk, but we've moved from compassionate to politically correct style of potty talk.
When I was a teen, then Assemblywoman March Fong Eu did away with pay toilets by crafting a bill signed law by then Gov. Ronald Reagan. Most agree that it was a good law but it may have been government intrusion on the private sector. Personally I thought it was inconsiderate to make folks dig for a quarter so they could unload their bladder or bowels. But I also understood that it was a way for businesses to keep out the riff-raff who make a mess of facilities while recouping the cost of toilet paper. There are smarter ways to recoup bathroom costs though.
Imagine my dismay when I visited Rosarito Beach, Mexico over a decade ago and learned that they were selling the toilet paper outside before you entered to use the restroom. It's that same shock when you visit another state and see someone light up inside a restaurant.
Last year, if you'll remember, our state also passed the Co-Ed Bathroom Bill in AB 1266 (signed by Gov. Jerry Brown). The bill opened girls' restrooms, locker rooms, and school showers to any child who "self-identifies" as a girl - including boys who decide they really "are" transgender girls. The same holds true for boys - a girl who decides her "true gender" is a boy, must be allowed to use the boys' restrooms, showers and locker rooms. In addition, so-called transgendered children must be allowed to play on opposite-sex sports teams if they so choose.
Now there's been a lot of talk about Assemblyman Ting's proposed bill in AB 1732 to change the way we label bathrooms in businesses, government buildings or wherever the public congregates.
When I first heard it reported I understood that AB 1732 was to do away with gender labeled bathrooms where multiple users gather. In fact on Feb. 1, local KFIV radio commentator Trevor Carey said of AB 1732: "Ladies, it could put a dude in the bathroom next to you." That isn't the case. I would have had a huge problem with letting stalls to be simultaneously used by all persons, such as a man sitting in the stall next to a little girl.
According to the Legislative Counsel's Digest, AB 1732 "would require any business or place of public accommodation to identify a toilet facility that has only one water closet as an all gender toilet facility."
We're not talking a multiple-user bathroom. We are talking about a restroom for one person who locks the door behind them.
That changes everything for me. The law only affects single-user bathrooms.
I thought it was a given that if a business had one toilet that anyone could use it. Some businesses I frequent, such as Subway or my dentist office, only have one "water closet" and none of them have a male or female sign on the door. It's open for all to use, even the guy who surgically removes his genitals because he wants to be a woman.
The law would affect some businesses I know of, such as the Quik Stop on Tassajara Road in Livermore. They have two single-user restrooms. One is designated for men and the other for women. In my experience I've seen women waiting for the women's bathroom to clear while the men's restroom goes unused. If we're honest, guys, there have been times when we've had to stand guard at the door of a men's restroom while our women have ducked inside to use it rather than have them have "an accident" waiting for the women's to clear.
But let's be clear. This law isn't about accommodating women better. It's all about political correctness. Bill co-author David Chiu, D-Sacramento, said: "All gender restrooms will enhance dignity and safety for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in their daily lives."
In other words, we don't want transgendered persons to feel bad for having to choose between the silhouette of a man or the woman in a skirt. We might hurt their feelings.
Changing laws for a few "misfits" is a bad idea. We are commonly asked to rearrange our lives and our thinking to accommodate a slim minority of people who, in my opinion, are confused about life. I feel lawmakers need to quit the nonsense of catering to the transgender community and focus on a much larger population - our women and the bathroom conditions they encounter.
As a man, I've often felt sorry for you ladies. I've been to public venues - like AT&T Park, Golden Gate Bridge Visitor's Center and Pier 39 in San Francisco or Selland Arena in Fresno, and walked right into the men's restroom while shaking my head at the long line for the women's room.
Men aren't as sympathetic to the problem - because they don't generally have to endure long lines to pee. They don't feel sorry for you because they think women socialize and bond in the bathroom.
There are many reasons why the ladies line is longer. Urinals allow more service in a confined area than do toilet stalls. Men can "whip it out" and finish quickly. Women have to sit down. Women tend to have smaller bladders than men and if they're pregnant they go much more often. They usually have to deal with the kids. They have to hang up handbags and take off more clothing. Or deal with that time of the month or what have you. I've heard that some women even breast feed their kids in bathroom stalls.
Government often dictates the size of parking lots so I'm wondering why they don't require a 2-to-1 ratio of bathroom sizing in favor of you ladies. Female activist Soraya Chemaly says it's because 83 percent of registered architects and legislators are men and they don't usually think of fixing the problem.
California legislators, no pun intended, have missed the bowl and hit the floor on this one.
How do you feel? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org