City to post armed guards at downtown portable toilets

SAN DIEGO — The City Council Monday ratified a pair of contracts awarded on an emergency basis to provide armed security for portable restrooms and to spray down streets and sidewalks in response to the deadly outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego.

County health officials issued a directive in August requiring the city to take both steps to combat an outbreak which has taken 17 lives to date.

Allstate Security Services was awarded an $80,000 contract to keep the peace around the clock at four port-a-potties placed in areas of San Diego where the homeless congregate. The homeless and/or drug users make up just under two-thirds of the 481 people sickened by the outbreak of the disease.

The council members authorized city staff to extend the contract up to one year, for a total of $933,600.

A one-year contract valued at $1.3 million was awarded to Clean Harbors Environmental Services, which has been spraying down streets and sidewalks with a sanitizing solution in certain San Diego neighborhoods.

While the deal provides for four one-year extensions, city staff said they planned to renegotiate, with competitive bidding, before the extensions are invoked.

Both contracts were ratified on 7-0 votes, with council President Myrtle Cole and Councilwoman Georgette Gomez away on city business.