E. Carlson, 1998


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Christmas in the Plaza de Cesar E. Chavez Park. A JCDecaux Corporation computerized toilet is a handsome new addition to the park. The 12-foot by 7-foot oval toilet is called "street furniture" by JCDecaux.

One of twelve new pay-toilets in San Jose. The city is leasing the toilets for $65,000.00 per year/per toilet. You do the math. JCDecaux is making a killing. It's a French company by the way; the French are world reknowned in the field of public sanitary devices. The bidet is theirs, and God knows what else.

The toilet, or "street furniture," is controlled by a computer which, in turn, is controlled by a "server" in San Francisco. If the toilet malfunctions, or is tampered with, the information is transmitted to San Francisco, and a squad of JCDecaux technicians are dispatched in Chevrolet maintenance vans, to the offending-toilet.

If patrons remain in the toilet longer than an allocated 20 minutes, alarm systems kick in. Flashing lights, blaring horns, that kind of thing. Underbelly reader Patty was going to check out the alarm system for me, but the toilet was out of order at the time.


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