June 5, 2005
ROBERT GARDNER EDITOR'S NOTE: The Daily Pilot has agreed to republish The Verdict, the ever-popular column written for many years by retired Corona Del Mar jurist and historian Robert Gardner, in exchange for donations to the Surfrider Foundation. This particular column was originally published in April 1993. When I was a small boy, there was a building at the corner of Washington Street and Bay Avenue in Balboa called a comfort station. It really was a public toilet.
January 4, 2011
Recently, I celebrated 15 years of answering your questions. Here are some favorites among the thousands I've received: Q: My cat got into my wine glass while I was away from the table. I caught him red-handed with the red wine. I noticed he enjoyed it. I don't think he got drunk but he sure did sleep well that night. I know that because he's so small even a few licks could be damaging. I don't think this will happen again, but I'm curious. Are there any alcoholic dogs or cats?
May 16, 2000
The other day, Rick Othmer, Seymour Beek and I took a nostalgic stroll through old Balboa and saw Balboa's justly famous comfort station, proud as ever, after almost 90 years of faithful service. As far as I know, it's the only comfort station in the country. It really is a public toilet, but the American people have a reluctance to call a toilet a toilet. I have never seen a set of house plans that mention toilets, just baths. Even with nothing but a toilet and wash basin, they call them half-baths.
September 8, 2008
This is a special message to the Costa Mesa Eight, the kids who were caught toilet-papering Mesa Verde Drive on the first day of school last week and cited for curfew violations. In a strict sense, or perhaps even a not-so-strict sense, decorating the trees along Mesa Verde Drive in Costa Mesa on the first day of school is vandalism. I’ve never thought of it that way, but some do and it is important for you to understand their position. You don’t have to agree — just understand.
October 16, 2001
The following is a guide of tips from my student to yours in choosing a bathroom at a high school or junior high school in this district: 1. Don't drink anything all day, so you won't have to use the bathroom at school. I know it is bad for your health, especially if you have a big workout in physical education, but better to be safe than sorry. 2. If you ignored Rule 1, don't wait until the last minute to try to find a bathroom. Many of the bathrooms are locked right after lunch, so forget about making that mad dash, as things get more desperate.
February 25, 2003
People who complain about water quality today don't know how good they have it compared to the early days of Newport. A comparison of our two piers is illustrative. The Balboa Pier was a tourist pier. Thus, the Balboa Pier had railings so that tourists could lean against them while admiring the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean. The Newport Pier had no railings. When ships tied up to load and unload, railings would have been a nuisance. Even when ships no longer tied up to it and trains no longer came out on the tracks, the Newport Pier had no railings.
September 7, 2007
We’ve all watched “This Old House” or similar shows on television where they go in and redo a house. It looks so easy. So when the wife and I discussed remodeling one of our bathrooms several months ago, we decided to take on the project ourselves. How hard could it be? A little tiling, putting in a new bathtub, toilet and sink, and a little paint. I remember a friend of mine telling me at the time “that’s what professionals are for.” Well, here’s the good news: My wife and I are not divorced, yet. Actually, our attempt at what we thought was going to be a fun project we would do and enjoy together has become a comedy of errors.
November 3, 2000
THE ENVIRONMENT "I have one main mandate: Clean the ocean." She emphasizes the economic and social importance of improving and protecting ocean water quality for Orange County. McKeon argues that the problem of building adequate sewage treatment facilities and systems for dealing with urban runoff should not be left to be paid for by property taxes but should be funded at least in part by state and federal money. "If you were in a house that had an overflowing toilet, what would be your first priority?
October 13, 2009
Oh, did we have to restrain ourselves on this one. When reporter Alan Blank broke the news Tuesday that the Newport Condominium Assn. was filing a claim against Costa Mesa, due to transients repeatedly breaking the chain-link fence at the Newport Terrace complex to urinate and defecate in the property’s common area, our minds immediately set to work thinking of clever headlines. Unfortunately, that proved to be difficult for a family newspaper. In the end, we settled on “Condos: We’re not a toilet, so pay up.” If we were the OC Weekly, there’s no telling what we would have come up with.