Sit/Lie

Ben Shore's picture

I'm having a hard time deciding where I am on Sit/Lie. On one hand, yes, it makes sense. Clogging the sidewalks and walkways making it difficult for people to move freely about the City is wrong. Loitering can be intimidating to residents and visitors and can often lead to violence or other uncouth activities that have no business taking place in public (although in SF, really what does uncouth even mean?). But on the other hand, Sit/Lie just seems so antithetical to the spirit and nature of San Francisco. The indelible images of SF in the 60s, with people gathered to protest or socialize or sing songs is such an integral part of the history and make up of SF that it seems wrong to eliminate that kind of freedom. We are an inclusive city, unlike any other and things that happen in other places that are frowned upon, simply aren't here.

Francisco's picture

Someone needs to sit on this proposal

I'm against the sit-lie law. It's just way too broad. It seems like they want to stop aggressive panhandling, so why not just outlaw that (Isn't there already a law on the books for this?) Why do they have to make it a crime for me to put a chair out on my sidewalk when I'm having a garage sale - or for that matter just want to catch some sun? Perhaps, perhaps, if they had limited it to commercial corridors only - but not in front of my house please.

mattgould's picture

Agreed... too broad. Downtown

Agreed... too broad. Downtown and residential neighborhoods need different rules, because they are different environments with different needs.

I'm having flashbacks to my trips to New York City. There, I don't believe there is a law, but the residents will let you know if you're holding foot traffic up by staring at the skyscrapers or a map. I did pause inside of the World Financial Center and security reminded me to keep it moving, just for the sake of keeping the business of NYC moving.

So the solution needs to be approached in a case by case manner...

Grace's picture

Pro Sit/Lie

I'm definitely in favor if the sit/lie proposal.  The proposal is a result of citizens fearing for their safety and merchants losing business due to loitering bullies in their neighborhoods.   The police don't seem to be able to handle the problem under the current laws.  Why not give them the tools to do so?  I believe law enforcement will use common sense in applying the law. 

gcotter's picture

It just isn't that difficult

I don't think anyone doesn't agree that we, the taxpaying residents of the city, are sick and tired of homeless people sitting and setting up camp in doorways.  We're sick, tired and angry about panhandlers.  We're tired of being ashamed when friends visit and comment on the amount of homeless on the street and the number of panhandlers on the streets.

Many of the comments are from folks who are concerned that they won't be allowed to hold a garage sale or sit in front of their own homes, etc.  Those are the unintended consequences that can happen with any law.  Obviously the intent is to make streets safer, cleaner and the city more liveable.  These are the details that should be hammered out during the drafting of the legislation. For example, inserting the words "not their residence or business" after "not allowed to sit or lie on any street, sidewalk or property".  

That's just an example.  There is no reason that a law or set of laws cannot be written that will empower us to take back our city.

Bradixp's picture

Agreed with Gcotter

This is not that difficult indeed.  It just takes simple verbiage that allows citizens and law enforcement officials to keep the streets, alleys, driveways and sidewalks clear and clean.

resetsfboy's picture

sit lie homeless drunks everyone

I have lived in the mission a long time.  Julian Ave has stunk badly from urine and deification for years.  I have witnessed homeless guys shit between cars at 8am right in the street on Julian Ave.  Initially we were able to call DPW directly and have a street flush or even have the white pick up trucks come out on request and bleach , sweep and rinse  a spot.  Now if we call DPW it rings into 311 and the shit sits for a week.  Mohamed Nurr DPW Asst Dir came to one of our neighborhood meetings and seemed proactive- years ago.  Business as usual.  Make an appearance and thats it.  period.

The public urination/defication issue has gotten much worse.  familys with kids here stay indoors on the weekends or jump into their cars and zoom off to avoid smelling the stench.  My friends dont come visit because of the terrible stench.  Neighbors move in and then move out shortly after on a regular basis.  They tell me they thought the neighborhood had promise but the city does not get involved so they move out to cleaner neighborhoods.  Frankly I cant imagine those that own or buy a home on Julian Ave. 

One simple problem and its so bad people hold their breath or cough when they breath in.  Very obviously not a priority what so ever for the city.  You wont find a city employee living on Julian Ave.  Too easy to simply stay away

mattgould's picture

Interactive Map?

The city should put together an interactive map marking how many complaints come from any given area. That way, they can target troubled areas more efficiently. Or, at the least, visitors/residents will know which areas to avoid.

Steve's picture

Re: Francisco

The argument you submit against Sit/Lie is a classic "Strawman Argument". The sit/lie ord. does not make it a crime to catch some rays in front of your house, but you know that.

It does make it possible for public safety officials to "move along" knuckle heads with out a citizen having to specifically stand as a witness against said knuckle head. Loud, violent, street poopers, with dogs I don't  mind standing against, you too right?? But how about your mother? or the little guy down the street with the nervous condition? (ah, to heck with them, only the strong survive, am I right?) I don't mind having my house or car vandalized after being identified as the a**hole who hassled some of these fellas, you neither, right? Perhaps we don't live in one of the areas of our fair city beset wit' such problems. Let's go visit Resetsfboy over on Julian shall we? Or the Haight. Or Market. Or the Loin. Or Mission. Or South of Market. Or...

JoshuaJames's picture

Look elsewhere for a model of effective legislation?

Just to pose the question, does anybody know of a successful implementaion of a policy like this?

I know it's been tried across the bay in Berkeley with little success on Telegraph Avenue. 

Steve's picture

Models

Yes indeed!  Research is absolutely in order. This city spends how many tens of millions a year on homeless services and this has not been looked in to?  Guess not...

However, the rule we have about all of us being free to do as we wish as long as we don't infringe on the rights of others is a good one. You have a right to sit ifo your house and I have a right to pass. We as reasonable folks accommodate each other with a smile and a cheery "How do?" The social contract. Do I have a right to pee in your doorway? Do you have a right to threaten me? Well, generally, no. But, when do we call the cops? When do we sue? It's all a matter of degree and opinion. The rarest of all things, common sense. This is why commercial districts are insisting on foot patrols by the PD, isn't it? So that a third party, a "reasonable man" can clear up these squabbles on the street. Is the store owner a richard? Is this homeless guy really just a scary looking sweetheart?  Or, are the store owner's customers being driven away by the denizens of a local homeless encampment?

We all have the right to enjoy a sunny day. No one has the right to raise their family or their pitbull mix on a public sidewalk. 

Fog City Guide's picture

Community Policing Sit/Lie and Foot Patrols

So there are foot patrols on Haight Street now and there have been off and on over the years. Even when the Summer of Love children were here and when the Haight became very dark from the influx of hard drugs shortly after. (I was here having turned 15 in March of 1967)

These travelers that are causing the community problems now are no the peace-love crowd. They appear to be closer to the anarchists of the Pacific Northwest who don't believe in the system and the right of everyone to have common decency. Now the cop on foot patrol comes upon this band of ruffians having a picnic on the sidewalk. They are drinking alcoholic beverages, shouting lewd comments at anyone that isn't one of their tribe and maybe charging a toll to pass. Most of us who live here and don't travel the country hanging out would think this behavior is unacceptable. The officer knows it is not acceptable but THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO unless a civilian complains that they have been battered or accosted in a criminal way.

If sit/lie were in place the officer could act on their own. This is where the "antithetical to San Franciscan values" argument comes in. Think of it like traffic enforcement. If an office sees you speeding they can stop you and either warn you or give you a ticket. They do not need a civilian to swear out a complaint. It isn't against our values to slow down speeders, it isn't unheard of in this town to stop people from doing things that we deem not acceptable.

The community has asked for this change to be made. While those of us from the 1960s could argue that we should never give the "pigs" (that's what we used to call them) the right to roust us we actually have a very different police force now than we did then. Community involvement sets the tone and gives the direction now. No longer do we have to fear the PD as a "tool of the man". This is our police department. This is who we ask to step between us and the person bothering us so we don't have to kill each other.

I'd recommend doing a bit of research on "police powers". What are they and where do they come from? Then move into the history of police departments. Read the philosophy behind the "Community Policing" model. When you understand what Chief Gascon and the Commission are undertaking you will have a much better understanding of the powers we are asked to confer on them.

Vote to support Sit/Lie and Vote AGAINST the silly Foot Patrol issue. We have foot patrols already and if we need more talk to the district Captain about where, why and when they are needed - you'll probably get them if you can support the need.

violentservant's picture

Coming from the Northwest...

I just moved to SF about two years ago from Tacoma Wa. In Tacoma, Olympia, and Portland there already exists ordinances similar to the one SF is trying to pass. Even LA has one. It seems only natural that we too would adopt one.

Seeing what downtown Tacoma used to be like before the ordinance was passed and then seeing it after has made me a believer. It used to be dark. Full of prostitutes, and homeless. It was also very gang infested and a large amount of drug activity. Now however, there are no prostitutes, no homeless pestering you, and the amount of drug activity and gang incidents has dropped significantly. Now there are new restaurants, museums (including the Museum of Glass, the Northwest History Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the soon to be the LeMay Museum, the Childrens Museum of Tacoma, the Working Waterfront Museum, and the Shanaman Sports Museum). The downtown also attracted a new campus for he University Of Washington. Due to all of this there has been much more appeal for development. Many new apartment and residential complexes have sprung up and the entire area is becoming more vibrant.

I must say, being able to walk downtown without a single soul bothering be for money, i must say, is very nice. Not only that it made the street side much cleaner. I see no issue with it especially if there are programs and opportunities given to the homeless population.

Fog City Guide's picture

Coming from the Northwest

Agreed. I saw a poster saying Vote No on Prop L (Sit/Lie) It said "Sidewalks are for People" My response was duh! Who wouldn't agree with that? Of course the sidewalks are for people - they are for people to "walk" along the "side" of the street. They are not for picnics or sitting and begging or for any of the other uncivil activities that this small change in the law proposes to stop. Parks and benches are for sitting and lying and having picnics. The only problem comes in when you try to beg in a park, there just isn't as much traffic and you can't get the same level of attention as you can if you are blocking passage for the people who the sidewalks are for.

gcotter's picture

Hose them down

I have a few street trees that I water every couple weeks with a garden hose.  I also use the hose when I need to clean off my sidewalk of food, pee, puke (Not too often, but there's a bus stop in front of my house, sigh...).  In any case, I have a nice long garden hose. One use I've found is to move along unwanted street people.  Just a polite "Sorry, you have to move - I'm hosing down the sidewalk" is enough to at least get them moving.  And, a wet sidewalk means they won't immediately return.

While I hate to waste the water, I find that I dislike people camping out on the sidewalk more that I dislike wasting water - and besides, it's not that much water and it does water the street trees as well.

hsparks's picture

A cruel and unnecessary ordinance

This is  cruel ordinance that preys on the most vulnerable. You people are monsters. gcotter- you propose hosing them down like vermin? Where is your humanity? Where do you propose the homeless, whose numbers are rising due to our pathetic economy go? Vouchers have been taken away, so many homeless San Franciscans don't have the option of staying in a low income hotel when shelters fill, and Ronald Reagan did away with institutional facilities that once housed the mentally ill, who represent a large number of San Francisco's homeless population.

San Francisco is one of the wealthiest cities in the US, with one of the most selfish populations, and I would argue that many homeless perform a valuable service through reminding those of us who are fortunate enough to have a home to live in, that we are very fortunate.

A homeless woman in my neighborhood actually brought my neighborhood together in small ways. Sheri, a low income, under-educated, abused woman who chose the street rather than domestic violence lived in my neighborhood for over a decade on the street. People in my neighborhood adopted Sheri and brought her sleeping bags, blankets, coats, food, and a small amount of money. Neighbors who saw each other helping Sheri began to talk to each other, and that dialog prompted a strong neighborhood association that has helped bring in a weekend farmers market, more trees and garden patches on our sidewalks, and gourmet cafes and restaurants. What was once a dreary career alcoholic neighborhood in the Inner Sunset, is now a vibrant and friendly neighborhood, and I think a great deal of that transformation can be traced to the dialog Sheri's presence prompted.

I would also like to add that although it's been argued that the homeless population discourage tourism, but despite the poor economy, San Francisco has remained a top international tourist destination.

Lastly, I see so few people walking in San Francisco compared to other cities. Why not enact an ordinance that would require people who do not live in San Francisco to pay a fee for driving in to the city, to free up our roads, and encourage more people to use Cal Trans, Bart, other public transportation, and encourage more people to ride their bicycles and walk?  It was a policy that transformed London for the better. It would help our environment and the proceeds from the fee could go toward supporting homeless services and the mental health facility at SF General, which desperately needs to be supported.

hsparks's picture

a violation of basic human rights

* Arresting people for sitting or lying down on the sidewalk because they are homeless or tired, and have no place to go seems like a violation of basic human rights. I'm actually shocked that no one has questioned this ordinance as representing a violation of civil rights. I hope this ordinance gains international attention. It's an appalling and shameful proposal that speaks to the kind of atrocities that can occur when people are so insulated by their privilege that they forget their humanity.

In a city full of smart people who like to think of themselves as having compassion, I can't believe this proposal is being taken seriously.

Steve's picture

Who's hosin' who?

More strawman arguments! A tail of a poor waif used to counter an ordinance aimed at violent street thugs. Pathetic. GCotter has every right, no, a responsibility, to keep her sidewalk clean and no one has a right to sleep on her side walk without her permission. No honest person reading her missive would say she hosed down anyone!

It requires a particular sort of heartlessness, which I find disturbing, to say it is ok for a city to allow thousands of people to sleep in it's streets. This situation is not in any way good, these people are dying. Allowing this to continue is cruelty on a massive scale. 

I was touched by your positive experience with Sheri. Of course any civil servant could have provided you and your neighbors with a long list of agencies, public and private, that are available to provide a warm bed for such a person.

Having (keeping?) her there, to help in small ways (enabling her self destructive behavior), made you feel good about yourself didn't it?  

Like I say, disturbing.   

You are right about one thing, the Mental Hospitals being closed! Remember what we all used to call them: snake pits, hell holes, heartless warehouses for the deranged. Every good hearted person wanted them closed, remember?  

     

sunny's picture

Actually Steve- g cotter

Actually Steve- g cotter changed her earlier comment in which she advocated hosing down people.

As for offering services to my neighborhoods local homeless woman, everyone tried to help Sheri find housing or shelter. She didn't want to go in to a shelter which she felt was demeaning, very much like a prison, and very often dangerous. My neighbors and I respected her choice and tried to help her in other ways.  Forcing her off the streets and into a shelter would have been cruel.

As for closing mental hospitals, there were some horrible hospitals, but most of the indigent patients who were released in the 1980s from Institutions ended up on the Streets, and you now propose to arrest them if they sit or sleep on the street?

Also, there are many good people who work at SF General, which does intake for the homeless, but SF General is understaffed and the facilities desperately need to be updated.

Hospitals in the 1980's should have been updated and the mentally ill should have been cared for, not sent to live on the streets. I think many good hearted people wanted to see those hospitals you are referring to updated and changed. It was shameful that people who were totally unequipped to take care of themselves were forced on to the streets.

Steve's picture

Another hose job

The header was "hose them down" the text explains the tactic, and there is only one entry, but why do I bother? You know very well what she said. And that she is right.

Your experience with Sheri is the paradigm. Offers of help (many, nearly daily) are refused. Often accompanied with a chain obscenities! Of course, strident talk doesn't work for a woman living on the street, she can't fight, she has to submit to aggressors. They don't call 'em the cruel streets for nothin'. What is important is that she is free! like a butterfly! Oh, so sweet!

Sad to say, some times the proper care includes a locked door.

Intimidation, assault, rape and an early death in the street is but a small price to pay, for her, not you. Yes, your good intentions pave a gilded road.

Did we visit a Reagan era mental hospital? Have you visited your neighborhood shelter? Are the homeless accurate in there assessment of the shelters? This city gives tens of millions to help these people, where does it go? Are the fine, liberal, pols we charge with over site doing their jobs?

Allow me to speculate... How many votes are there in the homeless community? How much money do they contribute to the campaign funds of the local pol? So, no, the over site is not being done. Did you, will you, vote for that schmuck? 

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

But never mind that crap, vote Democrat! They take good care of everybody! Just ask 'em! They'll tell ya! (In texas, it's the repubicans that pull the same leg.)

No, I'm not a repub, I'm just sick of people dying in our streets, as are we all...

keep pitchin' bro

 

 

sunny's picture

to Steve

yes the header is 'hose them down', and that was what was advocated in g cotter's original statement before she edited it.

Your arrogance is really telling.

I don't want people dying on the streets either, and I'm not a "bro." I did not see pre-Reagan era asylums, but my mother, who is a psychotherapist and has worked with the homeless and under-priviledged families did- and they were awful, but pushing people out on to the street without providing another option created the masses of homeless that suddenly appeared in the 1980's.  I was not advocating for more 'asylums' as you call them, but updated mental health facilities where many mentally ill homeless could find in patient and out patient therapy and medication.

As for Sheri, I don't think anyone who helped her was deluded enough to feel like it was healthy for her to be on the streets, but she was an adult, and should not have been forced in to a lock down situation every night, and subjected to an environment that she felt was more dangerous than living on the streets.

It's hard to respond to the rest of your disjointed rant,(who is the schmuck you're referring to?) if you feel that people who aren't able to vote because they don't have an address should be criminalized, or should be rounded up and should be required to go to detention like shelters, you are really unfeeling. Are you really saying  that economics should govern the way human beings are treated and that there should be a different standard of humanity for those who end up on the streets?

Way to go "bro", you're obviously a great humanitarian....

*btw - politicians often create platforms around 'solving the homeless problem" precisely because the homeless are easy targets, and often can't vote, so politicians know that they won't alienate anyone by singling the homeless out. Compared to many other city services, the money that is spent on services for the homeless in SF is not outrageous-- but it's such an easy issue to get people riled up over-- a bully in the school yard tactic, to give others permission to dehumanize those who are singled out as not belonging. It's really a disgusting cheap shot.

Fog City Guide's picture

Re communities coming together to help

There is nothing in your comments that differentiate between the folks on our streets that need help and the miscreants that are causing the problems and which this change in law addresses.

Sit/Lie isn't about people like your Sheri. It isn't about the hundreds if not thousands of mentally unstable folks that are living on the streets and in need of meds instead of street drugs and alcohol. This is about roving bands of young adults who think that they can do whatever they want where ever they want. They will flaunt the law in harassing anyone they can victimize, gays and women mostly, and then turn around and tell the cops that the laws protect them and they can sit where ever they want. This isn't about the homeless or day laborers at all. It really isn't about anyone that any of us should feel any pity for. The people that have caused the Haight Ashbury to take this step are not mentally ill or homeless. Most give addresses in the Pacific Northwest and really appear to just be travelers and anarchists. I have to admit I like it when  anarchists use the law to defend their behavior. It just smacks of hubris doesn't it?

Eric Jaye's picture

A few years ago San Francisco

A few years ago San Francisco passed an "Aggressive" Panhandling ballot initiative. That new law was supposed to address almost all of the problems people are discussing in this thread and in other forums.

The Chronicle ran a story last week about the results. The story showed that while a number of citations were issued - they were largely ignored. The Chron story used those facts to argue for the sit/lie ordinance. But I'm not really sure they do support that conclusion.

Maybe a new ballot measure, with new police powers, would help. But I tend to doubt it. The new law will probably have the same result as the old law - it will be treated as a victory by the political forces that backed it and then largely ignored by the police and courts. The reality is that police resources are limited - and they get directed toward serious crimes, not quality of life crimes like the problems sit/lie tries to address. 

And that means measures like sit/lie are essentially false promises. They make us feel like progress will be made - when in fact the problem is not with inadequate laws, but inadequate resources and resolve to use the laws we have now. And more importantly - with public policy that tires to use police power to address issues that really have more to do with mental health, drop out rates, addiction, unemployment and other problems that are hard to address. 

Fog City Guide's picture

Something new is needed.

As Eric Jaye erroneously states a few years ago the aggressive panhandling initiative was passed to address these problems. In fact that was passed to address a different problem. Sit/Lie is not about people bothering you at your ATM rather it is a tool for the PD to use when the self-righteous tribe of gypsies that descend from their homes in the Northwest with their pit-bulls and classic tribe mentality on the Haight Ashbury neighborhood and proceed to demand tolls to pass. The usual targets are young women and gays but really it is anyone who isn't ready to tell them to f*-off and the ability to back that up.

Now the real reason why this solution is the necessary solution. For the PD to do anything with this tribe they need a citizen to make a complaint. Over and over the neighbors who complained were then harassed and either their property or they themselves were attacked by other members of the tribe or gang.

This was not the case with aggressive panhandling but is the reality in this situation. What was decided by the affected community and the PD in the Community Policing structure was that the PD needed to be able to act on their own. Like when a person drives through a stop sign or speeds the PD doesn't need a citizen complaint to cite they can do it on their own evidence.

Unfortunately we in SF do not have the ability to have affected the raising of these young adults from out of state. This isn't about social justice except for the social justice that the law abiding citizens of the neighborhood are entitled to. 

The big lie here is the Foot Patrol Initiative. Foot Patrols are happening and the only change that the initiative accomplishes is to give the power of Police commission to the Board of Supervisors.

Eric Jaye's picture

There ought to be a law

I don't live in the Haight - but my experiences of being aggressively harassed in that neighborhood make me very sympathetic to those who do live there. 

The issue is not whether there is a serious problem - that is not in dispute. The issue is whether a ballot measure like Sit/Lie will solve the problem. And again - I just don't think it will, at least not for the long haul.

I personally think the police have all the laws they need right now to deal with this behavior. Threatening people is a crime. Aggressive panhandling is against the law. Public intoxication can get you picked up and held. Whether you are standing up or lying down - aggressive panhandling is already against the law (a law that is not being adequately enforced).

But for the sake of argument - say this law is needed. You still need the police to actually enforce that law. And the reality is - our police are stretched thin already. So if Sit/Lie passes - the police probably will take it as a directive to spend more time addressing quality of life crimes. But then, soon or later, there will be another crime spike or serious issue somewhere, and the police will go back to dealing with those "serious" crimes.

I could see voting for the measure on the "it couldn't hurt and it might help" premise. But if it helps - it will not be by much. 

So if we really want to address the problem, we need more than this ballot measure to do that.

On police patrols - completely agree. They are a great idea. But that's not the kind of thing you put in a ballot measure. 

Fog City Guide's picture

There will be enforcement

Those who have been involved with the current community policing initiative know that the current chief has directed his district captains to work with the districts communities to lower crime and to reduce the quality-of-life complaints from the residents of the district. Each district has formed an advisory board and the advisory boards have been taught how to analyze any given situation then openly discuss solutions till a community preferred solution is arrived at.

Those solutions will involve the police and how the community wants them to behave and it will also involve the rest of the justice system. One must acknowledge the fact that the courts need to work with the PD and the community more closely. In a case I was involved with recently our advisory board communicated directly with the judge and the DA on a case in our area. We felt that the crimes committed deserved to be noticed for more than the adjudicated charges the DA filed. Voicing the community's opinion to the powers that be carries lots of weight. So in the vein of it might help and it can't hurt, it is a step in the right direction and if the step isn't' taken then we remain in the current conundrum.

It is very important that citizens of the City understand the ultimate goal of Community Policing and voice support for the current initiative underway. Finally the PD will be serving the citizens rather than the all the historical power interests that they have served in the past.

The following is part of the SFPD Mission Statement;

  •  "The Department recognizes the need to collaborate with the public in order to reduce crime, disorder, fear and all those negative factors lessening the quality of life. We cannot effectively deal with these by ourselves. Through open communication, we strive to increase public understanding of law enforcement complexities, to ensure the certainty that Department priorities match community expectations, and to inform the public of the reasons for police action"..

 It is the lessening of the quality of life conundrum of which we debate. Do we have to allow uncivil behavior because the person behaving badly didn't have the advantages of others or has chosen to live   begging, intimidating and stealing there way through life.

 

SophieT's picture

Response to Model of Effective Legislation

Both JoshuaJames and Steve commented on if there is any model we can look at for sit/lie laws elsewhere. Take a look at the first section of this article for a study done on 235 US cities and their homeless policies, for which the study was interestingly named "“Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities."


Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/columns/melissa_griffin/Revelations-about-sit-lie-87301197.html#ixzz125cz4Dpb.

DonRoss's picture

Sit/Lie Will Pass

The fact that the Police say they don't have the effective tools to deal with street thugs and homeless sitting on the streets all day makes the argument for me.

I work in the Tenderloin and see it all day long. Homeless/drug addicts/mentally impaired sitting on the streets all day long. The police try their best to make the situation better but to no avail.

We do live in a Civil society, but that does not mean people should take over neighborhoods and that society can not fight back in a reasoned way.

This measure will be for the betterment of the entire City.
 

Patrick Stelmach's picture

Sit/Lie is a Failed Ordinance

Ok. There aren't as many aggressive panhandlers harrassing people in Haight Ashbury as before, and they're not out there at all hours of the night. But, as the Examiner reports, SFPD has seen little change since the sit/lie law took effect.

Before last year's election, some community members were up in arms about sit/lie arguing it was an all-out attack on poor people and SF culture. Low and behold, voters approved it, and SFPD went to great lengths to train officers and edcuate the public about the law and its enforcement. When officers encounter someone violating the law, they have inform them about the ordinance and ask them to get up, and if they refuse to get up, they get a warning and maybe a citation - basically just slapping them on the wrist.

Truth be told, police officers have issued a lot of citations and warnings to recalcitrant sitters and liers. But, as anyone could have guessed, asking vagrants to get up and giving them a stern warning hasn't done much to fix community problems. In fact, the law is more or less a failure: "when loiterers see cops coming, they get up and leave, go around the block and sit down again." I can just imagine how much city resources were wasted on this NIMBY endeavor.

There has to be a middle ground between the extremes: police brutality/unlawful searches/etc. and officers just making those yippies exercise their legs. In all seriousness, how can we revitalize our local economy and strengthen our communities while maintaining our progressive values and making SF better for everyone?

 

samemeht's picture

Two Camps on this

Camp A:
Often successful professionals who very empathetic to the homeless, addicted, mentally ill. Agrees on obvious points i.e. NO, people shouldn't crap inthe streets, but disagrees on any practical method to stop it because of civil liberty concerns. Believes in a long term grass roots solution to solve drugs, poverty, homelessness. Does not believe in any near term fix that doesn't address the "root cause". Typically single people, no kids. Diversity trumps decency. Freedom trumps hygene. Less exposed to the indecent or unhygenic. Can easily get away to Marin/Napa when they need a break from the city. Feel cool to be on the same side as hipster/transient types.
Camp B: 
Families who for either work, or lifestyle reasons, like living in an urban environment over the suburbs (walk kids to the park, stop to meet friends for a glass of wine on the way home, etc.). Many grew up in Bay Area, and remember SF being the clean city and NYC being dirty. Often have to take strollers onto the road to avoid a filthy shopping cart that homeless "park" all over the city. Kids can't play stickball on these streets...not because of crime, but they might step on broken glass from a discarded liquor bottle. 
It seems that many in camp A, and other self styled progressives, love to point out two very misleading "facts". A. That the City is "wealthy". The City is F*#$&ing broke if nobody has noticed. That's why DPW let's human shit stay on your doorway for 24 hours. That's why police only respond to assault in any timely fashion (luckiliy I haven't had to test that, but a recent agressive confrontation with a panhandler literally blocking my driveway and I found it out that response time is 30 minutes even for that). Second wrong fact - that somehow the "fortunate" residents are "selfish". Come on. We pay so much in taxes, most of which gets squandered on overpaid city workers and overtime. We create a great environment - I'd rather hear the laughter of kids in the playground, than appreciate some douchebag hipster from another western state feeling cool and ironic.
Where am I going with this incredibly accurate analysis? Most Camp A types take the attitude: "well if you don't like it, you should leave", rather than solving good lifestyle problems. Our number ONE prioirty should be FAMILIES. not homeless, not "artists", not students, not minorities. But CLEAN, SAFE STREETS for kids. Otherwise long term health of the city will suffer. Families will leave. Businesses will follow. and it will be a pathetic shell run off low-end tourists in fisherman's wharf.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137