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Momentum shifts against sit-lie | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Momentum shifts against sit-lie | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Recent news on the Sit-Lie I posted about last week.

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Haight-Ashbury target for proposed city-wide sit-lie law

Accumulating reports of hostility and deteriorating civility along Haight Street are pushing some residents, merchants, police officers and now the Mayor to lay down a new law.

The proposed sit-lie law ordinance would prohibit sitting or lying on public sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m, excluding public parks and benches. Police would first issue a warning, but subsequent offenses could result in a fine of at least $50 up to $500 with possible jail time.

Although aimed at the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the law would apply city-wide. San Francisco could follow suit to Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Palo Alto who have enacted similar ordinances.

“This isn’t about targeting homeless people,” Ted Loewenberg, president of the Haight-Ashbury Improvement Association, asserts. “Haight neighbors have learned to tolerate them.”

Julia Yaziji, who moved to the area three years ago, says she has compassion for the homeless and a desire for safe streets. Still, she feels, “Haight Street is not a street where my children and I shop or spend time.”

Another recent confrontation turned into a fistfight between an “aggressive thug” with his dog and a Haight Street resident outside of his house. The resident, who suffered severe bite wounds, is moving because of the continued threats by the perpetrator’s friends.

It’s about changing behavior, says Loewenberg and the Mayor’s Office. Current laws against aggressive panhandling and blocking the sidewalks require a citizen or merchant to sign a complaint and agree to appear in court. A sit-lie law would make it possible for officers to take immediate action.

San Francisco’s elected public defender, Jeff Adachi, expects to challenge the law’s constitutionality if a person is charged under it. “It gives the police too much discretion to decide who should and who shouldn’t be prosecuted,” he told USA Today.

Taz Gran, a Haight resident and violinist, prefers to sit on her street to practice rather than disturb her roommates. “I don’t think sit-lie law is the solution,” she says, “not for people like me who just want to enjoy the weather and play music–not to mention for people who have mental health issues and are unable to go to a shelter.”

Newsom, who insists that the sit-lie law proposal isn’t criminalizing poverty, says San Francisco 24 hour shelters have 100 beds on any given night.

Homeless advocates argue this is simply pushing the poor out of sight and into the nearby parks. “Do parents want this?”  Yaziji questions. “I don’t believe we should penalize the homeless for merely using the sidewalks to sit.  The ordinance seems to push bad behavior into more remote, harder to control, areas of the city.”

By the end of May, a resolution will be reached which the Board of Supervisors is expected to reject. Residents are currently getting the signatures together for a ballot initiative in November, when the Mayor is anticipated to pass it.

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Day trip in Chinatown, PM warehouse get-down

Graffiti in San Francisco's Chinatown

Georgeous mural at North Beach, with some kind art installation hanging overhead.

An overall fantastic weekend of glorious weather and adventures in San Francisco and Oakland with friends. On Saturday, Chinatown kicked off their new year celebration with their annual Flower Fair. We walked the streets elbow to elbow, playing with trinkets in the overflowing stands and stores, people watching, and trying to decide whether we wanted Chinese food or just head next door to North Beach to find a quaint Italian cafe. Chinese food won that round, but my choice of a “spicy bean cake” dish (in other words, slimy tofu) was anything but victorious.

Upon entering the mysterious warehouse party in Oakland.

Later in the night, it was off to Oakland for a night for aerobatic performances by hula hoopers, jugglers and “hella” good dancers moving to the grooves of several DJs throughout the night. All kinds of paintings, photographs and sculptures adorned the hallways which flooded into industrial loft apartments. A strange night of interesting characters for sure.

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Flooding, lightening and rainbows, oh my! Get ready for Day 3 of rough weather in the Bay Area

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Wouldn’t you like to know

Pedaling Forward, first bike lanes created in more than three years uplifts restrictions on bike-related improvements (SF Bay Guardian)

40 Target workers in Walnut Creek quit after questions about immigration status (The Oakland Tribune)

SRO resident sues pest-infested SF Motel, others come forward (SF Weekly)

Hundreds of international LGBT officials meet in SF’s annual conference for strengthening gay community’s political leadership (Bay Area Reporter)

Leaked documents reveal an agreement world leaders will be asked to sign next week on state of developing countries (Democracy Now)

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Local SF News

A Last Look at the 26-Valencia (Mission Loc@l)

Increased Muni Operator Absenteeism Eating up Scarce Funds (SF Examiner)

BIKE NOPA Has Pictures of First City-Installed Bike Racks in Three Years

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