Sit-lie isn't working. Imagine that.

Sit-lie supporter Arthur Evans isn't getting his way. Photo by Rebecca Bowe

Guess what? The much-hyped sit-lie law ins't working. That's what the Bay Citizen reports today in a story that should surprise nobody who has any sense.

When the measure was headed for the ballot, I had this discussion with then-Chief Gascon, with then-Mayor Gavin Newsom's staff, with other supporters of sit-lie and anyone else who would listen. My point: Even beyond the civil liberties issues (which are huge), this was going to be a waste of time. Why? Because if there are people sitting on the sidewalk, and they're told they can't, they'll .... stand up. No more violation. Still people on the street.

And guess what Lt. Belinda Kerr from Park Station has to report?

There has been "a prolific amount of arrests, citations and warnings ... but I haven't seen that it's done a whole lot," Kerr said.

She said the transients will often get up when they see officers drive by in their patrol cars, but "unfortunately are getting up and going around the block and then sitting down again."

See? Tell people they can't sit down and they'll stand up. Then sit down again.

You want to deal with street crime? Deal with crime. Don't make sitting on the street a crime.

When Gascon and I talked about this, I told him that two uniformed beat cops walking up and down Haight Street from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day would solve any street crime problem without a new law. He agreed. Then he said it would be too expensive. I wonder what all these pointless citations -- and the legal work of prosecuting and defending them -- is going to cost. I suspect foot patrols would be cheaper.



The Richmond Bridge!

Posted by Chromefields on May. 27, 2011 @ 8:30 am

Any sixth grader would have foreseen that enforcing Sit/Lie would be futile-- but the measure wasn't written for that purpose.

It was written to divert attention from the the real causes of a general deteriorating quality of life in San Francisco, and to accustom the city of St. Francis for more aggressive measures which are likely to be proposed as a response to those who say Sit/Lie "doesn't work."

Unkempt, alienated youth and the "ugly" homeless were the perfect scapegoat-- even though they are, at worst, an inconvenience and embarrassment to people a paycheck or two away from joining them-- hardly ever the danger or economic drain they were made out to be.

The greatest danger to our city are the few who gut our economy, divide our communities, play havoc with services and infrastructure, destroy jobs, destroy opportunity, and make us pay for their neuroses-- particularly their sense of entitlement.

Sit/Lie was and is a game and diversion-- even fighting it with sit-downs and protest "actions" is a silly and ultimately futile aside which mistakes the true purpose and effectiveness of the fascist measure-- giving it the smokescreen of integrity when it has no integrity.

An effective counter to the measure is to recognize its true purpose and to decide if San Francsco will buy into illusions, that run the gamut of austerity to war, or face the realities of politicians that do not care for us.

We need to kick those politicians-- all of them-- off our block.

Posted by Robert B. Livingston on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:54 am

Only the select few can see through it all, the rest of us are an ocean of duped morons.

The select over-few see all through post-hoc reasoning, those of us who are duped by the conspiracy need to listen less to those who spout law and order jingo's. We lumpen morons need to listen more closely to those who tirelessly tell us about "community" "opportunity" and other enlightened words and phrases. I wish we all could do better, for you.

Posted by matlock on May. 27, 2011 @ 11:38 am

I predicted from the beginning this whole thing was a joke, part of the "let's put an issue on the ballot that will try to influence who people vote for in the supervisor races." That's never worked - look at 2008 when JROTC won at the polls at the same time some of the left leaning supes got elected, one of many examples.

There are plenty of laws to prevent bad behavior. We just haven't had Mayors, DAs or anyone who wants to see them enforced. But hey, people made money off the campaign, all the blogs got lots of "hits" from angry screaming commenters at the Gate and elsewhere, the non-progs had their election night whoopee, and in the end, nothing changed. The SF way!

Posted by gdewar on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

I was a member of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club in the late 1970s, when it was known as the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club. In those days, it was intelligent, practical, and inspiring.

Not any more. Take a look at the video below.

The Milk Clubbers staged a flop-down on the sidewalks in the Castro on Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22. Their action was to urge repeal of Prop L, the recently passed civil-sidewalks law (or sit-lie law).

In the video, Tommi Avicolli-Mecca claims that their flop-down breaks the law under Prop L. Not so! The law explicitly excludes political demonstrations from its scope.

But more than this factual error, look at the spectacle itself. Is this what the club that has named itself after Harvey Milk has come to? Are any passers-by from the Castro taking them seriously?

If Monty Python wanted to do a satire of the Milk Clubbers today, how would it differ from this scene?

Click here:

Posted by Arthur Evans on May. 28, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

My friend wrote the city on this very issue. They were unable to tell him whether that breaks the law or not. That in itself is ridiculous. So I don't know who makes you the judge but the Board of Supervisors, the police chief and the city administrator are unable to answer.

Posted by J.S. on May. 31, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

If sit/lie passes, a draconian police state will soon follow!

Kids with lemonade stands whill be hauled off to gulags!

(See the Nevis article. This time, Chuck gets it right.)

Posted by Barton on May. 29, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

Below is another video that the opponents of civility have put up on Youtube in hopes of repealing Prop L, the civil-sidewalks law.

Smart move, huh?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 04, 2011 @ 8:06 am

And the Sit Lie Law has nothing to do with "civility".
Arthur Evans is: The Human Firehose of Bullshit.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2011 @ 9:06 am

The video of the screaming, clown-dressed person was taken at the flop-in in the Castro on Harvey Milk’s birthday, held to protest the civil-sidewalks law. The person acting out was one of the squatters.

The video was made by Carol Harvey. She filmed this scene and others at the same time, at the same flop-in. Take a look at all the other suggested videos by her next to this one, and see for yourself.

Also, take a look at this longer video by Tony Derenzo, and advance the timer to 0:28. You’ll see the same clown-dressed person acting out again.

These folks are having fun by acting out, which is fine. But they lost the vote on Prop L because of their antics, and they will lose the effort to repeal Prop L for the same reason.

There’s no substitute for rational behavior, not even in politics.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 04, 2011 @ 10:58 am

Arthur, what exactly are you taking issue with in the first video?
It is not at all clear what you find objectionable about it.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

This is why some hacks from Newsom's office changed the name of the Sit Lie Measure on last years ballot:
So they could pretend that paying Police Officers to harass innocent citizens for sitting in public would be "civil".

Arthur Evans fancies himself the arbiter of all things civil and moral, but that doesn't make it so.
He is a humorless pedantic old man who spends all his time on the internet attempting to make people as miserable as he is- an impossible task.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

The move to repeal Prop L, the civil-sidewalks law, is now being spearheaded by a group of people calling themselves "queers." They're taking their cues from Tommi Avicolli-Mecca.

No one could function as better foils for their opponents than this crew. With their goofy sidewalk antics, they repeatedly remind passers-by, especially in the Castro, of everything that residents don't like about sidewalk squatters.

At the same time, this same self-identified group of "queers" is trying to rally the gay community, and the general public, to the mayoral banner of John Avalos.

No one could better create a public image for Avalos as a fringer than this crew.

They will sink the effort to repeal Prop L, and they will sink Avalos' effort to look mayoral.

And they will feel self-righteous about both failures.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 05, 2011 @ 10:57 am