March 2, 2010
Mayor Newsom Isn't Taking This Sitting (Or Lying) Down
"[Mayor] Newsom will introduce two separate versions of a sit/lie law today at the Board of Supervisors. One version would prohibit sitting or lying on public sidewalks in about 20 commercial corridors throughout the city and is modeled on a similar law in Seattle that was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The other would prevent the behavior everywhere, including in residential neighborhoods, and is believed to be a first nationwide."
First Published: March 2, 2010 8:15 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Posted by: 45yo hipster at March 2, 2010 8:51 AM
i say go with the less stringent version. the BOS has filled our quota of unconstitional/unenforceable measures for the city already.
Posted by: anon$random at March 2, 2010 8:53 AM
Who would have known . . .
San Francisco pushing the legal limits of civil liberties in order to get tough on the homeless. Mayor Newsom goes from leading a progressive charge to change marriage laws to proposing reactionary Nixonian tough on crime regulations.
Whatever one thinks of this it clearly is grandstanding on Newsom's part.
I'm sure Newsom would hate it if a judge ruled this unconstitutional :) I'm sure he's not picking a fight with the constitution just to show he wants to get tough on crime. :) I'm sure he's unaware of the decades of constitutional interpretation of these types of laws--not to mention the history of how these laws were used to keep people of color and the poor in their place. I'm sure he's made all the legal findings and fully considered the issue and all the attention he's going to raise on these 50 or so kids is totally going to be worth it.
Scumbag. Just like the other politicians. A two-faced weasel that has zero convictions other than banging his employee's wife and snorting coke. There but for the grace of God would Newsom be the one on the sidewalk using cocaine. Newsom probably thinks he's civilized. He has the decency to use his cocaine in the well appointed lap of luxury in Pac Heights, well away from the publics' eye.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 2, 2010 9:07 AM
GN should spend more time lobbying for higher densities and more homeless and near homeless support services in other Bay Area cities and counties - so SF doesn't have to bear a disproportionate burden for the region.
Posted by: rubber_chicken at March 2, 2010 9:14 AM
^^ Get your falconer to put your hood back on and relax. The only way this changes any law is that police can enforce what's already on the books without a complaint being made. The people this law is aimed at are aggressive and residents feared retribution if they filed complaints against them. This has also been requested by the new Chief of Police - who seems to be gaining more fans on a daily (not Daly) basis.
Posted by: OneEyedMan at March 2, 2010 9:17 AM
Hawkguy, a commercial zone law in Seattle was upheld by the federal courts for. The delightful "kids" up in the Haight are pretty bad right now. Newsom lives in the area.
Posted by: anonn at March 2, 2010 9:23 AM
"San Francisco pushing the legal limits of civil liberties in order to get tough on the homeless. Mayor Newsom goes from leading a progressive charge to change marriage laws to proposing reactionary Nixonian tough on crime regulations."
I prefer Giulianian
Something like 70% of in a recent poll supported this ban.
Is this unconstitutional? It seems other cities have figured out how to make this law in their cities.
Regardless, like many locals I am totally fed up with the punk kids on Haight St.
Posted by: Zig at March 2, 2010 9:24 AM
Care Not Cash was considered exceptionally tough on the vulnerable back in the day. Without that change the situation might be even worse.
The breakdown in enforcement of quality of life crimes is strongly related to overloading of courts and jails which will not be addressed by what has been proposed so far. Coming down hard on generally well behaved coke sniffing drunks in Pacific Heights is probably not going to provide compelling benefits relative to the monetary and social costs of doing so.
Posted by: Mole Man at March 2, 2010 9:41 AM
Wow, SFHawkguy. Your responses are usually pretty measured but that's a wild set of straw men. Did someone highjack your name?
Whether or not you believes Newsom snorts blow, anyone who has spent any length of time in the Haight knows that what exists now is not what existed previously with regards to street kids.
This law isn't about the homeless and these people aren't poor or people of color (as if that matters). They're tweaked-out white kids with pit bulls who block entire sidewalks and aggressively harass passers-by. I don't know where on the planet anyone would find that acceptable. It is worth noting that those who work and live in the Haight seem to support this measure nearly unanimously while those who have a problem with it are almost always from someplace else.
Posted by: Mikey at March 2, 2010 9:43 AM
Note the other "Nixonian" cities with sit-lie laws: Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Austin. This is about protecting law abiding residents from abusive, sociopathic thugs, not about persecuting helpless victims of society. And as pointed about above, the 9th Circuit court of appeals has upheld the Seattle law. This can't come a moment too soon for SF.
Posted by: zzzzzzz at March 2, 2010 9:45 AM
"Regardless, like many locals I am totally fed up with the punk kids on Haight St"
Me too. I find them way more annoying than the older panhandlers. But I value freedom more than I value the right of the majority to sweep undesirables away from sight.
The cops don't need any new laws or political grandstanding. There are far more important issues facing the City. We have a mayor that doesn't even spend much time here and I doubt he even cares about the job other than it helping him get his next job. This is the most important issue facing the City? I thought we're having a big budget battle deciding how to spend 10s of millions of dollars. And he's walking the Haight with his kid and grandstanding?
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 2, 2010 9:47 AM
FINALLY!! One of the few good things the mayor has done.
Posted by: SFRE at March 2, 2010 9:49 AM
The only thing that I know about this situation is from the C.W. Nevius columns that ran in the Chron over the past few months. The situation sounds bad. The one thing that stuck in my mind was the response of the areas supervisor - Ross Mirkirimi. I like Ross. He has been very supportive of certain initiatives in my neighborhood (inner sunset). However, despite pleas from his constituents in the Haight, he appeared unwilling to support sit / lie becasue of a perceived liberal backlash. At least Gavin is trying.
Posted by: simpr at March 2, 2010 9:51 AM
Camping on the sidewalk with pit bulls and harassing passers by shouldn't be criminal, Hawkguy?
Posted by: anonn at March 2, 2010 9:54 AM
"They're tweaked-out white kids with pit bulls who block entire sidewalks and aggressively harass passers-by."
I agree Mikey. They annoy me to and I have less compassion for them than I do other people in lower classes. But these are subjective issues. The blacks and Mexicans that these types of laws were first targeted were the white people with pit bulls of their day (in fact, poor whites were also undesirable). Ever hear of the Okies?
Sometimes freedom means giving people you don't like the same rights as the people you do. I feel the same way about gang injunctions and the multitude of other ways in which our liberty has been curtailed the last 3 decades.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 2, 2010 9:58 AM
Criminal is touching someone else or physically trapping them so they can't walk down the sidewalk. Threatening to commit violence may also be a crime. The police are more than familiar with the centuries-old crimes that these street punks may be committing. Nothing prevents them from enforcing these laws.
If I sit on the sidewalk in front of Toast in Noe Valley for one hour waiting for a table am I committing a crime under this law? Why is that different than for the white street punks?
Talking to other citizens and asking them for money is not a crime.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 2, 2010 10:02 AM
SFHawkguy - your vitriol has a place but ..... maybe not with this issue. Read up on what is actually going on in the Haight. After that if you still feel your venom is appropriate, spit away!
Posted by: simpr at March 2, 2010 10:06 AM
I avoid Upper Haight at all costs because of these buffoons. I won't even drive on Haight past Central in a carshare.
However, this is doomed to failure. The cops will ticket, and maybe arrest, and the DA won't prosecute and the legions of smart Homeless Coalition Lawyers will loophole it to death away, and the kids will be back on the street.
Until the dysfunctional relationship between the Police and the DA's office is fixed in SF, I don't see much changing ever.
Posted by: Eric in SF at March 2, 2010 10:09 AM
If you sit on the sidewalk for one hour waiting for a table at Toast you are indeed committing a crime. Against common sense. Because when you go inside you'll wait another hour to finish your meal. Nice Saturday morning. Where did all the time go? Yada yada yada.
I get what you're saying. Where do we draw the line as far as this Big Brother stuff. Prevention and cure and all that. Well, sometimes practicality needs to intercede. Think in terms of the commercial zone, and the commerce. It could be thought of as anti-loitering. These kids are welcome to do nearly whatever they like in the Panhandle or the park, and the past police behavior you allude to did not draw that distinction.
Posted by: anonn at March 2, 2010 10:11 AM
The blacks and Mexicans that these types of laws were first targeted were the white people with pit bulls of their day.
What in the world are you talking about?
Posted by: location at March 2, 2010 10:20 AM
Out they go! I don't see how the right to squat on a corner supercedes the right of people to be able to pass. Haight Street is SO dirty these days. It is disgusting to walk around. Plus, we need our tourist dollars here and they won't be coming back after an experience with the dirty streets all over town! I know this is hyperbolic, but I worry that we will become a Detroit by the bay. We aren't very business friendly here and every day I read about some other tax or service cut they are talking about. Even the SF Weekly wrote a story about our waste. How can a city of 750,000 need a budget three times the state of Idaho? Can't make it on $6 billion dollars? I mean, really.
Posted by: SJM at March 2, 2010 10:23 AM
"Until the dysfunctional relationship between the Police and the DA's office is fixed in SF, I don't see much changing ever."
Eric, your problem is with the constitution and our system of trial by our peers--not with the D.A.s office. These quality of life crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute because they involve constitutional freedoms of movement and assembly. Our constitution makes it difficult to take away a person's liberty for assembling in the wrong place or saying the wrong things or looking unkempt and unruly.
The D.A. is being practical--judges still uphold the constitution occassionally and do not succumb to mob rule.
This is nothing but muckraking. It's finding a enemy everyone can agree upon to blame for our problems. It's a diversion. And it sells papers and gets Democrats elected (or that's the conventional wisdom). The Chronicle, that Nevius guy, and now Newsom are preying upon peoples' prejudices. Just read the comments at the SFGate on these issues. People hate the lower classes with a passion and these guys feed that hatred. You want vitriol simpr? Read the comments about these subhuman white punks on SFGate! They are almost as hated as the Arabs. They are subhuman and don't deserve any compassion according to the riled-up mob.
Hey, I'm human too and I too find myself buying into the hype and hating these kids sometimes. But there is a lot of human misery out there and hating these kids and making them illegal people is not the solution. It dehumanizes them and dehumanizes us. I try to remember these kids are human too--but for the Grace of God Gavin Newsom himself would be doing cocaine on the streets instead of dealing with his demons behind closed doors and not having to suffer hardly any consequences. But he had different circumstances. Instead of a poor single parent Newsom had one of the richest men in the U.S. give him a helping hand.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 2, 2010 10:27 AM
Not really. Newsom's dad was a judge who worked at the very court of appeals that ruled the Seattle law constitutional. But he is indeed a financial advisor for the Getty trust.
Posted by: anonn at March 2, 2010 10:35 AM
I have to agree with the majority here, the hoodlums in the Haight are out of control.
We watched as a street punk cornered an older couple (maybe 50's?) and had their pit bull in near attack mode, barking and lunging. The punk let the dog get to within centimeters of the woman, until the older gentleman gave up the money in his wallet.
I asked them if they wanted me to call the police, but they said no because they live there and the punks know where they live.
I'm not sure what the answer is, but the current situation clearly isn't it.
Sometimes freedom means giving people you don't like the same rights as the people you do
somehow these thugs have gotten more rights than the rest of us. They've learned how to effectively take away our right to feeling safe.
the one option that I oculd see working: the people in the Haight need to set up a neighborhood watch. They could then walk up and down the street "patrolling". it has worked in other downtrodden areas in the past. it works especially for making drug dealers and prostitutes feel less welcome.
other cities have started piping in Muzak or similar. thugs have an aversion to Barry Manilow. it works really well in Minneapolis as example.
Posted by: ex SF-er at March 2, 2010 10:36 AM
They probably have an aversion to bitter cold as well. Our gutter punks don't know about that.
Posted by: anonn at March 2, 2010 10:42 AM
"Sometimes freedom means giving people you don't like the same rights as the people you do. I feel the same way about gang injunctions and the multitude of other ways in which our liberty has been curtailed the last 3 decades."
Gang injunctions have made my neighborhood (the Inner Mission) far more safe and liveable in the last year. THANK GOD they're doing it.
Our problem is drunks, and yes they're almost all Latino. They pass out everywhere, blocking front doors and garages and across sidewalks. I once had to physically drag a passed out man a few feet so I could open my garage door. I called an ambulance, but had to go to work.
Posted by: Schlub at March 2, 2010 10:42 AM
SFHawkguy-- when was the last time you walked down Haight street? This is not a preying on prejudices; this is a nuclear solution to what has been an unsolvable but very real problem.
On a more general note, my only fear is this law having unintended consequences. It's going to be sad and frustrating if officers tell me to move my ass when I'm sitting on the sidewalk eating tacos from the mission in the summer. On the other hand, uneven enforcement by the SFPD will only trigger backlash against them and the law as a chorus of people will say the law is profiling and targeting specific groups of people.
My 2-minutes-of-thought solution would re-write the law to allow residents and merchants to create no sit/lie zones via proposal and signatures presented to the BoS. Let them expire after a certain time, say 3 years. That way, we can target the areas where people are causing problems, and only those areas, and we can let the people in the local community run the show rather than the city-at-large.
Posted by: rr at March 2, 2010 10:44 AM
The problem with laws like this is that they tend to be applied towards people "I don't like".
The well dressed white person sitting on the sidewalk waiting for a table at a restaurant won't be hassled by the police while the poorly dressed person waiting for a table at a restaurant will be hassled by the police in the same manner that the Oakland police just got caught giving warnings to people parking illegally in rich neighborhoods while giving tickets to people parked illegally in poor ones.
As a result, clever activist groups tend to litigate the hell out of these laws, costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When the transgressions of the well meaning police get uncovered, the liberal majority in the city goes haywire and starts threatening to throw the politicians out, much like Frank Jordan got thrown out because of the Matrix program that was used to attack the homeless (and an unfortunately-timed photo of him taking a shower splashed on the front page of a then-relevant newspaper).
Laws like this work in a relatively heterogeneous city of voters because the voters all don't like the same people the police don't like, so one one gets too worked up when the law is selectively applied. However, in a city like SF, where the red carpet is rolled out for every out-of-favor group in the country except the Ku Klux Klan, passing a law like this will be political suicide, except for a politician branded as an Obama wanna-be gay-marriage-loving former-mayor of the liberal-loonies of SF trying to rehabilitate his image in front of a more central leaning state, whose polls recently trashed his bid for Governor.
As a result, the supervisors will never pass it.
Posted by: tipster at March 2, 2010 10:45 AM
Lived in the upper Haight for years and years.
Loved the proximity to wonderful Golden Gate Park.
Never walked on Haight Street because of excessive "Street Furniture."
Street furniture = people who sit or lie on sidewalks as if it is their only furniture.
There are many excellent examples of human beings in various states of human decay sitting on the sidewalk on Haight Street between Masonic and Stanyan.
A rotted face from a bad piercing inspired us to move away.
Posted by: kathleen at March 2, 2010 10:55 AM
"SFHawkguy-- when was the last time you walked down Haight street? This is not a preying on prejudices; this is a nuclear solution to what has been an unsolvable but very real problem."
I don't get up to the Upper Haight as much anymore. Occasionally on Tuesday nights to go to Kezar track. I run through the PanHandle quite a bit though and see the kids that congregate there. I used to spend a lot of time in Cole Valley so I would go through the Haight quite a bit. I would avoid Haight St. though if I could because of both the tourist crowds and the street kids. I would often go down Page St.
I doubt this issue is an emergency though. It may be an emergency to Newsom because he needs to get his popularity up in the suburbs and statewide. It's pretty much been this way the last ten years or so. Last I saw the sidewalks were still packed with tourists and shoppers in the Upper Haight. I'm not aware that this neighborhood has suffered anymore than other neighborhoods. In fact, I bet this commercial strip is doing better than the strip on 24th St. in Noe Valley.
And as far as crime goes . . . it's worse in the lower Haight. I was the victim of crime twice in the Lower Haight, and testified against one of the kids that attempted to rob me. I was a little fearful because the punks in the Lower Haight (as opposed to the punks in the Upper Haight) actually rob you instead of 'implying' that they are robbing you.
Anyway, I don't mind the cops and other city officials making frequent contact with the street people. In fact they do. On more than one occasion I've seen the cops stopping the kids when I run through the panhandle. I've also seen it on Haight St. a number of times. I see them searching them.
You can't disappear these people. Or we can, but it's not a sign of a healthy society.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 2, 2010 10:57 AM
Rather than incarcerate these "street kids," why not sentence them to a one-way ticket to Fresno or Stockton? They could probably afford a rental there.
Posted by: sacdomc at March 2, 2010 11:21 AM
If it's good enough for Austin, Seattle and Santa Cruz, then it's good enough and long overdue for San Francisco.
Enough is enough.
Posted by: deshard at March 2, 2010 11:57 AM
A lot of the Haight kids seem to come from other towns and are attracted to some purported cool scene in in SF that no longer exists (if it ever did). Anything we can do to remove the perception that SF is a place that will take care of you once you get here will probably save everybody lots of heartache. I'm against this law in theory, but in practice it may send a useful message.
Posted by: Jane at March 2, 2010 12:46 PM
I was in NY when Giuliani and Bratton started the "broken windows" program.
There was a lot of pissed off progressives at the time. Not so much anymore...
Posted by: dogboy at March 2, 2010 1:15 PM
ya mean we're not gonna look the other way after all -- live and let live until we molder and crumble and dishevel? imagine that, we're becoming -- and it took a mayor who lives in the hood to finally see what passes here.
Posted by: Invented at March 2, 2010 2:16 PM
In case readers of socketsite don't quite understand what Jane was getting at, above (or perhaps you just haven't tried walking through The Haight recently, here's a link that should help your understanding.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at March 2, 2010 3:52 PM
While it's hard to beat ex SF-ers protection racket story, this one comes close.
Police say they're hearing more complaints like that from residents fed up with aggressive, intimidating uncivil behavior. "She was with her 14-month-old son, she was walking down the street and she asked a group to move and they spat on the baby," Capt. Teresa Barrett from SFPD said.
Also, an interesting view from the mayor of Santa Cruz: Another neighborhood group, the Haight-Ashbury Improvement Association supports the crackdown and brought in the mayor of Santa Cruz to speak at a public hearing on Monday. Mike Rotkin initially had reservations when the measure took effect in his city, but now says it is working. "After we passed the ordinance it took only a couple of weeks before we began to see changed behavior," he said. That's coming from a guy who says: "I'm not a business candidate, I'm a Democratic socialist," Rotkin said, smiling.
Posted by: EBGuy at March 2, 2010 4:48 PM
Check with SFHawkguy, I'm pretty sure infant expectorators are a protected class.
Posted by: OneEyedMan at March 2, 2010 5:03 PM
This would be a welcome change. The crazy nutjob criminal element on Haight has been documented in the Chron before:
Man, if this happens and if the police chief actually gets rid of the Critical Massholes, I won't know what city we live in any more:
Posted by: JimBobJones at March 2, 2010 5:08 PM
We could learn something from the Rio de Janiero police... no need to pass a law to take care of lawless punks.
Posted by: Jimmy C at March 3, 2010 8:41 AM
Giving Giuliani credit for reduced crime in NYC is popular, but the evidence is pretty strong that changing demographics and other factors had greater influence. There is also a strong negative outcome from the large number of nonviolent drug offenders who are kept in cages at great cost only to eventually be set loose likely without the capacity to incorporate themselves into society.
Posted by: Mole Man at March 3, 2010 9:39 AM
It'd be cheaper if SF paid for one of these http://mosquitogroup.com/teenage-loitering-problems.html for every business that requested one.
Posted by: Solution Maker at March 3, 2010 10:22 AM
he he. I'd love to hear The Acoustician's opinion of that mosquito device. It generates a high pitched squeal that supposedly annoys teenagers but is unheard by adults due to normal age related hearing loss.
But not me, I can hear these devices (also used to deter dogs) clearly and they are indeed annoying. Back in the day before digital TV, I could walk by someone's house and tell whether their TV was on by the sound of the high pitched squeal of their CRT flyback transformer.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 3, 2010 10:40 AM
As they say, "There's an app for that". Screecher - Turn up the annoyance for free!
Posted by: EBGuy at March 3, 2010 12:49 PM
This may be intended for the homeless but it will affect others far more. Another reason for the city to issue tickets to people. The Haight for example is a residential district that has shops. People sit on the sidewalk to ease their 20-minute wait for a bus. And is it going to affect people watching parades, street musicians attending street fairs, those taking time out from work to sit on the curb and smoke a cigarette? It probably will come down to how they are dressed and what skin color they are.
As for the person who claims to have seen a mugging in the Haight...dubious at best but even if it did happen, that is called criminal behavior and there are already laws against that. And I guarantee you muggers aren't the ones sitting on the sidewalks. The poor come in many subgroups.
Posted by: M.E. at March 3, 2010 1:17 PM
Back in the day before digital TV, I could walk by someone's house and tell whether their TV was on by the sound of the high pitched squeal of their CRT flyback transformer.
Yes, that's it: the conversion to digital is why I don't hear this anymore! And here I thought it was age...
Anyway, I'm of the opinion that it's generally a bad idea to purposefully introduce an environmental pollutant. It's out there, whether it works on the targeted "audience".
Posted by: acoustician at March 3, 2010 1:27 PM
All I can say is read "Fixing Broken Windows"
Before Newsom was mayor and he was out meeting people in SF, I asked him if he had read the book. He said he had and fully intended to implement it's ideas. Despite my frustrations in some areas, Newsom had generally kept his word with greening, graffiti abatement, garbage pickup and street cleaning. This new law is just along the same lines. Cracking down on petty crime improves the quality of life and decreases major crime.
I look at SF and I see a much nicer place than 8 years ago....
Posted by: Ryan at March 3, 2010 2:45 PM
M.E., you are totally out to lunch. Do you really think the cops are ticket people sitting on a sidewalk watching for a parade? Waiting for a bus? Exercise some common sense. This will allow them to deal with the little pieces of shit lying on the Haight Street sidewalk, harassing residents and merchants. If the cops harass them enough, maybe they'll get a clue and head back to wherever it is that they came from.
Posted by: Fishchum at March 3, 2010 2:53 PM
You should read the article before commenting: "Exceptions would be made for people sitting in wheelchairs, sitting or lying down because of a medical emergency, patronizing a business with a permit to operate on the sidewalk, sitting on a bench or attending a parade, festival or demonstration."
Posted by: R at March 3, 2010 3:06 PM
There is little evidence the broken windows policing in New York actually worked:
Guilliani certainly likes taking credit for it and the myth persists.
I have no doubt Newsom wants to emphasize that he's down with Guiliani's approach now that he is running for statewide office.
But we don't need no more stinking police force. We have enough laws. They have enough power. Further criminalizing the poor only makes us feel better because it stokes our darker desires to blame things on a hated group of people.
More police power is not the answer. Newsom needs to take his grandstanding to Sacramento and get out!
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 3, 2010 3:38 PM
SFHawkguy - if you're lying passed out on the sidewalk or harassing pedestrians and merchants, then I don't give a damn if you're a Google millionaire or you're homeless. You're engaging in criminal activity, and it NEEDS TO STOP.
The knee-jerk liberal mantra of "criminalizing the poor" is ridiculous.
Posted by: Fishchum at March 3, 2010 3:46 PM
"You should read the article before commenting: "Exceptions would be made for people sitting in wheelchairs, sitting or lying down because of a medical emergency, patronizing a business with a permit to operate on the sidewalk, sitting on a bench or attending a parade, festival or demonstration.""
R, that doesn't mean that this meets constitutional muster (I know the 9th Cir. has ruled on the Seattle law--but they are not the final arbitrator). W
hy is some sitting good and some sitting bad? Are these distinctions arbitrary, over broad? I haven't read the decision upholding this law but there is a long history of governments passing anti-loitering or anti-people-we-don't-want-here laws. The problem is you can't stop people from wanting to move to San Francisco. You can't forbid it and people have a right to be in public and say and do things that annoy you. That's freedom.
This proposed law attempts to single out a group the majority don't like and ban only them from sitting on the sidewalk--it's not intended to stamp out all sitting on a sidewalk. It will totally be used in an arbitrary and capricious manner to pick on people the majority don't like--the Haight kids and the city's homeless.
Also, the exceptions show how hard it is to make a law not single out the street kids when it's intended to single out the street kids. What about smoking a cigarette or waiting for the bus and sitting on the curb? That's not in the exception. Everyone knows the police wouldn't enforce it against those people--because the real people they want to target are street kids.
This is a "get rid of street kids bill and make them illegal" bill.
Nothing prevents the cops from enforcing current laws. One Eyed Man's slur above is a good example. No one is saying that the street kids that commit crimes shouldn't be prosecuted. If they assault a citizen then arrest them. Ex-SFer should have called the police about the crime he thinks he witnessed!
We just don't need any laws that single out undesireables--it's violates the spirit if not the letter of the constitution and it is a diversion from San Francisco's problems.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 3, 2010 3:56 PM
So if I bring a portable bench and sit down, would that still be a crime?
Posted by: DogFriedRice at March 3, 2010 4:02 PM
If I bring a bench and sit down on the sidewalk, would that be a crime under the new law?
As for the kids on haight, if they are engaging in criminal behaviors now, and not being procecuted, what will change that to procecute them after the law takes in effect?
Posted by: DogFriedRice at March 3, 2010 4:05 PM
"You're engaging in criminal activity, and it NEEDS TO STOP."
Where do I disagree with this?
Look. Crime and poverty are a human condition. You will never get rid of it and proves the tough-on-crime poseurs are more divorced from reality than us "knee-jerk liberals" because they have an unreasonable expectation that all crime can be stopped. We imprison the most people on the face of the Earth. Do you really think imprisoning more people is the solution?
What do you call putting someone who is begging for money in prison if not criminalizing the poor? Should we put aggressive car salesmen or real estate professionals in prison if they use hard-sell tactics? I don't like their aggressiveness either but that's not a crime (unless it crosses the line to criminal).
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 3, 2010 4:17 PM
"If I bring a bench and sit down on the sidewalk, would that be a crime under the new law?"
Not the way I read the proposed law. Neither would be "sitting" on one's haunches, Chinese style. In fact, back in the day, when the Chinese were one of the hated groups, I could have seen the City enacting an anti-Chinese sitting law.
I also assume standing in place is okay.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 3, 2010 4:21 PM
Oops. I didn't mean to agree with you Fischum that "harassing" is a crime. It depends on what "harrassing" is. Spitting on a kid or using a pit bull to rob someone are crimes. No one is disputing that. I am totally aware that these kids might be committing crimes and many of them probably come from broken and poor homes and are addicted to substances.
What people want to make illegal is these kids very presence and their asking for money and especially asking in an aggressive manner. These kids have a much different approach to panhandeling than from the downtown panhandlers (from which they could learn some effective sales pitches). But it's not criminal. You're not entitled to not have to witness unpleasant things in public or have some kid direct his anger towards you. Plenty of people are also aiming their hostility towards these kids and while the kids may often be the aggressors I'm sure they're treated like trash by a good number of people. That's the price of freedom.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at March 3, 2010 4:29 PM
I guess those poor bastards wanting to get a IPad on release date would just have to stand then.
Posted by: DogFriedRice at March 3, 2010 4:59 PM