November 18, 2013

A Misdemeanor For Being Found In A Public Park After Midnight In San Francisco, Unless You’re Sleeping

With San Francisco Supervisors Avalos, Breed, Campos, Kim and Mar voting against, but Supervisors Chiu, Cohen, Farrell, Tang, Wiener and Yee supporting, the ordinance generally closing City Parks in San Francisco from midnight to 5:00 a.m. is a second procedural vote away from being passed into law.

Once again, while the law will apply to areas such as Golden Gate Park, Union Square and the Panhandle, roadways and paved paths would remain open for the purposes of traversing any park or plaza, but no stopping or stepping on the grass.

While violators of the new ordinance could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined, "a person found sleeping in [a] park outside of the park's open hours could be cited for violating the Park Code prohibition on sleeping in the park but could not be cited under this ordinance for being present in the park while sleeping."

And with respect to the budget and priorities for enforcement:

The Board recognizes that effective enforcement of hours of operation in City parks may require additional City resources. Towards that end, the Board urges the Recreation and Park Department to increase the number of Park Patrol scheduled to patrol parks between midnight and 5 a.m. and to request funding for additional Park Patrol to enforce this ordinance.
The Board also urges the Recreation and Park Department to prioritize enforcement of park hours in smaller neighborhood parks and playgrounds where the effects of vandalism and loitering are particularly disruptive to the neighboring community.

The new ordinance will most likely become effective in about a month.

First Published: November 18, 2013 8:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Who votes for these people? For fog's sake, this is absolutely moronic.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at November 18, 2013 8:15 AM

How about sleepwalking then?

Posted by: BTinSF at November 18, 2013 8:49 AM

"a person found sleeping in [a] park outside of the park's open hours could be cited for violating the Park Code prohibition on sleeping in the park but could not be cited under this ordinance for being present in the park while sleeping."


Surprise, surprise, more stupid rules/laws imposed by the infamous stupidvisors with nothing better to do.

Posted by: Pfffttt at November 18, 2013 8:50 AM

So those with the best fake snore will be the new kings of the park!

Posted by: Nelson at November 18, 2013 8:52 AM

People sleeping will be cited for sleeping, which is already in the books.

This is to counter the arguments that this is targeting homeless sleeping in the parks.

No big deal, they can be cited for sleeping in the park, which is already illegal.

Posted by: gribble at November 18, 2013 9:06 AM

"Officer, I was just resting my eyes."

"Officer, you can't cite me for being extremely drowsy. It's not the same."

"It's not my fault, I was just reading a parking/bike debate on my favorite sitez."

"Officer, it can't be after dark, my reading light is still on."

"Don't you see, that's just it, man! I am not PRESENT in the park. I keep studying and reaching for ways in which to be PRESENT bro, but I am just mentally ELSEWHERE! So how can I be sleeping while PRESENT when I am ELSEWHERE?...

Yeah, so...

You gotta light bro?"

Posted by: soccermom at November 18, 2013 9:07 AM

gribble is right. This is a big nothing. It was already illegal to sleep/camp in the parks. We can debate whether that pre-existing law was enforced, but this new law adds nothing to that one, so no need to cite illegal sleepers under the new law. The new law is a much needed tool to cite late-night, destructive park partiers/druggies.

On a side note, during fits of insomnia, I occasionally start my runs through GG park before 5:00 a.m. - guess this will be an incentive not to stop . . .

Posted by: anon at November 18, 2013 9:48 AM

Does this mean that if you are sleeping in the park, and an officer follows the law, if he or she awakens you, then while awake you will be arrested? He or she will be bound by the previous law to awaken you since, as it has been mentioned, it is already against the law to sleep in the park.

Oh... I get it! You will then be arrested for sleeping in the park and being awake in the park. Oh goodie... a double offense and more money for the city. Just saying...

Posted by: BayGuy at November 18, 2013 10:14 AM

These supervisors are so stupid. So now we run the homeless out of the parks so that they can sleep and defecate on our front porch. The only tickets given out will be to the tax paying citizens and the tourist. Thanks again spurs, in particular Scott Wiener..

Posted by: Greystonesfo at November 18, 2013 10:18 AM

The absolutely most waste of time law past yet!! Are these supervisors morons? Unless asleep?! How on earth are you gonna prove whether or not someone was asleep? Their word against the cops...LAME LAME LAME!

Posted by: Brian at November 18, 2013 10:38 AM

I guess I won't have to stop to pick up my dog's poop, especially if she poops where I'd have to step on the grass.

Oh, wait! Duh. I wasn't being logical. I'll just take my sleeping bag and, if she poops, settle down for the night and pick up the poop after 5:00.

Posted by: BobN at November 18, 2013 12:20 PM

A lot of you fail at reading comprehension.. this doesn't make it OK to sleep in the parks. That is already illegal.

Posted by: sf at November 18, 2013 12:36 PM

Does this mean I can place a homeless person under citizens arrest if I see one in the park at night? Obviously I would be passing through on a paved path without stopping. If the answer is yes, this could get interesting.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at November 18, 2013 1:49 PM

That is already illegal.

And unenforced, at least as far as I can see in my local park.

Posted by: BobN at November 18, 2013 2:58 PM

If a cop walks up to me and cites me for walking on the grass after midnight, can I place him under Citizen's Arrest for walking up to me?

Posted by: jeremy at November 18, 2013 3:23 PM

Probably required to pass 9th Cir. muster.

Posted by: CVLaw at November 18, 2013 8:14 PM

Time for a midnight Wiener Roast! Sincerely -
The (now sleepwalking) Insomniac Dogwalkers of San Francisco Association -A 50(c) charity.

Posted by: Kathleen at November 19, 2013 5:10 PM

It's an attempt to camp down on the vandalism of the parks the city continues to spend money fixing up. Homelessness issues are always contentious in SF; Supervisors should get a thumbs up for stepping around it to try solving a more pressing problem.

The only real question is why something like this didn't go in before those spendy renovations did.

Posted by: kbbl at November 25, 2013 8:58 PM

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