Advocates of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s controversial Sit/Lie ordinance presented gut wrenching justifications to win supporters. Arthur Evans explained that The Haight has literally been reduced to “turf”—now divvyed up by an aggressive, lawless and hostile invasion of miscreants. “Merchants” mostly support the proponents while churches and poverty agencies have morally condemned the law. Detractors did offer their own compelling misgivings.
Stand Against Sit/Lie also gave familiar positions: mostly targeted will be the homeless, destitute and those “perceived” as such; the issue is “criminal behavior”—laws already exist to address this; and concerned citizens say history’s continuity proves one cannot trust the police with the power to “judge” exactly who should sit, or not.
Proponents say police will have only the authority to order sitters to “stand up”; a warning must be issued before taking any added actions (it would be illegal to sit or lay between the hours of 7:00am and 11:00pm). Citing previously that current laws are gotten around by clever people, they say this added modification is needed.
Sit/Lie says police currently cannot confront nuisance sitters (opponents continuously refute this). People have alternative places to sit: parks, designated benches, beaches, etc… The ordinance makes such sidewalk exceptions as wheelchairs, strollers, medical emergencies, licensed peddlers, and the like.
A young Afro-American man (urban looking with highly prominent “dread-locks”) declared that he would not be judged equal to the average conventional persona—the irony of Chief Gascon decrying Arizona’s law but supporting Sit/Lie rang clear. Justin Buell feigned “sympathy” but called it an entirely different issue—the response was immediately rebuked as ignoring an original contention point.
Contenders also point back to a flawed rationale: hostile, aggressive people are less threatening while sitting or laying on sidewalks—intimidation greatly increases though, if they stand.
Concerns were raised about transgressors being pushed from one “hood” to another. And if standing is the gist of the law’s goal for success what’s to keep people from cleverly modifying (as pointed out before) to continue belligerent behavior?
It was noted that in the Tenderloin “dealers” are commonly raided by undercover agents and “anti loitering” laws exist. Asked directly was whether or not proponents “believed” behavior was the true factor and if so, how does Sit/Lie address this?
Evans said: in essence encouraging violators to “move along” hopefully provides one more bit of relief while people look to find more significant solutions.