Police Chief George Gascn is a man of principle. Among San Francisco’s southern California-bred top cop’s principles are: computers and cameras fight crime as well as police officers, and what worked in LA should work here.
It is partially this reasoning that’s behind Gascn’s continued, sustained push for a sit-lie ordinance. Firmly on Gascn’s sit-lie train is Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius, who agrees with Gascon that a sit-lie anti-loitering law could combat the (Upper) Haight Street Hooligans, i.e. the band of homeless or street-living-by-choice kids who, according to some, are a menacing mass of Mad Max-like thugs with pit bulls (and sometimes drums, sometimes mandolins, and often signs asking for change in a variety of ways, we might add).
However, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who represents the Haight, thinks that the formula isn’t a simple “sit-lie law = no more street kids,” and asked Tuesday for a hearing on whether or not the sit-lie law wouldn’t be better replaced with, say, more SFPD foot patrols (which has been a pet Mirkarimi cause for years).
And looking at the history of sit-lie laws elsewhere on the West Coast, Mirkarimi’s request may have merit: it took Berkeley over a decade to enact its voter-approved sit-lie law, and Telegraph Avenue is far from bereft of homeless kids; and once passed, sit-lie laws were shot down in Oregon and in Gascn’s old stomping grounds in LA.
Besides, there are already sit-lie laws on the books in San Francisco — if those aren’t enough to quash the Haight Street Hooligans, what will be?
“Let’s have a hearing on it,” Mirkarimi said Tuesday. “Let’s look at other cities and find out what’s real and what’s not.”
We wonder, will the Haight Street kiddies will be invited to have their say? Are those pit bulls service animals? In this town: probably.