liar.jpgCompanion legislation to sit-lie would ban lying on public sidewalks

Telling a lie on public sidewalks in San Francisco would be prohibited under legislation proposed Tuesday by Supervisor Chris Daly, with repeat “fish stories” carrying a maximum penalty of $500 and 30 days in jail, though San Franciscans would be free to bear false witness elsewhere, such as parks, public buildings, and City Hall.

Lying is “telling statements with the deliberate intent to deceive,” Daly said Tuesday, “and I don’t think we should be lying to one another on our city sidewalks.”

Daly’s law is nearly identical in language to the much-ballyhooed “sit-lie ordinance” proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Police Department chief George Gascon, but goes a step further in bringing all “lying” on public sidewalks under a ban, not merely lying down or sitting down. That ordinance will likely appear on the November ballot.

Enforcement and determination of whether or a not a citizen is telling a false statement would be left up to the San Francisco Police Department, said Daly, who added that “white lies, he-said-she-saids,” and even the Platonic “noble lie” could fall under the ban if police so determine.

Daly’s legislation is not yet scheduled for a hearing, but the supervisor said he would consider circulating a ballot petition if the law is not approved by the City Attorney.

“I look forward to having [this law] appear on the ballot alongside anything that asks voters to ban sitting down or lying down on the sidewalk,” Daly said. “We should see what San Franciscans think.”

We’ll post text of the law — yes, it has been drafted — as soon as we find it online.

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