sit-lie11.jpgSan Francisco’s controversial sit-lie ordinance has been mostly ineffective in preventing transients from loitering in the city’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, a police lieutenant said at a department meeting today.

The ordinance, approved as Proposition L by 54 percent of voters in November, makes it illegal to sit or lie on public sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., with some exceptions.

The ballot measure was pushed by local business owners–many in the Haight-Ashbury–who complained that people walking by their shops were getting harassed by aggressive street youth.

Homeless advocates had argued that the law represents a loss of civil liberties and an attack on all homeless people.

After months of training, officers began enforcing the law in March, but at a bimonthly CompStat meeting involving some of the Police Department’s top brass today, police Lt. Belinda Kerr from the Park Station acknowledged that the law has not done much to change behavior in the area.

There has been “a prolific amount of arrests, citations and warnings … but I haven’t seen that it’s done a whole lot,” Kerr said.

She said the transients will often get up when they see officers drive by in their patrol cars, but “unfortunately are getting up and going around the block and then sitting down again.”

Kerr said the city is preparing for the summer months when “we get a big push of transients” by working with the district attorney’s office to develop stay-away orders for multiple offenders that would prevent them from being in the area.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • Greg Dewar

    What a shock. a BS law concocted by CW Obvious and the Chron and other interests for various reasons turns out to be a big fraud and does nothing?

    Once again, I predicted this last year, and as in most cases, I was right. Score!

  • Greg Dewar

    What a shock. a BS law concocted by CW Obvious and the Chron and other interests for various reasons turns out to be a big fraud and does nothing?

    Once again, I predicted this last year, and as in most cases, I was right. Score!

  • Eve Batey

    Ha, Greg! When I saw this story, you were the first person I thought of.

  • Eve Batey

    Ha, Greg! When I saw this story, you were the first person I thought of.

  • James D

    Of course the level of patrol on Haight could go beyond “drive down the street in a car once every 2 hours” but that would be hard.

    Everywhere else I go in the world there are police in popular shopping and tourist areas. On foot. Walking around. Interacting with the community. Helping people and acting in a non-antagonistic manner. I guess that’s just not American though.

  • James D

    Of course the level of patrol on Haight could go beyond “drive down the street in a car once every 2 hours” but that would be hard.

    Everywhere else I go in the world there are police in popular shopping and tourist areas. On foot. Walking around. Interacting with the community. Helping people and acting in a non-antagonistic manner. I guess that’s just not American though.

  • Jackson West

    Wait, “Civil Sidewalks” does not, in fact, make policing from the comfort of a cruiser any easier because those pesky criminals just get up and walk away instead of waiting for cops to find parking? The nerve!

    I, for one, think we shouldn’t stop at sitting but criminalize walking on sidewalks as well. Try to mandate foot patrols then, suckers!

  • Jackson West

    Wait, “Civil Sidewalks” does not, in fact, make policing from the comfort of a cruiser any easier because those pesky criminals just get up and walk away instead of waiting for cops to find parking? The nerve!

    I, for one, think we shouldn’t stop at sitting but criminalize walking on sidewalks as well. Try to mandate foot patrols then, suckers!

  • Aaron Sankin

    The problem is they couldn’t criminalize “looking swarthy and scaring tourists from Ohio” and had to put in place a law that could be circumvented by standing up whenever someone sees a cop car.

  • Aaron Sankin

    The problem is they couldn’t criminalize “looking swarthy and scaring tourists from Ohio” and had to put in place a law that could be circumvented by standing up whenever someone sees a cop car.

  • Christin Evans

    A brief comment on this paragraph… which is a bit misleading in my opinion.

    “The ballot measure was pushed by local business owners–many in the Haight-Ashbury–who complained that people walking by their shops were getting harassed by aggressive street youth.”

    Since I was in the various meetings, the campaign launch and saw the campaign unfold, I can tell you that the most vocal proponents were from Gavin Newsom’s office, the Sheriff’s office, the neighborhood association HAIA, and was not pushed by but a very few merchants on the street.

    In fact, the recently formed Haight Ashbury Merchants Association (HAMA) was formed in part to combat all the negative press that the campaign and Chronicle articles generation for the neighborhood. See article here: http://www.iluvhaight.com/2011/02/03/haight-ashbury-merchants-assoc/

    Thanks for helping us keep the facts straight on this point.

  • Christin Evans

    A brief comment on this paragraph… which is a bit misleading in my opinion.

    “The ballot measure was pushed by local business owners–many in the Haight-Ashbury–who complained that people walking by their shops were getting harassed by aggressive street youth.”

    Since I was in the various meetings, the campaign launch and saw the campaign unfold, I can tell you that the most vocal proponents were from Gavin Newsom’s office, the Sheriff’s office, the neighborhood association HAIA, and was not pushed by but a very few merchants on the street.

    In fact, the recently formed Haight Ashbury Merchants Association (HAMA) was formed in part to combat all the negative press that the campaign and Chronicle articles generation for the neighborhood. See article here: http://www.iluvhaight.com/2011/02/03/haight-ashbury-merchants-assoc/

    Thanks for helping us keep the facts straight on this point.

  • JakeBarnes

    Sit/Lie too vague. Change it to: Be/Hear/Now law.

  • JakeBarnes

    Sit/Lie too vague. Change it to: Be/Hear/Now law.