12 responses to “Why SF’s Proposed Sit/Lie Laws Are a Terrible Idea”

  1. TheDeviatedNorm

    That is SO FUCKED UP. This reminds me of the Anatole France quote “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

    I’ve been trying to figure out what else to say for a while now, and all I can manage is THIS IS SO FUCKED UP.

  2. Kaitlyn

    They mention tourists as acceptable sitters, while proposing hiding the homeless or “undesirables” from said tourists.

    And I’m not “well-heeled” (what does that mean anyway? Good shoes?) but I sat on the curb today waiting for my mom to pick me up. I sit on the curb when we’re kicked out because of a fire alarm and it’s 2 am and there is nowhere else to go. It would be so funny (hey, it’s 2 am) if the police stop before going in the building to give us all “warnings”. And then write us up when we don’t move after they leave the building.

    “Common sense” and police, bah. This and the Arizona law make me sick. Because I bet the tourists were um, how do I say this, WHITE.

  3. JMS

    But Anatole France was not cynical enough! In actual fact, the law gives the rich a warning for sleeping under the bridge, and runs the poor in for the same behavior.

    Kevin Cashman appears to be working from a dictionary where “common sense” and “profiling” have somehow had their definitions reversed.

  4. lauredhel

    I don’t suppose anyone has a link to the full language of the bill? One of the sites mentions strollers and wheelchairs as exceptions, but not scooters, seated walkers, or any other assistive device.

    More people who might not be impressed at the proposed law:

    Paralympian Kurt Fearnley , who recently did the Kokoda Trail

    Nick Santonastasso, who’s a whiz on a skateboard

    Motivational speaker John Coutis

  5. abby jean
  6. Astrid

    This is a horribl eidea indeed. Apparently, if we don’t see “undesirables” out on our streets, they aren’t there.

  7. LJF Wolffe

    They tried this in Portland, OR — for many of the same unstated reasons — and it was declared unconstitutional. I recommend looking up the coverage on portlandmercury.com (same stupid name: sit/lie ordinance), if you’re interested. They’re not deterred, though; they’re trying it again. Yuck.

    It’d be really funny if the PDX cops have to go up and down the downtown transit mall and “warn” every tired commuter waiting for a bus, but that’s not going to happen, now is it? 8-(

  8. kaninchenzero

    @Astrid, you are not wrong. This is really vile unpleasant shit. These sorts of ordnances are designed to make problem people go away and fail categorically to acknowledge the structural problems that create systemic poverty and homelessness especially in the US. They treat homeless people as a cosmetic problem and provide only the most superficial of solutions.

    Of course addressing the structural issues that create large-scale systemic poverty and homelessness would be expensive and would definitely turn the US into the Socialist hell the kyriarchist oligarchy supporters keep shouting President Obama is leading the country towards. If only!
    .-= kaninchenzero┬┤s last blog ..For trouble Who has to Grade Papers =-.

  9. apathykills

    I was homeless several years ago in Seattle. The law was not enforced equally. Police would hassle the homeless, who often spend most of the day walking, for sitting down. However, if the people sitting were college students, they were left alone. (in the u-district) Downtown, they had these MID people (kinda like cop-lookouts) who were always nice enough to give me warnings-telling me you need to move before the cops get here because someone complained that you have been sitting here for ten minutes. These laws are designed to be discriminatory. The town I live in now (no longer homeless thankfully) has passed an anti-panhandling ordinance. Something tells me this law will be enforced selectively-I doubt they will mess with girl scouts in front of the grocery store, but they will go after someone on a corner with a sign. I agree there should be laws prohibiting aggressive panhandling, but not all panhandlers are aggressive.

  10. Astrid

    @ K0: so where should all the homeless people go? If the U.S. and other governments aren’t going to provide real, structural solutions, making homeless people invisible, will not help. They got to live somewhere, after all. But apparently, the powers that be don’t believe so.

  11. codeman38

    @LJF Wolffe: Wow, that just made me realize how often I’ve sat on a sidewalk while waiting on the buses that are often 10 or more minutes late. And I could easily see the town I’m currently in trying to pass such a law, but they haven’t done so yet as far as I know.

    @apathykills: And what of students who might be mistaken for homeless people– say, a scruffy-looking student with autistic mannerisms wearing a backpack?

  12. kaninchenzero

    I don’t have a good answer, @Astrid. Personally I don’t want to make homeless people just go away. I want structural change and social welfare and affordable housing. I would like my governments to stop making things worse for people whose lives are already very difficult is all.

    If I gave the impression I was endorsing policies making homeless people move elsewhere without addressing the causes of homelessness I apologise. I should have stated my opposition to those policies more clearly.
    .-= kaninchenzero┬┤s last blog ..For trouble Who has to Grade Papers =-.