News

Proposed sidewalk sitting ban prompts debate, protest

Councilmember Kriss Worthington addressed a small group of homeless advocates outside City Hall Monday, calling the proposed ban on sidewalk sitting “outrageous” and “rushed”. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Update, 4: 50 pm: At a press conference convened today at 3 pm, Mayor Bates, accompanied by councilmembers Linda Maio and Laurie Capitelli sought to reassure prospective voters on the Civil Sidewalks measure that its intent was not to criminalize the homeless, but rather “get people out of a debilitating street life and into a better future.” They announced that they would factor more time into working out how to implement the measure — moving the implementation date from March 1 2013 to July 1 2013 — and would be looking at the example set by Santa Monica in particular for guidance.

The key there, they said, was that ordinances were a “back pocket” resource. “Their approach is humane and consistent. They do not use ordinances unless they have to,” they said.

Original story: Mayor Tom Bates’ proposal to put an item banning sitting on Berkeley’s sidewalks on the November ballot will likely provoke lively public comment at tonight’s City Council meeting, but the move has already prompted much debate and hand-wringing in the community.

On Monday, a small group of around 20 homeless advocates gathered outside City Hall to protest the suggested measure. A coalition calling itself Stand Up for the Right to Sit Down submitted a 773- signature strong petition to the city and heard from two of the three City Councilmembers who oppose the move: Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín. Max Anderson is the third. Two more councilmembers would need to vote against the item to prevent it going before voters in November.

Meanwhile, four councilmembers — Gordon Wozniak, Darryl Moore, Susan Wengraf and Laurie Capitelli — put their names behind an online solicitation of public opinion at Open Town Hall that drew 171 statements (the survey closed at 11:00am today).

A total of 176 comments have been submitted so far to Berkeleyside’s June 1 article on the sit-lie ordinance.

And Mayor Bates has called a press conference for 3:00pm today, ahead of the council meeting, to issue a statement, he says, regarding the sidewalks ballot measure.

The Civil Sidewalks Ballot Measure calls for no sitting on sidewalks between the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m in commercial districts. Violators would be warned twice and then receive a $50 citation or be required to perform community service. The proposal builds on the Public Commons for Everyone Initiative (PCEI) recommendations that were adopted in November 2007, and included the banning of lying on sidewalks.

Berkeley is among the most generous cities in the country in funding homeless services, and people in need of support often gravitate here. The two areas most affected are Shattuck Avenue downtown and Telegraph Avenue.

The new recommendation is modeled on similar initiatives that have been implemented as part of  the creation of property-based improvement districts (PBids) in cities including Seattle, Santa Monica and Santa Cruz.

San Francisco’s sit-lie ordinance, which went into effect in March 2011, is perceived to have been unsuccessful. A independent report on the measure’s impact showed that the bulk of reviewed citations were going to the same 19 repeat offenders, and that it was not dissuading homeless people from sitting on sidewalks.

The Berkeley measure distinguishes itself from the San Francisco one in several aspects, however. First, it only applies to commercial districts unlike San Francisco. Berkeley also says it favors changed behavior rather than citations and fines. “With appropriate outreach and education, very few citations are written when people know the rules or need a reminder and/or warning,” it states. In San Francisco, the police are responsible for enforcing the ban, while in Berkeley’s downtown area at least, outreach to street people is primarily the responsibility of Hospitality Ambassadors who patrol the area and liaise closely with social services, according to John Caner, Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association.

Public engagement so far gives a flavor of some of the opinions held by business owners and residents in the city.

A District 8 resident who opposes the measure said on Open Town Hall: “I am against this ordinance as I think it will (A) target a population who need help, not punishment; (B) waste the time of the Berkeley Police who clearly have more important crimes to investigate and prevent; and (C) infringe on the civil rights of all citizens.”

Also on Open Town Hall, however, Charles Kahn agreed it was a civil rights issue — for pedestrians. “Pedestrians have a right to use a public sidewalk to go where they need to go. Should loiterers have the right to lie or sit on a public sidewalk and obstruct that pedestrian traffic? I don’t think they should. It is unfortunate that there are so many in Berkeley who are unwilling to keep the sidewalks free for pedestrians that we need to make a law to enforce common courtesy.”

On Berkeleyside, Paul Kealoha Blake, owner of East Bay Media Center on Addison Street, wrote: “I find the Sit/Lie effort to be both an economic and social travesty only awaiting the pull of an administrative trigger.”

But another Berkeleyside commenter, Bear parent, said: “I have come up with an imperfect but for the time being workable solution: avoid retail areas in Berkeley… If the homeless folks have a right to hang around on the street and harass passers by, I suppose the passers by have a right to avoid them altogether. Sadly, Moe’s [Books] has always been a favorite but I am getting tired of running the gauntlet to get inside.”

The City Council will hear Bates’ proposal, which is No. 47 on the agenda, tonight at 7 p.m. at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley. The city manager is being asked come back to the council with suitable ballot measure language. The ordinance, if approved by voters, would cost an estimated $26,000 and go into effect on March 1, 2013.

Read the Civil Sidewalks Ballot Measure recommendation document.

Related:
Mayor seeks to put sit-lie ordinance on November ballot [06.01.12]
Police step up patrols on Telegraph to keep sidewalks clear [05.01.12]
Newly cleaned up downtown hopes to attract more retail [04.04.12]
Anti sit-lie campaigners take protesters to City Hall [04.27.11]

Want to get a digest of all the day’s Berkeley news in your email inbox at the end of your working day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.

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  • PragmaticProgressive

    Read what the rest of the posters have said, Greg.  There are plenty of specifics laid out and if you choose to call the desire for civil public spaces “extreme,” well, that’s on you.

  • Greg

    With apologies to the Gipper, there you go again…

    I didn’t tell you to embrace anything.  Do what you want within the law.  And note, I’m not going to advocate changing the law to force you to be courteous.

    If you want to explain the behavior you find boorish to your child, then don’t.  That said, if you expect to exert that level of control over somebody else’s behavior then, to borrow your phrase:

    “Good luck with that.”

    To be very clear I don’t derive joy from your aggravation.  I do, however, find some of your comprehension errors, non-sequiturs, and strange logical leaps comical (but even that is in the black comedy sense, understanding that ultimately we probably have about the same influence over public policy).

    Though not really relevant, I do have children and parents that are well on their way to elderly status.  They both spend considerable time downtown.  Assuming those things you deem vulgar and menacing are there, then yes.

    As far as unstable, well they’ve mostly been left out of the conversation as most people here seem to give them more leeway.  Though it may reveal some ignorance on my part, the overtly unstable (read, probably unmedicated schizophrenic people) do make me nervous in a  way others don’t.

  • Greg

    Could you explain, because I really don’t get it.

    Are you saying that downtown Berkeley is in fact my living room?  

    I assure you it is not.

    Or, are you saying that I will in fact advocate removing removing people from downtown who I think are not sufficiently courteous?  

    Again I promise that is not my agenda, though I do think it would greatly enhance the enjoyment of downtown by the people of Berkeley I find to be the most deserving.

  • bgal4

    The ordinance does not REMOVE anyone, including those who rely on money collected from panhandling. However, it does not allow them to spend the day spread out on the sidewalk, they can collect donations while standing.
    Panhandlers are not entitled to take up so much of the sidewalk.

  • Greg

    Like I said, good luck with that.

    Outside the instances of things that are already disallowed (though arguably not enforced) much of what is described here is frankly the kind of things you just sort of have to expect if you want to be a member of a pluralistic, free society.

    You’re gonna have to pry motherf*cker from my cold, dead lips.  

    Certainly you understand, I get the impression you’d fight to the death to avoid saying things like “hello” and “sorry, not today”.  

    But, there I go again, advocating some “extreme” desire for civil public spaces!

    Given how easily you seem to discount explicit statements I feel compelled to spell this one out before finally putting it to bed:

    I’m not *really* going to try to use the law to force you to be courteous in public spaces.  Ultimately like you have done numerous times, I just wanted to point out those behaviors I think display an undeserved level of entitlement and anti-social attitudes.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Downtown streets are not my living room, so I can’t tell people what they can do there.

    Downtown streets are the public spaces of this city, so the public can pass laws telling people what they can do there. 

    There are many cases of legitimate laws governing the use of public places and public accommodations, such as laws against smoking and laws against racial discrimination.  If someone smokes in my living room, I can tell them to leave.  If someone smokes in the restaurants that are open to the public, then we all can pass a law banning smoking in restaurants.

    According to you, those non-smoking laws involve a sense of entitlement that is objectionable, but that is a fringe position.

    Needless to say, people have constitutional rights to act in public in ways that may annoy us – for example, freedom of speech to advocate unpopular ideas.  But the living-room argument has nothing to do with whether this sit-lie law is constitutional. 

  • Charles_Siegel

     I should add that we have lots of laws regulating minor nuisances: you cannot keep your garbage bin by the curb for more than one day, cannot ride your bike on the sidewalk, cannot park for more than one hour at a metered space.  Needless to say, life would be much more filled with nuisances if we did not pass laws to control them.

  • Bruce Love

     

    According to you, those non-smoking laws involve a sense of entitlement that is objectionable,

    You’re better than that, Charles.

  • Greg

    Just to be clear, I at no point even came close to implying the *ordinance* will remove anyone.

    As said  elsewhere, I’m actually more on the fence when it comes to the ordinance.  My guess is it won’t actually do a whole lot, beyond getting some people up on their feet for more of the day and moving some others outside downtown.

    I’m mostly OK with that.

    My post is not really even directly about the ordinance.  I think most posts here are similar, or at least I hope; otherwise there are people who are quite confused about what it says and will be bitterly disappointed by what it actually does.

    All I’m doing is pointing out additional behaviors that I find equally appalling.

    Read the other posts on the various threads since this was announced.  Many of them are, to my sensibilities, gross.  

    Whether overtly advocating for or at least hoping for it, many of them go far beyond telling somebody to stand up and get their stuff off the sidewalk.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    So we obviously disagree as to what “kind of things you just sort of have to expect.”  Luckily, the pluralistic, free society allows us to pass laws to clarify what our community does and does not consider civil behavior.  There is, of course, the whole question of enforcement, but that’s another debate.  And then there’s the other way of voting — with one’s feet.  It’s pretty clear from reading posts here that quite a few people are choosing not to spend time or money downtown.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t move around Downtown in some bubble of disengagement.  I do sometimes choose to return a hello to someone I don’t know, just as I’ve chosen to offer a sandwich to someone who looks like he hasn’t eaten in a while.  

    But I don’t HAVE to do those things and it’s not uncivil of me to keep to myself.  Try it sometime:  take a walk and smile/greet everyone you pass.  If they don’t reply in kind, yell at them.  By your reasoning, they were being anti-social, so they deserve it, right?  And your yelling is “kind of things you just sort of have to expect,” right?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    And there’s the problem with your analogy:  a law to force everyone to respond to every stranger’s greeting would have zero chance of passage.  Maybe in the finishing school you attended such niceties were required at every encounter, but very few people would meet your standard.  I doubt that even you do.

    Conversely, there seem to be quite a few people who want the commercial areas to be civil spaces in which everyone can move around, without having to step over people sprawled out on the sidewalk.  

  • Bruce Love

    But I don’t HAVE to do those things and it’s not uncivil of me to keep
    to myself.  Try it sometime:  take a walk and smile/greet everyone you
    pass.  If they don’t reply in kind, yell at them.  By your reasoning,
    they were being anti-social, so they deserve it, right?  And your
    yelling is “kind of things you just sort of have to expect,” right?

    You do remember, right, that the proposed ordinance has nothing at all to do with that?

  • bgal4

    Thanks for the additional clarification. As to implementation of this incremental improvement, I think if done with good data supporting who they target it will be helpful. As a former community policing partner in Area 3 I am familiar with the specific challenges of the top problematic offenders in downtown. This tool can assist.

    Like most changes this is primarily a political will matter, the council wants voters support to argue for enforcement. I would prefer leadership that does not need to go the voters again. But Berkeley has always pandered to their special interest groups, and that does not include the average tax payers.

    We use downtown all the time. And yes plenty of bad stuff has happened to us directly. No need to list bad memories.

    Berkeley is one of the most classist and hypocritical places I have ever lived or visited. Not a culture built on practical realities.

    We were walking on Shattuck back from the Cheeseboard to south Berkeley one night when this happy go lucky panhandler pulls out his cell phone and starts bragging loudly about his cash pull down for the day. He looks at me and ask for more, I give one of my usual lines declining his request, hie responds by waving his wad in my face.

    I say f… em.  I give to the folks who clearly are in harm and bundled up in some corner, gentle folks, damaged folks. Otherwise I take care of my own, which is hard enough these days.

    I have said it over and over, plenty of the most vulnerable people deserving of support are frightened and harmed by the  aggression of the entitled ones.

  • Greg

    “According to you, those non-smoking laws involve a sense of entitlement that is objectionable, but that is a fringe position.”
    Good point.  Also, Charles, if you try to murder a child in my living room we’re going to have a problem.  Take that cr*p downtown, where I believe we’ll be powerless to intervene.

    This is silly, and I hope you know it.

    I’m not advocating a ‘living room’ test for constitutionality, and again, I hope you know that.  

    I’m not actually even speaking to the sit/lie ordinance as proposed (again, as is also the case for the posts I personally found objectionable).

    Jumping from a “profanity” ban, or an “insult” ban, or a “don’t look at me funny” ban or whatever it is that it will take to accomplish what some here seemingly advocate to a “smoking” ban is a stretch.

    Certainly *you* don’t want to state the harm imposed by second hand smoke and  the harm imposed by a “Too Ugly to Prostitute” sign are indistinguishable, do you?

    All I’m really doing is trying to point out that the themes common to many of these posts are to some degree subjective matters.  

    In many cases those most vocal here seem to lack self-awareness when it comes to their own sense of entitlement and anti-social behavior. 

    Additionally, the them of what constitutes a ‘productive’ person is subjective.  Admittedly, my attempt to apply that here is not very convincing though.

  • Bruce Love

     

    Conversely, there seem to be quite a few people who want the commercial
    areas to be ciovil spaces in which everyone can move around, without
    having to step over people sprawled out on the sidewalk.

    You do understand, right, that there are already laws against blocking the sidewalk?   And that “stepping over people” is not the rationale offered by proponents of this law, including yourself in other comments? 

  • Bruce Love

     

    In many cases those most vocal here seem to lack self-awareness when it
    comes to their own sense of entitlement and anti-social behavior.

    That’s a realization that helps to explain why putting the civil rights of minorities up for popular vote historically produces such bad outcomes.

  • Bruce Love

    It’s a pretty interesting thread.

    A  number of people told personal stories about behavior they’ve found objectionable downtown — almost none of them mentioning “sitting” among those behaviors.    They seemed to be insisting that these stories were good justification for a law against sitting.

    There was some pretty funky parsing of a comment made by Councilmember Anderson.  There is some cowardly anonymous insistence that this Black, ostensibly progressive council member was coding his speech using homophobic prison lingo, perhaps referring to sexual violence, and that he threatened the mayor with physical violence.   (To me it looked like Anderson was distancing himself from certain council members who are consistently compliant to the mayor’s creative interpretations of procedure and threatening to return to council with even greater levels of public opposition to the measure — but, hey, the racist and classist interpretation of Anderson’s words is certainly a view that some people apparently want to put forward, especially if they can do so by writing graffiti and not letting it be attached to their name.)

    Greg made a few terrific rallying cries for basic civility and Enlightenment values and elementary civics.   The usual suspects attacked him for that.   Hi, Greg.  Fun, isn’t it?     (Incidentally, I don’t think you should be so “meh” about the measure.  I think you should be more squaerly agin’ it for mix of reasons both realpolitik and on constitutional principles — but I have the distinct impression it’s a discussion we could have and, there’s plenty of time…..)

    Oh, I only noticed one anonymous overt call for violence against poor people this time.   I’d have expected a couple of more from Berkeleyside.

    On a personal note I mentioned that I find a lot of the commercial offerings downtown to be over-priced for the value they deliver and a bunch of anonymous people who like to argue against anything and everything I might say argued against me.    I guess in their view they are more authoritative than I am about what I do or do not find to be over-priced.

  • The Sharkey

    Actually, it’s a good point.
    Anti-smoking laws are laws that ban what the majority has deemed to be unacceptable behavior in public spaces. It’s a very apt comparison.

  • The Sharkey

    Why are you trying to summarize the contents of a discussion thread on one article at the end of the discussion thread for a different article? Are you just kind of confusing the two? The discussion has been similar so I suppose that’s understandable, but 3/4 of the things you’re responding to happened over here:

    http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/06/13/sit-lie-ordinance-progresses-toward-november-ballot/

    Asking you to clarify your statements RE: downtown being “over-priced” is not an attack. While some other posters clearly got fed up with the run-around responses you were giving, most were polite. Perhaps if you were more willing to explain yourself (rather than just making convoluted comments and then walking away) other posters might not get fed up with you so quickly.

    Comments and opinions about Anderson’s outrageous behavior at the council meeting are not “racist” simply because he’s black. While I don’t buy the reading that defines Anderson’s comments as homophobic, none of the comments about Anderson’s outbursts were racist.

    You ought to stop treating the BSide comments section like City Council meetings or Letters to the Editor. You keep popping in, typing up short soliloquies, and then ignoring people who respond to you or ask for clarification. The structure of these comment pages allows for dialogue. Try participating in it.

  • The Sharkey

    Smoking is just as much a “civil right” as sitting on the sidewalk is.

  • Bruce Love

     

    Smoking is just as much a “civil right” as sitting on the sidewalk is.

    Sharkey is one of our leading advocates concerning the dangers of second-hand sitting.

  • The Sharkey

    I’m not really sure if I agree or disagree with you. Your writing style is very similar to Bruce Love’s (Is it a programmer/engineer thing, I wonder?) and that makes it difficult for me to parse. In general I have no idea what you’re saying when you make longer posts. I can tease out the meaning of specific sections, but when I try to put it together into a coherent whole I can’t determine what the main thrust of your comment is supposed to be.

    This isn’t a criticism. I’m just trying to explain why I’m only responding to a single specific point, and lopped off a part of the statement that seemed inconsequential to me but that you clearly thought was very important.

  • The Sharkey

    It’s interesting how you seem to only resort to short, one-line quips when you don’t really want to have to defend your comments.

    The two issues are more similar than they are different, and I am fairly certain that neither activity is specifically enumerated as a “civil right” in the State or Federal Constitution. But I haven’t read either in quite some time so if you think there’s a line somewhere in one of those documents that explicitly states that sitting on public sidewalks in business districts is a civil right I would be happy to be corrected.

  • Greg


    And there’s the problem with your analogy:  a law to force everyone to respond to every stranger’s greeting would have zero chance of passage.”

    You seem pretty confident that you’ve got the critical mass to make a Berkeley a Profanity Free Zone.  Seems dubious to me (even more so the inclusion of the *word* “prostitute”).

    Personally I think you’ll have better luck with the Berkeley as Name-calling Free Zone.

    To again use my new favorite phrase (and thanks for that!):

    “Good luck with that.”

  • Greg

    Fair enough.  Turns out Bruce and I have similar backgrounds.

    Whether there exists a cause/effect relationship between that and writing style I do not know.

    I do know that from what I’ve read here I think he’s smart, witty, and at times funny as hell (there are occasions where something he’s written that I interpret as a joke is taken literally).  

    That could go a long way towards explaining the reaction he gets here, which quite frankly I just don’t understand.

    Certainly there are people in those fields who are very effective communicators able to tailor their ideas to virtually any audience.  Obviously that ain’t me.

    Really, in this case all I was trying to do was register *my* disapproval at what I saw as anti-social behavior and undeserved sense of entitlement by people who seemingly presume to know how those standards should be set for our community.  I fancied it somewhat clever, others apparently did not.

    Literally, some of the comments on some of the threads made me queasy.  Some of them made me laugh out loud.  Mostly they just left me feeling kind of embarrassed.

    And all of this is from someone who isn’t necessarily opposed to the sit/lie measure!

  • Greg

    The thing is, Charles is insinuating that what I’ve said somehow necessitates that I be against a smoking ban.  It does not.

    We are talking about entitlement.  Clearly we as a society have consensus on a great deal of matters when it comes to what we are and are not entitled to in public spaces.

    We’re entitled to be safe from physical violence.

    We are not, currently, entitled to be safe from all words/ideas/images we deem offensive.

    Apparently we’re entitled to sit on the sidewalk in some instances.  That we may agree to change.

    We’re not, currently, entitled to be free from people looking at us in a manner we don’t like.

    My original point, that Charles objected to, was that those who are quick to label the behavior of others as displaying an unacceptable level of entitlement (and have employed the “living room” comparison) could be argued to be committing the same offense.

    That is, they want to exert a level of control over the behavior of others they currently have in their own private “living rooms” but do not have in the public space.  

    Admittedly this is a different angle on the “living room” idea.  I thought it apt, maybe you don’t.

    Charles misses the mark, I think, in that he suggests that if I believe there are behaviors one can prohibit in one’s own living room but *not* in the public space, then I am suggesting that no behaviors one can limit in one’s own living room can be limited in the public space.  Hopefully it doesn’t take more explanation as to why that is absurd.

    Where he may be right is where that line is drawn.  We may very well be *able* to prohibit the word “prostitute” from appearing in the public space.  I doubt it, but maybe.  I have even more significant doubts about whether *we* would even try.

    Honestly if Berkeley were the kind of town that would even consider a “public profanity ban” I would leave.  My gut feeling is that holds true for most people here.

  • The Sharkey

    I think a lot of it is a reaction to the long-winded and loud-mouthed champions of the status quo that show up at City Council meetings in droves to boo and heckle anyone who wants change.

    Fair or not, the stances that Bruce takes often get him lumped into that crowd, and as the main mouthpiece for some of those viewpoints he ends up taking a lot of ire that’s meant for other people.

  • The Sharkey

    Part of the problem here is that you’re playing with somewhat rhetorical questions and then wanting them to be justified/grounded in the real world.

    Charles’ examples of trash cans or bikes on the sidewalk are pretty good, and it seems silly and a bit pointless to get hung up on the word “prostitute” the way you are.

    It’s very single-minded and ignores the larger issue in order to pick at a specific, fairly inconsequential point.

  • Greg

    This is an interesting tact.

    Do you know what else is a specific, fairly inconsequential point?

    Sitting.

    We both clearly agree on that.

    Look through the hundreds of comments about this topic.  As a complaint, sitting on the sidewalk doesn’t register all that frequently given the nature of the ordinance discussed.

    Bear with me on this.

    The kinds of *behaviors* most often mentioned include panhandling, harassing/intimidating, use of offensive language, etc.

    Nearly as often types of *people* are mentioned (“gutter punks”, “homeless”, “mentally ill”, etc).

    Also oft mentioned is the value judgement placed on those people (“disgusting”, “non-productive”, etc).

    To me, these are the comments that sketch out the “larger issue” on most people’s minds.  Do you agree?

    It seems like several people here want to narrow the topic back to the sit/lie ordinance in order to neuter comments on the “larger issue” when it suits their needs.  They simultaneous indulge themselves on “larger issue” topics quite freely when *that* suits their needs.

    I’ve tried to be *very* explicit that I’m speaking to the comments made here that I think display a sense of entitlement and anti-social attitudes that are at levels offensive to *my* sensibilities.

    The reason I fall back on the “prostitute” bit so often is that it is the most striking example (and easy to articulate example) of what I see as an almost comical sense of entitlement coming from people who seem worked up about others violating what they deem an acceptable level of entitlement.

    There are others.  The “motherf*cker” on the shirt example, the general panhandling/Street Spirit vendor example, etc.

    To be clear, my comparison between instances of “entitlement” is not rhetorical:

    You and I probably have a similar visceral reaction to the “gutter punks”.  However, I’m not lying or exaggerating when I say that I essentially have the same reaction to this kind of nonsense.  I see it and think:

    “You know what you entitled little twerp, the option is there.  Put your nose to the grindstone and become a multi-billionaire so that you can just create your own little fiefdom where you can fire anybody that deigns to make eye-contact with you”.  

    Obviously that is childish on my part.  I don’t presume myself to be a reliable arbiter of the standards of decency; at least not one that can be trusted to meddle in the affairs of others to the level it would take to control this (nor do I ascribe to the wisdom of the masses this ability).  Instead I try not to act out on it in ways that affect the world around me.  And there is the crux.

    Like I said, I believe the posts here sketch out the “larger issue”.  It is only a sketch so I suppose reasonable people can disagree as to what it looks like (Elvis?  The Blessed Virgin?).  Suffice to say, to my eyes it isn’t pretty.  
    An obviously developmentally disabled and/or mentally ill woman was *literally* referred to as “horrible” and “disgusting” by more than one person here (other threads on the topic, I believe).  The one poster that spoke to this (albeit generally) was shouted down as some kind of champion of bad behavior (and hit with the *spectacularly* moronic “Why don’t you invite them to your place?” bit).

    My intro has proved prescient:  I do regret posting here.  It was nothing you said, Sharkey.  You were quite cordial.  It is just the general “beating your head against the wall” feeling it imparts.

    My guess would be that if you, Bruce, and others were to actually sit down at Jupiter and hold this conversation as random people drinking beers it would be a genial affair.  As it is, and this is probably due to my own neurosis more than anything, I’m just left scratching my head wondering why I’m arguing on a website.

    ———————-

    As to the other topic, you’re right, Charles lists great examples of instances where we’ve decided to limit behavior in public spaces.  As it is, I am actually *for* all of these.  

    I’ll give Charles the benefit of the doubt and assume he really believed I was speaking to the constitutionality of sit/lie.  Otherwise, as applied to what I actually *said* his point is exceedingly silly, and could be summarized as:

    “If you believe there exists *any* behavior we can not, or should not, regulate in public spaces then you believe there exists *no* behavior we can, or should, regulate in public spaces.”

    ———————-

    And if you made it this far, well, sorry!

  • The Sharkey

    TL;DR, and in general too disjointed.

    Part of why you feel like you’re beating your head against the wall is that the way you structure your comments makes it hard for anyone to know what you’re trying to say.

  • Greg

    If you were confused by the egregious typo (tact not tack) in the first line as confusing you I’d get it.

    “TL;DR” required me to use a search engine.  I can only assume we live in different worlds.

  • guEST

    How can you question the efficacy of a forum where a response of ‘you lie’ is made to the statement ‘yesterday I walked from point A to point B’?