Tag Archives: Sit-Lie Ordinance

Measure S: Will it help or hurt the homeless?

Measure S would prohibit sitting on the sidewalk, during certain hours, in Berkeley’s commercial districts. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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On Nov. 6, Berkeley voters will decide whether to approve a controversial ordinance to ban, in most cases, sitting on sidewalks in the city’s business districts from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Measure S is Berkeley’s second attempt to pass a law limiting where and when people can sit on sidewalks. (A 1994 attempt, which included lying on the sidewalk as well, later was repealed by the City Council, after initial approval by voters. The ACLU challenged the law before it went into effect and, in 1997, “a newly elected Berkeley City Council voted to repeal the sit-and-lie ban.”)

Supporters of Measure S have poured more than $90,000 into the campaign, while those opposed have raised just under $16,000, according to campaign reports filed with the city clerk’s office. (See a breakdown of the contributions at Berkeley’s Voter’s Edge.)

The proposed ordinance counts among its proponents developers such as the Beacon Group (which owns 2150 Shattuck, the old Power Bar building) and Panoramic Interests (which sold its large property holdings to Sam Zell’s Equity Residential REIT and now is involved in infill development); opponents include the ACLU of Northern California and Patricia Wall of the Homeless Action Center.

Posts related to the measure have resulted in more than 1,000 reader comments on Berkeleyside. The proposed ban has spurred coverage in local, regional and national media outlets. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley sitting ban progresses toward November ballot

A group of homeless young adults wakes up after spending the night on Telegraph Avenue recently. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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In a contentious meeting that lasted until the wee hours of the morning and exposed deep divisions in Berkeley, the City Council voted early Wednesday to proceed with a measure that would put a sit-lie ordinance on the November ballot.

In a 6 to 3 vote, with City councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguín and Max Anderson dissenting, the council directed the city manager’s office to come back July 10 with wording for a ballot measure. The council will then have to vote again whether to actually place the measure on the November ballot, but its placement is expected.

City Council chambers and a downstairs hall were packed early in the evening with scores of people who wanted to speak for and against the measure, which would make it illegal to sit on a sidewalk in a commercial district between 7 am and 10 pm. Violators would be given two verbal warnings to get up, and if they didn’t comply, could get a $50 ticket. If voters adopt the measure in November, it would go into effect in July 2013. … Continue reading »

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Mayor seeks to put sit-lie ordinance on November ballot

Telegraph sitters by Nancy Rubin
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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates is asking that the City Council consider putting a sit-lie ordinance on the November ballot and the issue will be discussed at the council’s June 12 meeting.

“We’ve been making substantial progress making our streets more civil,” Bates told Berkeleyside. “We want to have people feel comfortable when they walk in the city.”

Bates said an ordinance could be similar to those in force in Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Santa Monica. Unlike the San Francisco ordinance, however, his intent is to have an ordinance that would only apply in Berkeley’s commercial zones from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Berkeley law currently makes lying on sidewalks an offense, but Bates said “it’s very difficult to enforce” that provision. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley students want better stores, fewer street people

People hanging out on Telegraph on Memorial Day Photo: Nancy Rubin
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While UC Berkeley students eat regularly downtown and on Telegraph Avenue, they generally go elsewhere to shop for clothes, get their hair cut, buy sundries, or go out on the town, according to a new survey of 1,800 graduate and undergraduate students.

While 40.3% of the respondents say they eat weekly on Telegraph Avenue, at least half said they visit the street less than once a month to shop, work, or get personal or professional services. Instead, they go to Emeryville or San Francisco. The numbers were similar for downtown.

But the students said they would frequent Berkeley’s shops more frequently if the selection was better, the streets were cleaner, and they felt safer walking around. … Continue reading »

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Anti sit-lie campaigners take protest to City Hall

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A group of about 70 people marched to the City Council Chambers Tuesday evening, after meeting on Telegraph Avenue, to protest a possible sit-lie ordinance in the city.

Although the item was not on last night’s City Council agenda, the protest’s organizer, Michael Diehl, told the Daily Cal that the group wanted to let the council know what they thought before it came to before council members. Diehl distributed fliers and organized the protest, which was attended by several UC Berkeley … Continue reading »

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