Thursday, December 23, 2010

Liberal Elites Compassionate Person Until Mugged City Bans Sidewalk Sitting

Tags: San Francisco Bans Bums from Sitting on Sidewalks Proposition L Seventh Meanest City Homeless

Mayors in New York and San Francisco, Giuliani and Gavin Newsome, starkly illustrates the difference between liberal and conservative elites. Newsome does not allow bums to sit and Giuliani did not allow them to stand or sit.

Jim Kawakami, Dec 23, 2010,

Lefty San Francisco Bans Poor from Resting on Sidewalks AlterNet, Tana Ganeva, Dec 20, 2010, … In addition to the metal in his forehead, Paul's stint in Vietnam earned him a whopping $400 a month, or just enough to pay for about two weeks in a SRO (single residence occupancy). So partly through choice ("I like being out here because I can help people") and partly through necessity, he sleeps on the street in San Francisco's Mission District.

Starting last Friday, Paul and the rest of the city's homeless (numbering between 7,000 and 10,000) won't legally be allowed to do that anymore, a development that leaves him shaking his head in bewilderment, saying “fuck that.”

On November 2, as the GOP swept into a majority in the House on Teabagger juice, voters in freewheeling San Francisco -- one of the haloed liberal utopias bookending dreaded "flyover country" -- passed Proposition L, a sit-lie ordinance that outlaws sleeping (or resting or sitting) on a public sidewalk between 7am and 11pm.

Police are supposed to give a warning, but after that they can issue a citation that carries a $50-$100 dollar fine. A repeat offense within 24 hours earns the unrepentant sitter a $300-$500 ticket, and/or up to 10 days in jail. If caught sitting or reclining again within 120 days of the original conviction, the individual can be fined $400-$500 dollars and end up in jail for 30 days. …

“If the law were enforced the way it is on the books," the ACLU of Northern California's legal director Allan Schlosser tells AlterNet, “We'd be living in a police state." But as Schlosser explains, the sit-lie ordinance is unlikely to be enforced against, say, the millions of tourists who flood the city with billions of dollars in annual revenues.

Of course, jumping peaceful residents already tends to be illegal. So are many of the other behaviors cited by Nevius, Barrett, Gascon, and others campaigning for sit-lie. Aggressive panhandling and sidewalk obstruction are against the law. The city has strict laws against loitering. In fact, San Francisco was named the seventh "Meanest" city in its treatment of the homeless in a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless.

The SFPD issues around 10,000 citations each year for "quality of life" crimes such camping and blocking the sidewalk. Religious Witness for the Homeless found that the city used up $9,847,027 on 56,567 such citations between 2004-2008. (That money, they determined, could be used to house "492 people, put 300 people in a three-month detox center, or pay the salaries of 113 psychiatric outreach workers.) …

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