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Berkeley Mayor Wants To Ban Sitting On Sidewalks

BERKELEY (KCBS) – Berkeley voters may be asked this November to consider a measure that would ban sitting on the city’s commercial sidewalks.

The plan was crafted by Mayor Tom Bates, who said the conflict between merchants and packs of young people has gotten out of hand, especially along Telegraph Avenue.

“Sometimes, there are so many people sitting on the sidewalks, you can’t even use the sidewalk or go down the sidewalk,” said Bates. “It varies from time to time but it’s a problem. It’s risen to the level of people not feeling comfortable to come to Telegraph or some parts of downtown and that’s not acceptable.”

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

A woman named Lilly, who is homeless, told KCBS said she hopes voters will reject the proposed ballot measure, which the City Council is scheduled to consider on June 12.

“I don’t really see it happening because I don’t think the community would allow that to happen,” she said.

John, who also lives on the streets of Berkeley, also disapproved of the measure. “It sucks. It’s not only homeless kids and street kids who sit on the sidewalk,” he said. “People who live in houses like to sit on the sidewalk too.”

Under the plan, city ambassadors would make initial contact with people sitting on sidewalks. That would be followed by a warning from police and after that, a $50 citation.

A similar ordinance, known as the sit-lie law, has been on the books in San Francisco for over a year, with differing opinions on its effectiveness.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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