Voters To Decide On Berkeley Sit-Lie Ban

BERKELEY (KCBS) – After a contentious city council meting on Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council voted 6-3 to send a controversial sit-lie ban on the November ballot.

The measure, which is modeled after one passed in San Francisco, would restrict sitting on the sidewalk from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in commercial districts, with the idea being to make those areas more shopper-friendly.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

But opponents like Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington said it criminalizes poor and homeless people. He said he’s upset that the council and particularly Mayor Tom Bates rushed through the vote and is considering legal action.

“There’s still legal questions as to whether or not a legitimate vote occurred,” Worthington said. “There have been concerns expressed that five members of the council had a secret meeting in the back room. There’s also questions that since there wasn’t a quorum in council chambers, whether or not the meeting was automatically adjourned.”

But Bates said that with all the public protesting and disruption going on inside the council chambers, he had no choice but to take a quick vote.

“We recessed and we came back in and then we passed this ordinance,” Bates said. “It was not as debated or discussed as we would like to do but it was impossible under the circumstances to do that.”

For now, the sit-lie proposal is expected to show up on the November 6 ballot.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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