Dozens of opponents of a measure that would prohibit sitting on San Francisco sidewalks gathered in the Castro District Tuesday to launch a campaign against it months before voters will decide its fate.
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos was among the opponents of the proposed sit-lie measure who stood symbolically Tuesday in front of Harvey Milk Plaza at the corner of Market and Castro streets, where a similar law prohibiting sitting on sidewalks was used to target the gay community in the 1970s. It was eventually deemed unconstitutional.READ MORE: San Francisco Nightlife: Not Quite Back to Normal But Getting There
Business owners in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, where the issue has been heavily debated, say the ordinance is necessary to counter what they say is increasingly aggressive behavior by street youth that detracts from the area’s appeal as a place to shop and live.
Proponents argue the ordinance is necessary to enable police to enforce civility on sidewalks.READ MORE: California Dodges Outages During Heat Wave But EV Owners Push Grid Capacity
If approved by a simple majority of voters, the ordinance would prohibit sitting or lying on public sidewalks, or on objects placed on the sidewalk, between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. citywide.
On June 15, a week after the Board of Supervisors voted down a similar proposal, Mayor Gavin Newsom revived the proposed ordinance by placing the measure on the November ballot as Proposition L.
Campos faulted the Police Department for failing to enforce the multiple quality-of-life laws already on the books, which he said adequately address and criminalize the behavior proponents of the measure say justifies the need for the new ordinance.
Many of the speakers present at Tuesday’s event, including religious and community representatives, raised concerns that the measure would redefine San Francisco as a city that neglects vulnerable populations.MORE NEWS: Willow Fire Grows To 1,800 Acres Near Big Sur, Evacuations Ordered
Members of the Sidewalks Are for People Coalition, who oppose the measure, say the law would be enforced unfairly against homeless people, people of color, queer people, those with disabilities and youth.