A great sit-lie debate


KPFA's morning show had a great debate this morning around the sit-lie law, featuring Gabriel Haaland, a longtime Haight resident, and Ted Lowenberg, president of the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association. You can listen to it here.

In the discussion -- nicely moderated by Brian Edwards-Tiekert -- you could see the essential problem with the law emerging.

Haaland pointed out that blocking or obstructing the sidewalk is already illegal; so is aggressive panhandling, assault and all of the other behaviors Lowenberg complained about. Lowenberg's response: Yes, that's true, but it's hard to arrest someone on those charges; you have to fill out paperwork. What we need is to give the police more discretion to use their judgment to make arrests when they think that's what's needed.

"The police need the immediate ability to respond without paperwork," he said.

And that's precisely what bothers a lot of us about this law.

The San Francisco police have a long history of abusing their "judgment" in cases involving marginalized populations. A lot of us don't believe that arrests will be limited to violent bad actors -- and we have many, many years of evidence to back us up.

Haaland pointed out that the last time a sit-lie law was enforced, in the 1970s when the cops wanted to crack down on the hippies on Haight Street, it wound up being used against gay men in the Castro. This time, it could be any of a wide range of people who wind up sitting on the sidewalks, for a lot of reasons.

Lowenberg kept talking about "street thugs" and complaining that the district attorney hasn't prosecuted them when they've attacked people -- in one case, gouging someone's eyes and biting him. But attacking someone on the street is already illegal; does anyone really think that the D.A., and the law-enforcement model, will be any more effective with the new law in place?

It won't -- but that's not the point. I think what Lowenberg and his allies want is to give the police more power, to let them "clean up the streets" as they see fit. It's not about courts and prosecution; it's about curbside justice. And that's never worked well in San Francisco.



Why was the article from yesterday apparently deleted where the Guardian interviewed some of the people sitting on the sidewalk in the Haight? I don't see the article anywhere on the site and a Google search doesn't bring it up either. And the picture above (with the guy holding the sign that begins with the word "SEX!!!") was used for that article. That article had 3 comments as of early this morning. One from ubiquitous Arthur Evans who's for sit-lie and who seems to be burning up the Internet on this topic. There were two comments from me where I pointed out that after doing a Google search that Google brings up 9 PAGES of entries regarding Arthur Evans and sit-lie. The Google search was very informative. The man clearly has an agenda and has done a saturation job on this topic of sit-lie, which led me to ask: Who is paying Arthur Evans to do all this work for his regressive agenda? It would seem to be a full-time job for him. Most recently, he had a letter published in the Bay Area Reporter. That letter was very similar (if not the same) as his comments on here. He seems to do copy and paste work.

So Google: Arthur Evans, and see for yourself what I'm talking about.

I oppose sit-lie.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

The article was from this week's paper -- you can click "this week's paper" on the front page for a full listing of the articles from this week's paper. Not sure why you couldn't find it in google, although we do in fact have a search feature on our site and it turned up there fine. Here's the link to the story:


Posted by marke on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

Okay, gracias.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

In a post above, Sam asks:

"Who is paying Arthur Evans to do all this work for his regressive agenda?"

I wish someone were paying me! If Sam has any extra patrons lying around, I hope he'll let me know.

Truth is, I just want my neighborhood to be safe, clean, and peaceful. It still amazes me that people oppose such an effort - and in the name of progressive politics!

The proposed sit-lie law will allow police to direct sidewalk squatters to move along, without requiring the police first to have a formal complaint from a civilian, as is now the case. The proposed law specifies that first-time offenders will be given a warning only, with no citation.

The requirement for a civilian complaint is due to two arcane General Orders of the Police Commission. Apparently they were created as part of the settlement of a court case some years ago and cannot be readily rescinded. The sit-lie law is a reasonable solution to this problem.

For anyone interested in my life apart from neighborhood activism, I'm a writer of scholarly books. You can find out about my latest book by doing a search on its title:

Critique of Patriarchal Reason.

Even better, Sam may want to buy a copy of this book and actually be informed about the values and ideas of the person whose motives he impugns.

Imagine that.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

Sam, as usual, when you aggressives disaggre with anyone, they have an agenda, they ... bla bla bla,

Tell us where you live and we'll go and shit on your door step and when you wander down the street, we'll break your face and then you can invite us for coffee.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

I read on another site some comments in favor of this sit-lie fascism. Most of the comments were the same in tone although supposedly from different people. They spoke of wanting their neighborhood clean, without "bums" [sic] (their despicable language), safe, scum-free (again, their despicable language), sanitized and peaceful. I found it ironic that they used the word peaceful after referring to other human beings that they don't even know as "bums" and "scum." I think that's called being prejudiced, because they don't even know the people on the sidewalks and they don't know what situation got them to where they are. I thought to myself: "well, if you want all that for your neighborhood, the only way to get that will be for YOU to move immediately....then the neighborhood will be all that, and more!

I'm a music teacher and I sell scholarly scores (Urtext editions) for my students to use on the instrument I teach and which they are studying, but I'm not here to push my services or my scholarly scores.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

Regarding the occasional discussion about Internet trolls:

"Do not feed the troll."

Internet Troll:

In Internet terminology, a troll is someone who comes into an established community such as an online discussion forum, and posts inflammatory, rude, repetitive or offensive messages designed intentionally to annoy or antagonize the existing members or disrupt the flow of discussion, including the personal attack of calling others trolls. Often, trolls assume multiple aliases.

Sam says: You know when one person disappears on here and another person appears shortly afterward with the same nasty, full of bile, baiting, smug, condescending, chip-on-both-shoulders disposition as the person who just left, and they take the same position as the person who just left (wink, wink, wink)....something is suspect. I think we all understand what just happened.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

So, exactly how long has Whole Foods been working to get this passed?

Posted by Matt on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

That's right, Sam. Anybody who disagrees with you is on somebody's payroll or is a troll.

I remember hearing comments like this in the debate over Care Not Cash some years ago. Anybody who disagreed with those who opposed Care Not Cash was on somebody's payroll or was a troll.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box. The majority of the voters turned out to be on somebody's payroll or were trolls, at least in the eyes of the opponents.

Let's put aside the diversionary ad hominem slanders of Sam and concentrate on the issue at hand, namely -

We need to protect our neighborhoods from the damaging behavior of the migratory addicts and alcoholics who now flock here because drugs are readily available and law enforcement is lax. The proposed sit-lie law is a reasonable effort in this direction. It's not the whole answer, but it will give our neighborhoods a fighting chance.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

SAM - Tiny Tunnel Vision.........................

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

Funny thing.
Arthur Evans is busy posting on any thread having to do with the sit/lie law except this one:
in which the author, attorney Ben Rosenfeld, addressed Evan’s arguments for a sit/lie law point by point, and showed them to be without merit.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

I wish you could hear me laugh, according to you, you are the only one on this

board, but "we all understand what just happened"

God you are funny!!!

Posted by NotSam LMFAO on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

Looks like mr Evans is posting now, oh wait, I am not fully aggreeing with you Sam, ......I must be Arthur Evans, wait a minute let me go look in the mirror.............
..................................................................., dam Arthur Evans, you are a good looking man!

Posted by NotSam Still LMFAO on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

We need to protect our neighborhoods and internet from the damaging behavior of the migratory Attention Addict who now flocks here because attention is readily available and well meaning people are willing to waste their time and energy on the Attention Addict in an effort to be civil and respectful.
The proposed Mind Your Own Business Law is a reasonable effort in this direction. It's not the whole answer, but it will give our neighborhoods and internet a fighting chance against this migratory Attention Addict.

Posted by Stop Arthur Evans From Colonizing Sidewalks! on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

Yes, the "migratory" (gotta use that word!) Attention Addict indeed!

And the Mind Your Own Business law will give our neighborhoods and internet a fighting chance so people don't have to "run away in shock and horror!" (Wouldn't want to leave out that dramatic novel language either).

Posted by Sam on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

I found this interesting and thought I would post it here. It's a bit of history. Below are two letters that were published in the Bay Times on March 3rd, 2005: The first letter is from someone by the name of Arthur Evans. The second letter is written by Jim Rivaldo responding to that same Arthur Evans:

It’s Raining Needles

A silent, but jagged, rain is falling on San Francisco. Day after day, year after year, it comes steadily down. It lands softly, but malignantly, on streets and parks, flower boxes, and children’s playgrounds.

People who live in privilege, and have others to clean up their messes, have not noticed it. But those of us who sweep sidewalks, tend to plants, and maintain parks are witnesses to its persistent and growing presence.

This toxic rain consists of the used hypodermic needles casually tossed aside each day by many of the city’s 17,000 intravenous drug addicts. They can afford to be casual. For years, the city has sponsored a program that gives away free needles to anyone who wants them, no strings attached.

Legally, the program is supposed to be for needle exchange. But the people who run it stopped asking, long ago, for the return of a dirty needle in order to get a clean one. The result is that the city has created its own special rainmaking machine. It runs tirelessly and prolifically.

Soon the situation will get even worse. The board of supervisors has just approved a law that will permit drugstores to sell or “furnish” (i.e., give away) needles to anyone who wants them, without a prescription. No one will be required to turn in a used needle or pay a refundable deposit to participate in the new program. Participants will have every incentive to toss their needles where they will, as with the existing program.

The effect of this law will be to let the rainmaking machine replicate itself. Expect to see one of its replicants in your neighborhood soon.
Welcome to Needle City, and watch for increasing precipitation. The scariest part of this horror movie is that the people who are pushing it demonize anybody who dares to raise questions.

The Demonizer in Chief is Tom Ammiano. At a recent meeting of the board of supervisors, he said those who questioned the new program are part of a “jihad.” That’s right, folks—dare to broach this subject, and you will be compared to an Islamic terrorist. This is the same Tom Ammiano who, as president of the board of supervisors, did more than any other politician to stifle and thwart efforts to solve the city’s ongoing homeless crisis.

His underlying problem has been the same in both cases: a giant blind spot in regard to law enforcement and public sanitation. We need to find practical ways to get clean needles to addicts while also protecting the well being of the overall community.

But for that to happen, we must first frankly acknowledge that there’s a problem, and then welcome open dialogue, without demonizing participants.
Certain politicians are afraid of that openness. They want to lock up and shutter the house of dialogue. We the people will have to open the doors and windows ourselves.

Arthur Evans
San Francisco

Not So Milky After All

Arthur Evans has been in a high dungeon for more than two years caused by an alleged scandal committed by the Harvey Milk Club on behalf of Eileen Hansen’s campaign for Supervisor. He’s huffed and puffed ceaselessly about the content of the signs, which accurately stated, “Willie Brown supports Bevan Dufty.” Bevan and I (consultant on his campaign) did not share Arthur’s outrage. We chuckled over how long it had taken the Milk Club to get around to doing what we knew was inevitable.

It is NOT unethical to post signs that promote a truthful message. More importantly, Arthur has ranted that the signs violated the law by not having a “Paid for by the Milk Club” disclaimer. In fact, no law exists requiring such disclaimers.

The law does require that signs have a posting permit with the permit number imprinted on every sign. The sign company, not campaigns, obtains the permit number and is responsible for posting and removing the signs properly. Anyone who wants to know who paid for signs can call the sign company and find out, as I did when the Brown/Dufty sings began going up. Open government and campaign reform advocacy groups, such as the Milk Club, may voluntarily add their name in a disclaimer, but they are not legally required to do so.

The sign company immediately admitted that, while they included the permit number, they forgot to add the Milk Club name as they were asked to do by the Milk Club members who ordered the signs.

No laws were broken, no ethical breaches occurred. I think Arthur owes Eileen Hansen, Robert Haaland, the Milk Club and anyone else he carelessly, aggressively and publicly condemned for acts of ethical misconduct that exist only in Arthur’s fevered imagination.

Jim Rivaldo
San Francisco

Posted by Sam on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

Thanks, Sam, for calling attention to my letter of support on behalf of Haight residents in the effort to control the problem with dirty, used hypodermic needles in the neighborhood. The dirty, used needles were showing up everywhere - on sidewalks, flower boxes, in Golden Gate Park, and in children's sandboxes.

The problem was caused by the Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA), headed by Mary Howe. HYA was handing needles out by the handful to the migratory addicts in the Haight, without first requring them to hand in a used needle. This was not needle exchance (which I support) but needle give-away (which is illegal and destructive to neighborhoods).

Also, HYA made no effort to clean up the used needles that her clients were ditching everywhere. The Rec and Park Dept found campsites of the addicts in Golden Gate Park that had heaps of thousands of used needles.

A huge public meeting concerning HYA was held in the Haight, attended by hundreds of angry residents. As a result of the meeting, HYA reformed its practices somewhat, and there has been some improvement in the neighborhood and in Golden Gate Park as a result.

I'm proud to have helped bring this improvement to the Haight.

By the way, thank you for calling my attention to the thread by Ben Rosenfeld. I had lost track of it. At your suggestion, I have made a response there to his arguments:


Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 9:13 am

Of course Arthur Evans sprang into action back in 2005.
Plus, he had to do battle with a “Demonizer in Chief”!

Just as he had no choice but to address his most recent manufactured emergency with panic and alarmist rhetoric.

It must have been Quarter to High Noon in 2007, when “Arthur Evans watched a new generation of wayward youth INVADE his free-spirited neighborhood.” and sounded the alarm to the LA Times:

Then, of course, there was the time he saved us all by fearlessly opposing the “NARCO LOBBY”! in yet another emergency situation in the Haight in 2006.

Also in 2006, regarding legislation that made marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority, he prophesied:
"It will undermine the efforts of people who live in marginal neighborhoods to make their neighborhoods safe, clean and peaceful," said Arthur Evans, a Haight-Ashbury resident. "This measure is an attack on the well-being of our neighborhoods.”

That statement sounds familiar. The strange thing is that four years have passed and instead of the falling sky promised by Evans, we have an endless series of fresh predictions of imminent doom from the same hysterical old man.

Who knew?
The Haight is constantly facing a NEW EMERGENCY! and only Arthur Evans has saved us from certain annihilation by demanding that we not think and act immediately to implement his plans.
So far.
But who will save us if this champion is demonized, when he should so obviously be praised and celebrated?
Who but Arthur Evans can possibly save us from the terrifying world outside our door, that only he is heroic enough to constantly remind us of?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 11:52 am

Indeed. The man is in need of intense psychotherapy, preferably psycho-dynamic. Something is mentally wrong with this guy.

In addition, he needs to move to Virginia, right in the middle of the sticks where there is not one human being in sight. He needs to dig a 400 ft hole, put a house down there, cover it all up with 300 feet of dirt. Of course, THEN he would be whining and moaning about the earthworms invading his territory and being loud, obnoxious and slimy...leaving slime on his doorstep. I can just hear him now. Then he would write patronizing and smug letters---always beginning the letters with a "thank you for such and such"---to the city council complaining about the earthworm "migratory addicts who move in packs." And then he would seek an anti-earthworm ordinance and make up anonymous "testimonials"---all written with the same writing style and corporate "scholarly" language---from 5 other people about how thick the slime was and how he wants his neighborhood to be "safe, peaceful and sterile" from earthworms and other creepy crawlers who have no business being in his ground.

Anyone have the $$ to pay for his way there and loan him the shovel? He is one miserable person. Why the hell does he even live in The City... if he hates it so much? Duh.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

The Controller has just released a report on the Haight. It shows that concerns of residents in the Haight over safety at night have increased in recent years, while those in the city as a whole have declined.

Also, at the same time, the Haight has the highest concentration of services for alcoholism of any neighborhood in the city.

The overall pattern is this: migratory alcoholics and addicts flock to the Haight, which offers ample services, but without requiring accountability (so far).

The sit-lie law would help correct this imbalance.

Click here for the story:


Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

"between 2007 and 2009 there was a 12 percent decrease in feelings of safety at night in the Park Police District"

Over the course of 2 years, 12 percent of an small unspecified number of people in the Park Police District (not just Haight Street) "felt" a certain way, that was different than the way a seperate unspecified number of people "felt" 2 years earlier.

How exactly is this cause for alarm?
Unless of course, you are Arthur Evans, professional alarmist and migratory attention addict.

“The data is pretty clearly unreliable,” said Bob Offer-Westort with the Coalition on Homelessness. “We have no doubt about the controller’s ability to crunch numbers, but we do have a problem with the sources of the data and its reliability.”


Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 11:44 am

It was a beautiful day on Haight Street yesterday.
The sidewalks were crowded with happy tourists from all over the world, as well as San Franciscans. People with children and dogs stepped over colorful chalk drawings on the sidewalk.
The crowds of people enjoying the day had no problem making their way past the many people sitting and lying on the sidewalk, either.
There were tarot card readers, a comedy rap duo, a poet typing poems on demand, street kids, people relaxing, chatting outside bars and enjoying cigarettes. And a lot of musicians. Guitars, harmonicas, singing, keyboards, a cello down by Amoeba Records. The sunshine and the people made for an amazing day.
And it occurred to me how this incredible afternoon on Haight Street.was so different from the ridiculously scary and dark picture painted here in the comments sections of the Guardian and other sites by people like Arthur Evans, and by the irresponsible writers of the chronicle and the examiner. By the hateful and the judgemental, the power hungry and the lickers of the boots of the power hungry.

Everyone on Haight Street yesterday, every day, knows the truth about this place.
This is a beautiful place, and there is no emergency.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 11:45 am

I've just started reading this, will someone explain, in very short and simple terms, why they are for this and why they are against it?

Posted by Hello on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

I like the name Robin. What's wrong with the name Robin?

Posted by Sticky Bunny on Mar. 29, 2010 @ 6:21 am

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