Why Newsom loves sit-lie

|
(43)

To the surprise of exactly nobody, Mayor Gavin Newsom is putting his sit-lie law on the November ballot. And I think he's thrilled about it.

The last thing the mayor wanted was to have the supervisors approve its own version. He'd much rather have his name on it. This way, he not only gets a wedge issue to attack the progressives in the fall; he gets to run his statewide campaign as someone who's cracking down on the homeless. It's tough for a San Francisco politician to win in more conservative parts of the state -- but if he can say he stood up to those crazy "ultra-liberals" on the board and is willing to beat up on the poor and homeless, he can shed some of that liberal image.

But it's not clear that the strategy will work at home. Even David Latterman, a political consultant for Scott Wiener and other downtown-backed candidates, downplayed the role that sit-lie will play in the fall election. "It's just a wedge issue and it's not going to change people's minds on who they support," Latterman told a crowd that including Chron columnist CW Nevius -- who is perhaps the most enthusiastic backer of the measure -- during a post-election wrapup at SPUR on June 10.

And among the DCCC candidates in this election, the only one to really champion sit-lie and make it a part of his campaign was David Villa-Lobos, who is also running to replace Chris Daly on the Board of Supervisors, but who finished 26th out of 30 candidates in District 12.

The law also seems a little hinky. It would ban sitting on the sidewalk -- or "any object placed on the sidewalk, like a crate or folding chair," according to the Chron. Everywhere I go in the city these days, people are sitting on folding chairs on the sidewalk -- typically eating at a restaurant or cafe that has outdoor seating. I suspect many of those eateries have no specific permits to put chairs on the sidewalk; they just do it, which is fine, and nobody minds.

But technically, I guess, outdoor diners could be cited under the mayor's law. Or the cops could just ignore them, and decide how and where to enforce the law. Which is never a good thing.

I asked the mayor's press office for clarification on this point, and I'm still waiting for a response.

Comments

Tim, your comments above about the timing and nature of Gavin Newsom's support for the Civil Sidewalks Law (Sit-Lie Law) are misinformed. I know because I have personally been involved with the process every step of the way.

Newsom long dragged his feet. It was only after neighbors in his new neighborhood (the Upper Haight) started embarrassing him about conditions on Haight Street that he finally decided to have a look-see for himself.

The initiative for the measure came, first, from residents and merchants of the Haight, then Capt. Teresa Barrett of Park Station, then Police Chief George Gascon, and then the media.

Finally, Newsom got the message and joined the bandwagon.

Now that Newsom has finally acted, the opponents of civility complain that candidates for office will be forced to take a position on the Civil Sidewalks Law during the November election cycle.

The opponents decry this process as a "wedge issue."

But the voters call it democracy.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

It depends how these things are used. Most people will or won't support sit-lie based on what they think of the issue. In candidate races, people usually come first, issues second. Someone who supports sit-lie is probably already leaning towards a moderate; and vice-versa. By itself, it won't change many minds on whom to vote for. What will get a candidate into trouble is dithering on the issue, or other similar issues.

Then again, it's a bit of chicken-and-egg, in that people's opinions of candidates is based on their views on many measures and policy positions over time. A progressive voter supports the progressive candidate first, but that candidate is defined as progressive because of his stance on issues year after year. It's the rare issue that can actually form definitional ideologies. Care not Cash did it. Community Justice Center didn't. Maybe this will too, we'll see.

Posted by David Latterman on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

The doctrinaire ideologues among progressives view the Civil Sidewalks Law as a definitive progressive test. If you support the law, you cannot be a progressive. If you oppose it, you may be a progressive.

However, the doctrinaire also know that the Civil Sidewalks Law is very popular with the voters. Hence their dilemma.

If their candidates are outspoken against the Civil Sidewalks Law this November, they could go down to defeat in close races. But if they are not outspoken against it, they will impugn their progressive credentials, at least in the eyes of the doctrinaire.

There's a big irony in all this. Support for sidewalk civility and safety should, by all rights, be a progressive stance. After all, it's all about protecting our neighborhoods, especially neighborhoods that are poor or at-risk.

But the doctrinaire will have none of this.

And so they will place a millstone around the necks of their own candidates this November.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

I believe everyone should be able to walk down a sidewalk and not be harassed, but I don't believe that the "civil sidewalks" is not the right approach. Especially when it won't be applied equally and has lee way for abuse.

Posted by Jerry Jarvis on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

Opponents of the Civil Sidewalks Law believe in the following eight fallacies:

1) Denouncing residents who want to feel safe in their own neighborhoods as fascists stimulates opposition to the law in the neighborhoods.

2) Claiming that the law is unnecessary impresses voters who have suffered nasty run-ins with the city's street people, and couldn't do anything about it.

3) Launching age-ist slurs against proponents of the law wins over senior citizens who worry about public safety.

4) Conducting flop-ins on sidewalks, reminiscent of the abusive behavior of the squatting street people, makes passers-by feel sympathetic to the floppers.

5) Launching bitter, foul-mouthed slanders against proponents of the law convinces voters of the opponents' civility.

6) Praising Chris Daly's testosterone fit at the Public Safety Committee makes opponents look rational and level-headed.

7) Stressing that Starchild and prostitutes oppose the law wins over the thoughtful, undecided vote.

8) Consistently acting like characters from a Monty Python flick is turning public opinion against the law.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

9) Claiming that Harvey Milk would not have stood up to homophobic intruders in the Castro inspires residents of the Castro to oppose the law.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

Instead of going whole-hog for a new law that won't address the problem at all, how about a less extreme law that prohibits only lying on the sidewalk? Banning sitting seems extreme.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 6:10 am

In a post above, Guest says:

"how about a less extreme law that prohibits only lying on the sidewalk?"

That's like saying:

How about eating this chicken after plucking off the feathers, but without cooking it?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

Arthur, do you even care that most of your neighbors are opposed to this? You say it's all for the neighborhood, but you know that your neighborhood never votes for this kind of overly punitive measure. District 5, and particularly the Haight, voted against Care Not Cash, voted against the so-called aggressive panhandling ban, and they're going to vote against this too.

The Haight went heavily against those initiatives even as the rest of the city was passing them. I'm not sure how Sit-Lie will do at the polls. Those other initiatives at least had the pretense of being narrowly-tailored measures that were designed to address specific problems, flawed as they were. But can't imagine what justification there can be for a blanket ban on all sitting and lying on the sidewalk. I would hope that it would lose citywide. But I do know this or certain -your neighborhood won't vote for it.

Claiming as you do that your neighbors want it, doesn't that bother you? Just a little bit?

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

Thanks for your post above, Greg.

I was quite puzzled, though, by your comment that folks in the Haight are opposed to the Civil Sidewalks Law. My guess is that you missed the community meetings in the Haight dealing with the issue. Is that right?

By the way, which part of the Haight do you live in?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

Arthur, I don't live in the Haight, but I do go there a lot. I love Amoeba and the Red Vic, which the folks I talked to at some of the community meetings around sit-lie say is the worst affected area. I've personally never been bothered by anyone, even late at night.

But where I live is beside the point. You can drum up a mob for anything. The public comment has been very divided at City Hall. But in the end, you know as well as I do that the Haight never votes for this kind of stuff, and I'm willing to bet anything that the Haight (and D5 at large) will vote this down too.

Of course the problem with anything like this is that you can't prove it until the election, but based on the past history of voting patterns, you can take a pretty educated guess.

Tell me, Arthur, what will you say if this thing wins, but my prediction about the Haight turns out to be correct?

Will it trouble your conscience that you imposed something that the majority of your neighbors don't want, after telling them through the whole campaign that you have your finger on the pulse of the electorate and you know what's best for them anyway?

Will you then say you were wrong and cry out for repeal after the fact (too late of course)?

Or will you just tell your neighbors, "Tough shit. We won and now you have to deal with it, you bums!"

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

You are convinced, Greg, that residents of the Haight and district five will vote against the Civil Sidewalks Law. You are entitled to your opinions on the matter, but we won't know the result until election day.

By the way, I question your sweeping claims about Care Not Cash. If I remember correctly, it passed in every supervisorial district.

In any case, a great debate is now underway over the Civil Sidewalks Law. Ordinary San Franciscans, like you and me, are prepared to stand up in the public forum, state our views clearly, and answer criticisms.

Candidates for office should do the same. They should not try to hide from the debate under the pretense that this is a "wedge issue," in the words of Tim Redmond.

Every great issue that is debated is a wedge. Candidates for public office should let the voters know which side of the wedge they are on, and stop complaining about their obligation to do so.

It's called democracy.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

"The police don't do anything even though I call them all the time.'
Posted by Christopher on Jun. 13, 2010 @ 4:24 am
www.sfbg.com/politics/2010/06/09/sit-lie-goes-down-board-supervisors

How will making it a crime for any of us to sit on a public sidewalk address this problem?
It sounds like we need the Mayor and Police Chief Gascon to direct our police officers to enforce the many existing laws people are breaking.

Posted by Homace on Jun. 16, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

Allow me to refresh your memory:
Google up "Care not cash wiki". The Guardian's spam filter kicks in when I post links.

But you sidestepped my questions. I only asked them because you have claimed throughout that you're doing this for YOUR neighborhood. You have claimed that the majority of the residents of the HAIGHT want this.

Will you feel comfortable imposing your will on them if that turns out not to be the case?

What will you tell your neighbors if it passes citywide due to more conservative voters, but fails in the neighborhood that you claim to be doing all this for?

Will this bother you, or will you just tell your neighbors "Tough shit. That's democracy."

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 8:24 am

Thank you for your post above, Greg.

You say:

“Allow me to refresh your memory [about the vote for Care Not Cash]: Google up ‘Care not cash wiki’.”

Thank you for the correction, pointing out that district five voted against Care Not Cash in 2002.

You say:

“You have claimed that the majority of the residents of the HAIGHT want this” [the Civil Sidewalks Law]

At neighborhood meetings held in favor of the law, there has been a good turnout. I don’t know of any neighborhood meetings that have been held meetings opposing it. If they have been held, they haven’t gotten much publicity.

There is a neighborhood group that opposes the law, Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC). They are a vestigial group, consisting of about 15 people. They rarely meet. They are mostly a front for Calvin Welch.

There is a neighborhood group that supports the law, the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association (HAIA). They are the most energetic group in the Haight. They hold regular meetings with good turnout, and the members are active in all sorts of neighborhood affairs.

Most of my immediate neighbors, residents who live near where I do, have been supportive of my own efforts to promote the new law. Only a few have been critical.

Most of the merchants along Haight Street who have expressed an opinion on the law, support it.

Most of the migratory addicts and alcoholics, flopped out on the sidewalks along Haight Street, oppose it.

So how does all of this add up? We’ll find out in November.

You say:

“Will you feel comfortable imposing your will on them if that [their support for the new law] turns out not to be the case?”

Should the residents of district five have been given an exemption from Care Not Cash because the district voted against it in 2002?

Of course not. If we start allowing particular districts to have exemptions for laws approved city-wide, but not in that particular district, the result will be total chaos.

I’m surprised to see you suggest such a thing.

You say:

“What will you tell your neighbors if it passes citywide due to more conservative voters, but fails in the neighborhood that you claim to be doing all this for?”

As noted above, present evidence indicates that a majority of my neighbors support the proposed law.

But if district five votes against it, while the city as a whole votes in favor of it, it will be law throughout the city and should be enforced.

It makes no sense to give exemptions to districts, neighborhoods, or blocks that vote against laws that are approved city-wide.

You say:

“Will this bother you, or will you just tell your neighbors ‘Tough shit. That's democracy.’”

That’s your language and your mentality.

Governance by the rule of law is the mark of a civilized society. If people disagree with a particular law, they can organize to change it.

Those of us who support the Civil Sidewalks Law do so because we disagree with city law as it now stands. If we lose at the ballot box, we will abide by the results. And if the opponents lose, they will have to abide by the results, too.

There was a move in the country by certain states in the 1800s to invoke the principle of secession against particular laws that these states did not like. They said that they should be given local exemptions for broader laws if their states did not support the broader laws.

We had a civil war over the issue. The result was clear.

We all have to abide by the rule of law.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 9:28 am

That's all good and well, Arthur. I understand all about democracy and the rule of law, although I would argue that civil rights are non-negotiable. I only bring up the sentiment in district 5 and the Haight because YOU claim that THEY want it. If you were honest you'd say that ARTHUR EVANS wants it, and you're willing to impose your will on your neighbors if you can marshall the more conservative voters of the rest of the city to impose this law on people who don't want it.

And no, of course you wouldn't literally say "tough shit." Oh no, that would be uncivil. I call that "the civility of power." But "tough shit" is essentially what it amounts to.

You've basically answered my question. In a nutshell:
On the one hand, right now you say that all your neighbors want it.
But if it turns out that they really don't, you'll be just fine if it passes, because YOU like it.

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 10:40 am

Thank you, Greg, for your additional thoughts above. Some responses follow.

You say:

“I would argue that civil rights are non-negotiable.”

How about the right of the public to safety and civility in public places?

You say:

“If you were honest you'd say that ARTHUR EVANS wants it, and you're willing to impose your will on your neighbors…”

I am honest.

I have lived in this neighborhood for 35 years. You occasionally visit the neighborhood. Based on your visits, you’re telling me what my neighbors and I want.

You don’t see a certain presumption here?

You say:

“And no, of course you wouldn't literally say ‘tough shit.’ Oh no, that would be uncivil.”

You’re wrong on the facts, and your language reflects your character.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

According to the last poll on the subject, the three neighborhoods that are most In support of a civil sidewalks law are the Marina, the Tenderloin, and the Haight (link below).

In other words, the law has a wide appeal, from rich to poor neighborhoods.

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/06/guess_which_sf_hood_loves_si...

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

No data, no methodology, no crosstabs, not even the phrasing of the questions. Just a say-so from some Chamber of Commerce flunkie. I call bullshit.

Bottom line is that you could care less what your neighbors think. That will be amply demonstrated if it passes citywide and fails in the Haight and D5, because you've already stated that you'd still support it EVEN IF YOUR NEIGHBORS OPPOSE.

Of course if you admit that much, then stop the charade of telling people that it's all for the neighborhood. It's to satisfy your own ideological cravings. Might as well be honest about it.

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

Thank you, Greg, for continuing this dialogue.

Some responses follow.

You say:

“No data, no methodology, no crosstabs, not even the phrasing of the questions.”

I take it that this comment is a reference to your own claims about what the residents of the Haight think, right?

You say:

“I call bullshit.”

You say that a lot.

You’re starting to sound like Chris Daly when he shouts “Fuck you, bitch!”

You say:

“Bottom line is that you could care less what your neighbors think.”

Not true. As noted above, I have had an ongoing dialogue with my neighbors on this issue.

You say:

“you'd still support it EVEN IF YOUR NEIGHBORS OPPOSE.”

Where did I say that? The quote, please.

You say:

“It's to satisfy your own ideological cravings. Might as well be honest about it.”

I am an honest person.

I want to be safe in my own neighborhood.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

“you'd still support it EVEN IF YOUR NEIGHBORS OPPOSE.”

"Where did I say that? The quote, please."

So are you denying that? So does that mean if it fails in the Haight, you'd turn against sit-lie? There are only two possibilities here. Can you cut out the childish semantic games and give me a straight answer?

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

Thank you, Greg, for making a post without an obscenity.

Contrary to what you claim, I never would have gotten on the bandwagon for the Civil Sidewalks Law if I thought my neighbors were mostly opposed. Your claims in regard to the neighborhood's attitude toward the law couldn't be more off-target.

I have been part of the entire process, which I observed first-hand. Last December, I had come to the conclusion that the situation in the Haight was hopeless, that nobody cared, and that nothing could be done about the problem.

The migratory addicts and alcoholics were all over the place. Violent incidents occurred. Both the neighbors and the police seemed overwhelmed.

As a last-gasp effort, I urged my neighbors to attend a routine, semi-weekly meeting with local police brass at Park Police Station. I didn't expect much of a turnout, and I didn't think anything of significance would come of the meeting. But I didn't know what else to do.

To my surprise (and delight), there was a large turnout of neighbors. They were upset at the deterioration in the Haight and wanted some action.

In response, Capt. Teresa Barrett said that the SFPD was considering the possibility of urging the city to create a Civil Sidewalks Law (then known as a Sit-Lie Law).

The neighbors jumped at the suggestion. Shortly thereafter, Police Chief George Gascon announced that the SFPD would push for the passage of the law. Shortly after that, the mayor endorsed the proposal.

All this happened because of the initiative and energy of my neighbors. It was not the case that I or anyone else was trying to push for something to which the neighbors were opposed. Exactly the opposite.

So your suggestions about the neighborhood's attitude toward this law are totally false. You are just pulling things out of the air and putting them forward as facts, and then insisting that others take them seriously.

Enough of this empty shadow play on your part!

If the Civil Sidewalks Law passes, my neighbors and I and others across the city will insist that it be enforced. And so should you and everyone who is concerned about public safety in the city's beleaguered neighborhoods.

Let's work together to make our neighborhoods safe and civil.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

OK... so the only relevant nugget in all that was your statement that you "never would have gotten on the bandwagon for the Civil Sidewalks Law if I thought my neighbors were mostly opposed. "

That seems to indicate that you WOULD be opposed if this law was not supported by the majority of your neighborhood. That is in contradiction to other statements that you made which indicate that you wouldn't give a rat's ass as long as the rest of the city passed it. "That's democracy" you said. In other words, "tough shit."

So stop playing games already. If you DO find out that the Haight and D5 oppose this measure that you keep touting as being all for them, will you then change your mind and oppose it? Support its repeal? Or will you be happy to have imposed your will on the majority of your neighbors?

That's the only thing I'm curious about. The rest of your spew I've already heard. So which is it?

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

Greg, in your post above you say:

“Blah Blah Blah”

Are you getting punchy?

You say:

“you WOULD be opposed if this law was not supported by the majority of your neighborhood.”

I would never have thought of this law if my neighbors were largely opposed. It would be futile to support any measure in the face of such opposition.

Why is this point so hard for you to understand?

You say:

“other statements that you made which indicate that you wouldn't give a rat's ass as long as the rest of the city passed it.”

You keep making up statements and putting them into my mouth.

An intelligent way to debate is to quote the exact words of your opponent and then respond with sound logic and credible evidence.

I’ve tried to set a good example for you, to show you how it’s done.

Why not give it a try sometime?

You say:

“If you DO find out that the Haight and D5 oppose this measure that you keep touting as being all for them, will you then change your mind and oppose it?”

Do I still beat my wife?!

You say:

“will you be happy to have imposed your will on the majority of your neighbors?”

We’ve gone over this before. Are you suffering from short-term memory loss?

If a law passes by majority vote of the whole city, no part of the city should be given an exemption because it voted against it. I find it hard to believe that any rational person would argue for such an exemption.

Honestly, is this the best the opponents of civility can come up with?

(Yikes!)

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 17, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

"I would never have thought of this law if my neighbors were largely opposed. It would be futile to support any measure in the face of such opposition."

No Arthur, it actually would NOT be futile, and you know it. The forces that want crackdowns on civil liberties in the name of clean streets and "law and order" can marshall a lot of money and convince just enough voters in more conservative areas of the city to impose something that the Haight and D5 do not want.

They did it with "Care Not Cash."

They did it with the "aggressive panhandling ban."

And it appears that this is the model that you're looking to repeat with Sit-Lie. Except that Sit-Lie has even less justification, is far more broad, and seems to have more opposition. So one of the main tacks the campaign has chosen to take, is the disingenuous assertion that most Haight residents want this for their own neighborhood. That flies in the face of the evidence of how this community voted on similar measures, and it's an insult to the hundreds of people from the Haight who have come to speak against it at City Hall and other community meetings (people you consistently seek to marginalize).

That's why I asked you a very simple question, in very simple terms. I don't think you misunderstood the question. You're not *that* unintelligent. You just know that to answer it directly would be either to eviscerate your argument and/or expose you for the hypocrite that you are.

So you repeatedly dodged and gave me contradictory responses. I can see that you have no intention of giving me a direct answer, and I'm tired of asking, so I give you the customary last word, which is bound to be more of the same. Just realize that your non-repsonse is telling in and of itself.

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jun. 18, 2010 @ 8:09 am

Arthur, I don't know you from Greg, but please shut up. Your posts are painful to read, so let me chime in quicky and try to end this.

>>" I would never have thought of this law if my neighbors were largely opposed. It would be futile to support any measure in the face of such opposition."

That isn't accurate. It wouldn't be futile if the city as a whole would pass it, even if your neighbors were opposed to it. No? To use your exact words:

>>"If a law passes by majority vote of the whole city, no part of the city should be given an exemption because it voted against it."

Now, I don't know if a majority of your neighbors in the Haight are opposed or supportive of this measure, but I do know that your reasoning is flawed, and your answers (and posts) are either incomplete or incorrect. I personally think the wording on this law is too broad: if I'm waiting for someone to pick me up in front of my house, I can't wait in front of my own building and sit on the sidewalk while waiting? If I accidentally lock myself out and am waiting for a friend to bring over spare keys I can't sit down? Is it necessary for me to do jumping jacks or stand the entire time?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

Happy Summer Solstice to All! -

"The way of the Creative works through change and transformation, so that each thing receives its true nature and destiny and comes into permanent accord with the Great Harmony: this is what furthers and what preserves."

- I Ching (Book of Changes), Confucianist Classic

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 21, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

Today, you should take to the sidewalks Arthur, armed with your quotable philosophies.

Perhaps you could change the Narco-Terrorists, the wandering packs and gangs of violent, uncivil, drug addicted, alcoholic youths that cling so to the detritus of that disgusting commercial exploitation of one summer's freedom.

Posted by Frank McGee on Jun. 21, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

Why has no one seen the link? The NYPD has shown us why this is happening, it's a scandal the Village Voice is reporting on:

http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-05-04/news/the-nypd-tapes-inside-bed-st...

The system that engenders this whole problem of how to view enforcement?
Compstat. It's up and running, at SFPD:

http://sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=3254

Sit/Lie isn't needed for basic enforcement, they've already admitted they have the rules in place to do what they need to for all of the complaints coming out of the Haight and downtown. Sit/Lie allows for the kind of baseless sweeps that boost the statistics, the metrics Compstat pushes.

Posted by Josh on Jun. 21, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

Oh, and just to be clear, Robert Haaland was very, very clear, in actions and in words about his total
opposition to Sit/Lie.

Posted by Josh on Jun. 21, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

Thank you for your posts above, Josh.

It's refreshing to see a rational alternative to the behavior of Greg Kamin. He creates a straw-man that has nothing to do with the issue at hand, knocks it down, and then declares victory.

It's also refreshing to see a rational alternative to "Guest" who says "shut up arthur."

I knew there had to be some opponents of the proposed law somewhere who were capable of making rational arguments. And you are one of them, Josh.

Please note, however, the following objection to your argument -

General Order 6.11 of the Police Commission makes this declaration:

"A street or sidewalk cannot be obstructed, only a person."

This declaration is preposterous. It casts a blind eye to the turf struggle now underway in our neighborhoods.

Packs of migratory addicts and alcoholics flock to SF and occupy public sidewalks, even when no resident is present to be obstructed. Once the migratory addicts and alcoholics establish themselves in their own turf, they use it to initiate a cycle of decline in the neighborhoods.

General Order 6.11 goes on to say that police officers cannot clear an occupied sidewalk if no civilian is present to complain:

"Officers shall make reasonable efforts to identify, but at least, must describe person(s) who were obstructed by the party to be arrested or cited."

Assistant D.A. Paul Henderson testified to the the board of supes that SF courts interpret this section as requiring a formal civilian complaint. Otherwise, the courts throw out the citations.

The Civil Sidewalks Law corrects these problems. It gives police the authority to direct sidewalk squatters to stand up and stop taking turf. Civilians don't have to initiate the process of recovering the turf.

The proposed law is mild. It requires a warning only for first-time offenders, with no criminal penalties. The idea is to avoid going to the courts and jails, just keep sidewalks open to all.

Let's reclaim the city's public sidewalks from the abusive, drugged-out turf takers who are now colonizing them for their own exclusive purposes.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 22, 2010 @ 9:35 am

Arthur Evans knows this is not true:
"Assistant D.A. Paul Henderson testified to the the board of supes that SF courts interpret this section as requiring a formal civilian complaint. Otherwise, the courts throw out the citations."
-Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 22, 2010 @ 9:35 am

He knows it isn’t true because he has already been proven wrong in the comments of another Guardian article:
.sfbg.com/politics/2010/05/11/sit-lie-proponents-criticize-their-allies

Here are the previous comments proving Arthue Evans is lying:

Cannot find Mr. Henderson's testimony to that fact
I've looked at the video and read the transcript and I cannot find Mr. Henderson's testimony to that fact. Chief Cashman refutes it.
Can you point to the specific statement? thanks.
http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/TranscriptViewer.php?view_id=44&clip_id...
-Posted by Curious Reader on May. 24, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

You are correct - he doesn't say it
Mr Henderson does not state in his testimony that complaints require a civilian complaint. He states that he's aware of the Orders and goes on to say that the DA's have never had a complaint about that from SFPD.
Arthur Evans uses a linguist and semantic tongue-twister here to conceal that fact.
"Please look at the video of the last meeting of the Public Safety Committee. Assistant D.A. Paul Henderson testified that the SF courts understand General Order 6.11 of the Police Commission as requiring a civilian complaint before the police can lawfully direct sidewalk squatters to move along.
Henderson is the one who prosecutes such cases. He knows what the courts require."
Its actually Mr. King who said it hoping that Mr. Henderson will back up his presentation - which he doesn't under serious examination by Supe Campos:
Supervisor campos: I want to follow-up with Mr. King, if I May. i think you just heard the exchange where assistant chief cashman indicated that in his reading of 6.11 that there is no requirement that a victim come for for the police to act.
Do you agree with that assessment?
>> I think the appropriate thing to sort this out is to hear from paul henderson of the district attorney' s office who is right behind -- hold on, let me finish please. the situation you described where you have I' m standing here and someone standing next to me, the issue is if someone were looking at us from across the room, how would an officer no that one of us is being obstructed? Another issue, in the hypothetical that you raised is, you are assuming the police are there to witness the interaction, which is not always the case.
It is important -- I did not catch the full answer, but it is important that there are two different standards. i do not think it is a matter of reading. I do agree with you that it is an issue often concluded or not expressed clearly because the shorthand that people say is a citizen' s arrest is required -- it is an issue that is often conflated.
Supervisor campos: I am more than happy to hear at some point, Mr. Henderson. He is a very capable attorney, and I know he can give a lot of information, but I am asking you, do you agree that under general order 6.11 that there is no requirement that a victim come forward for the police to act?
>> I do not have it in front of me.
supervisor campos: I would imagine that you probably read
it before. >> I have.
this is consistent, and the city attorney' s opinion is consistent with the same reading that you have from the lawyers committee for the civil rights.
It is consistent that -- where they say, on page 5 of their 52- page brief or a memo or description that, "police officers issuing citations for sidewalk obstruction violation should attempt to identify but at least describe those persons who were obstructed by the defendant."
supervisor campos: does it say there that a witness is required?
>> no, but it does not have to.
Supervisor campos: why not? Can explain that?
>> I do not see why paul henderson cannot.
-Posted by TheLaw on May. 25, 2010 @ 10:34 am

.sfbg.com/politics/2010/05/11/sit-lie-proponents-criticize-their-allies

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2010 @ 9:52 am

What does posting links to videos of yourself speaking greek have to do with a Sit-Lie Law?
Nothing.
It does reveal your constant goal, however:
You'll do anything to call attention to yourself.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2010 @ 8:59 am
Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 24, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

Evans desperately chooses to distract rather than admit that he is lying about this:
"Assistant D.A. Paul Henderson testified to the the board of supes that SF courts interpret this section as requiring a formal civilian complaint. Otherwise, the courts throw out the citations."
-Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 22, 2010 @ 9:35 am

Here are the transcripts, Arthur.
Either point us to Henderson's statement or admit that you lied to support your argument.
http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/TranscriptViewer.php?view_id=44&clip_id...

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

Note to "Guest":

You are quick to hurl the word "liar" at anyone who dares to disagree with any of your dogmas. This is a style of political dialogue that Chris Daly has made popular at City Hall. You would do well not to take him as your personal model.

As to the comments by Assistant D.A. Paul Henderson, I will review the video of the Public Safety Committee meeting in question and compare the tape to the notes I took when I was personally present at the meeting.

It will take me a day or two to do the review. My own computer is not strong enough to deal with videos. They make it freeze up. So I will need to use a friend's computer to get to the material.

In the meantime, please lay off the Chris Daly imitation. Act like a civil adult participating in an intelligent conversation.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 24, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

In an earlier post, Guest accused me of being a “liar” because I had stated that two General Orders of the Police Commission require civilian complaints in order to enforce laws regulating the blockage of sidewalks.

Guest’s charge is false. Take a look at the testimony of Assistant District Attorney Paul Henderson before the supes’ Public Safety Committee meeting on 5/10/10.

Supe Bevan Dufty specifically asked Henderson about a letter that I had sent to Dufty mentioning this requirement for civilian complaints.

Although previous testimony before the committee by police brass was incorrect and muddled on this point, Henderson corrected the record.

In addressing that previous testimony, Henderson said this:

“They were talking about whether or not they needed witnesses and victims, civilians, to come forward in these cases, and they do. In all of these cases, the loitering cases, in the trespassing cases, the courts want us to subpoena and bring in the actual victims and witnesses that were affected by those charges. And the courts here have interpreted our burden, the district attorney’s burden, to provide those people …”

You can see the evidence for yourself. Go to the following website:

http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=44&clip_id=9969

Advance the timer to 3:11:35. It’s at this point that Dufty asks Henderson about the matter of General Orders that I had brought to Dufty’s attention.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

I'm still waiting for Guest's response to the video above.

The situation is clear:

Existing law requires a civilian complaint to clear obstructed sidewalks. Moreover, existing law is blind to the turf factor. That is, it denies that sidewalks can be obstructed and occupied even if no resident is present at the time of occupation.

The Civil Sidewalks Law is a mild law that will remedy these deficiencies.

No amount of shouting "liar" by Guest can cover over these facts.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 26, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

Arthur, if this complaint is really necessary how does does every other neighborhood manage to clear its roustabouts and hoodlums from the streets? Are the people of Bayview and Hunters point or Dogpatch or Fisherman's Wharf that much less intimidated by these terrorizing transients than those of Haight-Asbury? I think not.

I've read the transcript and watched the video and frankly nowhere does Henderson actually state its necessary, they discuss it academically and go back and forth. The only person who deems it necessary is the mayors aide and last time I checked he wasn't elected.

It strikes me that the Haight is receiving "special" treatment and selective enforcement because it is the Haight. Nothing more nothing less. I'd hate to see a law passed for one district that affects the lives of everyone unintentionally.

As for constant misunderstanding and outright abuse of the word civility Arthur, you may want to consider updating your idiom. Life, language and manners and civility are very very different in 2010 and in the world I want to live in, i'm very grateful that they are. The values you espouse are closer to victorian, a flawed and failed society whose ethos & delusions have no place in our democracy in 2010.

You may want to consider moving to North Korea to find the civil society you aspire towards.

Posted by Frank McGee on Jul. 08, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

When residents and merchants in the Haight started the momentum for passage of the Civil Sidewalks Law, supe Chris Daly declared that defeating it would be a defining priority for SF progressives.

Does he still hold this view?

He seems to be preoccupied with other things. For example, his plans to decide who his successor will be as supe in district six have run into a snag. It appears that the voters want to have some say in the matter. (Bummer, huh?)

Also, his plan to have the Six Guys Club at the supes impose a new mayor on the city will go nowhere if Gavin Newsom fails in his bid to become Lt. Governor, which now seems likely.

At the same time, the progressives themselves are deeply divided over the pension reform proposal by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, a hero (until now) to many of them. Progressive ideologue marc salomon has accused Adachi of carrying water for the Chamber of Commerce. (I kid you not!)

So with all these complications, will Daly still insist that progressives make it a big priority to defeat the civility measure in November?

Or will it just remain a pet project of fringers who believe that by flopping down on sidewalks on weekends, they can convince voters to reject sidewalk civility?

Hopefully, Daly will let us know his decision about priorities soon.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 29, 2010 @ 8:22 am

Arthur who are you talking to?

If you're concerned about an opinion from Chris Daly, give him a call. He's a public official elected in your district and represents you via the process of democracy.

And please please please stop abusing and mis-using the word "civility"

Posted by Frank McGee on Jul. 19, 2010 @ 3:56 pm