Measure S:Sitting on Sidewalks
Measure S would prohibit sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm except 1) in a medical emergency; 2) when using a wheelchair or other mobility device; 3) during a permitted street event; 4) when sitting on furniture allowed by a city permit, like benches or café seating; 5) when sitting on a bus bench or other fixed seating. Someone violating these rules would receive a warning from a peace officer that his or her conduct is illegal and be given an opportunity to comply. This warning must only be given once and is sufficient for 30 days. First time offenders would get an infraction payable by $75 fine or community service. Additional citations may be charged as infractions or misdemeanors. The ordinance would go into effect July 1, 2013
What your vote means
A Yes vote on this measure means: People would not be allowed to sit on the sidewalks in commercial districts between 7 am and 10 pm and could be fined if they do. If they violate the law, they will be fined $75 for the first infraction, or required to perform community service.
A No vote on this measure means: People will be able to continue sitting on sidewalks in commercial areas between 7 am and 10 pm without penalty.
Potential diversion of police resources from preventing and solving crimes. Unknown cost in court time for police, District Attorney, Public Defender, due to litigation resulting from possible violations to the provisions of this measure.
No change from status quo.
Berkeley spends $2.8 million a year on services to help those in need, yet there is a core group of people who continue to live on the street, sometimes with dogs, creating unsanitary and intimidating conditions for others. Some of those who hang out in commercial districts use drugs or alcohol or are mentally ill and are not interested in using city services. Their panhandling and menacing behavior can drive away shoppers and hurt local merchants. There are plenty of places to sit legally, including parks, fixed benches, and low walls. This measure will reach out to help those in need to get them services. This law has been successfully used in 60 cities.
Measure S is an ineffective solution to a problem and it will set a dangerous precedent – discriminating against a class of people who just happen to be poor. It won’t help business. A similar measure adopted in San Francisco had no effect in improving business districts or helping the homeless. Valuable police time will be taken up issuing citations. Throwing the homeless in jail will only create more problems and make it harder for them to get out of their difficult circumstances.
|1||First Shattuck LLC||$10,000|
|2||Panoramic Interests, LLC||$10,000|
|5||NFLP Berkeley Center||$5,000|
|1||Patricia E. Wall||$5,018|
|2||ACLU of Northern California||$1,500|
|4||Socially Responsible Network||$1,000|
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