The commons and commoners

Perhaps the most un-San Franciscan of all Chief Gascon's initiatives is his demand for an ordinance that would literally criminalize the very act of sitting or lying on certain public sidewalks at certain times
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By Ben Rosenfeld

OPINION This is a call out to creative, fun-loving San Franciscans: the mayor, the police chief, and their downtown cronies have declared war on our grassroots arts culture, and they are coming for your actual and conceptual space next. The future they promise is manifest in their many recent attacks on public and private gatherings, and their efforts to wrest the commons from the commoners.

On Halloween 2009, the San Francisco Police, under their new chief, Los Angeles transplant George Gascón, shut down the Take Back Halloween Flashdance in front of the Ferry Building before DJ Amandeep "Deep" Jawa even arrived. Then they shut down several smaller street parties. Their official reason — that organizers lacked permits — is what Bill Clinton famously termed an explanation, but not an excuse.

The SFPD has a long history of not only tolerating unpermitted gatherings, but of rerouting traffic around and even escorting them. The cops are fully empowered to grant the equivalent of on-the-fly permits. Applying for an actual permit is cumbersome, costly, anti-spontaneous — and reinforces the SFPD's view of itself as censor.

Since Halloween, Chief Gascón's force has been striking a mighty blow against crime by writing scores of open container citations to revelers in Dolores Park; fining or forcing the closure of SoMa clubs and bars for failing to conform to every fickle letter of the law; and sending undercover officers into warehouse and studio parties to bust them from within, sometimes violently, and without warrants.

Perhaps the most un-San Franciscan of all Gascón's initiatives is his demand for an ordinance that would literally criminalize the very act of sitting or lying on certain public sidewalks at certain times. Never mind the fact that most violent crime is committed by people standing up and in striking range.

Not only is the idea just plain mean, it is anathema to San Francisco's culture of compassion and broadmindedness, and its affirmative celebration of vibrant street culture. The danger is not that the police will arrest everyone who dares to take a load off or sit and sip a Snapple against the side of a building, but that they will enforce the law selectively according to their own purity tests, while robbing the rest of us of the diversity and ferment which make us richer.

On March 27, reclaim space for art and innovation. Sit and lie on the public sidewalk! March and sing in the public street! Picnic on the pavement. Pop open a beer in Dolores Park. Do it without a permit. The Constitution is your permit. San Francisco's heritage of artistic experimentation is your permit. Hell, the people telling you to get a permit flocked here because people like you marched around them in the first place and made this city inspiring. Do it for them too. This is a defining moment. They are playing for keeps, and so must we. Let's bask in San Francisco's ongoing heyday, not in quaint stories of what used to be.

Ben Rosenfeld is a lawyer in San Francisco.

Comments

go to www.standagainstsitlie.org to to find out more and post where you will be sitting. Go to the map and see where all of the people are doing things around the city. There are already 40 that are happening with many more to come!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

SIDEWALKS ARE FOR PEOPLE! SAT MARCH 27

Help us celebrate San Francisco's public space, art/culture, and tradition of tolerance and compassion this Saturday on a sidewalk near you.

People from all walks of life, across the city, will be doing what they love on the city's sidewalks: barbecues, chalk drawing, chess, yoga, reading, knitting, jumprope, playing music, painting, tea/coffee parties, sunbathing, meditating, DJing, hanging out, tai chi, dancing, anything -- you name it! Dozens of events are already planned and the list is growing daily!

Check out our website to find out how you can participate and take a stand against sit/lie. www.StandAgainstSitLie.org

4:00 PM: end-of-the-day celebration at Market/Castro, Castro Commons

See you on the sidewalks this Saturday!

Posted by Andy Blue on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

SIDEWALKS ARE FOR PEOPLE! SAT MARCH 27

Help us celebrate San Francisco's public space, art/culture, and tradition of tolerance and compassion this Saturday on a sidewalk near you.

People from all walks of life, across the city, will be doing what they love on the city's sidewalks: barbecues, chalk drawing, chess, yoga, reading, knitting, jumprope, playing music, painting, tea/coffee parties, sunbathing, meditating, DJing, hanging out, tai chi, dancing, anything -- you name it! Dozens of events are already planned and the list is growing daily!

Check out our website to find out how you can participate and take a stand against sit/lie. www dot StandAgainstSitLie dot org

4pm: end-of-the-day celebration at Market/Castro

See you on the sidewalks this Saturday!

Posted by Andy Blue on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

Thanks, Ben Rosenfeld, for your article above. Some comments follow.

You say:

"the mayor, the police chief, and their downtown cronies have declared war on our grassroots arts culture, and they are coming for your actual and conceptual space next."

Aren't you getting a little carried away with yourself? War on grassroots culture? Attacking conceptual space?

You're starting to sound like the excitable Tommi Avicolli Mecca. But he has an excuse. He was never trained as a lawyer to make cogent arguments.

Please, let's have an adult discussion here.

You say:

"Their official reason [for shutting down some events]— that organizers lacked permits — is what Bill Clinton famously termed an explanation, but not an excuse."

You would junk the permit process? Should the entertainment capitalists be free to do whatever they want, without any regard for the environment or the common good?

You say:

"The SFPD has a long history of not only tolerating unpermitted gatherings, but of rerouting traffic around and even escorting them."

Has that practice been a good thing? Hasn't it encouraged excess and caused problem with neighborhoods? Wouldn't it be better to follow a rational permit process?

You say:

"Chief Gascón's force has been striking a mighty blow against crime by writing scores of open container citations to revelers in Dolores Park..."

So the alcohol-control laws should go unenforced? Would that be wise in a city that is already a magnet for migratory alcoholics and addicts?

You say:

"fining or forcing the closure of SoMa clubs and bars for failing to conform to every fickle letter of the law..."

Haven't there be complaints of egregious actions, including killings, at certain nightclubs and bars?

You want the police not to enforce the laws?

Are you really a lawyer?

You say:

"his [Chief George Gascon] demand for an ordinance that would literally criminalize the very act of sitting or lying on certain public sidewalks at certain times."

Have you read the text of the ordinance? It specifies that a warning shall be given for first-time offenders, with no citations.

Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who runs the jail, said he expected no increase in the jail population, because of this feature in the law.

It's basically a tool to keep migratory addicts and alcoholics from colonizing public spaces for their own exclusive use.

You say:

"Not only is the idea just plain mean, it is anathema to San Francisco's culture of compassion and broadmindedness..."

Nonsense. The measure will be a sensible tool for protecting our neighborhoods. They help make SF special.

You say:

"robbing the rest of us of the diversity and ferment which make us richer."

I had a good laugh over that one!

You say:

"On March 27, reclaim space for art and innovation. Sit and lie on the public sidewalk!"

I looked at the map on the Net for the distribution of these Saturday events. They aren't very many, with broad spaces of the city left completely uninvolved.

In order for a tactic like this have a reasonable effect, there has to be intelligent and practical planning to involve many neighborhoods.

As it now stands, these scattered events will just be another form of acting out. They will give the participants some psychological relief, which is fine. But they won't affect the chances of passage of the sit-lie law at City Hall.

You say:

"Pop open a beer in Dolores Park. Do it without a permit. The Constitution is your permit."

Where does the Constitution specify this right? In fact, to the contrary, the 21st amendment, that repealed national prohibition, specifically states that states (and counties, which are part of states) can regulate the consumption of alcohol.

Once again, I have to ask: Are you really a lawyer?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

Come join team Hernandez, as we sit down on the sidewalk and talk about campaign strategies to educate and inform the community on how Mayor Gavin Newsom is taking the Constitutional rights away from approximately 6,000San Franciscan’s who happen to be homeless.

We will be playing music, and having free coffee and doughnuts from 10 am – 12 noon.So, stop on by and have a seat on the sidewalk.

Where: 10th and Market St
When: Sat, March 27, 2010

Hope to see you there.

.http://www.standagainstsitlie.org

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 7:40 am

“Once again, I have to ask: Are you really a lawyer?”
Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

For a person who spends most of his life on the internet, having even gone so far as to post his entire personal sexual history online for all to suffer through, Arthur Evans sure does have a hard time with the obvious.

Well, at least when the obvious contradicts his one man war against freedom in San Francisco.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=ben+rosenfeld+lawyer

Posted by Stop The War On Fun on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 11:19 am

If opponents of the sit-lie law follow Ben Rosenfeld's advice, their protest events this Saturday will turn into booze-ins. At the end of they, the boozers will all stagger over to the Castro and have a mega-booze-in.

If they think this sort of acting-out will inspire the residents of the Castro to oppose the sit-lie law, they're in for a big surprise.

It would be more sensible if opponents of the sit-lie law ignored Ben Rosenfeld's advice and conducted themselves like intelligent, sober adults.

But you never know with this crew.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

In three successive posts above, Ben Rosenfeld describes me as "a person who spends most of his life on the internet..."

For the record, I've published three books and a host of magazine articles.

My most recent book is "Critique of Patriarchal Reason."

It's a comprehensive, critical overview of Western philosophy from classical antiquity down to the present day, showing how gender biases have affected formal logical, higher mathematics, and the philosophical tradition.

I worked on this project for nine years. The late philosopher Paul Oskar Kristeller described my book as "a major contribution to the study of philosophy and its history."

Kristeller was my doctoral advisor when I was a graduate student in philosophy at Columbia University. He had fled to Columbia after his parents were killed in the holocaust in Germany, where he had studied under Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger. At Columbia, Kristeller became the world's leading authority on Renaissance humanist philosophy, which is my own special interest.

I am also the author of "The God of Ecstasy: Sex-Roles and the Madness of Dionysos."

The book is a study of the treatment of women and gay people in ancient Greece. It draws on Euripides' famous play "Bakkhai," which I translated anew from ancient Greek for the book. I also produced and directed this play here in SF.

I am also the author of "Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture." The book shows that many of the people who were persecuted as "witches" and "heretics" in the Middle Ages and Renaissance were actually attacked because of their sexual orientation and/or gender.

My next project is to produce some short videos for Youtube that will demonstrate the reading of ancient Greek poetry with the ancient pronunciation of that language. Also, short videos demonstrating how the organ works of the Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude can be satisfactorily played on electronic organ.

In sum, I am a long-standing San Franciscan who has contributed to cultural life and freedom.

I support the sit-lie law in order to protect our neighborhoods from the migratory packs of alcoholics and addicts who are now undermining them, especially in the Haight, where I have lived for the last 35 years.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

“For the record, I've published three books and a host of magazine articles.”
Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

If only someone cared about your many accomplishments. Perhaps then you would stop trying to deprive your neighbors of their civil tights and leave us in peace.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

Arthur, being a priggish moralizer isn't the same at seeking an "Adult discussion." The supremely sanitized, policed, and permitted world that you seek isn't "adult," it's a scared child's fantasy. The real world is far messier, and in San Francisco, gloriously so. What's wrong with having a good time? What are you really so afraid of? Why shouldn't we celebrate culturally rich nightlife and impromptu flash mobs? Instead, you want to shut it down, actually going so far as to blame murders on the clubs. Really? That's ridiculous. The bottom line is that we aren't children, Arthur, we're adults with rights and a yearning to be free, to express ourselves, and have fun. This is our city at least as much as yours, and we demand that our public servants treat us with respect, even when we've had a few drinks and are wearing some silly costume. So get off your high horse and stop acting as if boring buzzkills like you are the only legitimate voices in this debate.

Posted by steven on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

Thank you, Steven, for your post above. You rightly point out that the debate on the sit-lie law touches on deeper attitudes and values. Hopefully, we can have an intelligent discussion of these deeper issues. Some responses follow.

You say:

“The supremely sanitized, policed, and permitted world that you seek isn't ‘adult,’ it's a scared child's fantasy.”

Below is some of the behavior we now commonly face from the packs of migratory addicts and alcoholics who live on the streets in SF:

assaulting residents and each other, selling drugs, urinating and defecating on sidewalks, causing fires, ditching used needles in children’s sandboxes, pounding on drums around the clock, and more.

You think it’s priggish to want to get this situation under control?

You say:

“Why shouldn't we celebrate culturally rich nightlife and impromptu flash mobs?”

As long as people aren’t getting attacked or shot, and property isn’t being destroyed, and the public peace isn’t being disrupted, it’s fine with me.

But even so, there’s more to life than getting falling-down drunk or stoned.

You say:

“we're adults with rights and a yearning to be free, to express ourselves, and have fun.”

There’s nothing wrong with having fun. But we would do well to act mindfully in all areas of life, including recreational pursuits.

Life provides many lessons on this score. For example, the lessons we have all learned in how to avoid getting infected by AIDS.

As Confucius once said: “The self-restrained seldom err.”

You say:

“This is our city at least as much as yours, and we demand that our public servants treat us with respect, even when we've had a few drinks and are wearing some silly costume.”

When public servants act to enforce the law, protecting residents from abuse by drunks and addicts, they are doing their job.

You say:

“So get off your high horse and stop acting as if boring buzzkills like you are the only legitimate voices in this debate.

If opponents of the sit-lie law act like a pack of adolescent, self-absorbed drunks and stoners, they will promote passage of the very law they hate.

You don’t have to be a political scientist to figure this out.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

Some people are just too big of douches to waste your time with.

I am talking about Arthur of course.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

Thank you, Guest, for your intelligent post above.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

This ordinance is nothing but another attempt by Newsom and the cops to criminalize homelessness instead of coming up with real solutions. The assurance that citations will only be given to the homeless (or assumed homeless), and not clean & decent citizens taking a rest on their lunch break, is proof of that. To make a law and only enforce it on those who deserve it, based on individual police officers' opinions, is asinine.

The creation of this ordinance was a response to claims of harassment, intimidation, and assault by homeless people hanging out on Haight street. Here's a radical idea - how about policing the actual crimes being committed, instead of the act of merely sitting on the sidewalk? If people are being harassed and assaulted, if they're witnessing people openly smoking crack on the sidewalk, why don't they call the cops and press charges? "Aggressive panhandling" is already illegal, so why not enforce that instead of outlawing an inherently innocent and non-violent activity such as just sitting down? It's difficult to actually assault someone from a sitting position.

Very few people, especially the virulent homeless-haters, ever take a moment to think about what it's actually like to BE homeless. Sitting and resting are as essential to life as eating. The homeless don't have the luxury of chairs or couches or beds to rest on. They rely on public spaces, such as libraries, cafes, parks, and of course, sidewalks. The key word here is PUBLIC spaces - if someone is peacefully and legally using a public space, we have no right to tell them not to, no matter who or what they might be. If someone is sitting on a sidewalk harassing people who walk by, sure, something should be done about it. But if they're sitting there (non-aggressively) panhandling, eating, chatting with friends, or just resting, they absolutely have that right. To take that away would be ridiculous and unethical.

Not all homeless people are "migratory addicts and alcoholics." The ones on Haight street are a different breed than most, but we're not just talking about Haight street. Homeless people all over the city will be affected by this ordinance, whether they're actually doing anything wrong or not. Many homeless are decent people who lost their jobs and/or their luck, and once you hit a certain point, it's difficult to impossible to recover. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get a job and an apartment after a year of sitting on sidewalks and sleeping in parks. People's perceptions of homeless people are a major part of what makes it so difficult to get out of. I eventually realized that I had to lie and hide the fact that I was homeless to prospective employers and roommates. I never touched a drug or a drink the entire time I was on the streets, but I was a scumbag in the public's eye regardless.

Contrary to popular belief, simply making it inconvenient to be homeless is not going to solve the problem of homelessness, nor is it going to make homeless people "just go away." People who previously sat on the sidewalk will just go sit somewhere else, most likely the parks. In five years, are we going to figure out that the sit/lie ordinance didn't fix anything, and then outlaw sitting in parks? Care Not Cash didn't fix anything, surprise surprise, and here we go again.

Posted by Keelhaul on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 3:57 am

Thank you for your post above, Keelhaul. I give you credit for being more rational than Guest.

But even so -

I have lived at the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets for the last 35 years. Here are some personal observations from the neighborhood -

Only a tiny minority of the street people in the Haight are San Franciscans who have become homeless. Most are migratory addicts and alcoholics. They move up and down the West Coast in packs, looking for easy access to drugs and weak law enforcement. They have created a subculture for themselves that is rooted in addiction and hostile to recovery programs.

In recent years, they have become increasingly territorial and aggressive, colonizing sidewalks and other public spaces as their turf. They assault residents and each other, sell drugs, urinate and defecate on sidewalks, dump used hypodermic needles in parks and children’s sandboxes, cause fires, leave litter everywhere, and pound on drums around the clock. They are now migrating in increasing numbers out of the Haight into the Castro and beyond.

Their abusive behavior toward residents is mostly directed at women, the elderly, and men whom they believe to be gay. I have personally witnessed many such incidents over the years. In one case, a large, drunken male stalked two young gay men who were holding hands, spat in the face of one of them, and shouted “Faggot! I hope you die of AIDS!”

The basis of their strength is their territoriality. When they squat on sidewalks, San Francisco police may not legally direct them to move along unless there is a formal complaint from a civilian. Civilians are often afraid to make such complaints out of fear of retaliation. The persons cited usually return, with no consequences for their behavior.

This requirement for a civilian complaint is not part of the municipal code or state law but the result of two arcane General Orders of the Police Commission. They resulted from a court settlement some years ago and cannot be readily rescinded.

The proposed sit-lie law would enable police to direct sidewalk squatters to move along, without first having a formal civilian complaint. The law specifies that a first offense would result only in a warning with no citation. Only subsequent violations would bring citations.

The law would allow police foot-patrols to be more effective in dealing with the squatters. To call for more foot-patrols as the answer to the problem, but to oppose this law, as some have done, is a contradiction. It’s like trying to drive a car with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake.

Admittedly, people with drug and alcohol addictions need services. But there are those who refuse services and are part of a toxic subculture that colonizes public space for its own purposes. For the sake of neighborhood safety and well-being, they should be held accountable for their behavior. And that’s what a sit-lie law would help do. Let’s support it.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 8:29 am

And they sent him from Mesa, AZ because he was too liberal for them! (grannygear)

(Why is my font red?)

Posted by Guest on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 9:03 am

Admittedly, people with Attention Addictions need services.
But there are those who, like Arthur Evans, refuse services and are part of a toxic subculture that colonizes public attention for their own purposes. For the sake of neighborhood safety and well-being, they should be held accountable for their behavior. And that’s what a Mind Your Own Business Law would help do. Let’s support it.

Posted by Stop Arthur Evans From Colonizing Sidewalks! on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 10:34 am

Arthur, every concern you cited in response to my last comment is already a crime, so there's no need for new laws to address them. And I'm glad to hear you support our flash mobs as long as we don't attack anyone, which is a pretty easy standard to abide, although we might differ on your demand "that public peace isn’t being disrupted" because I'm not sure what that means (does driving big cars count -- they're always disrupting my peaceful bike rides) or why it's desirable. But I'm happy to hear you accept people's desire to gather in public without seeking expensive and spontaneity-killed police permits first, at least in concept.
All that's left of your argument then is to complain about our attitudes and what you perceive as our lack of maturity, and on that point, we'll just have to respectfully disagree that your worldview is what this city needs. I like mine -- and those of the thousands of colorful souls who make this such an interesting city -- much better.

Posted by steven on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

Thanks, Steven, for your post above.

You say:

"Arthur, every concern you cited in response to my last comment is already a crime, so there's no need for new laws to address them."

Not true. It's illegal for SF cops to direct people who are blocking the sidewalk to move along without first having a formal complaint from a civilian.

To the best of my knowledge, no other city in CA has this requirement. It's not part of state law or SF municipal law. It's required by two General Orders of the Police Commission.

I know because I tried, unsuccessfully, to get these two General Orders rescinded by the Police Commission in the mid-90s. It turns out that they originally resulted from a court settlement in a civil case and cannot easily be rescinded by the Police Commission.

The proposed sit-lie law would allow police to direct people who are blocking the sidewalk to move along, without first having a civilian complaint. The sit-lie law specifies that warnings only must be given for first offenses, with no citations.

This is a reasonable solution to a difficult problem.

You say:

"we might differ on your demand 'that public peace isn’t being disrupted' because I'm not sure what that means"

It means not littering, making undue noise, obstructing sidewalks or vehicular traffic, harassing passers-by, or urinating and defecating on sidewalks.

You say:

"does driving big cars count -- they're always disrupting my peaceful bike rides"

I'm not a car fan. I don't own one. I used to bike a lot but I'm not able to do that anymore. I mostly rely on Muni and walking.

However, car drivers have the right to use public streets without obstruction.

You say:

"All that's left of your argument then is to complain about our attitudes and what you perceive as our lack of maturity."

Not so fast. There's the issue of the General Orders mentioned above and dealing with sidewalk obstructions.

There's also the issue of demonizing residents who care about public safety and sanitation.

Residents, especially in at-risk neighborhoods, should be applauded for working to make their neighborhoods safe, clean, and peaceful.

When I tell my progressive friends in other cities that people who call themselves progressives in SF, attack efforts on behalf of public safety and public sanitation, they can hardly believe it. But it's true, as this thread demonstrates.

It's a terrible thing to throw a neighborhood under the bus, and especially so in the name of progressive politics. Efforts by neighbors to bring safety, sanity, and sanitation to their neighborhoods shows respect for the spirituality of place. This is the nurturing mother of neighborly goodness and excellence, as surely as fertile soil is the nurturing mother of trees.

In the wise words of Confucius:

"It is the moral character of a neighborhood that constitutes its excellence."

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

“There's also the issue of demonizing residents who care about public safety and sanitation.”
Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

No one demonized your supposed concern for public safety.
However, many people are disgusted by your non-stop misrepresentations and exhortations for the replacement of American’s civil liberties with unchecked police power.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

Dear All,
Thanks for the lively discussion. Also, the Guardian has been kind enough to post my longer piece on their blog at

http://www.sfbg.com/print/politics/2010/03/25/sit-lie-stand-and-fight

I hope folks will read it.

In brief response to some of the comments:

Yes, Arthur Evans, I am a lawyer; I've been practicing for ten years in San Francisco. I am also a Board member of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, based in Eugene, OR. I have consistently taken a stand against laws which I believe are overbroad, and which intrude on anyone's civil liberties. For instance, I also opposed the handgun ban in San Francisco before the Supreme Court indirectly struck it down (by nullifying the D.C. law on which it was based).

In general, I think that we have become a rule crazy society. I fully support responsible regulation, but I do not support laws, like the proposed sit/lie ordinance, which essentially criminalize whole swaths of the population, leaving the police unfettered discretion to decide who the so-called bad guys are. I believe (as I believe our Constitutional framers did too) in a rights-based society, government reposed in the people, and police power as the exception, not the rule. Not every social ill demands a legal solution; in fact, we would all be far better served -- and achieve deeper and more abiding consensus -- if we sought to regulate one another's behavior less by fiat, and more by social example, moral suasion, or collective censure.

So for instance, we have plenty of other tools to deal with belligerent drunk people, apart from passing a blunderbuss sit/lie ordinance, or citing people generally for open containers. I have spoken with people in the Haight who are incensed by the thuggish culture which has cropped up there, but who agree that sit/lie is not the solution. I believe in people's creative ability to deal with problems. Apart from that, I'm told that the police haven't even really tried stepped up patrols on the street.

In addition, there are hidden consequences to granting the police ever broader power. If you are committing a crime, they can leverage that in numerous officious ways, short of actual arrest. For example, it is quite common for police to move homeless people and street kids along just by threatening them with arrest, even when they are breaking no law. So I am in no way relieved by your report that the Sheriff does not expect that law to increase the jail population. In fact, I think that that is a further sign of the danger of this measure: one more handle in the hands of police to use to manipulate people who's behavior not only shouldn't be illegal, but literally often isn't. (I even just got a report that cops on both sides of the bay have been writing waif kids bogus citations just to scare them, and some are sufficiently intimidated that they plan to just avoid SF in the future. You may think this is good because you like those aesthetics. I don't. But more to the point, I don't like the fact that the police are being given the power to choose them for all of us.)

Every new power we grant the police to arrest us or even just prod us along (we have to think of the targets as "us" not other, or democracy fails) carries with the power to search our persons too. So it is a short step from sitting and lying to being busted for pot simply because you forgot your Rx. Etc. And depending on the seriousness of the law/offense, it also carries with it the implied power of police to obtain search warrants, conduct increasingly non-warrant based electronic legal and illegal surveillance, subpoena people to grand juries, and so on.

So I believe that good social policy involves first not turning to government and law enforcement to try to solve every social problem.

As for encouraging people to pop open a beer in Dolores Park. It is well within a lawyer's ethics to encourage people to violate unjust petty laws as a form of civil protest. (Also, note that the phrase "the Constitution is your permit" obviously referred to the list of exhortations which came before it, not just the one.) There is no state open container law. In fact, there isn't even a city wide open container law in San Francisco, but rather a law pertaining only to certain enumerated parks, of which Dolores is one. I don't think it should be. I think that people have been enjoying spirits in Dolores Park for years, and that we shouldn't punish the many for the crimes of a few. The public can generally deal with the few miscreants, and where it can't, the police may step in and deal with them under other relevant laws, like Penal Code sec. 647(f) (drunk and disorderly).

Hope that clarifies some things.

(As for your comment, "In three successive posts above, Ben Rosenfeld describes me as 'a person who spends most of his life on the internet...'"), I don't know what you're referring to. This is my first post to this discussion.

Ben

Posted by Ben Rosenfeld on Mar. 25, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

Arthur, why are you so hell bent on passing a law which will do nothing to meaningfully change what you consider to be a problem?

I think you have too much time on your hands.

Have you attempted to communicate with the homeless on the Haight or tried to help them by working at a soup kitchen or shelter?
I think not, because as someone who worked at the (sadly, closed) Haight-Ashbury Food Program for a decade, the youth you have tried so hard to criminalize never caused any problems for us.

You remind me of Don Quixote, only with more enemies, both real and imagined.

Posted by Clark Sullivan on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 9:31 am

Thanks, Ben, for your comments above. I lost track of this thread (they keep moving around here at SF Bay Guardian). However, Sam, writing on another thread, was kind enough to draw my attention to it.

Some responses follow.

You say:

"I am a lawyer; I've been practicing for ten years in San Francisco."

I was surprised to see that a professional lawyer would be ignorant of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

This amendment specifically reserves to the states (and therefore to their agencies and parts, such as cities and counties) to power to regulate the consumption of alcohol. This reservation of power to the states was part of the deal in repealing prohibition on a federal level.

So it is not true, as you claim, that people have a constitutional right to consume alcohol in public, contrary to local laws, by virtue of the U.S. Constitution. Quite the contrary.

You say:

"I do not support laws, like the proposed sit/lie ordinance, which essentially criminalize whole swaths of the population..."

The proposed law specifies that there shall be a warning for first offenses, with no criminal penalties.

The person who runs the jail here, Sheriff Mike Hennessey, testified that he expected to see no increase in the jail population as a result of the passage of this law.

You say:

"I believe (as I believe our Constitutional framers did too) in a rights-based society, government reposed in the people, and police power as the exception, not the rule."

The Constitution provides for both personal rights and protection of the common good. It's all there in the preamble.

You say:

"in fact, we would all be far better served -- and achieve deeper and more abiding consensus -- if we sought to regulate one another's behavior less by fiat, and more by social example, moral suasion, or collective censure."

Sometimes the rule of law has to come into play. That's the case now with dealing with the city's many migratory addicts and alcoholics.

They have become territorial and aggressive. In some neighborhoods, such as the Haight, they are on the verge of gang formation.

Just as it is reasonable to pass laws to protect forest habitats from spoliation, so it is reasonable to pass laws to protect urban neighborhoods from spoliation.

You say:

"So for instance, we have plenty of other tools to deal with belligerent drunk people, apart from passing a blunderbuss sit/lie ordinance..."

Two General Orders of the Police Commission forbid police from ordering sidewalk squatters from moving along, unless there is a prior complaint from a civilian. To the best of my knowledge, no other CA city has such a requirement.

These standing orders are as follows:

General Order 5.03 I.A., adopted 8/17/94, provides that police may not direct people to move along based on "general complaints from residents, merchants or others."

General Order 6.11 II.E.3, adopted 8/17/94, provides that police may not conclude that people are blocking the sidewalk unless "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."

The implication of the above two General Orders is that police may not act on their own in directing people to move along, not even in the context of general complaints, but must be able to identify a particular civilian who is willing to complain of the obstruction.

In the mid 1990s, others and I worked with then-captain Jim Long of Park Station to have the Police Commission rescind these General Orders. The Commission refused, saying these two General Orders were the result of a court settlement from a civil suit and that the Commission could not revoke such a settlement.

The sit-lie law would be a reasonable solution to this difficult problem.

You say:

"Apart from that, I'm told that the police haven't even really tried stepped up patrols on the street."

I live on Haight Street. The foot patrols have increased. However, they would be much more effective if they had a sit-lie law as a tool.

To call for more foot patrols, while denying them the tool of the sit-lie law, is like trying to drive a car with one foot on the gas and one on the brake.

You say:

"If you are committing a crime, they can leverage that in numerous officious ways, short of actual arrest."

Right. That's why the sit-lie law specifies that a warning, and not a citation, shall be the case with the first offense.

You say:

"one more handle in the hands of police to use to manipulate people who's behavior not only shouldn't be illegal, but literally often isn't..."

This is what I see, day in and day out:

Drug dealing, harassing passers-by, littering, spraying graffiti, causing fires, pounding on drums around the clock, urinating and defecating on sidewalks, blocking the sidewalk, the whole bit.

Whatever happened to the civil right of a community to live in peace?

You say:

"So it is a short step from sitting and lying to being busted for pot simply because you forgot your Rx."

Many of the migratory addicts and alcoholics in the Haight have bought medical marijuana cards although they have no medical condition that requires it.

They sell the medical marijuana on the street. With the proceeds, they buy crack, heroin, and speed for themselves.

You say:

"So I believe that good social policy involves first not turning to government and law enforcement to try to solve every social problem."

My neighbors and I have been struggling for decades to control the problem in the Haight. We need the help of effective law enforcement.

You say:

"As for encouraging people to pop open a beer in Dolores Park. It is well within a lawyer's ethics to encourage people to violate unjust petty laws as a form of civil protest."

Not so petty. The protesters on Saturday plan to converge on the Castro in the evening for a rally.

Is it wise to encourage them to show up after drinking all day? Aren't you aware of problems that have occurred in the Castro because of drunken outsiders coming in?

You say:

"there isn't even a city wide open container law in San Francisco, but rather a law pertaining only to certain enumerated parks, of which Dolores is one. I don't think it should be."

If the protesters follow your incendiary advice, they will be drinking at every event and then come staggering over to the Castro for a mass protest. There they will be joined by the drunken and stoned male street people who have migrated in the last year or so from the Haight and elsewhere.

If you were responsible in your advice, you would take these matters into consideration.

You say:

"This is my first post to this discussion."

Thank you for this clarification.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

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he Commission last. Deal, graffiti General unless, The abiding spoliation.

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Posted by Arthur Evans Gibberish Generator Software on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

Right police law social, Francisco You I've able true. Civil Right, peace achieve. Mass drunk, one need effective struggling civil.

Hurling feces, say: self-absorbed police brake, provides, personal prohibition Harvey Milk Club. Adopted Haight one, US drunken then-captain Not rights good. Denying street" harassing ordering reposed last. Government police counties) reposed, street nomadic jamboree handout Thanks General alcohol You.

Essentially, petty every enough provides encouraging say: years part laws.

The, Aren't make queen You matters.

Red Queen manipulate mental illness, live years involves. Actual enforcement General city's short context. Eileen Hansen bit believe, dealing moral say:, hands.

Foot deal, rights others" "This fires. Some members of the sect problem" rigid police. Stoned deal revoke citation Milk Club Ross Mirkarimi wise say: counties), Ben. Prostitution contrary moving penalties along, Drug discussion" identify.

Provides the commuting drug dealers Mike, Commission Dolores.

Happened, willing Daly Ross Mirkarimi Constitution.

US, drinking sidewalk turning flattering zealots problem" ordinance" residents. Good brake alcohol plan, consensus believe protesters.

Increased identify, community, whole arrested, forbid General consensus rescind medical. Around Chris Daly clock protect Mike see migratory problem.

Sidewalks actual -- consume therefore. Order civil outsiders, open! See, Commission San Constitution.

Incendiary seething cauldron Just, stepped, near penalties elsewhere moral. Regulate moving effective perturbed.

Leverage along counties) powerhouse formation years.

Patrols rule" street particular, beer protest" right evening? Adopted say:, progressive sect, sit/lie forgot tool occurred. Power laws, You Whatever parks, encourage filth crisis. That's problem coming, "in the gang who couldn't shoot straight The.

Filth crisis sidewalk first street prostitution. Threats worked, The some members of the sect, ordering T
he Commission last. Deal, graffiti General unless, The abiding spoliation.

Result, describe Harvey Milk Club counties), obstruction help, bar-goers. Thank right, say: Francisco" ethics believe people too). Converge flattering zealots result, within, crystal meth runs rally apart sit-lie. Complaints progressive sect, unjust dogma-driven General must say: The neighbors, 21st, swaths.

However, fires comments 8/17/94 We. Practical consequences consideration rights US.

Even parks act, law. Proposed must pot Police filth crisis common coming better beer ordinance.

Belligerent example Haight Ashbury Bay thread Milk Clubbers often, laws. I protesters like, "Apart "I, revoke social manipulate.

My 21st enforcement Milk Club. Warning responsible, must, Haight. Exception, evening I use, pass drunk. Solution well day social preamble wise.

Case peace draw sitting wise, You involves far. Hands self-righteous San, street car two although play Chris Daly certain You. Civilian others Guardian) heroin deeper (they every Not, bosses. Exasperated Guard!

Posted by Arthur Evans Gibberish Generator Software on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 11:04 pm

Right police law social, Francisco You I've able true. Civil Right, peace achieve. Mass drunk, one need effective struggling civil.

Hurling feces, say: self-absorbed police brake, provides, personal prohibition Harvey Milk Club. Adopted Haight one, US drunken then-captain Not rights good. Denying street" harassing ordering reposed last. Government police counties) reposed, street nomadic jamboree handout Thanks General alcohol You.

Essentially, petty every enough provides encouraging say: years part laws.

The, Aren't make queen You matters.

Red Queen manipulate mental illness, live years involves. Actual enforcement General city's short context. Eileen Hansen bit believe, dealing moral say:, hands.

Foot deal, rights others" "This fires. Some members of the sect problem" rigid police. Stoned deal revoke citation Milk Club Ross Mirkarimi wise say: counties), Ben. Prostitution contrary moving penalties along, Drug discussion" identify.

Provides the commuting drug dealers Mike, Commission Dolores.

Happened, willing Daly Ross Mirkarimi Constitution.

US, drinking sidewalk turning flattering zealots problem" ordinance" residents. Good brake alcohol plan, consensus believe protesters.

Increased identify, community, whole arrested, forbid General consensus rescind medical. Around Chris Daly clock protect Mike see migratory problem.

Sidewalks actual -- consume therefore. Order civil outsiders, open! See, Commission San Constitution.

Incendiary seething cauldron Just, stepped, near penalties elsewhere moral. Regulate moving effective perturbed.

Leverage along counties) powerhouse formation years.

Patrols rule" street particular, beer protest" right evening? Adopted say:, progressive sect, sit/lie forgot tool occurred. Power laws, You Whatever parks, encourage filth crisis. That's problem coming, "in the gang who couldn't shoot straight The.

Filth crisis sidewalk first street prostitution. Threats worked, The some members of the sect, ordering T
he Commission last. Deal, graffiti General unless, The abiding spoliation.

Result, describe Harvey Milk Club counties), obstruction help, bar-goers. Thank right, say: Francisco" ethics believe people too). Converge flattering zealots result, within, crystal meth runs rally apart sit-lie. Complaints progressive sect, unjust dogma-driven General must say: The neighbors, 21st, swaths.

However, fires comments 8/17/94 We. Practical consequences consideration rights US.

Even parks act, law. Proposed must pot Police filth crisis common coming better beer ordinance.

Belligerent example Haight Ashbury Bay thread Milk Clubbers often, laws. I protesters like, "Apart "I, revoke social manipulate.

My 21st enforcement Milk Club. Warning responsible, must, Haight. Exception, evening I use, pass drunk. Solution well day social preamble wise.

Case peace draw sitting wise, You involves far. Hands self-righteous San, street car two although play Chris Daly certain You. Civilian others Guardian) heroin deeper (they every Not, bosses. Exasperated Guard!

Posted by Arthur Evans Gibberish Generator Software on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 11:06 pm

One additional comment, Ben. In your note above, you say:

"the phrase 'the Constitution is your permit' obviously referred to the list of exhortations which came before it [Amendment 21], not just the one."

The original Constitution accepted slavery and the denial of the right to vote to women. So, based on your reasoning, should we ignore the later amendments and, in the spirit of the Founders, restore slavery and abolish women's suffrage?

Of course not. In the same way, Amendment 21 - which specifically acknowledges the power of states to regulate alcohol consumption - is part of the Constitution.

So you can't claim that the Constitution gives people the right to flout local regulations about alcohol.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 9:26 am

Please refrain from citing woman's suffrage in your arguments. As a woman, I hate being associated with you. It makes me cringe every time you spout on about women and gay men. That's all, good day.

Posted by Kelly Pierce on Apr. 19, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

By popular demand, here's my first ever javascript program, a port of the original perl Arthur Evans Gibberish generator, the one that made a certain progressive friendly corporate lobbyist who runs a daily news web site for political junkies piss his pants several years ago:

http://cybre.net/egg/

It is based on the perennial javascript crapola Newsom Bullshit Generator:

http://cybre.net/nbg

Enjoy!

Posted by Arthur Evans Gibberish Generator Software on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 9:46 am

It seems that someone has launched a cyber attack on this thread.

This has happened before on other chatboards with a certain Green Party member. When he would disagree with the views of others, and not be able to answer them rationally, he would dump heaps of nonsense onto the thread, in the hope of shutting down discussion.

I don't know whether the perpetrator here is the same as in the other cases. But the tactics are consistent with each other.

And all in the name of progressive politics.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 10:27 am

Arthur Evans sprang into action back in 2005.
It was “RAINING NEEDLES”!
Plus, he had to do battle with a “Demonizer in Chief”!
http://www.sfbaytimes.com/index.php?sec=article&article_id=3447

Just as he had no choice but to address his most recent manufactured emergency with panic and alarmist rhetoric.
Because “IT’S HIGH NOON OUT HERE”!
http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-12-17/bay-area/17224558_1_haight-ashbury...

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:
http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-trw-haight29may29?page=1

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.
http://www.sfbaytimes.com/index.php?sec=article&article_id=5373

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.”
http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?t=278454

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 @ 11:59 am

Pure narco-nomads disdain narco-nomads preach to the choir chicken-brigade enabled foreplay sudden outbursts mental illness Harvey Milk Club. Daly nomadic addicts, alcoholics drunks and druggies Quality-Of-Life Court disarray trash dirty perpetuate progressive cauldron self-righteous seven-hour revival meeting charismatic Red Queen. Never visceral hatred the progressive sect dismiss addicts obedience filthy disarray. The gang who couldn't shoot straight leader behavior articulate queen. Obscene Milk Club Newsom enemy Chris Daly absurdity self-absorbed Milk Club the progressive sect gibberish.

Posted by Arthur Evans Gibberish Generator Software on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

Arthur Evans,
I would respectfully point out that notwithstanding your doomsday predictions, drunken hordes did not wreak havoc in the Casto, or anywhere else in the City today during the Stand Against Sit Lie protest, simply because I encouraged people to do what they've been doing for decades: enjoying spirits in Dolores Park. Much of the rest of your response, I'm afraid, seems to have missed most of my points. I think we'll just have to disagree.

Posted by Ben Rosenfeld on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

Thanks for your note above, Ben.

You say:

“I would respectfully point out that notwithstanding your doomsday predictions, drunken hordes did not wreak havoc in the Casto, or anywhere else in the City today during the Stand Against Sit Lie protest…”

I’m happy to see that protesters refrained from drinking, contrary to your advice. Generally speaking, political activity and alcohol don’t mix. Same with drugs and politics. This principle is often overlooked in SF by all parts of the political spectrum, sometimes with embarrassing results.

You say:

“Much of the rest of your response, I'm afraid, seems to have missed most of my points.”

I went through your post and answered issues point by point, as you raised them, quoting your own words.

You say:

“I think we'll just have to disagree.’

I give you credit for the capacity for rational dialog. I can’t say the same for certain other contributors to this thread, though.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 27, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

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 @ 11:46 am

In a post above, Guest says:

"Arthur Evans is lying about Haight Street."

I, too, was delighted to see that things were beautiful on Haight Street yesterday. We have the fine police at Park Station to thank for helping get things under control after the deterioration of recent years. It would help both the police and the neighborhood if they had a sit-lie law as a tool.

However, although yesterday was lovely, the overall situation in the Haight in recent years has not been a beautiful thing. The recent report of the city's Controller confirms this fact:

"Among residents surveyed, between 2007 and 2009 there was a 12 percent decrease in feelings of safety at night in the Park Police District, where the Haight is located, while the rest of The City only decreased slightly, according to the report."

Click here for more:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Haight-at-center-of-sit-lie-debate-89335...

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

The situation on Haight Street is fine.
Unless you trust an unintelligible interpretation of an unexplained "survey" more than your own eyes and ears.

First hand accounts like the one above, confirmed by Arthur Evans, show that there is no emergency in the Haight.
Evans confirmed that things are fine in the Haight in his post when he wrote:
" I, too, was delighted to see that things were beautiful on Haight Street yesterday. We have the fine police at Park Station to thank for helping get things under control after the deterioration of recent years"

So now we know. Things are under control in the Haight, and we didn't need a sit lie/law for it to happen.
We don't need a law that robs Americans of their civil rights, and we never did.

As far as the survey, it states that:
"between 2007 and 2009 there was a 12 percent decrease in feelings of safety at night in the Park Police District"

This means that over the course of 2 years, 12 percent of a 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.”

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Haight-at-center-of-sit-lie-debate-89335...

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

The post above by Guest shows that Guest is still in denial.

Many residents and merchants of the Haight have come forward at public meetings and before the media to recount their personal experiences. Written accounts have been submitted to the board of supes. The Controller indicates that concerns about safety in the Haight have increased, while decreasing for the city as a whole.

Guest is like the doctrinaire enemies of Galileo. They refused to look through thenew telescope he had provided them, and they didn't want anybody else to look through it, either.

In both astronomy and politics, new knowledge begins where denial ends.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

Did you work to "get beer banned from the Haight Street Fair?

Did you try to put medical marijuana dispensaries in the Haight out of business."?

Why do you harass homeless youth?

What about this statement from Peter Golbetz:
"I have on numerous occasions observed Mr. Evans harassing homeless youth who were minding their own business or trying to play music."
http://ebar.com/openforum/opforum.php?sec=letters

See how I included the name of a person and a link with that last statement?
Those things give the statement veracity.
As opposed to something embarrassingly vague like:
"Many residents and merchants of the Haight"
You should take note, Galileo.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

Clark Sullivan wrote:

Arthur Evans, Busybody

Arthur, why are you so hell bent on passing a law which will do nothing to meaningfully change what you consider to be a problem?

I think you have too much time on your hands.

-------------------------------

Yeah, but that doesn't even begin to cover it!

It is astounding, isn't it? With all the problems we have in this world, THIS is what some guy is focused on! I can imagine being in outer space and looking down on the Earth and thinking about all the problems on the planet, and to think that there is someone "down there" so obsessed and fixated on what people do on the sidewalk. Incredible and pathetic in the big scheme of things. Who the hell cares what someone does on the sidewalk! Well Arthur Evans does as well as all those fictitious people who supposedly wrote those phony testimonials and "many" (how many is "many?") residents and merchants of the Haight? But to think: All that energy and time spent on this topic when all that energy and time could so much better be spent on something that really matters and is really important....like getting jobs back here in the Divided States of North America so that the (young) people can go back to work. Although, it won't be just the "young people" much longer on the sidewalks because I read an article earlier: "Homelessness set to surge among US elderly: report." [Source: Agence France-Presse]. What will Arthur do about that?

Arthur could focus on some really important such as UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE or jobs and housing for the homeless. That would affect millions and millions of people in a POSITIVE way, not just YOU.

Or, Arthur could fixate on this problem:

Republican red faces over party's $2,000 LA bondage club bill.
US conservative party spent the money on a trip to a club where topless women hang from nets on the ceiling in West Hollywood (Sam says: You know, GAY West Hollywood). This article is from the guardian in the UK.....front page at this time.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 29, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

Whatever happened to the topic of this thread?

Answer:

It has been lost track of, due to the familiar tactic of ad hominem slandering. That is, the tactic of trying to divert attention away from issues by raising bogus personal questions of the sort "Do you still beat your wife?"

Opponents of the sit-lie law are kidding themselves if they think this tactic will carry the day for them with the voters. It didn't work when the mayor proposed Care Not Cash some years ago, and it won't work with the sit-lie law of day.

The philosopher George Santayana once said that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. But in the case of certain SF ideologues, they know the history and still repeat it!

Nothing beats an intelligent, topic-focused discussion of public issues. Ad hominem slandering doesn't cut it.

The sit-lie law is an intelligent and practical solution to the vexing problem of abusive behavior by the city's many migratory addicts and alcoholics. Let's support for the sake of our neighborhoods' safety and health.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 30, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

Did you work to "get beer banned from the Haight Street Fair?

Did you "try to put medical marijuana dispensaries in the Haight out of business."?

Do you "harass homeless youth?"

Here is a statement from Peter Golbetz:
"I have on numerous occasions observed Mr. Evans harassing homeless youth who were minding their own business or trying to play music."
http://ebar.com/openforum/opforum.php?sec=letters

These three questions speak to the fact that you are constantly sounding alarms regarding emergencies that are manufactured by yourself and a handful of Haight Street Fascists.
The fact that, for years, you have regularly and repeatedly engaged in campaigns of intolerance against your neighbors sheds light on the lack of substance to be found in this latest attack on the rights of your neighbors.
You began this latest campaign with hysterical claims of an emergency that required new laws, suspension of consideration for our civil rights, and immediate action.
The fact that you make hysterical claims regarding new imaginary emergencies every year shows that your concerns should no longer receive attention from your neighbors, and that the alarm and fear you seek to cause people is not justified by the reality of the situation.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2010 @ 11:36 pm

I can picture Arthur Evans in some much-needed psychotherapy and the therapist begins to lay out what he/she sees as the problems and what needs to be worked on within Arthur. His response to the therapist: "That's slander. That's an Ad Hominem Attack. I don’t believe any of it." The therapist responds: Well, no, Arthur, what I'm telling you is not slander or an attack of you. It's the truth about you and what you need to work on from what you've told me about you and your experiences." The therapist goes on to inquire: "There may be something else we now need to work on. Do you often respond to the truth (and criticism) by accusing others of "slander and Ad Hominem Attacks?"

In the end, the therapist would likely show Arthur the door and say: "There's really nothing we can do together when you are living in Denial about the truth about yourself."

Posted by Sam on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

Last Saturday, over a thousand people took to the sidewalks to protest Arthur Evans' and the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council's dream of a totalitarian state.
And in the process, they enjoyed themselves, their neighbors, and their neighborhood.
This is San Francisco.

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics/Protests-Mount-Against-Sidewalk-...

http://www.standagainstsitlie.org/

http://www.i-newswire.com/more-than-one-thousand-san-franciscans/28854

http://missionlocal.org/2010/03/to-sit-or-lie-is-that-the-crime/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Francisco-Stands-Against-Sit-Lie/34747...

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

This is just one more example of the nature of so-called quality of life laws. They are usually representative of a certain class's idea of what makes a life "quality." The fact is, their bourgeois expectations are theirs and are not shared by everyone.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 7:58 am

If sit/lie for specific commercial areas were put up a ballot initiative, I suspect it would pass with a comfortable majority. I hope we do get vote on it, if the supervisors and mayor fail to pass it.

Posted by Guest icarus12 on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 10:42 am

The above post contains an error:
Arthur Evans, along with Ted Lowenberg, lead the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association in the battle to make sitting on public sidewalks a crime.

The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council, led by Joey Cain, opposes this unneeded and wrongheaded proposal.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2010 @ 7:04 am