Momentum shifts against sit-lie

Stand Against Sit Lie included dozens of small protests on March 27, and it returns on April 24
Steven T. Jones

Proponents of criminalizing sitting or lying on San Francisco sidewalks have seen their prospects of success steadily dwindle in the last week, starting with the creative and well-covered Stand Against Sit-Lie protests on March 27 and continuing through last week’s Planning Commission vote against the measure to yesterday’s debate on BBC’s The World, in which opponent Andy Blue clearly bested proponent Ted Loewenberg.

In fact, Blue and his grassroots band of progressive allies deserve tremendous credit for flipping the momentum on the issue away from the narrative pushed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Police Chief George Gascon, and the reactionary Haight area property owners from Loewenberg’s Haight Ashbury Improvement Association.

While Newsom and Loewenberg tried to argue this was about giving police another “tool” to use against violent street ruffians, Blue and the progressives have correctly pointed out that the overblown examples proponents cite (ie hoodlums punching passersby, barricading businesses, and spitting on babies) are already illegal and that the law actually punishes the simple act of lounging in public.

That argument by progressives got strong support from a Planning Department report on how the sit-lie ordinance cuts against a variety of city policies and goals that promote open space and using sidewalks for more than just transportation, a view that the Planning Commission endorsed on a surprisingly lopsided 6-1 vote, with even Newsom’s appointees crossing him on the issue.

Few members of the Board of Supervisors have embraced the push for sit-lie, so it’s likely to be dead-on-arrival when the board considers it later this month, but Blue’s group isn’t taking any chances. Stand Against Sit Lie is planning another day of creative protest – with more sidewalk picnics, games, and maybe a return of Chicken John’s sidewalk hot tub – on April 24.


Thanks for the coverage! For more info on the next Sidewalks 4 People event on Saturday April 24th and to learn how you can help defeat this draconian and absurd law visit

Be sure to contact Nate Miller if you want one of awesome window signs!

natemillerrules att gmail dott com

Posted by Andy Blue on Apr. 05, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

oops: natemillerules att gmail dott com

Posted by Andy Blue on Apr. 05, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

Credit where credit is due. The progressives smothered this one in its crib.

Posted by generic on Apr. 05, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

Hola. Thank you for the update on this nonsense of sit-lie. Excellent news! Finally.

So where is that piece of work (and that's being most kind) Arthur Evans who has saturated the Internet with propaganda on this topic? (9 pages of Google entries featuring "Arthur Evans" the last time I checked). Oh, who the hell cares where he is!

And to Andy Blue: Muchisimas Gracias.

Posted by Sam on Apr. 05, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

Sounded like there is already a sort of sit-lie law according to Andy Blue in the debate, it that what you are saying Andy?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

unless it goes onto the ballot, the supes will never pass a law that would upset the subjective rights and liberties left.

If it goes on the ballot I will be interested to see the Guradian's rants about voting people's rights away, after the Guardian being for prop H, which would have had the cops taking guns from law abiding citizens.

Posted by laughing at the duck on Apr. 05, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

As usual, the left is in love with itself. It's silly protests don't matter. No one cares. There are people in this town who would protest that the sky is blue.

The proposal will bypass the supes and go onto the ballot. I predict it will pass with over 60%.

You really should get out more. You would then realize how sick to fucking death most people are with "the homeless" and the punks on the street. We've been forking over a $250,000,000 a YEAR on this mess and nothing has changed.

SF has a $500,000,000 hole in its budget. It is predicted to have the same next year and up to $750,000,000 the year after next.

We can't afford "the homeless" anymore.

Sit/Lie is a start is taking our city back from the bums and the poverty pimps who defend them. Party's over.

Posted by GuestScott on Apr. 06, 2010 @ 10:52 am

Hola. Some ignoramus on another blog was dumping on the homeless, calling them every despicable name they could think of and showed a very cold and callous approach to other human beings who aren't exactly like them as far as their financial situation is concerned. Their comment reminded me of the garbage one reads on SFHate (also known as SFGate/The Chronicle) in that backwater cesspool comment section they have there. Some of the most willfully ignorant people you'll find anywhere are there.

The homeless problem in this nation is a federal level problem and it needs to be addressed at the federal level. We seem to have billions to pump into wars/occupations/droning Pakistan and killing innocent people there and for the neocon Project For the New American Century agenda (which Bush3 is continuing) and to rebuild other people's nations after this despicable and barbaric, pro-war, corporate-fascism R and D government destroyed those nations (with their "yay" votes), but we don't have money for our own people here in the States. There is only so much that any city or town can do about the homeless problem. Millions and millions of jobs have been shipped from this nation to China and India and those jobs are not going to come back, home foreclosures are soaring and are affecting even wealthy people. Just last week I read an article from a credible source saying expect more elderly (the article also referred to "baby-boomers") homeless people to end up on the streets in coming years.

So I found the comment on that other blog very smug and arrogant as the person looked down (to make themselves feel superior?) on the homeless. It was as if the person had had a lobotomy....not any care or concern for anyone but their own goddamned scum of the Earth self. We certainly do have a lot of trash in our society and I'm not talking about the homeless whatsoever.

I did not respond to that person on the other blog because I suspected they were a troll and were putting out their rabid bait to get a rise and reaction from someone so the troll could get $$$$ for being hateful towards the homeless. Don't feed the trolls is what I say.

Posted by Sam on Apr. 06, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

Do you have a job of any kind?

Posted by glen matlock on Apr. 06, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

Immediately after I wrote my last comment where I spoke about foreclosures soaring, I saw this article (below). I used to watch this show, but I haven't watched it for a number of years. I stopped watching it because I got turned off by all the god stuff and plastic "patriotism" the producers starting adding to the show for ratings purposes (I assume).

Speaking of foreclosures:

Harsh Reality for 'Extreme Makeover' Homes in Foreclosure
By Liana Maeby | Tuesday, April 6, 2010, 1:41 PM

Reality TV is the latest victim of the national mortgage crisis that has affected so many Americans over the past two years. Many of the houses featured in "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" are facing foreclosure, and instead of sitting by and waiting while more families lose their dream homes, a Wall Street Journal report says producers of the show have decided to scale back.

A rep for the show denied that it was the issue of foreclosure, specifically, that led to the decision to downgrade their approach, and credited it instead to general shifts in the economy.

"'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' has always strived along with our volunteer builders to create not only 'extreme' homes, but homes that work for the owners for years to come," the spokesperson said. "As always, we are striving to build greener, more affordable and environmentally responsible homes, and redoubling those efforts for years to come."

The long-running, tear-jerking show boasts a tried-and-true formula: Producers track down families who have undergone extreme hardship and send a team of designers to give their homes expensive and lavish makeovers.

Over the course of seven seasons, the redo's have become increasingly opulent, with amenities like swimming pools, home theaters, carousels, and bowling alleys popping up on a regular basis. Problem is, these extravagances usually come with significantly higher utility bills and mortgages, which many homeowners are struggling to pay.

The first home to officially foreclose belonged to Idaho resident Eric Hebert, who was featured on the show after he adopted his deceased sister's 11-year-old twins. Herbert admits to having taken out too large a loan on the home under the assumption that he'd be receiving a larger income than he was able to secure.

"A lot of people think when you get the house you get the mortgage," "Extreme Makeover" contestant Brian Wofford told San Diego's 10News. "Well, you don't." Wofford, a widowed father of eight, has been fighting to modify his home loan for two years after his mortgage adjusted to an unmanageable rate.

In addition to the Heberts and the Woffords, as many as four other families are in foreclosure territory. The Harpers of Georgia were given a 5,300-square-foot castle-like house five years ago, but the failure of their construction business forced them to put their home up as collateral. They've filed for bankruptcy and are facing imminent foreclosure. The Okvaths of Arizona and the Byers of Oregon are also in deep financial trouble and may be forced to give up their digs.

Expensive, ostentatious houses in otherwise rough neighborhoods tend to be a tough sell, which is why so many "Extreme Makeover" homes are at risk of foreclosure. But producers of the show have wised up to the times, pledging to keep the makeovers under a manageable threshold.

Swimming pools are no longer the norm — and when they are still included, they're built more economically with the intention of reducing water costs. Lavish landscaping has been tossed out in favor of natural, environmental design, and the overall square footage of the homes — averaging 2,800 to 3,000 square feet — is going down.

Posted by Sam on Apr. 06, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

Some people on message forums refer to the homeless as "lazy bums who just lay around on the sidewalk and bang on drums."

If that is the "good life" where all one has to do is lay around, why don't the wealthy and smug people try it who like to hate the homeless. May I invite you onto our sidewalks for just a week of a lovely lay-around vacation? You get all your meals free from the nearby garbage cans. You don't have to worry about taking a shower or drinking fresh water, or any kind of health care or sleeping on a lumpy mattress (because there isn't any). Remember, this is the "good life" where one just lays around and does nothing according to the bourgeois elite, and those who like to pretend to be.

In reality, being homeless is one of the hardest things that any human being could possibly go through. And if you don't believe me, try being homeless for a week in this City. Do come back and let us all know how your little "vacation" was and how things went for you.

Posted by Sam on Apr. 06, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

In his article at the top of this thread, Steven T. Jones says that supporters of the sit-lie law "have seen their prospects of success steadily dwindle in the last week."

As one example, he points to opponents' culminating rally in the Castro. It consisted of about a dozen people, after organizers had announced they had received over a thousand RSVPs.

As a supporter of the law, I sincerely hope that opponents continue to believe in their own rhetoric - just like the People's Front of Judea in the flick "The Life of Brian."

Posted by Arthur Evans on Apr. 06, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

If you look at the videos of the after rally, you see that there are at least 100 people there... the plaza was completely filled.

Maybe if you repeat if enough on every blog some people might believe you though.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 07, 2010 @ 10:12 am

Both "Fog City Journal" and "Bay Area Reporter" had pics of the culminating Castro rally against the sit-lie law. Their pics show about a dozen people or so.

Let’s say the pics missed some folks. Even so, there were certainly far less than the 1,000 boasted by organizers.

You can’t build a successful political campaign on self-delusion.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Apr. 07, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

Actually, Arthur, I didn't write anything about the "culminating rally in the Castro" because that was only a small sampling of the protesters out that day. Look at the group's list of events and you'll see there were more than 100 gatherings all over town. Some had only a few people, some a few dozen, but there were easily hundreds of people total, far more than the handful of angry NIMBYs and suburban newspaper columnists who have pushed this ridiculous measure.

These events were community-spirited democracy in action, Arthur, not the "acting out" that you've tried to label it in your typically belittling fashion. In fact, I think it's people like you and Ted that are acting out in childish ways, overwhelmed by your fears, repeating hyperbolic anecdotes instead of making cogent arguments, refusing to hear to the concerns of those who oppose this ordinance, and stubbornly pushing a crackdown that even some of the mayor's Planning Commission appointees have said violates city policies and goals. Give it up, Arthur, it's over, you lost, move on.

Posted by steven on Apr. 07, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

I'm not a fan of more laws like this but it will be another case where a city wide election sticks it to the city's dreamers, just like the JROTC thing, which I was for.

The insular mono culture of some in this city that think a protest of a couple dozen professional protesters is swinging the tide one way or another is a hoot.

After years of; do nothing DA's and the free and easy bong culture in some areas of the city... the real people of the city, meaning the actual citizens not the self appointed will be deciding this. The self appointed will be screaming about how dumb and duped the citizens are, because "sidewalks are for people."

Although I'm opposed to the law I will laugh and laugh as the usual suspects will hoot and holler about the actual citizens voting.

Posted by glen matlock on Apr. 07, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

Thanks, Steven, for your post above.

You say:

“I didn't write anything about the ‘culminating rally in the Castro’ because that was only a small sampling of the protesters out that day.”

The opponents of the sit-lie law said people would converge from all over the city in the Castro that evening. There were only a dozen or so convergers, however.

You say:

“you'll see there were more than 100 gatherings all over town”

Most gatherings, if they actually happened as you claim, consisted of one or two people.

You say:

“there were easily hundreds of people total, far more than the handful of angry NIMBYs and suburban newspaper columnists who have pushed this ridiculous measure.”

Organizers boasted that they had received 1,200 RSVPs. By most standards of arithmetic, 100 or 200 or 300 does not equal 1,200.

The last poll on the subject, by the way, shows that 71% of the voters support the proposed law. They can’t all be NIMBY suburbanites. If you believe that, you’re getting carried away with your own rhetoric.

You say:

“These events were community-spirited democracy in action, Arthur, not the ‘acting out’ that you've tried to label it in your typically belittling fashion.”

Sorry to give you the bad news, but the pics of the Castro Rally in Fog City Journal and Bay Area Reporter looked liked stills from a Monty Python flick.

You say:

“Give it up, Arthur, it's over, you lost, move on.”

See ya at the ballot box.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

71% of 500 people (that's only 355) told the Chamber of Commerce they would support a law that would prohibit individuals from harassing pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Only a desperate old migratory attention addict would try to mislead people into confusing a biased poll of only 500 people with all of "the voters" in San Francisco.

Over a thousand San Francisco Voters demonstrated their opposition to the ridiculous No Sitting On The Sidewalk Law (you can go to jail just for sitting in front of your own home) on March 27th.
That’s more than a thousand people taking action (as well as enjoying themselves, their neighborhoods, and the company of their neighbors and tourists), as opposed to 355 people answering the phone when the agenda driven Chamber of Commerce called.
And it means that 3 times as many voters are opposed to the No Sitting On The Sidewalk Law as those who said they would support it, if it prohibited harassment of pedestrians.
Not surprisingly, the Chamber of Commerce neglected to inform the 355 voters that existing law already prohibits this.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

A big thank you to the enlightened progressive liberals for standing up for the homeless here and against sit/lie as they always do. Their great efforts in the past have done so much to help the homeless, reduce their numbers, get them jobs, help their self-esteem and improve their lives.

We should continue to listen to them and help the homeless by maintaining the status quo since it's so great for them. Thanks for your efforts, again.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 01, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

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