New editions of the State Legislative Tracker and The Policy Tracker available now!

Berkeley Sit-Lie Ordinance, Measure S (November 2012)

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A Berkeley Sit-Lie Ordinance ballot question, Measure S was on the November 6, 2012, ballot for voters in the City of Berkeley in Alameda County, where it was defeated.[1][2]

Measure S would have made it a crime to sit on sidewalks in Berkeley's commercial districts from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., with four exceptions. After a warning, a first violation would have carried a $75 fine. A second violation would have been charged as a misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to six months.

Election results

Measure S
Defeatedd No27,98152.30%
Yes 25,523 47.70%
Final certified results from the Alameda County elections office.



Measure S was supported by John Caner, CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association, who hoped that it would "shoo homeless people away from the city's main commercial districts."[3]

It was also supported by mayor Tom Bates. He says, ""Berkeley is a very compassionate community. The least we can do is ask people to respect our city and abide by the rules. We want to make Berkeley a more comfortable place for everyone."[4]


As of October 31, the campaign supporting Measure S had received at least $105,080—more than any other campaign in Berkeley.[5][6]

Donor Amount
First Shattuck LLC $10,000.00
Panoramic Interests, LLC $10,000.00
Constitution Square $5,000.00
Everest Properties $5,000.00
NFLP Berkeley Center $5,000.00
Hirahara Family Ltd Partnership $5,000.00
Bolibokka Shattuck, LLC $5,000.00
HSR Berkeley Investments, LLC $5,000.00
Martin Properties $5,000.00
Hotel Shattuck Plaza $5,000.00
Somera-Sansome Ventures, LLC $5,000.00
Equity Residential $5,000.00
Townsend II, LLC $3,500.00
Rue-Ell Enterprises $3,500.00
Teece $2,600.00
Diablo Holdings Ltd. $2,500.00
Ventri LLC $2,500.00
Jayaprakash Lakireddy $2,500.00
Segula Investments, Inc. $2,000.00
Segerberg Family Trust 1-18-89 $2,000.00
2054 University, LLC $2,000.00
Berkeley Alliance for Progress $1,000.00
Prasad Lakireddy Property Management $1,000.00
University Walk $1,000.00
Abrams/Millikan $1,000.00
Diablo Holdings Ltd. $1,000.00
Townend I, LLC $1,000.00
Gordon Wozniak $1,000.00


Arguments Against

The arguments in opposition to Measure S included:

  • A sitting prohibition "criminalizes an innocent activity." (ACLU)[7]
  • Sitting prohibitions "make it harder for homeless people to access services." The New York Times reported that "the Obama administration has cautioned cities against trying to cope with homeless populations by passing laws against 'act of living' crimes like sleeping or sitting… 'Criminalization policies further marginalize men and women who are experiencing homelessness, fuel inflammatory attitudes, and may even unduly restrict constitutionally protected liberties.'" (No on S campaign)[8][9]
  • Research in other cities shows that "sit/lie laws do not assist in improving merchant corridors." (No on S campaign)[10]
  • A sitting prohibition is "vulnerable to selective enforcement." (ACLU)[11]


Some of the most prominent opponents of Measure S included:

  • The ACLU of Northern California. They say, "The measure allows police unfettered discretion to target a small minority of people."[12]
  • The Daily Californian. The Daily Californian says, "Stand up for human rights and constructive solutions to homelessness. Vote no on Measure S."[13]
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian[15]
  • Kriss Worthington, Berkeley City Councilmember and candidate for mayor.[4]
  • Max Anderson, Berkeley City Councilmember[15]
  • Jesse Arreguín, Berkeley City Councilmember[15]
  • Homeless Action Center[15]
  • Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency[15]
  • Sally Hindman, MA, M.Div., Executive Director, Youth Spirit Artworks. She says, "In the worst economy in 80 years, why not focus our energy and funding in positive ways? We need to be a lot wiser in the way we're using scarce resources."[4]

Among opponents were also the majority of Berkeley parties and political clubs, including:

  • John George Democratic Club[15]
  • Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club[15]
  • East Bay Young Democrats[15]
  • East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club[15]
  • Cal Berkeley Democrats[15]
  • Green Party of Alameda County[15]
  • Berkeley Citizens Action[15]
  • Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party[15]

Many Berkeley merchants also opposed the measure, including:

  • Alliance Graphics: Howard Levine[15]
  • Bacheeso’s: Soraya Kelardashti[15]
  • CalCopy: Ali Mirabqal[15]
  • Chic o peas: Kamara Nassiri[15]
  • Famous Foam Factory: David Bradshaw[15]
  • Hair by Glynis: Glynis Brasfield-Holloway[15]
  • Hippie Gypsy Café: Mary Dirks[15]
  • Inkwords Press: Ranil Abeysekera[15]
  • Paper Plus: Michele Schurman[15]
  • PM Press: Ramsey Kanaan[15]
  • Roxie Deli: Bill Bahoo[15]
  • Sala: Dielly Dias[15]

Other opponents include:

  • National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter[15]
  • Community Defense, Inc.[15]
  • Berkeley Daily Planet[15]
  • East Bay Community Law Center[15]
  • Food Not Bombs[15]
  • International Indian Treaty Council[15]
  • Youth Spirit Artworks[15]


As of October 26, the No on Measure S campaign had received $15,827 dollars in donations. These are the $1,000 and above donations as of that date:[16]

Donor Amount
Patricia E. Wall $5,018
ACLU of Northern California $1,500
Craig Stewart $1,000
Socially Responsible Network $1,000
Christina Brown $1,000


In March of 2012, the City Hall Fellows released a report commissioned by the San Francisco City Controller that found, "it is apparent that the Sit/Lie Ordinance has, on the whole, been unsuccessful at meeting its multi‐faceted intentions to improve merchant corridors, serve as a useful tool for SFPD, connect services to those who violate the law, and positively contribute to public safety for the residents and tourists of San Francisco."[17]

In October of 2012, the University of California Policy Advocacy Clinic released a report that found, "no meaningful evidence to support the argument that Sit-Lie laws increase economic activity or improve services to homeless people."[18]

Ballot text

The question on the ballot:

MEASURE S: "Shall an ordinance prohibiting sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, with exceptions for: (a) medical emergencies; (b) wheelchairs and similar mobility devices; (c) bus benches; (d) street events; (e) other furniture placed on the sidewalk pursuant to a permit; requiring the City to ensure that it is applied in a constitutional manner and requiring a warning prior to citation, be approved?"[19]

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Berkeleyside, "City Council approves pools measure, debates streets," June 27, 2012
  2. Berkeley Patch, "Deadline Looms for Ballot Arguments," August 16, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 San Francisco Chronicle, "Berkeley eyes ban on sitting on sidewalks," June 12, 2012
  7. ACLU of Northern California, letter to Members of the Berkeley City Council, dated June 12, 2012
  11. ACLU of Northern California, letter to Members of the Berkeley City Council, dated June 12, 2012
  12. ACLU of Northern California, "2012 Ballot Measure Positions"
  13. Daily Californian, "Election 2012 Endorsements: City ballot measures" November 2, 2012
  14. SEIU 1021 "Local 1021 Endorsements"
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 15.15 15.16 15.17 15.18 15.19 15.20 15.21 15.22 15.23 15.24 15.25 15.26 15.27 15.28 15.29 15.30 15.31 No on S Berkeley, "Endorsements"
  17. Implementation, Enforcement and Impact: San Francisco's Sit/Lie Ordinance One Year Later, p. 35
  18. Does Sit-Lie Work: Will Berkeley's "Measure S" Increase Economic Activity and Improve Services to Homeless People?, p. 1
  19. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Flag of California.png

This article about a local California ballot measure is a stub. You can help people learn about California's local ballot measures by expanding it.