San Francisco Sit-Lie Ordinance, Proposition L (November 2010)
The ordinance would restrict sitting or lying on sidewalks citywide from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and provide access to social services for those who need it. Police officers must give a warning before they can give a citation and the ordinance cannot be used to restrict the people's rights to free speech and peaceful assembly.
Homeless advocates oppose the measure, which they view as an attack on the homeless.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu opposes the sit-lie ordinance, calling it "unconstitutional and ineffective."
At a Board of Supervisors meeting in July, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu introduced a provision to a separate citywide ballot measure that some supervisors are considering that would require the San Francisco Police Department to operate a foot patrol program. The provision that Chiu added to the foot patrol ballot measure says that if the foot patrol measure passes and gets more votes than the sit-lie ordinance, the sit-lie ordinance will not go into effect even if it, too, obtains a majority vote. Such provisions in the wording of one ballot measure that negatively impact other ballot measures under certain conditions are known as "poison pills".
Tony Winnicker, in his role as Gavin Newsom's spokesperson, said, "David Chiu has set a new world record for pettiness and amateurishness at City Hall, and all he’s done is ensure that the Civil Sidewalks measure will pass and their poorly conceived foot patrol measure that takes away power from the chief of police will fail."
Path to the ballot
Gavin Newsom introduced the ordinance to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which declined to enact it. Newsom then moved to have the measure placed on the November ballot, where the city's voters can decide its fate.
- San Francisco Examiner, "Sit-lie effort spurs ballot bickering", July 16, 2010
- San Francisco Examiner, "Newsom to unveil sit-lie ballot measure", June 15, 2010
- KTVU, "Sit-Lie Ordinance Passes Committee But Expected To Fail", May 24, 2010
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Mayor takes low road...supervisors even lower", July 17, 2010