Berkeley city leaders were poised to vote Tuesday night on two measures that would clear sidewalks and move transients out of parks, but the homeless and their advocates say it's nothing more than an assault on those who live on the streets.
The Berkeley City Council is voting on new rules that would ban sleeping in planter boxes, limit the space homeless people can use on the sidewalk and provide nighttime patrols of parks.
The advocates said one measure will lead to the construction of a luxury housing complex in downtown Berkeley and the other would drive homeless people from the city's commercial corridors.
Mayor Tom Bates said the proposal would also provide mobile showers, more bathrooms and containers for the homeless to store their things in.
But the homeless and their advocates say the approach is all wrong. Audrey Fairburn has been homeless in Berkeley for two years. She said she’s stressed out.
"I just hope, because of what Berkeley stands for, we can come up with a better solution then an adversarial technique," Fairburn said, adding that she hoped the city would stop criminalizing homelessness.
Before the meeting started, the advocates held a sleep-in on steps of the old city hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.