Sit-Lie Law Worthless In Haight, Police Say

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, May 26, 2011  |  Updated 4:13 PM PDT
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Sit-Lie Law Worthless In Haight, Police Say

Franco Folini on Flickr

Some of the Haight's bullies hanging out.

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Protecting San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District from gangs of evil street youth -- who abused residents, terrorized tourists and hurt local businesses with their crude ways and aggressive panhandling -- was the key reason for the City's controversial sit-lie ordinance, which made prostrating on public sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. illegal.

Sit-Lie, on the ballot as Proposition L, passed in November with 54 percent of the vote and went into effect in March after the San Francisco Police Department trained for months on how to enforce it. And since then? "It hasn't done a whole lot," a police official said Wednesday.

SPFD Lieutenant Belinda Kerr, who works at Park Station, which oversees the Haight, broke the news. There have been many citations, arrests and warnings, she said, but Haight Street is still dotted with many young people, ill-behaved or otherwise, taking their rest on the sidewalks.

Transients and other ne'er-do-welss will "often get up" when they see officers drive by in marked patrol cars, "but they are unfortunately getting up and going around the block and then sitting back down again," Kerr told Bay City News.

And it's only going to get worse this summer, when police officials prepare for the "big push of transients" that roll in with the summer months, Kerr said. That's when police will work with the District Attorney's office to develop "stay away orders" for multiple offenders that will keep them away from Haight Street.

Because if one law didn't work, one more will, right?

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