Contrarian Mondays with Todd X.: Sit/Lie Laws in San Francisco
I am one of the biggest theoretical liberals you will ever meet. Basically, like Mrs. Madrigal, I have no objection to anything. But, I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I'm in favor of Sit/Lie Laws for San Francisco. Have you been to the Haight recently? These street kids (some of whom are probably taking a sabbatical from their Ivy League schools to "find themselves" on Haight/Ashbury) are a menace with their dogs and patchouli and skateboards and stinky dreadlocks. Why, there ought to be a law!! Wait a minute. There is a law and such totalitarian, conservative-leaning cities as Seattle and Berkeley have used it. Yes, it's a Sit/Lie Law. It doesn't outlaw homelessness or target elderly people who are out of breath and need to sit down and have a seizure. It's another tool for local law enforcement to deal with a growing problem.
Many people wonder why can't the police simply use existing loitering laws. Unfortunately, these laws require a citizen complaint. With the sit/lie law, officers could take action on their own. And that's probably a good thing. We don't exactly have a history of rampant police harassment and intimidation in SF, but we DO have a growing body of stories about people being harassed by street kids and the crazy homeless. Residents and business owners in the Haight are scared to files complaints against loiterers because of the threats they've received.
I want SF to be as progressive and free-loving as the next Starbucks-swilling, iPhone toting, college-educated pinko Commie liberal, but there comes a time when the citizens must say "Enough." Otherwise, those who would simply take advantage of our world-famous hospitality will use it up, smoke it up, step on it and kick it into the gutter and we will be left with a shell of a city.
But, hey, while the Board of Supervisors is at it, can they go ahead outlaw homelessness, old people who walk too slowly, parents with their giant irritating strollers who claim the right of way no matter what, and snotty blond women who drive their Scions too fast out of the Safeway parking garage and nearly run me over? That would be great. Thanks.