San Francisco Passes Law Criminalizing Sitting or Lying on Public Streets

Recently, we have following laws targeting homeless persons — laws that could apply to a wide range of conduct but enforced only against this one group. San Francisco has now joined this group with a law barring people from sitting or lying on public sidewalks from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. This is why the two men on the San Francisco seal are shown standing. There were three but one made the mistake of sitting down.

Obviously, many people sit or lie on public sidewalks, but officials insist that police will only enforce the law against the homeless — a problematic claim allowing arbitrary enforcement.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and Police Chief George Gascon pushed for the law over the objections of civil libertarians. We have also recently seen other normally liberal city councils rejecting civil libertarian objections to pass laws curtailing free speech.

I was just in Haight-Ashbury last month and I can only imagine how the police will enforce this law. It is a dangerous practice to give police the power to pick and choose between citizens to arrest for common conduct.

Yet, that appears precisely what residents want. Kathleen Shanahan explains “There’s a difference between an individual that’s contributing to the society and being part of the cultural fabric of a neighborhood, versus an individual that is sitting on the street with their very scary dog, to the point that I am scared to walk down the Haight with my family.” Note to self, leave scary dog at home next time in San Fran. You should also leave your Happy Meal in the car.

Source: Bay Citizen

Jonathan Turley

68 thoughts on “San Francisco Passes Law Criminalizing Sitting or Lying on Public Streets”

  1. Ladies and gentlemen

    Everything is a sword of damoclese.

    we have awakened to find many things amiss in eden. The garden is all who care to come join us. Buddha was indeed correct, none of this worldwide suffering is necessary. we are awake to see Buddhas work continued. If they can not sit or lie on the sidewalks during the day then it is illegal and immoral to continue harassing them at night. San francisco is now a tent city. Doubt they had a clue as to the scope of our vison, but we see nearly as well as Buddha in many areas of this modern life…..and better in a couple ways.

  2. Tom –

    I’m sure you’re right. But the exasperating thing to so many, is that – like airport pat-downs for albino paraplegics – we have this ridiculous need to homogenize procedures for everybody.

    One size does not fit all – not shoes, not threat assessment.
    And in our juvenile hopscotch games to not hurt anybody’s feelings, law enforcement is now forced to pretend that the tried & true application of logic called “profiling” is a bad word, uttered and performed only by the boogeyman.

    What many folks seem to forget is that in the absence of profiling, we’d scarcely be capable of safely chewing meat.

    In the meantime, I suspect that in the eyes of the true terrorists, this country’s aiport hysteria must look like Saturday morning cartoons.

  3. As a SF resident, I can assure you that no-one, city official or otherwise, said the law would only be enforced against only the homeless. The law was enacted to stop the gangs of thugs who hang out in the Haight from intimidating people into giving them money. Some of those thugs are homeless, some aren’t. The homeless who aren’t intimidating people by having their dogs lunge at passers-by or tripping people or poking them as they go by, those homeless people will not be harassed with this law because it’s simply too damn much trouble to do that. City officials and police have said the law will be used to disperse those whose actions display an intent to intimidate.

  4. Yeah … I’m on my way but I had to print out stuff for tomorrow which I forgot about.

    Reacher is probably my favorite of all heroes … he’s kinda limpin’ now … I feel his pain

    A fond goodnight as the printer is done.

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