Decision on sit-lie sidewalk law put on hold 

The proposal to make it make illegal to sit or lie on San Francisco sidewalks will sit around for at least two more weeks before any decision is made on the legislation.

The proposed law would outlaw sitting or lying on sidewalks throughout The City between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Offenders would be warned first, but repeat violations would result in citations and jail time. 

The Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Monday to postpone for at least two weeks any decision on the legislation, after holding a more than six-hour hearing about it.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said the conversations with supporters and opponents would continue.

“We do need to figure out a longer-term solution for what’s happening on the ground in the Haight and around The City,” Chiu said.

The committee will hold another hearing May 24.

The proposal was introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, with the support of the Police Department.

“What we are really talking about here is civility on our sidewalks,” Alioto-Pier said. “This movement started in the Haight-Ashbury district. Once synonymous with peace and love, this corridor is now a hot spot for street bullies, pit bulls and drug abuse.”

Opponents say the law would lead to discrimination and unjustly penalize the homeless. Also, they say there are enough laws on the books to address the problems.

Supporters say behavior on sidewalks has gotten out of control, with people intimidating residents and hampering small businesses.

Supporters say if the Board of Supervisors does not approve the legislation, a form of the law would end up before voters this November.

“The civil-sidewalks ordinance is about addressing bad behavior on public sidewalks,” San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President Steve Falk said Monday. “If the board doesn’t act, the voters will.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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