Newsom versus supes: Sit-lie battle intensifies 

The battle between the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom over November ballot measures heated up even more Thursday.

During the board’s Thursday Rules Committee hearing, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu offered an amendment to the proposed November ballot measure mandating police walk foot beats to include a provision that could trump a measure placed on the ballot by Newsom that would make it illegal to sit or lie on city sidewalks between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

“It is the voters’ intent that the Foot Beat Patrol Program supplant any city ordinance the voters approve at the Nov. 2, 2010, election that bans lying or sitting on public sidewalks,” the amendment says. “Voters find that foot patrols ensuring the regular presence of officers to enforce existing laws against sidewalk obstruction, assault and other disorderly conduct are a more effective vehicle to address safety and civility in public spaces and to protect the interests of merchants and citizens than an outright ban against person sitting or lying upon public sidewalks.”

If both measures pass and more voters end up voting in support of the foot and beat patrol measure than the sit-and-lie measure, then the sit-and-lie measure would effectively be killed.

Such a provision is not without precedent. In fact, Newsom himself used it in another fight at the ballot.

Newsom put on the November ballot a measure that would close a hotel tax loophole. A signature-gathering campaign with the support of progressive members of the Board of Supervisors and labor unions put on the ballot a similar measure that would close the hotel tax loophole but also increase the hotel tax. Newsom’s measure has a provision that if more people vote for his measure then it would prohibit the hotel tax increase.

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