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Press Release: An Examination of the Proposed Sit-Lie Ordinance [for Berkeley]

From the Committee on Government Affairs, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
Tuesday March 22, 2011 - 08:18:00 PM

The Committee on Government Affairs, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, will meet on Monday, April 4, 2011, 1834 University Ave., to talk with a panel of five community leaders about the proposed Sit-Lie Ordinance which is likely to be debated and voted on by the Berkeley City Council before mid-July, 2011. 

The proposed Sit-Lie Ordinance, which has yet to be written, will most likely ban sitting or lying on sidewalks of commercial districts within the city during regular business hours. It is likely to be at least partially modeled on a similar ordinance in San Francisco that went into effect in January, 2011.  

The voters of San Francisco approved of such an ordinance in November, 2010, and became law as of January, 2011. The Police Dept. took the first quarter of the year to train their officers to use the ordinance as "a community policing tool." Starting on March 15, 2011, the police announced that they would begin enforcement. So far, this enforcement appears to be largely the issuing of printed cards with the city's 311 number, which exists to put people-in-need in touch with a variety of services offered by the city or by charities. Police can also issue citations in the range of $50 to $500, and courts can assign offenders to community service or jail time. To date, there is no indication than any cites have been issued. 

The San Francisco ordinance has sparked interest in the Berkeley community to investigate whether similar legislation in Berkeley would be appropriate and/or strategic to making the city's commercial districts more vibrant places in which to do business. 

Panelists include: 


· Berkeley City Council Member Max Anderson 

· Berkeley City Council Member Linda Maio 

· Sharon Hawkins Leyden, Founder and Executive Director, YEAH (Youth, Employment, Advocacy & Housing) 

· Roland Peterson, Executive Director, Telegraph Business Improvement District 

· John Caner, Executive Director, Downtown Berkeley Business Improvement District