Public Comment

Benefit of Sit-Lie? Lack of Leadership?

By Redwood Mary
Thursday June 14, 2012 - 04:27:00 PM

It is apparent that The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and other Private interests have some huge funding to
spend on a very costly ballot initiative that will not solve the core problems of: 

  • a) Homelessness
  • b) mental health care for individuals on the streets
It is well understood and documented —as has been done in San Francisco—that the Sit /Lie ordinances costs the City more in dollars without achieving positive outcomes and the repetitiveness of violations have not stopped. The problem moves on within city boundaries to other areas.

I am highly disappointed in the Mayor and City Council of Berkeley for not properly tackling the roots of this issue as described. 

Leadership calls for engaging all of Berkeley in creating a public-private sector solution that can work in a small city such as ours.

The money spent on this ballot initiative, subsequent enactment, enforcement and other related costs are wasted taxpayer funds that could instead be matched with private grants and corporate sponsorship (i.e., Bayer , or Real Estate associations, Developer & investment LLC's, and community and faith based groups, etc.) to contribute toward a (for example) re-habbing and opening part of the now shuttered Andronico's on Telegraph Ave. as a multi-service Homeless Shelter ( for youth?) . 

This could happen with the exact same effort, $'s and pushing that is being put into an ordinance and all this could instead be channeled into mobilizing the community obtaining private grants and utilizing government stimulus funds for a real positive public benefit outcome. 

Note these stimulus funds were available years ago— and The City of Berkeley could have chosen to turn abandoned buildings into service centers, day shelters and rehabbing existing abandoned homes (Habitat for Humanity, etc.). 

Instead the Mayor and City Council have chosen to focus on issues that divide – such as whether or not the number of City Commissions or Commissioners should be cut back or eliminated and on other distracting and polarizing issues that do not take care of problems facing us as a community. 

If the Berkeley City Council approves this ballot initiative, they are in fact washing their hands of the problem and caving into special well-funded interests that are further criminalizing poverty and the mental health conditions of a few people on the streets. This is discriminatory.

This Sit Not Lie Ordinance is not at all in the interest of the public, is not a public benefit and is not wise use of tax dollars or of policing nor does it take care of the problem. It is not a humane approach.

Here is a solution that is working in Sydney Australia. Berkeley is smaller than Sydney so no reason this cannot happen here. Otherwise your suburb or neighborhood may be next in having to contend with this issue . 

Turning around lives of the homeless 

By Duncan Kennedy BBC News, Sydney June 11, 2012 

A project helping homeless in a Sydney suburb is claiming impressive results, by challenging the notion that people living on the streets need to find the help themselves.  

Beginning in 2007, The Michael Project was a three-year Mission Australia initiative that aimed to help homeless men in Sydney to improve their lives. This integrated model, generously funded by a private donor, linked housing with care and support to help the men work on their overall wellbeing. 

Putting a roof over someone’s head is not enough to break the cycle of homelessness, so The Michael Project provided intensive “wrap-around” support services tailored to the individual’s needs – be they dental, psychological, medical, social or vocational. 

Importantly, this support was provided immediately, as and when it was needed. 

The Michael Project included a longitudinal research component carried out by collaborative team, led by Dr Paul Flatau. Over the years, the team built an evidence base that we hope will change the way homelessness services are delivered. 

The results, published in The Michael Project, 2007-2010: New perspectives and possibilities for homeless men, show that with appropriate and timely support, some of the most marginalised people in our community can dramatically improve their lives. 

For an overview, watch our infographic download the infographic or download the results