Skirting Sit/Lie

“Given that he’s engaging in the First Amendment, we are walking a fine line between enforcing [the] local [sit-lie] law and honoring the United States constitution,” [SFPD Captain Denis] O’Leary says. “I just told officers to handle it with a sense of humor.”

Via SF Weekly.

SF Public Press Features Sit/Lie Comic Strip

Journalist Shawn Gaynor and artist Andrew Goldfarb teamed up to create this visual account of the history and politics behind sit/lie in San Francisco. Their illustration of the issue begins off well enough, illustrating a previous SF sit/lie law which targeted hippies but was used against homosexuals (smells like an equal protection argument).

But then the entire thing devolves into a slippery slope argument: to support sit/lie is to support the Arizona Immigration Law (SB 1070). Sticking to San Francisco would have taken their position a little further than likening sit/lie proponents to anti-immigrant Arizonians.

— Update Upon further consideration, the doomsday scenario posed in the comic (local cops would have to enforce the I.C.E. regulation requiring handing over the identities of undocumented workers arrested for violating the sit/lie law) is unlikely as it is unconstitutional under the commandeering doctrine — the federal government cannot tell state government to enforce federal law as doing so would be violative of dual sovereignty. — End Update

The point is (well, not the point of the comic) the supervisors screwed up big when they decided to reject the policy outright rather than working with the Mayor to craft something a little more manageable and palatable than a city-wide sit/lie ban. Now, the SF voters are being offered the chance to clean up their streets (although, in the least ideal way) and they’re going to do it. Maybe the supes will take this as a lesson that even they can be too liberal for San Francisco.

Sample frames and a downloadable pdf of the entire comic are available on the SF Public Press website. Get the whole thing in print copies of the debut issue of SF Public Press, available at the Booksmith in the Haight and other locations.

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Civil Sidewalks Ordinance / Sit-Lie Law Fails at Board

Not surprisingly, the San Francisco Supes rejected Newsom’s sit-lie law, the so called “Civil Sidewalks Ordinance” 8-to-3:

For: Supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Michela Alioto-Pier, and Carmen Chu

Against: Supervisors Eric Mar, David Chiu, Ross Mirkarimi, Chris Daly, Bevan Dufty, David Campos, Sophie Maxwell, and John Avalos

Thanks for nothing Haight-Ashbury Supe Mirkarimi. Now it’s up to the citizens of the city to decide what they want to do with their sidewalks. How about, instead of an ordinance, the City hands out clubs, maces, and shillelaghs? Let the residents figure it out. Gonna be a long summer.

From The Chron.