Tuesday, Mayor Tom Bates will ask the Berkeley City Council to place a measure on the November ballot augment banning sitting on the sidewalk in commercial stretches of the city.
The ordinance, which has stirred contention, would augment the city's Public Commons for Everyone Initiative, which was passed in 2007.
That initiative detailed 15 guidelines for keeping the city's public areas clean, safe, healthy and welcoming to residents, business owners, and visitors. It recommended $1 million in added support for social service agencies targeting homelessness and substance abuse, and came with a 25-cent hike in parking meter fees to cover the costs.
The "Civil Sidewalks Ballot Measure" would bar squatting on public walkways between the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. except in medical emergencies, as part of a parade or rally, or for activities secured with a permit.
Critics have characterized it as an attack on homeless youth who have little recourse. Others say it points up the need to assist both merchants and those who congregate on downtown sidewalks, particularly along Telegraph Avenue.
Bates says in his memo to the council that he hopes the ordinance would spur "changed behavior rather than citations and fines."
Presuming the measure meets voter approval, it would take effect on March 1, 2013.
The council meets at 7 p.m. in the second floor chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley.