Proposed Sidewalk Ban Heats Up

Mayor tells reporters his proposal is not an attack on the homeless.

Mayor Tom Bates has commanded attention throughout the Bay Area announcing he plans to pitch an ordinance to the Berkeley City Council banning sitting on sidewalks.

Bates says the time has come to take tushes off the sidewalks -- at least in commercial areas. He hopes to put the question before voters in November. If the measure passes, scofflaws could be hit with a $50 fine per offense.

Bates told Fox News, ABC7, and San Jose Mercury News he is not attacking the homeless. But encampments of young people are interfering with foot traffic and discouraging customers from patronizing nearby businesses, he said.

Patch visited one popular gathering spot on Telegraph Avenue, and found the squatters favor one half of a wide sidewalk, leaving an equal amount of space for passing pedestrians.

Would you vote for such an ordinance?




Jai Jai Noire June 07, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Seems to me that it would make far more sense to determine what these kids need and give them a space to safely congregate. It is a public sidewalk and they are members of the public just like anyone else. How is a $50 fine going to be paid by a kid camping on the street? How does the City plan to collect this fine? A great number of these youth are foster kids who have aged out of the system. In this economy, do you really think there are jobs for them? Housing that someone can afford at minimum wage? It's stunning that Mayor Bates would believe that he proposal is anything better than trying to clean one's house by stuffing any loose ends into the closet. Berkeley can be far more creative and positive than that. I would suggest the City partnering with a proven entity with street cred's such as the long running, youth organized, 924 Gilman Street cooperative (putting on shows & events by and for youth since the 1980's) and ask them for guidance and advice on forward-seeking ways to help the street kids in more lasting ways than simply shuffling them from one part of the city or region to another.
Carolyn Scarr June 08, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Tom, I am very disappointed in you. We walked for you then that Tom Dove ran against you. I am sorry to say, however, that I am not all that surprised that you are taking such a reactionary hard nosed attitude toward people who are not part of the owner class in this city. With your recent history of supporting giant buildings in working people's back yards. And did you know before CopWatch outed them that the police wanted to buy a tank from the Feds? For the Solano Stroll!! Do they think we believe them? Solano Stroll my eye! Armored personnel carriers are to fight political demonstrators, not to patrol the Stroll or even a few rowdy football fans. What has become of the Tom Bates who had a holiday party where the admission was a can of food for homeless people. I think our current mayor is a replacement and the real Tom has been taken somewhere by the body snatchers. Keeping company with the real Jerry Brown who supported Rose Bird in her work for farmworkers.
Arwen June 09, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Bates would waste precious dollars enforcing his proposed sit and lie law that has proved ineffective in San Francisco toward any goal of economic recovery. He also proposes buying an armored vehicole which would turn Berkeley into a police state. He supported draconian unconstitutional ordinances like this one to suppress and harass the youth of Berkeley and criminalize the homeless while doing nothing to address the problems of its most needy residents including veterans, seniors, youth, the disabled and the homeless. Under his leadership the City of Berkeley has been sued numerous times because Bates supports its police department and the officers without question costing the city and its tax payers millions of dollars in civil rights law suits. Bates supported the mutual aid agreement that drags Berkeley into situations when our police officers are beating unarmed and peaceful Americans exercising heir First Amendment rights of Free Speech and Free Expression. . Bates supported Police Chief Michael Meehan when Meehan sent one of his armed sergeants at midnight to the home of a journalist to persuade him to change his story in the Oakland Tribune. Bates supports the Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID) who proposed and support the sit and lie law and use of its "Ambassadors" who harass and drive away the young artists, musicians, disabled and the homeless. BATES IS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION! HE MUST BE TURNED OUT OF OFFICE!


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