homeless

As Berkeley’s impending fall vote on the sit-lie measure draws closer, the San Francisco Chronicle’s latest report on sit-lie simply adds fuel to the con side. The majority of sit-lie tickets are going to the same people, who happen to be older alcoholics.

Justin O’Brien and Roland Dequina, two of San Francisco’s city sidewalk sleepers, have aggregated a total of 59 sit-lie citations between the two of them. But neither of them plan on doing anything about it — nor can they.

As Dequina says, “I’d love to move inside, but can I afford $3,000 a month? No. Do I want to live in one of those places the city gives homeless people in the Tenderloin, around a bunch of junkies? No. So I’m here.”

The number 1 receiver of sit-lie citations is Jennifer McCloud, who has garnered 46 citations since spring 2011 — as of late, she’s been put in a psychiatric care ward.

When penalties can rise as high as $500 a ticket or merit an arrest warrant when dues go unpaid, those unable to pay the fine accrue enormous debts.

A SF Weekly post from May notes that some individuals already owe more than $20,000 in fines.

As opposed to young drifters simply visiting town, the older ones don’t “just move on” when the police ask them to, especially when inebriated.

As a result, the sit-lie measure in San Francisco has piled citation upon citation upon older drunks, leading many to question its effectiveness.

Such reports only lend evidence to the case against sit-lie in Berkeley. However, despite strong opposition, the measure still made its way onto the November ballot.

What do you think Berkeley? Will it work in this city, or will it be just like the Haight? Comment below.

Image source: fotografar under Creative Commons



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