Katerina LoufasFebruary 15, 2011Rhetoric 120Professor SullivanProposition L: Why Make Sitting or Lying on Sidewalks a Crime?Picture yourself walking all over the beautiful city of San Francisco and its many unique parts of the city including Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marina, and of course Haight Street. You see a wide variety of shops and restaurants all along the streets of the San Francisco. The Haight Street in particular is “famously associated with the 1960s hippie culture, but now has become home to expensive boutiques and a few controversial chain stores, although it still retains its bohemian character.”(Wikipedia) The Haight also is home to many homeless people or otherwise known as “street kids.” They make the Haight the neighborhood that it is and give it that flavor that makes people love the area. These street kids have one home and that's the sidewalks around the Haight. In San Francisco, many people oppose the fact that people have the right to sit or lie on public sidewalks. Proposition L will make sitting or lying on public sidewalks in San Francisco a crime. People should choose to vote “no” on L because sidewalks are to be shared by all, not just at the times that the government allows us to. As voters, the people of San Francisco learn the reasons as to why they should vote no on this proposition. On June 15, 2010, the department of elections received a proposed ordinance signed by Mayor Gavin Newsom. The City Elections Code allows the Mayor to place an ordinance on the ballot in this manner (Voter Information Pamphlet). Proposition L was initially introduced by the mayor in response to resident and merchant concerns about the behaviors of some individuals who occupy the sidewalk on Haight Street and engage in behaviors that some may find intimidating or objectionable. (spur.com) Many merchants in the Haight district feel that they are losing customer clientele because of the large amount of people that crowd the sidewalks. When customers see homeless people sitting out in front of
a business, they do not find it very appealing when trying to figure out what store they want to go into. People want clean and organized storefronts, not one that has people sitting or lying in the front. In a personal interview with Effie Loufas, a previous business owner of a health food store and a bar, she states, “Homeless people would always come and urinate along the walls of our storefronts and leave their garbage for us to find in the morning. It is something I truly hated dealing with.” Residents are concerned because they feel that the front of their homes are being jeopardized with all these people who are sitting or lying on the sidewalk. They sometimes feel intimidated or simply dislike having people outside their homes. Although the Haight is the example listed for many of these points, Proposition L will essentially affect all of San Francisco.