An effort is underway to persuade the Berkeley City Council to pass a law that would make it illegal to sit on the sidewalk in the commercial districts of Berkeley. Under this law a person could be issued a ticket for simply sitting, even if that person is not intentionally obstructing the sidewalk or engaged in any behavior that is otherwise illegal or disruptive. This proposed law would apply to everyone – street musicians, small children, girl scouts selling cookies, high school students, and the elderly. However, the people who will bear the brunt of this law would be people who appear to be homeless and poor.
In these hard economic times, let's come together to find real solutions to our problems rather than passing controversial laws that divide us and criminalize the most vulnerable. Berkeley has always been a unique place to live and visit because of our amazing diversity and sense of community. Sitting is not a crime. Let's keep it that way.