Berkeley Society of Friends (Quakers), located in North Berkeley at Vine and Walnut streets, deplores Measure S, the proposed ordinance to impose citations and jail sentences on homeless people for sitting on the streets in Berkeley. Such a policy would not only violate the civil rights of hundreds of Berkeley citizens, but it would be a discriminatory law that would be enforced more against homeless people and in shopping areas than against shoppers and in residential areas.
Furthermore, this ordinance is unnecessary, since nuisance and loitering laws already exist. The city should focus on practical solutions to end homelessness: housing, services, employment programs. Ticketing and jailing homeless people would only divert us from this important work still needed in our city. Let's spend the city's money on helping people instead of fining or imprisoning them for being homeless, which is not a crime but a misfortune.
We urge you to vote against this proposed ordinance on the coming November ballot.