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New: UC Law Clinic Report Says Sit-Lie Prohibitions Don't Work as Promised by Sponsors

By Bob Offer-Westort
Sunday October 28, 2012 - 08:58:00 PM

Yesterday, the UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic released a report entitled Does Sit-Lie Work: Will Berkeley’s “Measure S” Increase Economic Activity and Improve Services to Homeless People?. The answer, in brief, seems to be No: 


At the request of a local coalition of community groups and individuals opposed to Measure S, the clinic conducted an independent analysis to test whether Sit-Lie laws deliver on their promises. Law students reviewed data on economic activity and homeless services in more than a dozen state and national Sit-Lie jurisdictions. They surveyed community organizations, municipal human services and economic development agencies, business groups and police departments; and they consulted local stakeholders about implementation challenges and opportunities. The clinic team said they were unable to find evidence of the purported benefits of Sit-Lie ordinances…  

The report’s key findings include: 


  • No evidence that retail sales have increased in California’s other Sit-Lie jurisdictions relative to their surrounding counties;
  • No evidence that retail sales on Telegraph Avenue and downtown Berkeley have suffered relative to other commercial areas due to homeless people;
  • No evidence that Sit-Lie ordinances have connected homeless people to social services in other cities;
  • No evidence that Measure S will improve services to homeless people in Berkeley;
  • Evidence that implementing, enforcing and defending Measure S against legal challenges will likely be costly to the City of Berkeley; and
  • Evidence of better approaches to increase economic activity and improve services to homeless people in Berkeley.

Bob Offer-Westort is coordinator of the No on S campaign. This article is published on their website at