Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Berkeley measure banning sidewalk loitering narrowly defeated

A controversial Berkeley measure that would have banned sitting and lying on sidewalks in commercial areas between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. appears to have been narrowly defeated after leading in early results.

The measure, similar to one passed by San Francisco voters in 2010, was the most contested on the ballot in Berkeley, the birthplace of the free-speech movement and long known as a liberal bastion.

Absentee and provisional ballots are yet to be counted, but precinct voters rejected the measure 51.58% to 48.44%. Berkeley already has a measure prohibiting people from lying down on commercial sidewalks during the day but homeless denizens who gather largely on strips of storied Telegraph and Shattuck avenues often game it by sitting up when officers wander past.

FULL RESULTS: California races

Proponents of the more expansive measure, including longtime Mayor Tom Bates, had argued that sidewalk loiterers and panhandlers are hurting business traffic and creating “increasingly inhospitable” public spaces.

Opponents countered that there are other reasons for commercial distress in some small business corridors, such as competition from big box and online retailers. Penalizing street people, they added, would do little to solve homelessness or address its complex causes.

The measure had created a volatile rift on the Berkeley City Council. While debating in June whether to put the matter to voters, opponents, including Councilman Kriss Worthington, joined measure opponents in singing “We Shall Not Be Moved” while Bates banged his gavel, ultimately cutting off further discussion.

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Nevertheless, the 74-year-old Bates handily won a fourth term Tuesday night in a contest with five opponents, Worthington among them.


Tsunami risk low after 7.4 Guatemala earthquake

Hetch Hetchy demolition measure defeated in San Francisco

Gloria Negrete McLeod wins Inland Empire congressional race

-- Lee Romney in San Francisco


Comments () | Archives (0)


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: