Homeless advocates fight Wiener's effort to close parks at night

Legislation could impact homeless people who sleep in the parks.
Cindy Chew/SF Examiner file photo

The Coalition on Homelessness has launched a campaign to defeat Sup. Scott Wiener’s legislation to close down all city parks and most major plazas from midnight to 5am, which the Board of Supervisors is set to consider on Oct. 29. Activists are targeting three swing votes who could decide the controversial issue: Sups. London Breed, Norman Yee, and Katy Tang.

In an email blast to supporters, COH urged people to contact those three supervisors to raise their concerns, even suggesting a script that includes these arguments, “It further eliminates access to public space for all, it will displace homeless people, and is a waste of city funds."

COH Executive Director Jennifer Friedenbach told the Guardian that she has the support of the four most progressive supervisors — John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim, and Eric Mar — and that she just needs two of the three swing votes that COH is targetting to kill the measure outright and avoid the kind of compromise that has become Board President David Chiu’s specialty this year.

She said the measure would be particularly harmful to the homeless LGBT community and other vulnerable populations that seek refuge at night in Golden Gate Park and other hidden spots, but that it’s bad for everyone. “It forces them out into the storefronts and streets and neighborhoods and nobody will be happy with that,” she said.

Wiener denies that the measure is aimed at the homeless, telling the Guardian that his intent is to address graffiti, illegal dumping, and damage done to park facilities overnight. “We’ve had an epidemic of vandalism in our parks and it’s getting worse,” Wiener told us. “It’s a significant problem and it absolutely degrades people’s ability to use the parks.”

Friedenbach said she appreciates that Wiener isn’t aiming his rhetoric at the homeless, even though she said that’s who will be most effected by it.

“It’s great in terms of not bashing homeless people, but we know everytime something like this comes up, it increases public anger toward homeless people,” she told. And she notes that the measure is being trumpeted by people who do want to use it to go after the homeless, including Mayor Ed Lee, who went off script last month and told the Examiner that he hopes the measure will be a tool to clear the homeless from Golden Gate Park.

“The mayor said it was a great idea because we need to get the homeless people out of the park,” Friedenbach told us, noting also that, “Wiener has had a thing of going after homeless people.”

Wiener denies that this is about the homeless, and he responded to Lee’s comments by telling us, “I can’t speak for anyone else.” He also said that it’s already illegal to sleep in the parks and “to the extent the police want to do sweeps in the parks, they can already do so.”

The measure would apply the closing hours to all property controlled by the Recreation and Parks Department, which includes every city park and the city’s largest plazas, including Civic Center Plaza, Justin Herman Plaza, and Union Square.

“One thing people don’t think about is this also applies to the plazas,” Friedenbach told us. “A lot of our plazas are hangout spots late at night, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.”

Wiener said that small plazas, such as Harvey Milk and Jane Warner plazas in the Castro, aren’t under RPD jurisdiction and therefore aren’t effected by his legislation. And he said the ordinance was already modified to allow people to walk through the affected plazas without stopping, and that he’s open to further amendments.

As for his chances of success in the face COH’s activism on the issue, he told us, “I’m not sure what’s going to happen on the 29th.”


Didn't Willie Brown do something like this?

you guys hate Wiener because he gets things done and he because he has the support of the majority, which of course means that you hate him.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

with the historical healing role of the Castro and San Francisco for helping the downtrodden and the homeless, a lot of whom are LGBT youth coming here to seek refuge from very unfair lives in which they have been repeatedly and often violently attacked from all sides.

Shame on Weiner and his tight ass yuppie constituents who don't remember or value the history that made San Francisco great.

Posted by hot dog fryer on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

Spot On

Posted by +ULFBERH+t on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:01 pm
Posted by racer x on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

in a sort of Runic rhyme,

to the dindinnabulation that so dissonantly wells,

from the trollish bells

Posted by hf on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

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Posted by wireless home security systems adelaide on Jul. 15, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

out is say

Posted by hfg on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

Except that this isn't.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

as the homophobe that you are

Posted by racer x on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:59 pm
Posted by out on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

we can keep time on our watches

by the bigot's pace

Posted by h on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

is what those who hate lacked, when they were children

Posted by hfgs on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

are the people who are sick of

the homeless

Posted by hfgsd on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

"Wiener denies that the measure is aimed at the homeless"

That's what he always says. That's call politician-speak or BS.

Since this conservative piece of work---who was funded heavily by the real estate industry liars---claims this is not about the homeless and since he's a corporatist politician, that means that this is indeed about the homeless. He's very transparent.
May I remind people that he campaigned for sit-lie and made that proposition a major part of his campaign. Sit-lie criminalizes homelessness and then he created another anti-homeless law for the Warner and Milk Plazas, and he had the benches removed from the Milk Plaza so the homeless couldn't sit there. This guy despises poor and homeless people. People like that need psychotherapy, preferably before becoming a career politician (which is his goal). He's fooling no one. People are not as gullible and stupid as he would like to think. What's happening in our parks at night can and will continue to happen whether the parks are closed or not. That's why we need a police force that works where they are actually needed, and not in the remaining doughnut shops.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

Most homeless people in San Francisco are not even from San Francisco. "Criminalizing homelessness" in San Francisco is like criminalizing strangers from defecating in your living room.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

services for the homeless, criminal, insane and drug-addicted. Every other city and county sends their losers and failures here.

We need a zero tolerance policy for the homeless.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

A lot of whom are coming here to seek refuge from very unfair lives in which they have been repeatedly and often violently attacked from all sides.

Shame on Weiner and his tight ass yuppie constituents who don't remember or value the history that made San Francisco great.

Posted by hot dog fryer on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

Thank you!

Posted by +ULFBERH+T on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

i like it

it's kind of like Robin Hood and the friar Tuck ;)

Posted by racer x on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

no pimpernel he, the elites can head for the door

Posted by willscarlet on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:45 pm
Posted by je on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:25 pm
Posted by jeh on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

oh sword from winterfell

Posted by ouroborross on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:42 pm
Posted by j on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:26 pm
Posted by jehg on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

I was in another lifetime one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness a creature void of form
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you, shelter from the storm"

Posted by uroboris on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:39 pm
Posted by jmkm on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

You mean the history that made San Francisco a toilet...for the teaming masses of FERAL HUMANS.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

The homeless have zero tolerance for you.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

for false libertarian zeros

Posted by scarlet on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:47 pm
Posted by jk on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:29 pm
Posted by jmk on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:28 pm
Posted by boris on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:35 pm
Posted by klle on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

are not from San Francisco. And as you discussed earlier, we have freedom of physical mobility in the US (at least as of now). Hence, the influx of golddiggers here.

So just admit that you dispise poor people regardless of where they are from.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

the gold-diggers despise even themselves

in fact, themselves most deeply

Posted by crimson on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:50 pm
Posted by kl on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:32 pm
Posted by kll on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

his own backside for having to be utilized

Posted by ouroboros on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:34 pm
Posted by kl on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

the odd ridiculous liberal here. And his constituents tell him that they do not want the homeless, the criminally insane, the indigent, the drug-addled kids and their dogs and all the rest on their blocks.

Wiener is easily the most effective and responsive Supervisor on the board.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

his constituents, a large number of whom only care about themselves.

These are not San Franciscans, they are Giuliani wannabees.

Thanks to god there is a place like San Francisco to help take in the oppressed of this country.

You know, it does actually say something about this on the Statue of Liberty. The hateful selfish people commenting here should think about that, and reflect upon how they do not deserve to call themselves Americans.

Posted by hot dog fryer on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

Truth To Power (and to weakness)

Posted by +ULFBERH+T on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

on the move

Posted by redtidewashesashore on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:00 pm

i'll give them shelter, from the storm

Posted by tide on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:57 pm
Posted by k on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

is to let the befuddled losers of elections run the whole show.

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 19, 2013 @ 1:01 am

Most of Wiener's constituents aren't originally from San Francisco, either.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 11:15 am

Wiener speaks for his residents.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 11:46 am

are indeed in denial

Posted by uroboros on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

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