Sit and Lie Ordinance Gets Community Support

Oct 23, 2013 3:36 PM

Chico residents attended Tuesday night's study session on public safety, filling the council's chamber demanding their city leaders resurrect the sit and lie ordinance.

Clean and Safe Chico, an action group that highlights the city's cleanliness and safety issues started the public meeting with a presentation addressing problems they have seen in this past year in the downtown area.

President of the Chico Chamber of Commerce Katie Simmons asked council to put more police patrols in the city and secure a civil sidewalk law.

"We can't fight crime." Simmons said. "We are asking the city to do that."

The audience agreed in a loud cheer.

The Chico City Council separated the public into two groups addressing law enforcement and service-based solution for the community.

Some of the ideas discussed included bringing back the Chico Police Department's TARGET team, creating an open area for the homeless to camp, and conducting crackdowns of areas around the city with heavy concentration of transients.

"The TARGET team can be a tangible cost," Councilmember Mary Goloff said. "The city is already seeing the real impacts of not having those resources available."

The public also made it clear the community's priorities are having a full police force of 43 officers and an ordinance giving them a tool to enforce vagrancy around the Chico community.

"You need to give your police that tool to tell people to move along," Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said.

Councilmen Sean Morgan voiced his frustration with his colleagues and moved to have a sit and lie ordinance on next month's city council agenda.

"These people are asking the council to do something and not just talk about the issue," Morgan said.

Goloff agreed with Morgan saying she didn't vote for the first sidewalk law because it didn't address the problem.

"I would want to see some more teeth in the next sit and lie ordinance," she said.

In some cases, people living on the street is a lifestyle choice for them, council member Mark Sorensen said.

"We need to roll up the welcome mat and say 'not here'," Sorensen said.

The City Council is scheduled to take up the sit and lie ordinance on November 5.


Most Popular