ACLU Press Release: Political Signs = Free Speech for Condo Residents

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Mad love to the ACLU: The Ocean Beach Homeowners Association tried to stop a Prop L opponent from posting a No on L sign on his condo. Free speech won this fight!


Political Signs = Free Speech for Condo Residents

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Contact: Laura Saponara, ACLU of Northern CA, 415.621.2493, lsaponara@aclunc.org

A week before the election, ACLU announces settlement with homeowners’ association San Francisco – The ACLU has reached a settlement on behalf of a San Francisco condo resident who challenged an attempt by a homeowner’s association to force him to remove political signs from his windows.

“What good are rights if they’re only on paper? What good is a law if it’s going to be ignored? I want people to be aware of my story so that they know they’re free to exercise their rights,” said Dr. Elliot Greg Kamin, a local optometrist whom the ACLU represented.

Kamin, who was born in Russia and came the United States as a child, posted two signs in a window of the condo he is renting near Ocean Beach – one in support of a judicial candidate and the other opposing San Francisco’s Proposition L, known as the “Sit/Lie” ordinance. To his surprise, the Ocean Beach Homeowners Association threatened to impose steep fines unless Dr. Kamin immediately removed the signs. In California, the free speech rights of condominium residents are protected by a law passed by the California legislature in 2003, Civil Code sec. 1353.6, stating that homeowners associations “may not prohibit posting or displaying of noncommercial signs, posters, flags, or banners on or in” property that belongs to a condo owner.

Facing a potential court order requiring it to obey the law, the association entered into a settlement with the ACLU by which the association voluntarily agreed to allow Dr. Kamin immediately to post his signs. Pursuant to the agreement, Dr. Kamin was permitted to put up his two signs immediately, without any fear of triggering onerous fines. The homeowners association had previously rejected prior requests by Dr. Kamin and the ACLU to respect the free speech rights of Dr. Kamin.

“Particularly at election time, it’s important for Californians who own or rent a condo to know that the law protects their right to post political signs in their own windows, and that those who manage their property must respect this important and basic right,” said ACLU attorney Linda Lye.

The ACLU in California was instrumental in the passage of the law. A similar law exists protecting the free speech rights of residents of mobile homes. The ACLU of Northern CA continues to receive calls and complaints from California residents who seek to display political window signs.

Amazing! One hundred signs already up. We have to DOUBLE our goal!

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On Saturday we announced an absurdly ambitious mission to make SF campaign history by getting up 100 huge signs in just one week.  Well the response from our community has been nothing short of spectacular and instead of taking a week to reach our goal, we did it in less than four days.

This means we had no choice but to order another hundred.  That’s right.  It’s going to be TWO hundred signs in ONE week!

Have you gotten your sign yet? We apologize if you’ve asked for one and haven’t received yours yet. The demand was so overwhelming that we ran out before we could get one to everyone who asked for them.  But fear not, we will have another hundred tomorrow.

RSVP at the facebook group. Please post pics of your sign once you get it up. Thanks!

Our public celebrations vs. their private events with guest lists and security

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Our event . . .

Anyone fortunate enough to attend our Rally at 16th and Mission yesterday with Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping will testify to the fact (testify!) that it was an exhilarating, inspiring, warm, and welcoming celebration of public space and community.  We always invite everyone in San Francisco to participate in our events in public space and because of this they reflect the vibrant and diverse culture of our city. You’ll find loads of great coverage with dozens of great pictures and video at The GuardianFog City Journal, Mission Local, San Francisco Chronicle, Laughing Squid our Facebook page, and KTVU.  Steve Rhodes has great pics here.

Our events and the “Civil” Sidewalks campaign events couldn’t be more different.  And the differences speak volumes about the values our campaign represents versus the values their campaign represents.  Compare our amazing event yesterday in a public plaza with 200-plus attendees, with the last major “Civil” Sidewalks campaign event which was a small gathering and featured speeches by the Mayor and Police Chief.  At their private event, held at FTC Skate shop on Haight Street, the entrance was guarded by private security and police officers.  Unless you were on the guest list, you were not allowed to enter.  As we sat outside talking with them that day, they turned away a number of people who were curious about the issue.  Even a curious Haight Street merchant was told he could not attend without being on the list.

The difference couldn’t be more clear between what we’re about and what the yes on L folks are about. We want a San Francisco for everyone and they want a San Francisco only for those on their select “guest list.”

If you want a San Francisco for everyone, help us fight Prop L.  A law like this would have a devastating impact on the life and culture of our community.

. . . their event

Their events are private affairs with guest lists, security and police. Notice it’s apparently okay for them to sit on the sidewalk just not those who don’t make their “list.”


ONE hundred BIG signs in ONE week

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We’re going to make SF campaign history by getting up. . .

ONE HUNDRED SIGNS IN ONE WEEK!

October 23-October 30

This has never been attempted in SF political campaign history, but we are going to pull it off and it’s going to be amazing and it’s going to be the nail in the coffin for Prop L.But it will be up to YOU to make it happen. This won’t take a lot of time or effort but we will NEED YOUR HELP!

Put one of our hott-off-the-presses BIG-ASS 4ft X 2ft corrugated plastic signs on your apartment, home, car, fire escape, organization, campaign office, business, wherever. Zip ties will do wonders!

Have some good ideas for where to put a sign? Share them in the comment section.

Please Pick up your sign at:

–> Coalition on Homelessness (468 Turk Street)
–> Bound Together Books (Haight @ Masonic)
–> Richmond District (Call Nate: 810-2436)

PLEASE COME GET YOUR SIGN if at all possible. To get this many signs distributed as quickly as possible it’s going to have to be a group effort and be as decentralized as possible. If you would like to host a stash of signs in your neighborhood, let us know!

Seriously people. If we cover the city with this huge, colorful signs, the no-Civil-rights-on-the-Sidewalks folks won’t know what hit them and WE WILL WIN. GUARANTEED!

Believe me. We HATE PLASTIC too, but your can slice these up afterwards and they make great grassroots clipboards!

Contact Andy with questions
and if you need a delivery
GET A SIGN AT MONDAY’S RALLY
You will be able to pick up signs at Monday’s Rally with Reverend Billy at 16th and Mission at 1PM. Don’t miss the rally! Details:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122933484430019&ref=mf

See more pics and ADD YOUR OWN at our Flickr Pool.

Prop L Debate on KPFA’s The Morning Show

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Bob Offer-Westort from the Sidewalks are for People Coalition really trounced Assistant District Attorney Paul Henderson on KPFA’s The Morning Show today. A caller from Santa Cruz complains about the sit/lie law there, one from the Haight calls for greater tolerance, and another San Franciscan called in to ask ADA Henderson what his mother thought of his dishonesty. Ouch! (We, of course, prefer to leave our opponents’ mothers out of the debate… for civility‘s sake.) The sit/lie segment of the program begins at 34:45.

The Morning Show – October 22, 2010 at 7:00am

Click to listen (or download)

Guardian: “We’re in danger of losing San Francisco”

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Those of us involved in San Francisco politics can be prone to hyperbole. It seems every election cycle we’re claiming the very future of our city is at stake. But at the risk of sounding like we’re crying wolf, we’re going to say it again and we really mean it; the very future of our city is at stake.

Every one in San Francisco needs to read this week’s Guardian.  Through four excellent articles the writers are sounding a very urgent warning about some very urgent issues, and if as a community we don’t respond, Editor Tim Redmond writes, “we’re in danger of losing San Francisco.”

And Prop L is at the heart of why we’re in danger of losing San Francisco.

Don’t take our word for it.  Read these articles and pass them along to folks you know who may not realize what’s at stake right now in our dear city.

How they’re Sitting: the kids on Haight Street aren’t exactly like sterotype you’ve been told about
by Caitlin Donague

“What do we want Haight Street to be? Do we want to capitalize and benefit from the accepting, messy, wildly creative legacy the 20th century endowed our streets, or do we want a clean, friendly, outdoor mall? The powers of homogenization and gentrification can demonize the little heathens on Haight Street all they want, but they’ve miscalculated if they think that they don’t belong in San Francisco — after all, Haight created them, not the other way around.”

Editorial: The Soul of the City
by Tim Redmond

“If Prop L, the “sit-lie” law, passes, if the rental flats in the Mission that have been home to several generations of young artists, writers, musicians and future civic leaders vanish in the name of condo coversions. if 85 percent of all the new housing in San Francisco is affordable only to millionaires, if the money that helps foster kids and runaways and at-risk youth dries up because this rich city won’t raise taxes, if nightlife becomes an annoyance to be stifled . . . then we’re in danger of losing San Francisco.”

On the margins
by Sarah Phelan

“Sherilyn Adams, executive director of Larkin Street Youth Services understands that some people see Proposition L, legislation on the November ballot to criminalize sitting or lying on city sidewalks, as a way to address disruptive and aggressive behavior on the streets. ‘But it becomes part of the larger divide, because youth who come here and are on the street are mostly there because they have no other place. So penalizing them in the absence of services, housing, and education is ineffective at best and really harmful at worst,’ Adams said.”

On the edge
by Rebecca Bowe

“But young people aging out of the foster care system typically have to face this world of churning uncertainty without the benefit of a safety net. Many post-foster care youth don’t have the luxury of “failing to launch,” embarking on an early career path without pay, or landing back home if nothing else pans out. Foster youth lose their support base at 18, when the state ceases to be their legal guardian. For these young people, who are often the least equipped to achieve financial self-sufficiency, becoming emancipated as a legal adult is no cause for celebration; rather, it’s a source of anxiety.”

Sidewalks are for People: A Clarion Call

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Check out this great coverage in Mission Loc@l by Lauren Rosenfeld of  last Sunday’s Clarion Call event in the Mission District’s Clarion Alley.  Sidewalks are for people collaborated with the great folks at the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP).

“Instead of the annual Clarion Alley block party, organizers conducted a funeral procession on Sunday to call attention to a changing neighborhood and threatened public space in San Francisco.

For 10 years, people packed the alley for the annual block party to celebrate the Clarion Alley Mural Project. Organizers have received increasing resistance from new residents in the neighborhood, and last year they were forced to pay police officers to patrol the block party for the first time. Opponents of Proposition L, the sit-lie ordinance on the November ballot, joined the procession in solidarity.”

Read the full article and see lots more pics here.


No on L stalwart Nate Miller ties an arm band for of a local resident as a symbol of solidarity.

Another great weekend!

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We had another spectacular weekend in our campaingn to defeat prop L.  There were a number of awesome events this weekend.  The first we’ll report back on was the “Sidewalk Sit” held by the Contemplative Communities against Prop L.  Here’s what Katie Lonke had to say about the event:

“Here are a few photos from our Sidewalk Sit (Contemplative Communities Against Prop L).  18 meditators came out on a drizzly Sunday morning to sit down for our beliefs.  Most folks we spoke with were supportive, and we even swayed a few voters!  Lots of fun.  Many thanks to the campaign for furnishing us with signs and lit!”

And very big thanks to Katie and the rest of the wonderful folks from the Contemplative Communities who sat against sit/lie!

Sit/Lie Window Signs

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Get Your Window Signs

Do you have your window sign yet?  Pick one up today at the Coalition on Homelessness (468 Turk Street), La Raza Centro Legal (10-4 M-Th, 10-12F -Closed 12-1 – 474 Valencia #295 @ 16th) or call Nate (415.810.2436) to coordinate other coordinates.

Upcoming Events

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Hey everyone,

With Election Day less than 3 weeks away, we have many events and volunteer opportunities for you. Join us each Saturday for precinct walks and each Tuesday for transit outreach. Join us this weekend for one of our great events. Scroll down for details.

Sidewalks are for People: A Clarion Call

Clarion Call / Sidewalks are for People
Where: Clarion Alley and locations nearby in the Mission
When: Sunday, October 17
Time: Noon ’til night

The great folks at the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) have  invited us to participate in a public art/music/cultural event this Sunday, October 17 in the Mission District. This will be similar to other Sidewalks are for People events, but enhanced by our allies from Clarion Alley and other groups participating. Please join us!

Lots more info on the Facebook invite.

If you’re interested in participating contact Nate: natemillerules@gmail.com.

Saturday Precinct Walks

Last weekend we had 50 volunteers walking precincts and delivering No on L campaign literature to voters’ homes!  Please join us on each Saturday that you can until Election Day.

When: Every Saturday until Election Day
Time: 10am
October 16: Coalition on Homelessness 468 Turk Street
October 23: Day labor program 3358 Cesar Chavez at Mission Street
October 30: Dolores Street Community Services 938 Valencia Street at 20th

Questions? Contact Jennifer Friedenbach @ (415) 346-3740 x 306

Queers Against Sit/Lie

Pride at Work / HAVOQ Fundraiser

El Rio
3158 Mission St. @ Precita
Saturday, October 16
3-8pm

Help us celebrate another year of wreaking HAVOQ while raising funds for the ‘No on Prop L’ Campaign (Prop L sux!!!!)

Loads of entertainment!

Get more info on the Facebook invite.

Sidewalk Sit: Contemplative Communities Against Prop L

Sunday, October 17
9:30am – Noon
Outside the First Unitarian Universalist Church

1187 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA

RSVP and get more info at the Facebook invite.

Transit Tuesdays

Join us as we do morning outreach on transit lines to educate voters about Prop L.  Only two more Tuesdays before Election Day!

Tuesdays
10/19, 10/26, and 11/2 (Election Day)
7:00 – 9:00 am
Please contact Jenny Friedenbach @
(415) 346-3740 to volunteer.