The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will hear a proposal Tuesday that would close all city parks from midnight to 5 a.m. each day.
Supporters say the law is meant to cut down on park vandalism and dumping, which has become a daily problem costing the city about $1 million each year. Vandals have moved beyond graffiti, smashing toilets with sledgehammers and lighting trees on fire in recent weeks, according to the SF Examiner.
But homeless advocates worry the legislation will be used to displace those who rely on the parks as a place to sleep each night.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who is introducing the legislation, says his proposal has nothing to do with hurting the homeless.
“It is already illegal today to sleep and camp in parks and it has been for a number of years,” he said, noting that the law is not often enforced. “This legislation is not going to change how the police approach homelessness in our parks. ”
Jennifer Friedenbach with the Coalition on Homelessness says the law would do little to prevent vandalism, but would instead be used to force homeless people out of parks at night.
“Vandalism is a huge problem in the city and we don’t think this law is going to go anywhere close to addressing it,” she said on KQED Forum.
Friedenbach suggested the board consider enforcing curfews around park structures where vandalism occurs, instead of closing entire parks.
Dozens camped in Dolores Park Monday night to protest the legislation.
Details of the proposal
- Some roadways and sidewalks that go through parks would remain open at all hours (like those through Golden Gate Park).
- Violators of the curfew could be subject to a fine and could face misdemeanor charges.
- Though many parks already have posted hours, this would set open and closing times for all the parks in the city.