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National Lawyers Guild Calls Berkeley Measure S “Serious Infringement on Civil Liberties”
by Christopher Cook (berkeleystandinguppress [at]
Monday Sep 24th, 2012 9:27 PM
The National Lawyers Guild is urging Berkeley voters to reject Measure S, the "sit-lie" proposal that would make it illegal to sit on a sidewalk in commercial areas. The Guild calls the measure "counter-productive and constitutionally problematic."
BERKELEY, CA -- Adding to the growing opposition to Berkeley Measure S, the National Lawyers Guild has endorsed a No on S position, urging voters to “get the facts and vote no” on the sit-lie proposal on this November’s ballot.

With today’s endorsement, the Guild joins the ACLU of Northern California and a coalition of Berkeley merchants, social service organizations, faith leaders and community groups, and city councilmembers Worthington, Arreguin, and Anderson, opposing the anti-sitting measure.

The Guild “is strongly opposed to Berkeley's Measure S,” said Carlos Villarreal, Executive Director of the organization’s Bay Area Chapter—the nation’s largest with more than 600 active members. “As lawyers and criminal justice experts, we have seen that ‘sit-lie’ laws are both counter-productive and constitutionally problematic.”

Villarreal added: “Measure S runs against our ideals of free speech and assembly, and represents a serious infringement on people's civil liberties. It's also counter-productive: piling up citations and arrests, clogging our courts and directing tax dollars away from programs that actually help people. We encourage all voters to get the facts and vote No on Berkeley Measure S."

Osha Neumann, campaign chair for No on S, embraced the endorsement, saying, “The Guild is a very important part of the legal community, and we are honored to have their support. The more people look at Measure S, the more they see what a mistake it is. They’re asking voters to abandon their civil liberties and free assembly while blaming homeless people for the ongoing business recession. It’s just plain wrong in every sense.”

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