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'Sit-Lie' returns to Chico City Council

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Nov 05 2013 09:19:19 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 02:00:00 AM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

The Chico City council was back Tuesday night to tackle an issue that has been a problem Chico for years, how to handle the homeless.

"I think we should add more services to help them out before we start giving them tickets and coming down on them," said Chico State Freshman Shawna Stinson.
     
The 'Sit-Lie' Ordinance has been the popular answer.  It's an ordinance that would allow police officers to cite any transients who are sleeping or camping on public sidewalks or benches.
     
"It's one piece of the puzzle that helps us take back our downtown and make it the beautiful place it was meant to be," said Councilman Sean Morgan, who supports the ordinance.

The ordinance failed back in August.
     
"It was bad for the city, bad for city finances.  It had no mechanism for enforcement or effectiveness," said Councilman Randall Stone, who opposes the ordinance.  "It has failed in 100 percent of the communities that it has been attempted in California."
     
On Oct. 22, city council members and citizens asked the city attorney to revise the proposal.
 
There are now two changes. The first is to issue a warning before issuing a citation, and the second is the application of the law will be citywide.
     
"You create the danger of the ACLU or somebody else is going to sue you," said Stone.
     
"After awhile, people engaging in anti-social behavior don't like to be singled out and the goal is that they will stop engaging that behavior," said Morgan.
     
"Give us a spot where we can sleep.  Give us a spot where we can sit.  We have no home," said Jennifer Stava.
     
Stava calls the streets of Chico her home.  She says the council needs to work with the homeless instead of against them, but realizes there is an aggressive panhandling problem.
     
"That's not right.  It's not OK to get violent," said Stava.  "That's what gives a bad rap. All the garbage, all the violence, all the drugs, I don't do drugs but they stereotype me because I'm homeless and that's ridiculous."

Councilman Stone says he's confident he will vote against the ordinance if something is not changed. 

As for Councilman Morgan, he will be sticking to his opinion.