As we've noted before, the Sit-Lie ban that went in to effect last year has had negligible effects on the Upper Haight. According to the Chronicle's latest Sit/Lie report, the ban might have been effective in getting the suburban crustpunks to move along, but the folks with the most citations are the tie-dyed and dried-out old homeless hippies who continue to rack up more than 25 sit/lie citations apiece.
There are three people who have achieved that level of sit/lie notoriety in the neighborhood and according to the Chron at least two of them are "just the sort of rangy, tie-dyed old-hippie types visitors expect to see along this hippie-est of streets, and they draw smiles as they greet strollers with high-fives and peace signs." Tourist attractions, in other words, and alcoholic ones at that: "When they're drunk, though, the smiles disappear. The pair lurch about with sloshing beer cans, get into fights and sprawl snoring on the sidewalk."
Between them, these two slumped-over photo opportunities have received 59 sit/lie citations just for living the Haight-Ashbury dream. An they've ignored every single one of them. Likewise for Jennifer McCloud, who holds the record at 46 sit/lie citations, but has since left the neighborhood for the psychiatric ward of a local jail after being arrested on seven different misdemeanor warrants. The point of all those citations — if they're not going to reap any immediate monetary benefit for the city — is to get these guys off the street and in to housing and other helpful programs, of course.
Those may scare off the younger generation of would-be vagrants, but the old-school alcoholics are committed to the lifestyle. As one of the Haight's better-known winos tells the Chronicle, "I'd love to move inside, but can I afford $3,000 a month? No. Do I want to live in one of those places the city gives homeless people in the Tenderloin, around a bunch of junkies? No. So I'm here."
As for the middle ground: the merchants on Haight Street, the ones who pushed for the ban in the first place, still can't agree on whether or not it's working. But at least one corner store booze supplier has come to peace with the current state of the Haight, explaining "Let's face it, the Haight is the Haight," he said. "The law makes no real difference. I have to handle things myself, so I treat people with kindness and I expect the same."