For Seattle’s future, I would like to see new faces in city leadership who truly understand the meaning of the words they use. Current Seattle politicians use noble words like “compassion,” “inclusive” and “progressive” to justify homeless camps in city parks and public spaces.
What low standards politicians have set for these words: A huge homeless population is living in quiet desperation outdoors without even the basic necessity of a safe heat source, yet that’s considered “compassion.” Seniors and low-income families who have no other access to outdoor opportunities now cannot safely enjoy our parks, yet we’re being “inclusive.” Does “progressiveness” justify human trafficking in homeless camps? Vulnerable and mentally-ill citizens coping without resources? Stolen bike parts piled high on city sidewalks? Explosive camp fires that torch park trees? How did we get to a place where such elegant words define such a cruel and ugly reality?
Some people actually enjoy this ongoing chaos. But the rest of us need to stop being so gullible. Stop trusting the pretty words that get incumbent politicians reelected and ask ourselves if that politician has actually done anything to help this city out of this sad mess. Actions speak louder than words.
Heidi Madden, Seattle
City Council gets an ‘F’
The Seattle City Council has caused grave damage to our city. I give them a huge “F.” I am a native of Seattle. My family has been here since 1888, and I have been proud to be a Seattleite. But not any more. Seattle has lost is way.
1. Homelessness, of course.
2. Police reform — not defund the police.
3. Hold the city council members and the mayor accountable by adhering to the city charter: “Under authority conferred by the Constitution of the State of Washington, the People of the City of Seattle enact this Charter as the Law of the City for the purpose of protecting and enhancing the health, safety, environment, and general welfare of the people; to enable municipal government to provide services and meet the needs of the people efficiently; to allow fair and equitable participation of all persons in the affairs of the City; to provide for transparency, accountability, and ethics in governance and civil service; to foster fiscal responsibility; to promote prosperity and to meet the broad needs for a healthy, growing City.”
4. Public safety.
5. Fiscal responsibility.
Gayle Johnson, Seattle
Integrity is my primary concern in November’s election, as it is in most elections. Resolving our problems with housing and public safety requires a degree of integrity among elected officials that has been lacking.
The right wing long has used “small government” propaganda as cover for profiteering by outsourcing government functions to favored corporations, with the revolving door and nepotism providing ample rewards for individuals who participate.
I see a similar dynamic at work in Seattle between activist organizations and public officeholders. The cover story is usually something to do with social justice rather than small government, but the result is a similar diversion of public resources away from government agencies and toward favored private entities — only, in this case, the private entities are nonprofits instead of corporations. Granting $3 million dollars to a nonprofit to conduct a survey that a city agency could have conducted for less than a tenth of that amount is one example of such “progressive” profiteering. That the nonprofit skewed the survey in favor of policies that would lead to further grants is an example of the corruption fostered by profiteering.
No cause is immune to corruption. We need integrity.
John Franco, Seattle
Better solutions for COVID-19 and homelessness are my priorities.
Bring on the vaccine mandates. As we see the unvaccinated overwhelming hospitals, we must safeguard our medical staff and resources.
Remove encampments from downtown, neighborhoods and parks. Enforce the laws and demand a regional approach for additional shelters and expanded mental-health facilities.
Seattle needs to get tougher on unvaccinated deniers and homeless people who break laws. Both of these groups seem to think they can do whatever they want.
Finally, since we have helped Idaho COVID-19 patients, perhaps that state can assist us in the future with shelter beds.
Georgi Krom, Seattle
‘Who is listening to me?’
The Seattle City Council and the mayor’s office are ignoring voters’ expressed concerns and the intent of ample funding, rendering a large swath of their constituency powerless. Columnist Danny Westneat brings reason to the resulting issues: deplorable living situations for homeless people, defunding police and critical infrastructure failures.
I am one of Kshama Sawant’s powerless constituents. I bring in my fifth “Recall Sawant” sign nightly (the others were stolen) — better care than Sawant gives her district. The Compassion Seattle petition I signed was invalidated. Who is listening to me? If elected mayor, will Bruce Harrell be able to get anything done regarding homelessness with the existing council?
Urgent action is needed on:
• Moving encampments from public parks and schools, making referrals to dwellings with mental-health and other resources within 72 hours.
• Policing: Weed out any remaining bad players. Re-fund police to ensure all billets are filled with properly trained good players so citizens and businesses are again safe.
• Fix the West Seattle Bridge ASAP. Fix all bridges and infrastructure in need of repair.
This city council has not been tending to these critical issues. Instead of doing their jobs, they’re protecting themselves politically and protecting their salaries (around $136,170).
Catherine A. Holliday, Seattle
If we forcibly clear those who are homeless from our parks and sidewalks, will they then just refill with new homeless people? We should try to answer this question before we act.
There are two groups of homeless people. One group is very visible — the people we see camped in our parks. The other group is invisible. They are the “couch-surfing” homeless. The visible homeless have many complex problems that are very expensive to address. We should study what economic indicators predict large numbers of “couch-surfing” homeless becoming “park-camping” homeless.
Understanding the factors that correlate with visible homelessness will let us know if clearing our parks of homeless people is an effective policy, or if it will only make way for a new batch of homeless people to move into our parks and sidewalks.
Rich Lague, Seattle