Let’s say you own a car. A really nice car with leather interior, state-of-the-art sound system, every luxury imaginable. It cost $145-million, but it doesn’t run. It’s completely broken down.
What would you do?
Spend $290-million to fix it or get a new one?
Look around Seattle and you’d have a hard time convincing me that the city spends $145-million of your tax dollars in services for the homeless. Blue tarps, encampments, ratty RV’s, panhandlers, people who you thought only lived in Pioneer Square, are now in grocery store lots and street corners close to your home.
I’m having a hard time with this one, because it seems the more services that are offered, the less help it’s providing. The city is great about documenting all of our information so that if we can’t pay a water bill or garbage bill—oh, yeah, you’ll hear about it.
But $145-million tax dollars are supporting the current non-working scenario. Tuesday night, the mayor went on the city cable channel and revealed his new plan. He’d like twice that amount–$290-million—and THAT will fix the problem.
KIRO talker Dori Monson pushes the idea of the city selling the land all these tent cities being pushed on neighborhoods and build a structure, a housing facility…where counseling, job-training and addiction therapy can take place. Their afternoon team of Ron & Don are doing a fantastic job of bringing the issue to the front lines.
Besides soft-peddling milk-toast solutions to the homeless, Seattle is also going down a dangerous path of selectively enforcing laws. Are those encampments legal or not? Doesn’t the state, or the city or the county own that property? Why couldn’t I go to some unused land and start up a restaurant or a business? That would be shut down in seconds. I would be trespassing. Yeah, the t-word. Remember when that was illegal?
I’ve heard some suggestions about what to do. I’ll combine those with some of my own touches:
1) Go through every homeless camp and remove those who want to be helped. Those who stay remain do so at their own peril and will be subject to every single law on the books. Last time I checked, illegal drugs were, well, illegal. That’s how they got their name. Remember charges like “possession”?
2) Bring in the National Guard and use them to go through the rougher areas. Combine police with social agencies that can actually get these people help. Let them all know the free ride and the lack of caring is over.
3) Not from the area? Came here because you heard how Seattle and various community groups coddle the homeless? Here’s your bus ticket back home. And a police escort to make sure you use it.
Imagine Seattle as your home. Well, it is…but I mean, your house. Someone you don’t know moves into that extra bedroom and things start disappearing from around the house. Needles are found on the ground. You’re afraid to go to that room. How in the world do you rationalize it in your head to make that OK?
But we have, on an embarrassingly large scale.
Seattle has already spent over a billion dollars on a campaign over the past decade to solve the homelessness problem. Seriously, it was “The Campaign to End Homelessness.” And it’s done nothing but make it worse. Enough that Mayor Murray recently declared a state of emergency in the Emerald City.
People can be down on their luck. For those who need the support of their community to turn things around, I’m all for it. But to enable those who have given up and made their bad choices our problem, how does that seem fair?
Homelessness is ugly, unfortunate and affects all of us. A real solution is needed. I’m not the expert, I just have a pair of eyes that have witnessed a lot of expensive efforts that seem to be worsening the problem, not fixing it.
Elect leaders that bring a real solution to this problem. Please.