Yeah, generally with anyone who demonizes or caricatures the homeless you can pretty much tell they're troglodytes who are actually far less worthy than any homeless person of love or compassion. You can always see them foaming at the mouth at they write their weird screeds.


Yeah, generally with anyone who demonizes or caricatures the homeless you can pretty much tell they're troglodytes who are actually far less worthy than any homeless person of love or compassion. I always imagine them foaming at the mouth as they write their weird screeds.


Happily, the majority of people in Seattle don't want to demonize the homeless. They want to help them.


@3: Exactly. But far more fun to extrapolate an assortment of annoying misguided picketers to the whole for sensational headlines.


5: Or half the comments on the slog.


@3: Bingo.

We'll never solve this problem so long as hacks like Charles and Erica C Barnett continue to push the narrative that lack of empathy is the determining factor.


The folks on my block communicated via Next Door in connection with an unregistered sex offender with a history of recidivism who was living in an RV on our street.

Is this socially unacceptable? Should I have just ignored the posts and assumed, as Charles would, that my neighbors lacked empathy for this sexual predator, and their concerns were in bad taste? Was I wrong to report this individual to law enforcement, who, it turns out, had a warrant for his arrest, and were only able to locate him as the result of the coordination of neighbors on Next Door?


@8: Yes, noticing crime is extremely racist. The fact that it was on NextDoor makes it double super racist.

Stop noticing things.



Obviously the height of good taste is to enjoy having to avoid human feces on the sidewalks while stepping over discarded hypodermic needles as deranged lunatics rave at you from near by as you detour around piss soaked tents with addicts passed out in them.

That, by the way, is a 100% accurate description of my walk from my bus stop to work this morning (all of 3 blocks...).

It's not about the homeless, the poor, the addicted or the mentally disturbed. It's about public health and safety.


@10, "public safety" is nothing more than a dog whistle to white supremacy.


And Chuck...
You are NOT an arbiter of taste.
Not by a very long shot.
Anna Wintour has that beat covered.


Yeah, it's so tasteless to complain about my friend that was killed in the streets by the crazy drug addicts.


Oh, yes how very rude of me to ask the poor gentleman to stop defecating on my front porch and throwing his needles in the yard for my dogs to step on.


Of all the writers at the Stranger who understand they have lost — and quite badly, too! — our civic debate over homeless policy, Charles is the most entertaining in his use of straw men, ad hominem attacks, and careful rejection of obvious reality.

“Hating this tent is in poor taste.”

An unsanctioned encampment is a threat to the health and safety of the occupant(s), and of the public. Therefore, every one should be swept, every time. There need be no emotional content of any kind in that decision.

“Now, how can a person who yells all over the internet about how horrible homeless humans are be in any sense culturally refined?”

No examples given, of course.

“The person roughing it in a tent or RV very well knows how they got there: priced out of a hyper-inflated housing market, laid off because the company needs to be "competitive," in debt because health services are greatly overpriced and socially under-supported. This list can go on and on.”

How many more thousands of needles must hit the parks, playgrounds, and pavements of Seattle before “addiction” makes it by name onto Charles’ list? The answer is not quantifiable. That criterion can never be met.

Thanks for the laughs.


4 Dude, people already think you are stupid...


@12: Calling people by diminutive nicknames they themselves do not embrace is in very poor taste.


Screw you bleeding hearts. For as long as humans were living together in communities, there have been rules about how to behave in that community. If you cross the community, you'll get backlash. Drug addicts who piss and shit and shoot up in our community are a plague. Yes, the reasons they got there are complex, but we're not going to solve them. Let the taxpaying public enjoy the fruits of what they pay taxes for. Sour the milk; get the drug addicted homeless out of our city, get the mentally ill some treatment or lock them up because they are a danger to others. Help the economically displaced. We're human beings. It's one thing to have empathy, which I think we all do. It's another thing to just allow our community to be taken over by drug addicts and feel so sorry for them and just let them do what they want, they've had it tough. Fuck that.


A 25 year old woman was just stabbed to death by a drug addict in Cal Anderson. Have the courage to look beyond your internalized bias about what is "appropriate". Don't listen to this man virtue signal and condescend to valid community concerns.


When someone comes and shits on your front porch everyday, breaks your car window every other to steal the change, and litters used syringes next to the swing you push your kids on... just smile and take it because if you don't support dissolving the navigation team and ending homeless camp sweeps aka allowing anyone to camp anywhere at anytime, you're an evil Trumpian racist anti-homeless bigot.


I love the picture Charles used here. You can see Miner's Landing in the background and realize where the tent is. It's in the middle of the boardwalk, one of our hottest tourism areas, right next to the aquarium and a couple blocks from the Olympic Sculpture Garden.

This one is an "obstruction" (it affects things the city cares about, like tourism, not the well-being of Seattleites, who couldn't matter less) so it will be removed by the nav team before its inhabitant can surround it with a mountain of trash, needles, and filth.

According to Charles and his routine disgusting polemic, if you've got a problem with any aspect of this situation, you're human garbage and going to hell. I can't wait for November when the staff of The Stranger realize that for all their hysterical end-of-the-world shrieking and striking condemnations of 80% of the city, their slate of terrible people won't be ruling the city.


Tarzon was NOT raised by chimpanzees. He was raised by the Mangani, a fictional species that ERB describes as more man-like.


It's more about (to use an antiquated phrase) hating the sin, not the sinner. I don't think most people despise the homeless as individuals, but they hate some of the negative externalities they produce. I absolutely wish we lived in a society that was incapable of producing poverty, heck, I've never voted down a tax request to that aim. However, it seems crazy (and a bit hypocritical) to dismiss the concerns of the people you mock since you see them without merit.

I don't understand what the threat is in being hard-ass on both eliminating poverty AND zero tolerance for anti-social behavior --- its works in Europe and Japan, where extreme accountability and effective safety nets phase symbiotically (you don't see homelessness in Stockholm or Tokyo because they distribute wealth effectively PLUS, if a tent did appear in the center city, it would be swiftly dealt with regardless of a local shelter's "onerous" rules). Allowing people to lay deuces on the sidewalk or toss used needles on playfields without action isn't exactly a sign of compassion.


Casting "the homeless" as a monolithic population is as disengenuous as doing the same to "the blacks, or, "the jews." etc. It isn't the homeless, as a block, we hate on, it is the lazy bums and tramps and hobos that that don't deserve our compassion, the ones who work hard all day long NOT to work or act as a functioning member of society, the one's who steal not to just get by, but to not have to earn and comply, the ones who will throw garbage on the ground when a garbage or recycling container is only feet away, yet can continue their subsistence lifestyle because of the misguided compassion of those who have trouble making nuanced distinctions.


Pretty classic attempt to conflate all homelessness with poverty and housing affordability. The reality is the people struggling with poverty are not the ones defecating on the sidwalks and leaving used needles in public parks. There's two completely different homelessness problems and you're conflating them to score political points and avoiding addressing the crisis of addiction.


Another example of poor taste: city leaders pontificating on their solutions for massive problems like global warming, while clearly unable to solve a much smaller problem like housing for 12 thousand people in their own backyard.


@22 by taking a shit on someone's porch? Damn, that sucks


Late stage capitalism. I know I'm one pay check away from joining the campers and people will hate me too as I try to find some place to tend to my hygiene. At least after reading some of these comments I'm emotionally prepared.


@31 Beginning stages of socialism, and if you're being sincere you should move somewhere more affordable than giving up to live in a tent.

Or fuck it live in a tent and shoot up, I suggest getting a ticket to Hawaii with your last paycheck at least you'll be warm in the winter. yolo


Both Charles and Safe Seattle are painting with too wide a brush. The latter conduct themselves as if all homeless people are drug-addicted criminals, while Charles only wants to talk about victims of Seattle's economic displacement. Obviously, the homeless population consists of both. However, Charles's main point, clumsily conceived though it may be, is valid: all homeless people deserve empathy. Charles just fails to extend that empathy to the general public, many of whom are reasonably concerned about safety and the well-being of the city itself. And with that philosophical blind spot, his post falls apart.


@31 if you missed a paycheck and couldn't pay your rent, you're telling me you couldn't think of any better recourse than to go live in a tent next to the highway? Give me a break. Only in Seattle.

Go live with a friend, or a family member, or get on welfare, or go to a shelter, or move to a cheaper area like Everett and do the long commute every day until you find a steady paycheck.


@27: You are just as guilty of treating them as a monolith as Charles. How many of those people grew up in abusive families? How many have unaddressed mental health issues? How many had negative influences in their lives and ended up gravitating to drugs or other self-destructive behaviors?


Here's a refined opinion. Some people are raised in a privileged bubble where they are indoctrinated into a certain ideology. When real world facts clash with this ideology they are petrified because they haven't had to come up with a solution to anything for a long long time. All their solutions are provided by their ideology and backed up by their bubble mates.
This is how you get a city council so out of touch with the working class that their ultimate cause is really the people who disregard and hurt others as a means to their ends.
Rich bubble folks are the last to be affected by this.


Yes people hate the homeless. I used to live directly across the street from a Church that hosted a tent city. Never a problem with the tent city, everyone followed the rules.
The problem was with my fellow homeowners constantly driving by honking in the middle of the night.


The problem stems from two groups of people. Junkie homeless lawbreakers and people like the author of this article. Junkies could care less about 99% of anyone else except who they are shooting up with and the dealer... they don't care about you Charles, if I give 5 of them $20 a piece and they will hold you down and take a shit of your forehead. Charles, people like you embolden them with your "empathy" which is why we are where we are at. They rest of us get sick of trying to stay away from these lawless assholes and then we have to read articles like this. Have more empathy for the people effected and less for the ones breaking rules.


This is a funny article. Why? Cause clearly this person has not experienced living in downtown Seattle. I am a 2nd generation, 29 year old, Hispanic woman living in downtown and if you must know I am of color and I am barely getting by. I do not want to deal with unsafe areas and that is what Downtown Seattle is in many ways. I have been followed by people who look homeless but surely on drugs coming back from work and I have had too many encounters where I have to backup or dodge from unwanted physical contact from homeless/mentally ill/ drug abusers. I've had a coworker assaulted by a homeless/drug addict, I've had another coworker verbally threatened at our place of work by someone who's homeless or addicted, I've had to deal with someone so high on whatever sneak into my home building and pass out in my apartment hall, I've also had things stolen from my door, I've also witnessed a literal bum fight break out in the middle of an intersection and stop traffic. We do need to find a way to have hospitals and centers keep these people off the street. It's not safe for anyone involved including those who need help. I've also seen ppl take advantage of those who actually want to help like me! I've tried to give fresh food but got turned down cause money was the priority for drugs. So author of this article you need to stop preaching cause this is no way to live. Maybe you've heard complaints that do not seem empathetic but shoot... We are trying to live too. NY has homeless but they aren't like they are out here....they actually hustle and mind their business. So lady, try living in DT and tell me all about it then. Thank You.


Dehumanizing people is in poor taste.

Unfortunately, Mudede's argument relies on dehumanizing people. Mudede would have us view human beings (but only particular human beings) as rats (non-humans), foul creatures with skin grown over their eyes.

This argument is inadequate. Taste is not a proxy for humanity. Those who lack taste are still human. To suggest otherwise is to adopt the mindset of colonialism, and we are tired of all that.


I enjoy the way the “Seattle is dying” crowd expect our municipal government to solve the problems of neoliberal capitalism.

Why can’t the mayor get North Korea to give up their nuclear program too?



I think it might be because they look around at other US municipalities, all of which operate under more or less the same system of neoliberal capitalism, and they find far lower rates of unsheltered homelessness per capita in cities of all sizes.

Seattle's old safety net hasn't scaled with its population boom. We do need to overhaul the whole thing, but trying to imprison the homeless en masse might not be the cheapest, least disruptive, most humane, or even most effective way to go about it.


Solution is pretty easy (and cheap). Enforce the fuck outa the laws on the book and pass more draconian vagrancy laws and enforce the fuck outa them. That’s the stick. Then dangle a carrot: a one way bus ticket anywhere you want to go (as long as it’s not in Washington, Oregon or Idaho). Or a one way airline ticket to Hawaii...



I’ve lived on the hill for nearly 10 years and the addiction problem has done nothing but skyrocket. I’m the pst, people have rooted nearly through the dumpsters. In the last couple of years, those rioters have left gigantic messes behind. The addict problem in the park across form the Safeway has become untenable with broken mirrors, needles, and shit. There has been human feces in the nearby alleys.

It’s not just addicts but the mentally ill (though mostly addicts) who have come to populate Seattle in the summer. There’s the crazy “Spare Change please Spare Change laugh” guy who has been there for years, but, outside of occasionally smelling like he shit his pants, he isn’t offensive. But then there’s the delusional guy who spat on me, the addicts who brought a broken mirror to the park, and the people who leave their trash on my doorstep even though there’s an empty dumpster 50ft away. At night, you can sometimes hear them screaming.

This isn’t a usual homeless problem. It’s increased since the recession and it isn’t just gentrification.


Charles Mudede, you hate people who live in small rural towns. You are always disparaging and mocking them. True, they don't have exotic architecture and wonderful arts centers but they are people too. A ragged tent isn't exactly a work of art either. The sad thing is that there are so many of the homeless who have just given up; they take the poor-me attitude and expect to be taken care of for the rest of their days.


Damn Charles, you are one of the truly weirdest aristocrats out there.



"Enforce the fuck outa the laws" would be an enormously expensive solution.

You'd need tens of thousands* of new police officers just to patrol the parks and greenbelts and underpasses rousting loiterers and preventing encampments from sprouting up across the street from the last tent removal. And unless you're just executing the homeless as you go, you'll need thousands of new prison and hospital beds, and all the guards and orderlies and so on to support them.

The bus tickets would be relatively cheap, of course, but lots of other cities have bus-ticket-outta-here programs (SF calls theirs "Homeward Bound," har har har) but I have bad news for you: they don't seem to have any noticeable effect.

(*) Because much of this work would have to be done via continuous 24-hour foot patrol across an entire city, while our metropolitan police strategy is currently based on having enough officers in cars to respond to an emergency situation within a given time window, and we'll need to maintain that, and there wouldn't be even half enough officers to secure and maintain a city-wide vagrant-free zone even if every existing officer were reassigned to the task.


Seriously, I thought this was tongue and cheek at first. Is this guy for real? Living amongst pee and feces and dodging used needles and drugged out addicts screaming at people is okay? It's "poor taste" to speak out and call this unacceptable? What has this city come to? I can only shake my head and plan my retreat back to the Midwest.



I consider myself an atheist. There is no heaven, no hell, no soul, no god, no afterlife, no before life. This is the only Life we have.

And an addict? There life is over. The humane thing to do is treat them like a crippled horse and put them out of their misery.

I mean think about it. If it was you, defecting on yourself and screaming at hallucinations on a public street wouldn’t you want someone to end it for you?


You so called progressives that run this city yet let the mentally ill and addicted live on the street should be ashamed of yourselves.

You are so evil!


@51: “Seriously, I thought this was tongue and cheek at first.”

You’re new around here, aren’t you? ;-)

“Is this guy for real?”

He gets paid to write this stuff, too! Amazing, isn’t it?

“Living amongst pee and feces and dodging used needles and drugged out addicts screaming at people is okay?”

Charles describes letting people do this with the word “compassionate.” (Remember, he’s a professional writer, paid to know what words mean. Really.)

To be fair to Charles, he’s not alone at The Stranger. Heck, we have an entire City Council which defines “compassion” this way — but only so long as they’re taxing our jobs away to pay for it, because if we were to get this same result for free, that would not be compassionate. (I’m not making this up. Really, I’m not.)

When we point out we could actually spend money to clean up this mess, enablers like @50 duly spout risibly inflated “estimates” about how it would cost too much. (Treating a mass outbreak of Hep’ A wouldn’t cost us anything, apparently.)


Well, since the homeless drug addict in my family completely DESTROYED my family, leading to 3 deaths, after numerous attempts to help him, yeah, I'm going to hate on them.


Hey Charles? Hope you read comments



We're still waiting for any realistic estimate from you of the resources, manpower, and budget necessary to secure and maintain the city-wide vagrant exclusion zone you keep calling for, tensor.

No rush, of course.


This is what voting for far left candidates to positions of power in the City of Seattle has lead us to. Enjoy it? Then vote for ALL of The Stranger's candidate recommendations. They'll deliver!!


The enablers of the vagrants, addicts, thieves, and violent won't win forever. Eventually, the people of this city will become so fed up with dodging shit and needles that they will elect our version of a Rudy Giuliani mayor.

Once people have a taste of what it's like to live in a clean city, they won't accept the present filth. New Yorkers don't accept it, and we won't accept it either.


This article is fairly shocking to me in its degree of cluelessness. I applaud your high-minded optimistic view of transients. But that's not helping in the real world. The fact is the people who live in this city are losing patience with transients that are NOT victims of economic circumstances but simply because that whole work thing to pay rent and food is for stiffs and its easier to put up a tent and spend the day high. They are here because it is city that is HOSPITABLE to them! They aren't afraid of cops because they know cops are powerless. The population is ultra liberal so they know they have a swath of people that will tolerate their animalistic existence. I am talking about those people that are taking advantage of our city's progressivism. Until you realize that some humans are just scumbags we will continue to have to step over human turds and walk our kids past naked people shooting up in doorways.


Lighting innocent people on fire in parks is very poor taste. Assaulting toddlers is very poor taste. Defecating and urinating all over sidewalks is very poor taste... the list goes on forever


Is this a article or a long riddle?


If a street homeless guy or gal got a cheap car off craigs, they could go where they want during the day and overnight it, in any neighborhood of their choosing provided they drive away in the morning.
Now, that's a helluva step up from planting a tent on the ground somewhere.
Car insurance would be cheap liability only, and the gas expense could be easily controlled by not driving great distances unless absolutely necessary.
Here's the thing:
EVERYBODY gets a little money here and there. I remember folks selling their food stamps not too long ago for fifty cents on the dollar... that's ninety bucks in your pocket each month for starters.
If the homeless homie is still able to work, 24 Hour Fitness for hygene and the three S's.
Unfortunately, recreational drugs and booze will have to wait until said homie can at least afford to rent a bedroom somewhere around town.
Minus the mentally illl, severely disabled, and felons, the above would work flawlessly.
Nothing wrong with living in a POS car for awhile or even an extended period of time.
BTW, some folks just can't help but poke fun at the disenfranchised. It's part of their personality.


Come visit Lake City, meet the local homeless crew. I can guarantee you these people aren't there due to high rent or corporate downsizing.
We've got the drunks, happily spending their days drinking beer. The junkies, who are either shooting up or unconscious on the street. The crazies, who are involved in a shouting match with an invisible opponent or engaging in some other bizarre activity like repeatedly slapping themselves on the head.
They get food delivered to their tents by the Salvation Army, since they didn't pay for it they only eat half of it and toss the rest on the street, which supports a healthy rat population.
I've learned the difference between dog poop and human poop - it's OK to crap on the street if you're human, if it's dog poop you have to scoop it up.
I've had poop piles in my back yard, as well as crack pipe lighters and actually took a needle out of the back of my pickup truck, which was parked in my driveway.
Please feel free to let any of these people camp in your living room or front yard.
These people need help, not free food and a tent space at the library.


What must life be like for you, Charles Mudede? You wake up on the morning and think, "I am going to rehash the same editorial again" then you spend 15 minutes doing that, turn it in and then the rest of your week is free to play Parcheesi or work on your latest Sodoku. Nice work if you can find it, I suppose.


The Stranger pontificating about "Poor Taste" - that's rich.


@57: The burden of proof rests entirely upon the person making the claims. For example:

‘"Enforce the fuck outa the laws" would be an enormously expensive solution.’

“You'd need tens of thousands* of new police officers...”

“'ll need thousands of new prison and hospital beds, and all the guards and orderlies and so on to support them.”

Get to it, toots.

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