Homeless Advocates Find Red Flags in Proposed Charter Amendment

Comments

1

oh good lord. anyone that supports our parks being taken over by zombies is out of their minds.

2

As reluctant as I am to disagree with Tim Burgess about anything, writing homeless policy into the city charter seems kind of dumb. Seattle's homeless problem is a lot different than it was 10 years ago, 10 years from now it will probably be a lot different from today. Different problems require different responses. Isn't the whole point of putting something in the city charter to make it more or less permanent?

3

"Green was highly critical of the amendment because none of its drafters asked for input from people who had actually experienced homelessness."

He must have also been highly critical of our CIty Council's "Blame Amazon" policy, which was also made contrary to what homeless persons actually told us in the City of Seattle Homeless Needs Assessment of late 2016. (http://coshumaninterests-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/City-of-Seattle-Report-FINAL-with-4.11.17-additions.pdf) The results were published in March 2017, over four years(!) ago. Contrary to the claim that rising rents had driven locals out into the street, a mere 11% the homeless themselves cited rising rents as their primary reason for being homeless. Contrary to the claim that our homeless were locals, over two-thirds actually said they had not been born in Seattle, and a minority said Seattle was the place they had most recently become homeless. A majority admitted to drug use. That is the homeless population we have, not the one we've been making policy for.

'"You know this is all setting the stage for aggressive encampment sweeping," Green said.'

I'm sorry, when has it been shown that illegally camping in Seattle's parks was a reliable pathway to stable housing? If it is not, then why does anyone advocate for allowing it? Who is acting contrary to data here?

(Oh, and the 'tell' was the yelping at allocating the JumpStart Seattle money to ending homelessness. That money is a gravy train for our local Homeless-Industrial Complex; if it ever gets anyone off the street for good, that will be purely by accident. Little wonder they're so irate at the very prospect of it actually going for the stated purpose.)

4

Thanks for writing this Natalie.

I was skeptical about the plan but after reading the points brought up by Dr. Lamont Green I am now in support of this measure.

5

@2

The biggest difference between homelessness in 2011 and homelessness in 2021 is that in 2011 we allowed the homeless to hide themselves in the East Duwamish Greenbelt.

In 2015 Mayor Murray decided to close the Jungle. Considering the rampant crime that was taking place it was probably the correct decision. Unfortunately he had no plan to deal with the residents of the Jungle so they, and their crime, just dispersed throughout the city.

6

@3,

So, according to you, the homelessness problem there is caused by three primary things: A) People who weren't born in Seattle deciding to move there in order to become homeless, B) Drug use, and C) They'd rather live in Seattle's parks than anywhere else on Earth.

Correct?

So what's your alternative proposal to reducing homelessness then?

Make drug use illegal?

Refuse entry into Seattle by anyone not born there?

Hire a permanent guard for each park that clears them out every night?

7

@6 "Hire a permanent guard for each park that clears them out every night?"

Sounds good to me. They could augment this by running the sprinklers at 1:00 am every night.

8

@6 - the answer is to provide shelter. And once shelter space is available, and the pandemic is controlled so that it is safe to be in said shelters, barring camping in the parks will be a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Ditto tolerating derelict RVs surrounded by piles of garbage all over the public roads.

9

I think Seattle needs to stop "helping" and start enforcing some rules. This idea that anyone, from anywhere can roll into Seattle, throw a tent down, and I'm supposed to buy them a house? Doesn't fly. Practically, or politically. Your bleeding hearts will never solve this problem.

10

I have a family member who has been on the streets. College degree from a top school and raised with privelege. He got mixed up with drugs, mainly meth. His ability to get by on the streets with no legal consequences and no limits is in large part what has given him the ability to avoid treatment and a chance at a normal and productive life. I want him swept. I want him to be told no. I want him thrown in jail for breaking the laws in place that are now ignored. Then a kind judge, assuming the crime is not too big, may allow him the choice of jail or treatment. He'd likely accept treatment and there is a fighting chance of recovery. As it is, his denial and avoidance systems are fully engaged and the fucking homeless advocates are enabling his addiction and failed life.

As a condition of this amendment, it would be for me a non-starter if there are any exemptions to regular daily, hourly if need be, sweeps of every squatter, every tent, every wrongly parked motor home or trailer. Let's make it incredibly uncomfortable to settle into the streets of Seattle. Let's provide no-frills treatment and shelter that do not indulge using meth and opiates, stolen goods or other things we would not want our neighbors to do. Those who disagree can move on as they say. So many have moved on to Seattle from smarter places that said hell no to this undesireable behavior. I want our city back. Our parks, our rights of way. Enough is more than enough. I am so disgusted with the enablers who are only slightly less responsible for ruined lives and deaths than the addicts themselves.

11

10 - Thank you.

12

Sweeps seem more like a feature than a bug in this legislation. It provides another $200 million per year for those 2,000 or 3,000 who live in tents and such. This is in addition to the hundreds of millions which already go to sheltering the 8,000 or so homeless who are currently sheltered. Doing some simple math, this is somewhere between 67K and 100K per person living outside. It seems less than 10% of the folks living in parks are taking up the offers of shelter after multiple offers and usually only before a sweep takes place. I don't think the citizens of Seattle are willing to spend another $200 million per year and not get some guarantee that this would accomplish anything. I'm also not seeing why 67K to 100K per year wouldn't be enough to provide affordable housing to someone, which after all is what everyone says is the root cause of this problem.

13

No one is willing to do the one thing that would help the mentally ill and drug addicts: Suspend their due process rights, commit them to institutions and force them to get treatment.

It's like what Mr. Miyagi told Daniel in Karate Kid: Walk left side of road, safe. Walk right side of road, safe. Walk in the middle of the road and eventually, squish just like grape.

14

@10 Thank You!

15

some won't allow substance users inside, others don't allow pets, or they don't let couples room together. "People may not want to choose those options,"

The saying "beggars cannot be choosers" comes to mind...
Also, this old Norm Macdonald bit about homeless guys with dogs; something along the lines of dog doesn't need the guy to sleep outside and beg for food because that comes naturally to doggo. I know, horrible telling. It's buried in some old Larry Sanders show episode, if any Norm fans out there want to see.

16

@10 - well put. Your experience with an actual person dealing with this is a lot more meaningful than what the rest of us "think." I've seen people going through drug court and it did seem to help in many cases. We need to expand that option.

@12 - the amount of money we are already spending is staggering. As you note, a lot of people ARE being sheltered through that expenditure. But it's doing essentially no good for the population that is remaining on the streets. Time to try something new.

17

My feeling has always been that many people and organizations working in homeless services don't seem to actually want the problem solved. They seem to prefer open camping across the city. Now with this measure their true motivations are being shown.

Organizations that do actually want to solve the issue (like Plymouth Housing, DESC, Chief Seattle Club, etc.) are coming out in support of this measure.

Dr LaMont Green's position seems like the homelessness equivalent of homeowners using "environmental review" to block development that doesn't have enough parking. They claim their motivation is environmental protection, but their true motivations are pretty clear.

18

@6: I said nothing about the cause(s) of homelessness. I merely summarized the data received from the homeless themselves. A minority said they'd most recently become homeless here; a smaller minority said they'd been born here. Those answers suggest that Seattle was not at the root of their homelessness, a possible conclusion which seems to bother you a lot.

Sweeping every encampment, ticketing and towing every derelict RV, cleaning every park -- these are all public-health maintenance services a city owes to the residents and businesses who pay for passable streets, useful parks, and healthy greenbelts. That our local "homeless advocates" treat these basic city services as some kind of unspeakable abominations tells us just how disconnected these "advocates" have become from actually solving the problem we're paying them to.

"People who weren't born in Seattle deciding to move there in order to become homeless,"

That data really, really bothers you, for reasons you have yet to reveal. The actual question was, "Where did you most recently become homeless?" and a minority responded "Seattle." That question, by itself, does not reveal why the majority of Seattle's homeless population arrived here already homeless. The only thing that question does is establish an absolute upper bound on the number of persons who became homeless in Seattle, and that number is still a minority. This fact appears to be your own personal Tar Baby, at which you flail helplessly without release. Thanks for the laughs.

19

@6 His solution is and always has been to hire the three battalions of police (or private contractors, I suppose) we'd need to patrol every park, greenbelt, and underpass in the city 24/7, forcibly removing anyone who's been asleep for more than 10 minutes*. He's confident we can pay for this by trimming the fat in the city's budget. He's sure the rest of us would appreciate the constant police presence in our parks and trails just as much as he will. His plan is scientifically grounded in the Poppe report and the 2016 Focus Strategies report, the only studies he's aware of on Seattle's homeless, and its institutional response.

where they go isn't a problem-- the idea is if you just keep rousting them, eventually they'll leave town and become someone else's problem, or maybe they'll go to inpatient rehab or mental hospitals, if only to have a place to sleep. Funding for extra substance abuse and mental health capacity (if needed-- he says there are plenty of beds going unused) will also come from trimming waste from the city's budget. There's always another frivolous $500M skate-park mural fund or something in there to cut, presumably.

20

Hmph, SLOG trimmed the leading asterisk from the second paragraph in @19 there. Seems they've patched the workaround I used to use for that.

  • trying another...
21

Oh, neato.

Can we escape stuff midline?

Only at the beginning of a line?

* Double escape an asterisk?

inline hyperlink? or maybe like this?


Perhaps a blockquote?

22

Oh that's hilarious, it all works!

They stopped letting us use Markdown ages ago, but apparently the converter is still in there, and still enabled... instead of removing it or turning it off, they've added a not-very-smart markdown-stripper in front of it.

Oh the joys of a homegrown CMS, eh?

23

Man. Nothing brings out the morally deranged shitbags like a headline with "homeless" or "Sawant" in it.

25

No quotes from the actual homeless advocates supporting this, Lisa Daugaard for instance? see https://southseattleemerald.com/2021/04/02/group-seeks-amendment-to-charter-requiring-homeless-services-and-clearing-of-parks/ for some more perspective

26

@19: Wow, you wrote that as if you'd actually quoted something I'd once written! But you didn't. So now you have a sad. )-,;

"His plan is scientifically grounded in the Poppe report and the 2016 Focus Strategies report, the only studies he's aware of on Seattle's homeless,"

As opposed to all of the data you've cited here?

"...the idea is if you just keep rousting them, eventually they'll leave town and become someone else's problem, or maybe they'll go to inpatient rehab or mental hospitals, if only to have a place to sleep."

So, having homeless persons receiving medical treatment is some horrible thing? Is it worse than letting them rot and die in our parks? Both? You never quite get around to saying, somehow...

"He's confident we can pay for this by trimming the fat in the city's budget."

Hey, I do know of $100,000,000 per year we're currently not spending on housing anyone.

"... the rest of us would appreciate the constant police presence in our parks and trails ..."

Quite possibly, yes. How about you ask some of the other commenters in this thread? In the form of a question, like maybe, "Would you rather pay $100,000,000 to have our parks and greenbelts strewn with trash, human waste, and dirty needles, or would you rather pay $100,000,000 for clean parks you can actually use?" (You might be amazed at all of the things you can find, when you stop immediately and automatically assuming the absolute truth of every last one of your opinions, and actually get some real-world facts. Now, I'm not saying you'd be happy with what you'd find -- indeed, it might be both an excruciatingly painful and extremely unrewarding experience -- but the sheer novelty value alone might attract you towards trying it.)

"Funding for extra substance abuse and mental health capacity (if needed-- he says there are plenty of beds going unused) will also come from trimming waste from the city's budget."

Actually, as the article itself suggests, the JumpStart Seattle funds would do nicely. (Too bad that money was never intended to help any real homeless folks, eh?)

@23: You're really, really not taking well the news about CM Sawant's possible recall, are you? A revolt from below was the one thing you never believed could happen, isn't it? (Seems to be true of @19, as well.)

But, by your own admission in a recent Sawant thread, if you don't have people you hate telling you how to vote, what so ever will you do? (https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2021/04/01/56295866/supreme-court-rules-the-recall-against-kshama-sawant-can-move-forward/comments/19)

27

Oh my god, you're still Fisking? Or attempting it, at least? I feel like it's 1999 and I just got broadband.

I'm kind of impressed that you've managed to crawl so far into your own head that you apparently have no idea how that comes across to even a too-online person these days.

28

@26 I hate to break it to you my frothing little Trollflake, but I spend zero time thinking about Sawant, the recalls. Or you, who ever the fuck you are. The problem with people with rabid compulsive kinks is they assume everybody is just as obsessed as they are.

29

@27: Hercules himself couldn't remove the amount of pure horseshit you can deposit in just one comment, so your core competency is safe from me. Or anyone. Case in point, your take on what I just wrote is as far off-base as your take on what I'd already written, so at least you're consistent. (And if you actually believe anyone will think you were some arbiter of hipster online coolness as recently as 1999, you're really deluded.)

Aging primate slap-fight aside, what does threaten you so much about the prospect of Seattle enjoying clean parks? Seattle is liberal, not libertarian, and the threat of huge gangs of grim, totalitarian-minded groundskeepers raging unstoppably atop death's-head riding mowers isn't the bogeyman you seem to believe it is, especially not when compared to the literal shit-holes some of our fine, upstanding guests have made from some of our parks.

@28: No, you don't spend too much of your effort on CM Sawant's critics. Why, just in that last thread alone, you contributed a mere eight (!) of the ~60 comments, including calling your fellow citizens "the Dipshit Brigade," and ranting that not only would the recall of CM Sawant be THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY ITSELF WAAAAAAAH!!1!1!, but also, -- now you listen carefully, you little punks! -- if you damned impertient 'voters' actually succeed in imposing any standards on your representative at all, then by golly, the replacement CM for D3 will make Joe Stalin look like John D. Rockefeller. Somehow. (And that was all in just ONE comment!) No, no, no, no, no, you couldn't possibly care less what we think.

30

I’m gonna save a lot of time. I only read like the first one or two sentences of your posts. So what ever it is your squealing about your doing it alone.

31

@30: Uh-huh. Yet, you somehow managed to find my mention of you in the penultimate paragraph of my lengthy comment @26.

Have fun, voting for whomever "the Dipshit Brigade" tells you to next.

32

Maybe we can just pass a law that allows murdering the homeless.

33

"I mean, fuck the homeless.

those drug addled losers.

fucking kill them all. They're worthless fucking nothings. Fucking fuck the goddamned homeless.

I work my fucking ass off to pay my bills and this fuckin junkie thinks I owe him shit???

Fuck that. Fuck the poor!!! Imma goddamned taxpayer you mother fucker!"

-Jesus Christ

Jesus really did say this. It's in the Bible. Read it. Prove me wrong. If you can.

34

I work with homeless every day, here's the run down:

Shelters are fucking full, good luck getting anymore. They also suck and homeless people don't even even want to stay there. Wanna get stabbed, bedbugs or your shit stolen? Go to shelter.
Most homeless come into contact with aren't from here. 60/40% or around there
Volunteer treatment programs don't usually work. People agree and drop out at the drop of a hat. Long term success rate is low
Housing that we do get through DESC is hard to get and people abuse the shit out of it. Also apartments are trashed on a regular basis
Very rarely do I meet homeless who are not entitled. Entitled people aren't reasonable. Unreasonable people are hard to find resources for. They want everywhere their way since their entire lives have been a quagmire of shit.
Methadone doesn't work with many (people use on top of it with exception, suboxone is poorly tolerated)
You can't teach or instill basic human accountability.
Tiny homes aren't an option
Seattle has a rep in the homeless community for being "Freeattle" or generous to homeless addicts. That's why people come here
Yes other cities ship their homeless here.
Never trust them when they say they "Don't worry man I am done with drugs". K John see you next week when you start to withdrawal again or you have an arm abscess.

35

@32, @33: Lisa Vach was strangled, and left to die alone. The man suspected of killing her, Travis Berge, died that same night in a vat of bleach. All of this happened in Seattle's Cal Anderson Park, where they'd been camping in a tent. Seattle's taxpayers had spent $100,000,000 annually for that outcome.

If I wanted to kill homeless people, I'd have devised and implemented the system Seattle has now. If I wanted homeless people to suffer in hopeless misery until they died violently, I'd have devised and implemented the system Seattle has now. But I didn't devise and implement the system Seattle has now. The people who did devise and implement the system Seattle has now? They did so by completely and chronically ignoring the facts about our homeless population, just as you have repeatedly tried to do. Actual facts, reported by the persons experiencing homelessness, were -- and are -- completely ignored by persons just like yourself, persons convinced they were morally right, and wholly convinced that persons like myself must be morally wrong. How clever of you, to find such an easy way to demonize anyone who dares speak the truth to you!

And you know what? You WILL solve Seattle's homeless issues, one Lisa Vach, one Travis Berge, one overdose, one drug-related killing, one preventable death after another after another after another at a time, until there are no more homeless persons left to die. And then you'll congratulate yourselves on how you did it by being smart, compassionate, and morally superior.

36

Big surprise that the homeless industrial complex would object to a change in the way their taxpayer gravy train funding is deployed. So not shocked.

37

To point out the obvious, sweeps will no longer be necessary once parks are initially cleared and kept clear. And for a person to say one is "criminalizing" the homeless is denying the safety issues posed by someone who is tresspassing.

38

@37: You'll have to make that case @19, who apparently believes it will cost us a billion dollars to clean one camp from one park, and that said camp will then magically re-appear the moment the Parks Dep't. leaves the site.