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    Seattle's dirty little secret of downtown safety

    Throwing more and more money into public services won't solve our crime problems. Here's what will.

    The shooting of a Metro bus driver during the morning commute Monday shocked us all. Luckily, the driver is OK. The shooter is not. 

    While this crime is an isolated event, it caps several months — indeed decades — of chronic street disorder in downtown Seattle. The Downtown Seattle Association, the Mayor’s Office, SPD and concerned citizens and service providers have been working for months to address public safety issues downtown, particularly on 3rd Avenue(where this latest shooting occurred). I have written about these efforts in Crosscut before. 

    In frustration, the DSA sent a letter to the mayor recently, citing eight incidents of public violence since June — including several perpetrated toward downtown office workers. Things are getting worse, they wrote, and everyone needs to step up.

    On Monday, just hours after the bus driver shooting, I walked through Westlake Park during the lunch hour. Trash was strewn about the park, and people were yelling and drinking openly. A banner over the park declared this Family Fun Week. To be fair, kids and families were there too, enjoying the newly installed playground — an effort to make the park more enjoyable.

    The same kinds of strategies have been tried at other downtown parks like Occidental. No number of investments in parks, though — playground equipment, games, entertainment, bocce ball courts — will stop those who intimidate other visitors and vandalize those parks. 

    The city has said violent crime is going down in the downtown neighborhoods, but a recent Seattle Times crime analysis contradicts this, claiming steady crime over the last five years that spikes each summer. And that's not including nuisance crimes like drinking in public, public urination, vandalism or other behaviors that people complain about routinely.

    Our reputation as “Free-attle” makes us a draw for people genuinely in search of assistance, but also for those who want to take advantage and party through the summer. On August 5th, West Precinct SPD Captain Jim Dermody illustrated the point in an email detailing a recent incident downtown:

    On Friday morning, while assisting Parks Department Rangers moving sleepers along from Waterfront Park, one particular individual, an adult male 25 years old would not leave.  Rangers called SPD.  At 7:30 AM, my officers arrived and found the person to be belligerent with them, as well.  After using the “F” word numerous times at, about and to my officers and attempting to bite one of them, he was arrested for trespass and attempted assault.  The male, in Seattle for only a week from Fayetteville, Arkansas, said after he was arrested, 'I have asked everyone where the shelters and the free eats are around here and no one will talk to you, they just ignore you…I thought this was a homeless friendly city.'”

    Councilman Richard Conlin expressed similar concerns in his opposition to an ordinance introduced by Council members Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien on July 29th that would have authorized long-term encampments on private and public property in commercial zones. The measure failed on a 5-4 vote. (Licata, O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell voted yes.) Conlin enumerated the problems with expanding encampments in Seattle and reminded us that the City of Seattle already does far more to help the homeless than other jurisdictions in King County and the region.

    “The city of Seattle invests more than $30 million annually in services for the homeless, and we increase every year," he stated. "We are so well known for our compassionate approach that more than half of those who are in shelters do not list a Seattle address as their last previous home.”

    The cops we have are reluctant to practice proactive policing around public nuisance crimes for fear they will be the next cop on the front page of the newspaper. The Justice Department is looking over one shoulder, and a suspension is lurking behind the nearest smart phone. And why would they? The city has largely failed to prosecute these smaller cases, leaving police to wonder why they'd bother.

    Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 6:52 a.m. Inappropriate

    "Politicians are smart: They've learned that the downtown law and order candidate who talks about civility on the streets and in the parks most often ends up losing."

    Then what exactly is the point of your article Jordan? Seattle is in a downward spiral that spineless politicians and parinoid police are powerless to deal with? Or Seattle get's what vote for.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 7:35 a.m. Inappropriate

    Yes it's a problem, and we should crack down.

    But Downtown might reach a "tipping point"? The article says violent crime isn't getting worse. The residential population is skyrocketing, tourism is booming, and offices are growing. All of this continues a trajectory that's decades long.

    The good news (and part of the problem) is that a huge number of people are willing to overlook the negatives due to Downtown's positives.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 8:35 a.m. Inappropriate

    Rev. Sandy Brown made a brilliant distinction between the “homeless” and the “home-free” in his July 30 article in these pages. It’s the first time I’ve seen anyone in Seattle talk about what amounts to anarchy by the latter group. But as long as politicians, law enforcement, and do-gooders lump them all together, and until there are even more funds for social services, no progress will be made.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 8:48 a.m. Inappropriate

    "The Downtown Seattle Association, the Mayor’s Office, SPD and concerned citizens and service providers have been working for months to address public safety issues downtown..." Really? And what have they come up with?

    At least DSA acknowledged the severity of the problem. McGinn's first reaction of course was to downplay it. The police? Yesterday there were a couple of cops hanging around in front of Benaroya, and another pair the next block north. That's good. My guess is that was at best a one or two-day show of force and then it will be back to benign neglect and targeting jaywalkers and drivers who venture onto Third during transit-only hours. After all, gotta meet that ticket quota.

    As for the quote Cameron cites, the crackdown message was tried once, with Sidran, and there were many other issues at play at that time. Things are much worse now, no matter what the "data" says. People who work in that area see, smell and hear it every day. But Jordan's probably right. Anyone with the smarts & fortitude to suggest cleaning up the streets with a no-tolerance policy probably couldn't be elected here. So Seattle indeed gets what it votes for.

    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 10:06 a.m. Inappropriate

    It's not just downtown. On the night of July 4th this year, there was a drive-by shooting around 2am at Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill. I have lived on Queen Anne for over 30 years, and don't remember a shooting at Kerry Park before.

    Mayor McGinn has had about 3.5 years to address crime in Seattle, and he has done nothing whatsoever to improve the situation. All McGinn cares about is his war against cars and sucking up to Sonics fans and fans of stupidly-expensive little trains. Time to give someone new a shot at being Mayor of Seattle.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 10:09 a.m. Inappropriate

    "When is it that we will arrive at our tipping point, when people decide they'd rather not live in, shop in, or even visit downtown or Belltown or Pioneer Square?"

    Don't you mean when WAS it? As the writer correctly points out, politicians take a great deal of flak and risk failing to be reelected if they even mention this. So we have politicians who will not address it instead of leaders with enough conviction and gumption to do what they can and risk being thrown out of office.

    I wouldn't live downtown, in Belltown, or Pioneer Square if I was paid to do so and the housing was free. I am not interested in the crowds, the dirt, the noise, the need to be constantly on guard. I don't even want to visit those areas. Volunteering in Belltown every month or two I do see a lot of people visiting the many bars/restaurants, but I also see people who are clearly mentally ill and/or chemically affected who make me nervous as I walk back to my car to drive home in the evening. Would I wait for a bus down there? Not if there was any choice at all. I'd probably quit volunteering before I'd subject myself to waiting for a bus in that area.

    As a lifelong native I find downtown, Belltown, and Pioneer Square seem to have changed little over time in terms of open drug dealing, drunks and addicts littering the streets and using them as toilets. And I doubt it will stop anytime soon. I've just reached the age where I no longer find anything in those areas so attractive that I am willing to put up with the hassle on the streets (not to mention the hassle on the buses or the hassle to find ridiculously priced parking). So I don't bother. I happily leave it to those who choose it.

    Furthermore, the nasty little truth the density advocates aren't admitting is that in many neighborhoods where these dense housing buildings have been allowed, the units have become subsidized or Section 8 housing (are they the same thing?) because the buildings have not been able to attract market rate tenants. The unfortunately unsurprising crime that seems to accompany the poor as some among them prey upon others has arrived along with the tenants.

    So are we actually allowing these buildings in order to stealthily provide these folks housing without really talking about it or soliciting comment and buy in from the neighbors who are or will be affected? Hard to say. But the examples of the "benefits" density presents in downtown, Belltown, and Pioneer Square--well, those who love it can have my share, too.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 10:24 a.m. Inappropriate

    Seattle's street crime problem has also visited Pioneer Square, The University district, Chinatown and Capitol Hill. An inability to deal with street crime can doom a neighborhood. When the McDonald's pulled out of the University District you realized who was in control of the U District. Pioneer Square also has lost major tenants in part due to constant panhandling and harassment. The Stranger newspaper, (they control the swing vote and thus most elections) has repeatedly defended the panhandlers and beggars and belligerents on Capitol Hill. When Safeway pulled out of their Broadway location the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce endorsed removing density restrictions on Capitol Hill believing that increased density would drive out the street people. Now developers are tearing down all the quirky elements of Capitol Hill in an orgy of overbuilding. Essentially Capitol Hill as we knew it is gone because we couldn't realistically deal with street people. The University District as we knew it is gone; Pioneer Square stigmatized; 3rd Avenue near Macy's a danger zone; Westlake is a mess. Now the Pike Place Market has drug dealers in the hallways and street toughs routinely meeting in Steinbrueck Park. The Metro bus shelters on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Avenue are commonly used as drive up windows for drug deals. The Seattle solution has been to champion South Lake Union in an attempt to sweep the problem under the rug as in we'll just move to a better neighborhood. But the lesson of the new Belltown teaches us that housing and fine dining will succumb if street people and a lack of civility rule the day and night. Really its only tourists who distract the viewer from the seriousness of the problem. But they are here today and gone tomorrow.

    Unfortunately subsidized public housing for homeless and low income in its various forms has not been a solution and instead has a haven for petty criminals and created a steady flow of medicated eccentrics roaming the streets creating a perfect cover for drug dealers to hide behind. And thats what the homeless and medicated force us to do, LOOK AWAY. Carefully pick your route and look away..and the drug dealers know that once a block becomes a "look away zone" they can do their business with impunity.

    Recently the Downtown free bus was taken away from all citizens because of the actions and lack of civility of the street people. Strange as it may sound at one time all these "crazies" were in the numerous Taverns that populated downtown Seattle. In our rush to profit by gentrification we have taken away what was once a controllable environment that provided shelter, toilets and a social pecking order. Now all that is taking place on the street. Like the smokers we outlawed, they've just moved to out door cafe seating Seattle now has everywhere. What used to be an indoor issue of loud drinking and heavy smokers is now a public problem, a neighborhood problem, somebody else's problem.

    By and large few if any of the people making the decisions about these issues live in the affected areas. Almost all of those making the decisions are being paid to attend the meetings. Somehow, someway a forum for those who actually live and work in the neighborhoods needs to be created. This really is a series of smaller community problems allowed to become a city wide problem. Only an active community can solve community problems. Paying some one else to deal with society's underbelly just doesn't work. We have to do the work ourselves.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 10:47 a.m. Inappropriate

    Seattle's street crime problem has also visited Pioneer Square, The University district, Chinatown and Capitol Hill.

    Those are the "anything goes" zones. They are where the light rail stations are, and where they're under construction. If "chapala" spent any time south of downtown he'd realize it's the same around the Mount Baker station and the other stations down MLK Jr. Way.

    Sound Transit facilities create reinforcing social deviancy feedback loops.


    Posted Sat, Aug 31, 8:06 p.m. Inappropriate

    And all ST needs to do fix these problems is build parking garages, and staff them with security. More commuter train riders, less crime, much less "anything goes".

    Posted Tue, Aug 20, 10:10 p.m. Inappropriate

    Actually, the problem is that Seattle's hipster wannabes think that more crime is a sign of urban vibrancy, just like the East where McSchwinn came from. At least we'll get rid of him. It'll be a start.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 11:30 a.m. Inappropriate

    My concerns with the City dealing with these issues in downtown Seattle is that they just move the problems to residential neighborhoods so the tourists don't see it or the businesses downtown aren't affected. With the latest push for redevelopment of Pioneer Square, the city has moved the homeless to Ballard, Lake City and West Seattle, along with Columbia City. When they started to overwhelm the neighborhood (Ballard), the response I got from Sally Clark was that "Pioneer Square was tired of them and that we needed to share the problem." As the homeless in Ballard increased, the city has provided services and it appears they are here to stay. Problem is that there has been no increase in police to deal with the issues created by this influx of the chronic drunks and drug addicts and Ballard is supposedly well served by the police department with only 3-4 cops at any given time.

    chapala21 is so right -- none of the people making the decisions live in the areas affected and that is so unfair. Crime has not gone down, it has increased, but the cops don't do anything about it because the powers that be in City Hall have told them not to address issues involving the homeless. So what happens -- the shooting of a bus driver. Duckworth was under community supervision (and warrant issued for not appearing), he resided at a Plymouth Housing facility and was getting mental health treatment from Sound Mental Health. What's wrong with this picture? None of these groups supervising Duckworth had any inkling that he had started taking drugs again?

    arthurking -- I would gladly vote for any politician that steps up to the plate on the crime issue. No one in City Hall has ever explained to me what the "values" are that we hold so dear in this area. I think they repeat it over and over to sway people into submission on an issue dear to the politician's heart, but from what I hear at community meetings, every neighborhood in Seattle is concerned with the lack of police in their neighborhoods to deal with these same types of issues. Not only is Seattle government ruining downtown Seattle (except SLU), they are bound and determined to ruin the residential neighborhoods.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 1:26 p.m. Inappropriate

    With the latest push for redevelopment of Pioneer Square, the city has moved the homeless to Ballard, Lake City and West Seattle, along with Columbia City.

    Who told you that? Your cat? The city has done no such thing.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 2:39 p.m. Inappropriate

    Maybe it's because of the five 80 bed (or more) "wet houses" that are now located in the north end of Seattle and maybe it's because of all the SHARE run homeless shelters at churches located in the north end of Seattle and maybe because of all the homeless services they have set up in north Seattle and maybe its because of approving car camping on church lots (never before implemented and so far only in Ballard) and maybe because of comments and/or emails I have had back and forth with various city council people and maybe its because of the change in criteria with the Office of Housing on where and when these facilities can be built in areas outside of downtown Seattle.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 7:37 p.m. Inappropriate

    Ah yes, the "wet houses." What a message we're sending! Go ahead and drink, we'll provide you with a safe place to get as drunk as you can. While I tend to believe the party line that somehow these places are saving us money since the chronic inebriates presumably are now being dropped off at home, if they've left and gone far, rather than using expensive services at Harborview or the jails, I find something fundamentally wrong with rewarding this behavior. The rest of us who dutifully go to work, pay our taxes, and generally get on with our lives are getting the wrong message, too. We are all working to support those who won't take care of themselves. I am truly sorry for whatever terrible things led these folks to lives of self-abuse, but there are plenty of us out here who have constructed lives for ourselves despite the same or worse backgrounds.


    Posted Thu, Aug 29, 12:37 a.m. Inappropriate

    mspat, I'd rather fund 'wet houses' than see all the drunks being drunk and dirty in the streets, parks and alleys. It's not that 'hiding' them works wonders, but safety for them and safety for the public should be priorities.

    I am tired of Seattle smelling like urine even when it's raining.

    Posted Thu, Aug 29, 12:37 a.m. Inappropriate

    mspat, I'd rather fund 'wet houses' than see all the drunks being drunk and dirty in the streets, parks and alleys. It's not that 'hiding' them works wonders, but safety for them and safety for the public should be priorities.

    I am tired of Seattle smelling like urine even when it's raining.

    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 3:33 p.m. Inappropriate

    What you've alluded to is a drop in the bucket compared to the thriving vagrant/sketchy sub-communities that hang out around Pioneer Square, the University district, Chinatown and Capitol Hill.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 5:32 p.m. Inappropriate

    Not necessarily a drop in the bucket any more -- but I agree with you wholeheartedly about the U-District, Chinatown, Pioneer Square and parts of Capitol Hill. BTW, some of the U-District sketchy sub-community types have moved over to Ballard.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 12:51 p.m. Inappropriate

    Identify the enablers and facilitators that use homeless, home free, drug dealers, drug users, mentally ill, street criminals, and other groups of people as fundraising pawns and props for their decades' long and endless campaigns of self-promotion. Round up all the usual suspects and cut off all taxpayer funding.


    Posted Thu, Aug 15, 6:08 a.m. Inappropriate

    The reality is that Seattle Taxpayers have voted, by 2 to 1 to put additional taxes on themselves to pay for a housing levy for those that make less than 30% of the Area Median Income.

    They have voted by over 2 to 1 to continue to fund schools that have high drop-out rates and low-rates of academic achievement, particularly for the poor and people of color, year after year, after year. They have voted by over 2 to 1, consistently, for a Families and Education Levy, which spends additional money on low-income families with kids in public schools, without increasing academic achievement in those families.

    They voted to tax themselves extra to psy for roads (meaning less would be spent from the General Fund for roads and more could be spent on the human services in the article avoe) and did likewise for libraries.

    Seattle voters have been very willful and deliberate in keeping tax money available for the human services non-profits.

    I am not saying that these were necessarily bad policy choices by the Seattle Taxpayer, but to the extent enabling and facilitation is going on, we need only look in the mirror, not at City Hall.

    Posted Thu, Aug 15, 7:27 a.m. Inappropriate

    I don't think a lot of the voters are truly aware of what they are funding. I am in total agreement with helping the homeless provided they want the help and are willing to help themselves. The efforts being made to save these lost souls by the religious community is a waste of taxpayer dollars. These facilities supposedly provide programs to help these people but they aren't required to participate. These facilities say they provide security but the security is only within the building. They take no responsibility for any activity by these people beyond 500 feet of the facility. In reality they are enabling the same behavior but providing them with a roof over their heads, medical care, food, etc. so any money they make panhandling, assaulting people, stealing, etc. funds their addictions. I think if move people lived in a residential neighborhood (or downtown) where they were confronted by these people on a daily basis would start to re-think the funding of these programs and make being homeless in Free-attle not such an inviting place.


    Posted Wed, Aug 14, 11:38 p.m. Inappropriate

    If it weren't for brave Jordan Royer sticking up for the poor and defenseless DSA I just don't know who would.

    This has to be part of Crosscut's Courage Award nominee group.

    Mr Baker

    Posted Fri, Aug 16, 8:16 a.m. Inappropriate

    Bad Actors cause problems in the city.

    Bad Actors sometimes do not have a home.

    Bad Actors sometimes have a home.

    Bad Actors do not recognize the law.

    Bad Actors utilize the weakness of others.

    City of Seattle is weak.

    Bad Actors reign.

    Posted Fri, Aug 16, 9:19 a.m. Inappropriate

    The fact that downtown Seattle crime has been at unreasonable levels for years is no surprise to anyone who lives or works downtown - the state's largest job center.

    It is also obvious that Mayor McGinn has spent more time fighting with the Department of Justice than doing the real work of doing something about this problem and walking his density talk.

    He appears to be doing more harm than good on this foundational problem - appearing to side more with urban thugs that everyone else.

    Urban crime drives suburban sprawl and all sorts petrol powered behaviors that are antithetical to city building.

    (In Mexico City it means that people can't safely walk and need to drive a car - armed for good measure.)

    McGinn's bright green backers to ignore this.

    Partly because McGinn's coalition also includes a crowd that works hard job to make downtown safe for vagrants.

    Holding that coalition together is critical to McGinn's success - so another four years of McGinn means four more years of mostly ignoring what might be Seattle's biggest problem.


    Posted Fri, Aug 16, 2:02 p.m. Inappropriate

    Why bring Mexico City into this? Having been there twice recently in the heart of the city i can testify that in the day time i feel safer there than here. Petty bullshit just doesn't survive the intensity of the city. Plus there are all sorts of"police" in uniform in Mexico City; from traffic cops to tourist police to regular police and then some more. Keep in mind that until the USA hadn't started providing guns to narco-traficantes the incidence of gun violence in Mexico was very low. And the kind of QUALITY OF LIFE crimes that are constant in downtown Seattle, well I just have not seen anything like Seattle's street crime scene in Mexico City or Guadalajara or Chicago or NYC or Boston...only in San Franciscvo but there we are talking professionals I suspect.


    Posted Mon, Aug 19, 2:53 p.m. Inappropriate

    Oh boy. I think some perspective is in order. Having lived or spent a significant amount of time in east and west coast cities, I'd say that Seattle is pretty darned tame. Yea, yea, any city has isolated inicidences of violence - that's just what happens. Seattle crime is more prevelant that Chicago??!! That's pretty funny. Pick a city, -- NYC, D.C. Atlanta, S.D., S.F., Seriously - Seattle has worse crime than these? I don't think so. If someone does they haven't spent time in these places. OMG - there are minor drug deals going on around Westlake!! ZZZZZZZZZZZ.

    Portland? Well a guess it's just a differnt version there - a proliferation of street kids with bad outfits, an obsession with food trucks, and too many baristas. Bellevue - oh god, don't go there. Too many square corners and BORING.


    Posted Tue, Aug 20, 8:05 a.m. Inappropriate

    It's not about comparing Seattle's downtown crime to other cities. We live here.

    Posted Tue, Aug 20, 7:58 p.m. Inappropriate

    Yep, another Seattle hipster who wants more crime so we can be just like a "real" Eastern city, 1980s style.


    Posted Tue, Aug 20, 8:49 a.m. Inappropriate

    Yea dude. So do I. Wanna make it better? Best get off your duff and volunteer somewhere - anywhere. Typing out drivel on the internet isn't going to change anything.

    Big cities attract all types good, bad, ugly. It's the human condition. Is it perfect? No. Is it the fall of western civilization? No. We can't afford, nor do I want, a police state that ensures that every petty drug dealer is swept from downtown Seattle. Some of the above distriptions make one think that we're living in south L.A. or something.

    In a recent review of large and medium sized cities Seattle didn't even rank in the top 100 for crime. Sheesh. Perspective please.


    Posted Tue, Aug 20, 4:37 p.m. Inappropriate

    The best way to "make it better" is to "make it worse" for the derelicts who are here. Find more ways to keep them moving -- out of town and out of our hair.


    Posted Tue, Aug 20, 4:55 p.m. Inappropriate

    Agreed - but this is always a cost/benefit analysis. How much do you want to spend on diminishing returns? At some point you're best off filling potholes or building sidewalks rather than chasing the last petty criminals around downtown.


    Posted Tue, Aug 20, 7:57 p.m. Inappropriate

    "Can't means won't."


    Posted Sat, Aug 31, 8:10 p.m. Inappropriate

    Really? We should just ignore crime and filth and urination and pooping in the streets of Seattle?

    Are we to fill those potholes with all of that?

    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 12:33 a.m. Inappropriate

    Just wait till the giant waterfront park is built and watch the homeless, vagrant, drunks, druggies and mentally ill proliferate even more.

    There isn't even one public downtown park that is clean, nice and safe. Skip the bore tunnel and rebuild the viaduct.

    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 7:53 a.m. Inappropriate

    That's what I like to see - and expansive and optimistic civic spirit - good for you!


    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 1:31 p.m. Inappropriate

    Nice "progressive" sarcasm, but the fact is that you and your a**hole mayor and city council have innundated downtown and the neighborhoods with dirtbags, vagrants, and derelicts.


    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 3:23 p.m. Inappropriate

    Your enlightened comments are always a pleasure. Good to have someone always commenting on the bright side of our civic conversation. Thanks.


    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 7:29 p.m. Inappropriate

    I misjudged you. I do appreciate your strong agreement that we need to clear out the dirtbags, derelicts, and vagrants. I need to be on the lookout for allies like you.


    Posted Thu, Aug 29, 12:39 a.m. Inappropriate

    Tell me about a clean downtown Seattle park that isn't filled with vagrants, druggies and homeless people. I'd like to visit.

    Posted Thu, Aug 29, 11:02 p.m. Inappropriate

    What's the matter with you? Don't you know that 1980s style Eastern decay is where it's at in Seattle, circa the 20-teens?


    Posted Sat, Aug 31, 8:12 p.m. Inappropriate

    Some of those nice people who appear to be living in the parks and under the bridges appear a whole lot older than in their 20's. Maybe when the stress and traumas of what they have been thru get resolved, they will regain their youthful appearances.

    Posted Sat, Aug 31, 8:09 p.m. Inappropriate

    Treker, have you been to ANY downtown park lately? Take your camera, come back and post some photos of people having wholesome fun. Bet you can't.

    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 3:51 p.m. Inappropriate

    ...and you are correct. I have personally seen the mayor and city council members driving vans around to the outer neighborhoods of Seattle dropping off vagrants and various other low-lifes. You are the progressive thinker my friend, always willing to say what others are not - getting to the absolute truth of the matter quickly. Thank you.


    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 7:31 p.m. Inappropriate

    And I trust that you told our incompetent, unpopular mayor that his coddling of these people will insure "one and done."


    Posted Thu, Aug 22, 9:18 p.m. Inappropriate

    If our city cannot or will not help the homeless, then we can send them somewhere warm and inviting to live; a nice Republican state.


    Posted Tue, Aug 27, 6:52 a.m. Inappropriate

    Downtown and the city in general is indeed dirtier and at least appears more menacing as the years go by. I believe it is mainly a combination of widespread drug abuse coupled with a reluctance of many in becoming grownups well beyond the age of majority. It is a good object lesson - I walk my daughter through Westlake and show her the "human pigeons" - examples of where sloth gets one.


    Posted Tue, Aug 27, 7:26 a.m. Inappropriate

    I was born in Seattle, raised in the area and used to work downtown. There've always been areas that were best left untraveled but, for the most part, downtown Seattle was fairly cool. Nowadays I avoid downtown Seattle like the plague...I feel safer in Tacoma (never thought I'd see the day when I said THAT), and putting little "Gun-Free Zone" decals in windows fails to even address the symptom, let alone the cause.

    Criticisms of McGinn for enabling the cause of all this are well-founded, but has Ed Murray ever specifically said what he'd do to improve things? Has he ever done anything in Olympia that confronts recidivist behavior? It might be worth asking, since he wants to be Seattle's next mayor. As McGinn has proven, change for the sake of change doesn't always work.

    Posted Tue, Aug 27, 8:25 a.m. Inappropriate

    Unfortunately, we had a large group of candidates but few people voted.


    Posted Tue, Aug 27, 6:03 p.m. Inappropriate

    You feel safer in Tacoma because no one goes there!! LOL


    Posted Thu, Aug 29, 12:40 a.m. Inappropriate

    We just got back from Tacoma. It was pretty cool, other than the I-5 traffic was just as hideous as ours is.

    Posted Sat, Aug 31, 2:53 a.m. Inappropriate

    "Throwing more and more money into public services won't solve our crime problems. Here's what will."

    The author never really says "what will" solve the crime problem.

    A number of commenters suggested that cutting services will solve the problem. I tend to think that will only put more vulnerable people on the street and accessible to criminals who would prey on them.

    By and large the problems we see have a root cause in the economic system that fails to serve the majority of us and only benefits the very richest among us. Economic inequality is at the root of a lot of the problems we have. But that's a whole other conversation and one we are not willing to have yet.


    Posted Tue, Sep 3, 8:48 a.m. Inappropriate

    Removing a Metro bus shelter at 1st and Pine stopped the constant drug dealing going on there. It's time to rethink bus shelters, they are or can be a haven for dealers and druggies.


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