Comments

1

What's the alternative to the charter amendment? Continuing to piss away billions of dollars on homelessness response, without achieving any measurable benefits, while thousands live in squalor on the city's greenspaces and sidewalks?

2

Yes, after deep and careful thought, Echohawk comes to terms that the perfect is always worth waiting for, and that anyone who possibly could have input on the matter though a lived experience, as opposed to an experience that is not lived, should be taken into account because unless she has all the facts in the universe to make a decision, it's better to not go ahead with a plan at all - no matter how good it appears or even if it has a plurality of support in the polls. Bless her heart.

3

Wait, does the Charter ever provide a funding source? Arent police and fire services also “unfunded mandates?” The dog whistling and dancing about this topic are very puzzling but also also hilarious. Seattle politics are strange and not easily understood.

5

I'm voting for this. It's flawed, and has a lot I disagree with - but the status quo is a disaster, and if The Stranger can't see that, you are willfully blind.

6

Somehow Echohawk didn’t realize how knee-jerk and posturing the progressive left is in Seattle.

Seattle Progressives don’t want to solve any problems. If the problems are solved they can’t be used as props for their orations and organizing.

Also Seattle Progressives will denounce any effort that involves any business entity. You see all businesses, whether mom-and-pop or multinational, whether they sell yarn or strip mine mountain tops are evil and the enemy. Seattle Progressives are too pure to associate with any business.

The question is how could Echohawk have so drastically misjudged Seattle politics?

7

"I sat down with them," Echohawk said during the meeting. "We talked two or three different times and they said, 'We are so stressed.' That was it for me."

Seriously, with all that lived experience, all they could come up with is that they're stressed? If I went to a doctor and their diagnosis was either that they were stressed or not stressed, I'd find a different doctor. Same with a car mechanic. Either Mrs. Echohawk isn't being very forthcoming or else the lived experience folks don't really have much to contribute, and I suspect the former. It's okay if she changed her mind upon hearing more about the implications of this initiative. However, if she changed her mind because some folks were "so stressed" or if she's unwilling to give the real reason, this is a problem.

8

Totally agree with @5. What we're doing now is completely useless - more and more people on the street and no one seems to be getting helped.

9

I have a feeling the politicians actually care very little about "lived experience" and just invite those folks into the conversation as a token.

10

Isn’t “Lived Experience” just a way of making “Anecdotal Evidence” sound legitimate?

11

@10:

It may be "anecdotal evidence" to someone hearing about it, but it's "lived experience" to someone who's actually gone through it.

12

@11

Got it. So the next time I share some anecdotal evidence about encountering some of Seattle’s less savory homeless individuals, you’ll totally respect and accept my Lived Experience right?

13

@10, It should be a bit more than that. Taking into account the experiences of people who were homeless and got out of it is a pretty important thing for any charity that is trying to help out the homeless. It help charities to offer the services that are needed rather than just the services they want to.

However, just saying those with lived experience were "so stressed" is a pretty BS reason to give for changing one's mind about this initiative. It really sounds like she figured out which way the political winds were blowing and changed her position to fit, which isn't a good sign for someone trying to get into a position where some tough choices await.

15

@14

Just once? You must not live in Seattle.

17

Man am I so sick and tired of Natalie's blatant editorializing disguised behind the thin veneer of news.

Like half of the articles on The Stranger these days are just Charles and Natalie's personal political opinions. It's like a blog. But I think Natalie is worse because she tries to make her articles look like news, and then you open it up and it's "the TERRIBLE person X supports this AWFUL proposal Y and the AMAZING person Z said..." it's like the blatant examples they use in 7th grade social studies classes to teach kids about bad journalism.

18

@17 pretty sure Nat is on Lorena Gonzales' payroll. It's cash, under the table, hush-hush.
If we see her scooting around town on a brand new electric scooter, we all know what's up lol

19

Seattle already knows about the "lived experiences" of our homeless population, because it surveyed them: https://humaninterests.seattle.gov/2017/03/03/city-of-seattle-2016-homeless-needs-assessment/

Among the findings:

The vast majority of Seattle's homeless population were not born here, but moved here; a majority of Seattle's homeless population were already homeless when they moved to Seattle; 71% said they could pay less than $500/month in rent. Only 11% said rental increase was a reason they had become homeless. A majority reported drug use.

Ever since that "lived experience" data was collected, our City Council has been making policy appropriate for a homeless population which was born and raised here, working hard and paying rent until Amazon's prosperity drove them out of their homes. Our Council's rejection (or ignorance) of this "lived experience" data has wasted hundreds of millions of our dollars, whilst leaving homeless addicts to die in squalor all around us. Anyone who dares object to this miserable status quo gets shouted down and demonized as "hating the homeless," or wanting to "criminalize poverty."

Now we have a possible Charter Amendment, to force our Council to clean up our sidewalks, parks, and greenbelts. I don't agree with enshrining policy into our City Charter, but this Amendment reflects the large and growing frustration of Seattle's voters with our Council's refusal to change contra-factual and failed policy. Our Council has itself to blame if we pass an Amendment to force them to do their jobs.

20

@19 you're distorting the report, which reads:

"Seattle’s homeless population is local, with nearly 70% living in Seattle/King County when they became homeless. Over 50% of people experiencing homelessness have lived in Seattle five years or more. Those not originally from Seattle frequently came for the support of family and friends or for a job opportunity."

22

@20: "@19 you're distorting the report,"

That appears so, partly because the text of the report contradicts the data given in the report. For example, the text reads, "Focus group respondents noted a perceived prejudice from local law enforcement that there was a majority of drug users in the population and explained that this is not correct." Immediately above this is a graph showing 45.3% of the homeless reported no drug use, meaning 54.7% did report drug use -- a clear majority.

Distortions appear within the text, as well. For example, "Seattle’s homeless population is local, with nearly 70% living in Seattle/King County when they became homeless." Two-thirds of King County's population does not reside in King County, so from the point of view of a City of Seattle report on Seattle's homeless population, any homeless resident of King County who moved into Seattle was not a local person who became homeless.

"Over 50% of people experiencing homelessness have lived in Seattle five years or more."

That does not in any way contradict other statistics in the report, which clearly shows 48.9% of homeless claiming they were not already homeless when they arrived. Again, this means a majority were already homeless upon arrival in Seattle. (Also, if a majority of homeless persons had been in Seattle "for five years or more" in 2016, then how did Amazon's subsequent expansion drive a majority of homelessness? Again, City Council policy simply does not agree with the Lived Experiences of Seattle's homeless population.)

As I noted @19, our City Council refuses to recognize these clear facts when making policy about the homeless, which is one big reason their policy is a failure. Their stubborn refusal to admit their failure is why we have the proposed Charter Amendment.

23

This is COMPASSION BABBLE ... its lots of well intentioned people, babbling that something must be done.

This City has produced a massive, wasteful morass of homeless programs. Many with little if any accountability, a patch work of funding lacking budget control, oversight and has produced very little in meaningful progress or solutions.

Have you noticed the funding goes to agencies with little admin. skill, vetting, experience or credential in this field and there is no objective measure of the results of the spending.

Little wonder this is a hot mess without any affirmative results.

24

2 there's simply no good reason to make camp sweeps and arrests any major part of a strategy. Houselessness can't be addressed in any meaningful way through coercion or punishment; neither can substance use issues. And it's a little arrogant to be blase about sweeps and arrests when you are never going to be subjected to either of those.

The group that pushed for this measure could have actually listened to the houseless before drafting their proposals, but it appears all that group cares about are "property values" and their absolute right to be spared the sight of the non-flawless.

25

20: uh..."Two-thirds of King County's population does not reside in King County"?

And again, it doesn't solve the problem to drive people away.

26

Sorry, that should have been @22, not @20.

In any case, what the posters you are responding to posted their totally discredits your right-wing "it's mainly a drug issue" narrative.

Yes, about 54.7% of the houseless reported substance use...that doesn't mean, however, that we can assume the substance use preceded the houselessness...it is just as likely that the houselessness could have caused it or at the least worsened it. And it doesn't follow that forcing the houseless into drug treatment will get them out of houselessness.

Substance use can't be assumed to simply be indiscipline or self-indulgence. It is just as likely to be a product of despair or of people being treated as if they are of no value.

The way to get people to stop using substances, more than anything else, is to treat them with value and dignity and offer them a sense of hope...it isn't possible to simply FORCE people to stop using substances as a precondition to being offered any path out of houselessness...and quite frankly, it is indecent to simply try and force people with substance abuse issues to leave or to imply that they only came to Seattle TO use substances.

And, since every part of the Eighties "Just Say No/War on Drugs" approach was a categoric failure at getting people off drugs then, returning to any part of that could only be a categoric failure now.

Seattle can't solve any of its problems by trying to be Singapore.

27

@26 "The way to get people to stop using substances, more than anything else, is to treat them with value and dignity "

I think we should treat the drug abusers camping out across our city with just as much value and dignity that they afford themselves.

So.

Not much....

28

27: Why go to harassment and coercion and humiliation and punishment, when none of those things ever cause anyone to stop using drugs?

You don't get people off of what are always, in effect, painkillers unless you help them heal from their pain.

Nobody's going to go into rehab as a result of the cops destroying their last few possessions.

Substance use is not something people do just for the hell of it, OR because they decided to randomly destroy their lives for the sake of randomly destroying their lives.

And it's no solution to anything to just drive people away.

29

@27

"And it's no solution to anything to just drive people away."

I don't know about that. Driving them out of town seems like a viable solution to me.

30

@25: Yes, that was my error. Two-thirds of King County's population resides outside of Seattle. I was un-twisting the misleading text of the report, and got a little twisted myself whilst so doing. ;-)

The point is that a clear majority of Seattle's homeless population said they were already homeless when they arrived in Seattle. Therefore, how Amazon (or anyone else in Seattle) could possibly have driven them out into the street has never been answered, no matter how many times our City Council has said -- and, far more importantly, legislated -- that Amazon was to blame for homelessness in Seattle.

@24: "The group that pushed for this measure could have actually listened to the houseless before drafting their proposals,"

Why is it OK for the City Council to pass actual laws based on not listening to the homeless, but somehow bad for citizens even to propose legislation? (Go ahead, quote yourself criticizing the City Council for passing the Amazon Tax in contravention of what the homeless themselves have told us.)

And that's on the generous assumption you are correct, that Compassion Seattle ignored actual data. What if they took into full account all of the facts I have above quoted, and therefore prioritized clean parks and safe playgrounds, over continuing our failed efforts to house a population which arrived here already homeless? What, exactly, would be bad about that? (And the idea homeless people depress property values is just silly: property values in Seattle increased dramatically at exactly the same time homeless persons moved here in large numbers.)

31

@24: Oh, this again. You just don't learn very quickly, do you?

"Houselessness can't be addressed in any meaningful way through coercion or punishment; neither can substance use issues."

"Interestingly, those who were mandated demonstrated less motivation at treatment entry, yet were more likely to complete treatment compared to those who were not court-ordered to treatment. While controlling for covariates known to be related to treatment completion, the logistic regression analyses demonstrated that court-ordered offenders were over 10 times more likely to complete treatment compared to those who entered treatment voluntarily (OR=10.9, CI=2.0-59.1, p=.006)."

(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23192219/)

That's a citation from a peer-reviewed medical study, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, about eight years ago. What evidence, if any, have you for your sweeping generalization to the contrary?

Oh, and please don't try your previous dodge, about how court-mandated treatment "COULD" work. The paper shows it DID work, and it did work about TEN TIMES better than voluntary drug treatment -- which still contradicts your grand, sweeping (and, so far, totally groundless) claim that it can't.

32

@26: 'In any case, what the posters you are responding to posted their totally discredits your right-wing "it's mainly a drug issue" narrative.

Bwahahahahahaha... so, now you don't know what "discredits" means, too?

'Yes, about 54.7% of the houseless reported substance use... that doesn't mean, however, that we can assume the substance use preceded the houselessness..."

Yes, children's playgrounds with homeless encampments often have bloody needles scattered on them... that doesn't mean, however, that we can assume the campers are using substances...

"...it is just as likely that the houselessness could have caused it or at the least worsened it."

Yes, encampments often have piles of bicycle parts in them... that doesn't mean, however, that we can assume the campers stole the bicycles to get drugs. It is just as likely that the bicycle parts were donated by their rightful owners.

Good luck with getting anyone to believe any of that.

Also, drug addiction has many possible causes, including biochemical imbalances in the brain. People being mean rarely, by itself, leads to addictive behaviors. Just FYI.

33

@29: Yes, if the problem is homeless drug addicts moving into Seattle and causing trouble, then getting them to leave Seattle would indeed count as a solution. Why our friend here keeps hand-waving this solutiona away has yet to be explained, despite his voluminous commentary on the subject.


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