I attended last night’s public safety meeting and all I got were a lot of handouts. I left the meeting in kind of a funk. I guess I’m still there. I didn’t hear long term solutions from any of the elected officials that I believe will bring a lasting change to the neighborhood. I’ll break down what was said;
- Increased police presence will continue though the end of the year. Then they’ll need to move to the U-District.
- Officers will walk foot patrols once a week in hot-spots.
- They’re installing fancy new LED streetlights.
- Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion might happen in Belltown. This is basically a drug dealer intervention with Cops involved. It has worked well in other neighborhoods, but the funding hasn’t been locked down for Belltown.
- CleanScapes pilot. Spot some vomit? Call a magic number and an hour later voila, no more.
These are all positive steps in the right direction. I was encouraged by Chief Diaz. He seems like a tenacious guy that is really trying to do the best that he can with limited resources. It seems like he’s willing to get creative to solve problems. The crowd of standing room attendees brought forth a lot of a good concerns to the table. I’d say about 90% of the concerns were related to brazen crime they feel is going unaddressed. Many citizens had concerns about escalating violence and the overtly public crime that was occurring on a frequent basis.
I would say that 90% of the problems could be tied to one single issue. There are not enough police officers in Seattle. It is a fact. It is a problem that the Mayor has accepted is beyond his ability to fix. To me, that’s wildly unacceptable. The primary purpose of government is Public Safety. This should be priority number one.
So, today… I’m frankly a little discouraged. Do not get me wrong. I love this city. I love this neighborhood. However, when I see a problem so obvious with such a blatant solution, it’s downright shameful when our elected officials don’t do something about it – no matter how difficult that might be. I just don’t accept surrender or an admission of failure from this city. We should demand change and responsibility.
In Attendance: Mike McGinn – mayor, Tim Burgess – City Council, Pete Holmes- Seattle City Attorney, John Diaz – Seattle Police Chief, Sally Bagshaw – City Council