This latest attempt at social engineering will do little as almost no one will be eligible. Reading the criteria to be considered for the LEAD program only those low-level drug offenders and prostitutes who have committed no violent crimes within the past 10 years, not engaged in drug activities for profit, or are part of an organized criminal enterprise will be eligible. So the runners that pass my door each evening delivering their bags of goodies, the dealers hiding in the alleys, the violent felons waiting for that late night visitor to the ATM, the prostitute working for his or her pimp will not be eligible. So who will? Is the problem the low level abuser? If so don’t ask them to come back later to be evaluated. Remove them from the street, ask that they voluntarily agree to a rehabilitation program immediately, not at some future date. Agree to a commitment center outside of the Belltown area. Preferably in a neighborhood across the street from whoever conceived this program.
If we truly want to end the problem start by getting the police out of the cars, off the bikes, out of the huddled doorways and into the neighborhood. Let them become a part of the fabric of the community not outsiders passing through. Then start arresting and make public the names of the Johns, the purchasers of the drugs, the reason the vermin congregate in Belltown. Provide the police with a supportive court system that actually meters out swift and appropriate punishment. Not a system that requires multiple offences or more serious crimes to act