At the risk of redundancy, I've boiled down Real Change's objection to the Mayor's campsite clearance policy to the fewest words possible, which I offer here in the interest of concision and clarity.
The Mayor’s office plans to soon extend Seattle’s parks exclusion ordinance to all public land throughout the City. This is the criminalization of basic human survival. The 2007 One Night Count clearly documents that at least 1,600 people struggle to survive outside of Seattle’s over-extended emergency shelter system.Please spread the word (download flier here) that the Real Change Organizing Project will hold a rally and press conference on January 28 outside of Seattle Center's Rainier Room from 5-6 pm, the secret sign-up period for those who wish to testify at the 6 pm "hearing," which is really just a comment period tacked onto an interdepartmental briefing.
The Mayor’s policy largely ignores the concerns raised by homeless people and their advocates and broadly extends the City’s coercive power. By enacting a major policy shift through an interdepartmental rules change process, the Mayor and his direct representatives have acted without the accountability that an authentic public process might provide. If approved, the Mayor’s policy would:
Broad exceptions exist to legitimate the destruction of campsites and private property without advance notice. Stated commitments to human services outreach and provision of shelter alternatives remain unacceptably weak and unenforceable.
- Extend the existing Parks exclusion ordinance to all public land, and create tools to coerce enforcement by owners of private property as well.
- Define sleeping on these properties overnight as a criminal act.
- Enact a uniform policy for all public property through which exclusion citations may be issued on the basis of mere suspicion. Violation of an exclusion citation is punishable with criminal penalties.
- Delegate citation issuance authority to any chosen representative of the City.
Which brings us to this week's poll: Who behaves more accountably toward poor people in Seattle? Our developer-friendly Mayor Greg "Big Guy" Nickels, or this Jumbo Jar of Vlasic pickles? As always, vote at top right. See the results of last week's poll here.
Of last week's 1,060 unique visitors, 37 took a moment to weigh in on the very important question of the Mayor's accountability to the poor. By more than a 5-1 margin, the Jar of Vlasic Pickles is more responsive to the concerns of homeless people than Mayor Greg Nickels.