Sunday, June 8, 2008

You Can Fool Some of the People ...

The City's full-court press propaganda offensive on homeless encampments is developing new cracks. While the TV media can generally be counted on to accept the City's framing of the issue (Seattle is ending homelessness — encampments are dens of filth, drug abuse, and criminality — the "clean-ups" are consistent and humane — concerns of advocates have been met) and to faithfully broadcast whatever shocking images the city offers, print and radio have become more critical.

This, as you are no doubt aware, isn't universally true. I started to read the Seattle Time's third and latest travesty of an editorial and decided to stop before I was overtaken with murderous rage. They're hopeless. But Danny Westneat wrote a column recently in that paper that admirably asked the key question: With the numbers going up and the line on shelter being held, where are people supposed to go? I always follow this sentence with the word "Hello?," but few in City Hall seem capable of listening. In my opinion, he nailed it. Nicole Brodeur, who just last November penned a dehumanizing piece of shit, has redeemed herself recently as well.

Robert Jamison followed suit yesterday in the PI, and did us the favor of mentioning the Camp4Unity tent City we're doing on City Hall Plaza tonight. He goes even further to take on the history of City duplicity on this issue, the failure to follow their own protocols, the moral bankruptcy of a policy that steadfastly refuses to address the inconvenient math of twenty new shelter beds for 2,600 or so people, and the complete absence of accountability by the City. I generally follow this string of observations with the word, "fuckers!"

In Seattle, where city shelter beds are full, the homeless have few choices. They can sleep on cold, hard sidewalks. Or they can find a freeway underpass or a park -- and risk being swept away by city muscle.

A middle ground has to be found, but Mayor Greg Nickels -- deft and articulate when it comes to dealing with condo developers and wealthy streetcar advocates -- is tongue-tied and tone-deaf to the down-and-out.

That's why homeless advocates are firing back.

They're camping out this weekend at City Hall Plaza at Fourth and James to make a statement: The homeless shouldn't be treated like garbage.

Fuckers. John Iwasaki, who I once called a hack after he turned a city press release into "news," seems to have developed newfound critical facilities as well. To see this sort of thing outside the pages of Real Change does my battle-scarred and deeply pissed off heart good. I'm hoping to see more of it in the coming months.


Trevor said...

Generally, the mainstream/ corporate media give people in power the benefit of the doubt to a fault. But when they discover they've been lied to, their (naive) shock can actually inspire them to use their critical faculties and publish edgier writing with a more aggressive public interest focus.

It was the Seattle dailies, rather than any kind of mass movement, that led the way in demanding police accountability last year by relentlessly documenting police department lies and cover ups. They have similar power on a host of other issues. The million dollar question is: what spurs them to use it?

Anonymous said...


What we have been screaming at the tops of our lungs for a year now is beginning to be heard, we are beginning to win.

See you at the campout tonight.