Thursday, November 20, 2008

C.R. Douglas Gets It

C.R. Douglas at Seattle Inside/Out has been following the sweeps issue for a long time, and he's getting a little pissed off. Early last summer he made me giddy by pressing then Human Services Director Patricia McInturff on where homeless people are supposed to go until she started to twitch. More recently, During Douglas' monthly Ask the Mayor show, Nickels claimed that the people staying at Nickelsville were all political activists who had homes to which they could return. Douglas was obviously taken aback by the Mayor's claim. One expects politicians to distort and lie, but this was way beyond the pale and seems to have put Douglas over the edge. This week's edition of Seattle Inside/Out is his answer.

Douglas goes out on the street to show how bad things are, and then brings Human Services Director Alan Painter, Committee to End Homelessness in King County ED Bill Block, Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness ED Alison Eisinger, and Operation NightWatch Director Rick Reynolds into the studio to get some answers. On a scale of 1-10 this show is an 11.

As Painter recites the city talking points in response to Douglas' questions, he looks as though he might be seated on a tack. It's a painful display. Douglas wanted SKCCH Director Alison Eisinger to just flat out say she supports Nickelsville as a solution, but for whatever reason, she couldn't go there. This left it up to Rick Reynolds, who admirably rises to the occasion by humanizing the problem and calling for something better. "Why do we continue to have persistent tenting situations if the need is being met? … It's a band-aid, but how many of us have never needed a band-aid?" He is riveting. Even Bill Block goes a little off the plantation, but not dangerously so. He mostly sticks to his talking points.

The Mayor's script is seriously lacking in credibility. Maybe it's time to try something else.

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