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Seattle, We Have a Homeless Problem

Brett Davis

Posted on March 26, 2019 05:55

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The other problem is that city leaders and the mainstream media just don’t get it.

KOMO News reporter Eric Johnson’s recent special on the burgeoning homeless problem in the Emerald City, “Seattle is Dying,” has touched a nerve. Its unflinching look at homelessness in Washington state’s largest city has overwhelmingly garnered kudos from appreciative viewers, especially those who live in Seattle and see the street-level reality for what it is. Meanwhile, city leaders and their friends in the media have worked hard to downplay the special and the strong reaction it generated.

Johnson is the most recent reporter to do yeoman’s work on the growing disaster that is homelessness in Seattle. He and a few other brave media folks basically say the same thing: Quality of life in Seattle is lessening due to the scourge of unchecked homelessness.

That’s no exaggeration. Seattle has earned the dubious distinction of having the largest homeless population in America outside of New York City and Los Angeles. Violent crime has become a real concern for those who live and work near the many homeless encampments that have become the norm in Seattle, in addition to dealing with the drug and alcohol abuse that is characteristic of a large portion of the homeless population.

The problem is so bad that “medieval” diseases have made a comeback among the unsanitary hordes of the homeless in Seattle and other cities.

Rampant homelessness is having an impact beyond city limits as well, as it threatens Seattle's economy by driving away business and tourism dollars. 

Not that you would know any of that based on the reaction of city leaders and their political pals in the media to “Seattle is Dying.” Mayor Jenny Durkan’s response indicated she is utterly oblivious to the scope of the homeless challenge. Of course Seattleites do not expect much from their leaders on this front, given last year’s head tax debacle ostensibly meant to combat homelessness.

Likewise, the regional press as a whole piled on the KOMO special – see here and here for just two of many examples – mostly on the grounds it was mean. What’s really mean is homeless folks living lives of squalor and degradation, and area residents and workers having to deal with the crime, substance abuse and filth that are part and parcel of the problem.

The real reason do-nothing city leaders and their media acolytes hate the KOMO special is that it demolished liberal pet nostrums on homelessness. Seattle’s political establishment and its allies have created a system that effectively encourages homelessness by tolerating it, resulting in a swelling of the homeless population.

City leadership needs to grow a collective spine and let police remove people from the street and enforce relevant laws against drugs and alcohol and other quality of life crimes. That would be a good start. Don’t hold your breath, however, for the mayor and city council to do the right thing. The lights are on, but, ironically, nobody’s home.

Brett Davis

Posted on March 26, 2019 05:55

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There's a new approach to handling the homeless population that is gaining attention in Seattle.

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