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Seattle’s Homeless Problem Highlighted In Letter To Convention Leaders

Seattle’s Homeless Problem Highlighted In Letter To Convention Leaders

“Based on my recent visit, I believe that the problem has gotten out of control”

Seattle’s latest attempt to tax its way out of its severe homeless problem failed when Amazon and Starbucks pushed back against the city’s “head tax.”  We’ve chronicled other efforts Seattle has made to generate revenue.

Whatever they are doing to address the city’s homeless problem is not working as evidenced by the scathing letter sent by the convention planning team for the 2019 American Pharmacists Association convention.

They have apparently already booked their convention but their advance planning team felt so unsafe just walking out of the hotel that they are requesting security.

KIRO7 reports:

KIRO-7 obtained a scathing letter sent to Seattle convention leaders saying the organizers of a large national convention felt unsafe during a recent visit, because of aggressive behavior and drug use from people they encountered on downtown streets.

The letter asked the leaders of Visit Seattle for extra security for their convention, after they said 14 members of their advanced planning team were accosted by people on the streets, saw open drug use, and witnessed people urinating and even defecating near the convention center or the team’s hotel, during a planning visit in April.

The letter stated, “Seattle has been among our top picks as a convention destination, and unfortunately, due to our city experiences, we may need to remove Seattle from future consideration.”

American Pharmacists Association had booked a convention to bring 6,300 pharmacists and their families from around the country to the Washington State Convention Center in March of 2019. The organization told Visit Seattle their convention could bring $8.5 million into the local economy next year.

The letter does not paint a pretty picture.  At all.  The convention planning team were witness to homeless people defecating and urinating on the street, drug users openly getting high and passed out, and homeless people accosting the visitors demanding cash.

KIRO7 continues:

The letter began by saying, “Based on my recent visit, I believe that the problem has gotten out of control.”

The letter described what convention planners saw between their hotel and the Convention Center:
“Two men urinating on the street.
“One man who defecated on himself.
“We witnessed three young addicts sitting outside of a major establishment smoking from a pipe, and one was passed out.
“One man aggressively pursued a member of my team down the street, demanding cash.
“We lost count of the number of people walking around talking to themselves.
“The smell of urine and marijuana near the WSCC and along the routes of our hotels to the center.”

Seattle’s tourism industry is huge, including it being a prime destination for conventions.  However, David Blandford with Visit Seattle is concerned that public safety issues will soon change all that.

KIRO7 continues:

“We want convention attendees to feel safe and welcome in Seattle,” said David Blandford with Visit Seattle, who said currently the convention and tourism business in Seattle is thriving, pumping billions into the local economy.

“Business is great for sure,” Blandford said. “But business may not always be great, because the time frame we’re working on is not just 2018. We’re working as far out as 15 to 20 years in advance.

“We’re concerned that if the (public safety) problems were to become worse, more prolific, that could affect our business. Conventions could either cancel or threaten not to come back again.”

Seattle recently experienced an economic boom, and with it, rents increased while lower-paying job wages remained stagnant.

The Weekly Standard reported in April:

The inexorable rise in Seattle’s homeless population has coincided, seemingly paradoxically, with an extraordinary economic boom in this city.

. . . .  With great prosperity have come great rent increases, however. As of February, the average monthly tab for a one-bedroom apartment within a 10-mile radius of central Seattle is above $2,100, according to Rent Jungle, which monitors real estate trends. The growth rate in rents has been among the nation’s highest for years.

A fascinating study commissioned by Zillow Research adds further ballast to what might seem at first like simpleminded Marxian analysis: higher rents, more homelessness. “The relationship between rising rents and increased homelessness is particularly strong in four metros currently experiencing a crisis in homelessness—Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and Seattle,” authors Chris Glynn and Melissa Allison found.

. . . . Elizabeth Bowen, a professor at the University of Buffalo School of Social Work and a leading authority on homelessness, agrees with Zillow’s analysis and adds a second component: It’s not just rising rents; it’s also the question of wage growth. Bowen tells me that in cities like Seattle, “housing costs are far outpacing wage [rises].” Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, concurs. “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets,” he said in a press release last year.

The article also discusses the role of Social Security for disabled people, drug use, and a range of other factors that contribute to Seattle’s homeless problem.

Well-meaning politicians and officials have tried to help by creating legal homeless encampments and passing out free syringes, and the like.  (In Denver, the city council decriminalized public defecation and urination.)  However, as noted by the Weekly Standard, Seattle “shows what happens when social support organizations and local governments decide not to try to end homelessness, but rather attempt sympathetically to ‘contain’ it.”


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Are not the housing costs rising the most where the local governments heavily regulate the building of housing?

Why not address the drivers of the costs rather than make the taxpayers subsidize this mess? I suspect the builders already know the solution. Ask them and follow their advice.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to TX-rifraph. | June 16, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    They rejected many building proposals.

    forksdad in reply to TX-rifraph. | June 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Seattle’s building codes are comparable to other cities of that size and geography, less in fact than other cities in the same county. The problem is that almost all of Seattle proper is already built upon, hideously difficult or complex to build upon (i.e. floodplain, steep hillsides, or mud flats), parks or green belts, or flat just water.

    To make it worse, there is not a single square yard of Seattle that is not bid to the sky by Californians cashing out their equity and heading north to get away from California (after which they immediately commenced turning the Pacific Northwest into California north).

    There is no home, apartment, condo or potential building site that is really far beyond low income. That pushes the middle class out to the suburbs as far as North Bend or even Cle Slum. There is the Rainier Valley, Yesler Terrace and such places where traditionally minorities have lived but those areas are under pressure from gentrification.

    If the homeless were from Seattle the loss of cheaper apartments would matter, a little. But they aren’t most are coming from other states to take advantage of the mild-ish weather and generous handouts.

    Changing, Hell repealing the building codes would do nothing to help.

The obvious answer is that liberals do not want a solution. They just want to tax and spend and keep 10% (if we are lucky) for themselves. But on a plus note, more of them are starting to realize via Trump that solutions are possible, and that has the parasitic democrats terrifed.

    forksdad in reply to MajorWood. | June 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Seattle used to be a safe, clean city with polite people and ok weather.

    Californians ruined it and the entire I-5 corridor. Bums used to stick to Pioneer Square or even the underground. Now they are everywhere. Unless and until work farms comeback bums will always be a problem.

“With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets,”

Ding ding ding! Give that man a gold red star!

Seattle progressives. Great at talk and virtue signalling, but their ideas mostly fail when applied. And often make things worse, as they tear at what unites.

LOL… the idiots here in Lost Angels are in a panic, because they signed up for the Olympics, and want all the vagrants off the streets before then…

like *that’s* gonna happen.


You know what I don’t get about all this? Why would someone come to Washington, with such wonderful natural scenery and recreation, and spend their time in Seattle at a hotel and convention center? Dude – fly into SeaTac and then avoid King county like the plague that it is. Enjoy the Cascades, Olympics, Puget Sound, San Juan Islands. Drive the North Cascades highway, take a whale tour, catch the boat out of Port Angeles to Victoria and spend a couple days touring Butchart Gardens, the Empress … come back and do Hood Canal, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, Hoh Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, Lake Quinault, Long Beach … head over east of the Cascades and take in the many wineries there, Lake Chelan, Sun lakes, the Columbia …

But seriously? Downtown Seattle? Yuck. I’ve successfully avoided it for over 30 years and you couldn’t pay me to go now. And please, keep the moon bat crazies on the right side of the sound.

    Jackie in reply to MrE. | June 17, 2018 at 6:29 am

    People go to downtown hotels because it is a convention and that’s where the large facilities to have meetings are. When it comes to tourism conventions are the big money makers. When I was involved in planning a convention Los Angeles was the biggest surprise. You hear about the homeless problem, but the magnitude of it on the streets of LA were startling. Not a small area here or there, but solid blocks of squalor. Las Vegas is the place to go. They have the facilities and they make sure you feel safe.

      MrE in reply to Jackie. | June 17, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Every convention I’ve ever attended trumpets the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of the host city/state – but – you’re at a convention – downtown – in a hotel. Isn’t it a kind of oxymoron to call a convention in downtown Seattle TOURism? What kind of TOUR is that? Where the extent of seeing the real Washington is browsing a rack of postcards at Hudson’s? Not that I’m complaining mind you – it just seems like a bait and switch to me … advertisers call the practice “borrowed interest” – image / endorsement of something alluring / influential to sell something boring / mundane. Images of beautiful Mt. Rainier to sell poo-city Seattle? Are convention goers really that dumb?

    forksdad in reply to MrE. | June 17, 2018 at 11:58 am

    No don’t come to Washington. Ever. It’s full of bums, antifa, and dangerous overcrowded streets. The weather is perpetual rain or a permanent dust bowl state in the east. Where the people won’t assault or infect you the animals will kill you.

    Just stay away. It’s better that way.

      MrE in reply to forksdad. | June 17, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      That works for me, Forks. Saddened to see Clallam co. going blue. Sequim becoming a real zoo.

        forksdad in reply to MrE. | June 17, 2018 at 3:16 pm

        All Californians. Worse while they drive home prices through the stratosphere they absolutely refuse all bond issues for schools. Their children and grandchildren don’t go to these schools why pay anything?

          PODKen in reply to forksdad. | June 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm

          We vote “no” on spending because we’re taxed up the ass while living expenses are increasing into the stratosphere and while our standard of living plunges.

          forksdad in reply to forksdad. | June 18, 2018 at 9:09 am

          Bullshit there is no income tax in Washington. Damn low property taxes, avoid Seattle and low vehicle registration. It’s because Californians are stingy, greedy, I got mine people who can’t support their local schools.

          I live here. You cash out a three hundred thousand dollar scraper in California that is double the price of any home outside the I-5 corridor. They want to bid the price of good farmland out of sight while driving like they just don’t give a damn about anybody outside their car.

          They are everything wrong with the west coast, a disease that spreads.

          MrE in reply to forksdad. | June 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm

          School levies are a tough sell in Sequim. For me it’s because the school admin habitually submits a pie-in-the-sky wish list – gilding the lily type crap – and the people see through it. M&O levies usually pass. There’s been fireworks over proposals for a new high school in Sequim – you’d think as many times as that has been turned down they’d come up with a more modest proposal to fix the current one.

          Demographics are though for levies here; it’s a retirement town – median age 65 I believe. People on fixed income don’t want their taxes to go up for kids and grandkids they put through school long ago.

          I think school admins forget all that’s required for basic ed in schools, are teachers, students, a room, desks and chairs, books, a/v and a chalk board. For awhile, I lived in rural IL where my wife is from. The town got clobbered by an F4 tornado which destroyed the elementary school. It took several years to settle the insurance and rebuild it. In the mean time, admin did some creative scheduling with the high school nearby, established make-shift school rooms in churches and businesses with available space, and school continued on schedule. Anyway the “new school” mantra doesn’t work well with me having seen what creative solutions reality can come up with. And it doesn’t surprise me that administrative pie-in-the-sky dreamers often get slapped down.

          The admins “we need a new school” cry at every election, reminds me of the old saying “to the man whose only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

          BTW- my property taxes for a home on 2.5 acres near Sequim are the same as they were for a home of similar size on a city lot in CornvILLe. Conversely, my 2 sibs in KingCo are paying through the nose for postage stamp parcels. And they think it’s paradise. (insert rolling-eyes emoji).

          forksdad in reply to forksdad. | June 18, 2018 at 2:50 pm

          Sequim is better off than with the first round of Californians twenty years ago. But the blue hole attracts more and more every year. I remember when sequim was mostly farmland and loggers. The schools don’t need more facilities they have an empty school sitting across from another one.

          They do need activities, sports, music programs etc.

          MrE in reply to forksdad. | June 18, 2018 at 4:11 pm

          Yes to music and arts! Schools ought not be able to have athletics programs without music and art for the kids who tend that way. I visited my hometown Auburn for the first time in 30 years last summer. I remember when the population there was under 10,000 – Smith Brothers dairy and countless farms dotted the valley between Sumner and Kent … not any more – it’s one sprawling suburb. Don’t plan to visit there again. They tore down my old highschool last summer after building a new one. The 2nd high school is on White/Stuck river where I used to swim as a kid in the 60’s. Hard to see how it’s been developed …

    MajorWood in reply to MrE. | June 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    One word. Snoqualamie Falls, OK, two words.

You know what’s weird? How this problem only seems to affect Seattle and a couple other of the west coast’s most progressive cities. It’s like they’re cursed, or something.

This will likely be the last time we visit Seattle. In the last 10 years the city has become dangerous and filthy. I am tired of seeing needle tracks on my servers arms, the urine in the streets and worst. Seattle has been in a competition to degenerate with SF for years, and finally has the ball rolling down hill. It is like they are proud of the crime and lawlessness.

    Jackie in reply to puhiawa. | June 17, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Never been to Seattle, but if it compares to San Francisco I will stay away. San Francisco is disgusting. Liberals have ruined much of California. New York had some decent Mayors recently, so the current Marxist hasn’t had time to ruin the city.

Just another liberal run paradise

Bitterlyclinging | June 17, 2018 at 7:29 am

Just Washington State assiduously keeping their pool of Democratic voters perpetually full.
Teddy Kennedy would be so proud. Mary Joe Kopechne was not available for comment.

A lack of affordable housing is not the problem. The problem is drugs. They need to be rounded up a few at a time and cold turkeyed until the worst is over and then counseled for 6 to 8 weeks, given assistance finding a job and an apartment. The apartment could be subsidized but they must remain drug free.