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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 29, 2008 at 5:05 PM

Homeless in Seattle — the Nickelsville debate

Times doesn’t speak for Seattle

I am a well-to-do downtown resident and I am appalled by Mayor Greg Nickels’ lack of sympathy for those who are less fortunate. The Times Sept. 24 editorial, “Seattle doesn’t deserve this pink tent city,” does not speak for all of Seattle’s residents.

Yes, we are a liberal city but, apparently, our mayor is not. The statement that the “people of Seattle do not want such a thing or deserve it” is not true. Most taxpaying residents are appalled by Nickels’ treatment of the most vulnerable people.

I also take issue with the statement that Seattle “has offered shelter space to anyone sleeping in the parks or in the woods.” How does one offer something one does not have? The shelters are full, and there are more than 2,000 men, women and children who were without shelter on some of the coldest days last winter.

The city has added about 20 beds since then and is destroying low-income housing in favor of huge, million-dollar condos, whose builders are getting tax breaks.

Our homeless need to be treated like human beings. The Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness is being used as an excuse to displace people or [ignore them]. Many homeless folks have died on the streets already this year.

Nickels should be told to back off and allow people to survive as best they can until they can find places to live. Our mayor should be allowing the creation of more low-income housing instead of encouraging, with tax breaks, developers of fancy condos.

In today’s economy, this problem will only increase, as people lose their homes and look for affordable places to live.

— Loretta Pirozzi, Seattle

Cruelty toward homeless

The large photo of a man in a pink tent and two police officers, accompanying the story “Uneventful police sweep clears homeless camp” [Local News, Sept. 27], caught the attention of my 6-year-old son.

After I explained that the man in the tent was homeless and that the police were making him move because the tent was on land that didn’t belong to him, my son had this to say: “I think that man doesn’t have enough money. Why are the police officers being mean to him? Police officers are supposed to be friendly and help you.”

Mayor Greg Nickels, could you please explain to my son why your police officers are being mean to homeless people? I certainly couldn’t.

— Cindy Gilbert, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, homeless, Seattle, Seattle City Council

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