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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 5, 2009 at 4:11 PM

The streets of Seattle

A letter to Mayor Greg Nickels

Just after dark this past Saturday, two neighbors of mine, in separate incidents, were beaten within an inch of their lives just for walking down the sidewalk near the Othello Light Rail Station. Beyond the bloody details, all I know is this: This would not have happened in your West Seattle neighborhood.

With the light rail opening in less than 90 days, I want you, my mayor, to tell us what you are going to do to ensure this does not happen again.

Here are my suggestions for you, since you appear uninformed and incapable of real action on your stated city goal of Neighborhood Policing and Public Safety. These are from the well-respected South Seattle Crime Prevention Council, whose funding you unwisely decided to cut:

1. Hire new officers immediately.

2. Assign any new officers to the gang unit.

3. Give Rainier Beach, Othello Station, New Holly, Columbia City and Mt. Baker Seattle Police Department foot patrols comparable to those walking the beat in West Seattle Junction or the Pike/Pine Corridor. These foot patrols have been widely praised for reducing crime [“Black-and-blue assault on crime: Downtown shopping grows safer,” News, Sept. 23, 2008].

4. Get someone in the SPD media-relations unit to learn how to return a phone call.

My neighbors of all ages are already getting beaten, robbed, shot at and killed, whether they’re walking down the sidewalk, riding the bus or just sitting in their living rooms. What more do you require?

Step up, man, we need you.

— Tristin Pagenkopf, Hillman City, Seattle

Kudos to Metro drivers and information line

I would like to rave in thanks for Seattle Metro bus drivers and the rider information line of our wonderful bus system.

I am an everyday user of our bus system and on Tuesday I unfortunately lost my wallet on the 41 in north Seattle. When transferring to the 75, I reached for my wallet, but it was not with me. The bus driver said, “Climb aboard and ride with me for a while and I will call it in.” He called dispatch and was told it had not been found.

I went back to my transfer point to retrace my path and I didn’t find it, either. I accepted the fact that it was gone, but I decided to call the information line anyway to report it. They took the information and told me a supervisor would call me back later, so I went home.

An hour later, the supervisor returned my call and said that it had been found and the bus could meet me in Lake City in a few hours. I met the bus and my wallet was safe and sound.

My rave is for the very hardworking folks who drive for Metro and I encourage all riders to be kind to our public servants. It’s not their fault the bus is overcrowded or taking too long because the streets are jammed with cars holding one person each. Patience is a virtue we all need to practice more. I found that they go the extra mile to care for us customers. Thanks, Metro.

— James J. Hupf, Seattle

Helping to break a never-ending cycle

Providing stable housing and a place for homeless to regain their balance is a wonderful idea [“Project saves taxpayer money,” NW Wednesday, April 1]. As a person who used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, homelessness is an issue that is near and dear to my heart.

Once people get stuck in the cycle of homelessness, it is very difficult to break free from it. The cycle is vicious and never-ending, especially with the recession as it is. Why would employers hire someone off the street when they can easily hire college graduates or high-school students, for that matter?

Many of these homeless have been on the street for many years and have learned to adapt to the hazards of living on the street. In this sense, they are hardworking and experienced in ways that the average student or person is not, which makes them resourceful employees.

By placing the homeless in homes, they have the opportunity to clean up, allowing them to create a better first impression and re-enter the workforce.

I hope that more cities will adopt this type of recovery program because it sounds like a wonderful idea.

— Kellie Ouye, El Cerrito, Calif.

Comments | More in crime/justice, homeless, Seattle, Transportation


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