October 7, 2013 at 7:34 AM
Something needs to be done
The front page article in the Seattle Times last Monday hit a nerve with me. [“Offenses go unpunished on downtwon streets,” page one, Sept. 30]. Over the past few years I have been alarmed at the change I have seen in the Pike/Pine area of downtown, especially around Westlake Center and 2nd and 3rd Avenue.
I have lived here my entire life and I do not remember a time when I was afraid to go downtown. I am now.
The area had become a haven for groups of teenagers with skateboards and vicious looking dogs, aggressive panhandlers, drug dealers, and the mentally ill. I have witnessed on many occasions people peeing in the street and had to step around human stool. It is both frightening and disgusting.
The area along I-5 under the convention center is also a disgusting mess, littered with garbage, old mattresses and tents.
The mayor has a plan called the City Center Initiative, but a year in and it is still only a conversation and hasn’t yet produced any policy. At the same time the number of citations given out by the police in a five year period has dropped from 2,262 to 271 with very few repeat offenders facing any prosecution.
In other words if you don’t site them or have services to offer them, the problem will multiply due to inaction.
The mayor blames the city attorney, the police chief blames the mayor and the city attorney, the city attorney blames the police. You all sound like Congress in the other Washington and should be ashamed.
It is time to get these people off the streets. Seattle must no longer be known as a city that does nothing to discourage such behavior. As long as there are no consequences to these frightening and disgusting behaviors they will continue to occur, intensify, and spread.
Janet O’Neil, Seattle
October 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM
Social services won’t fix the problem
It isn’t safe on Seattle streets anymore. [“Offenses go unpunished on downtown streets,” page one, Sept. 30.]
Either you or your companions are subject to being shot or stabbed; Or at least mugged, harassed by street people or caught up as an innocent bystander in some drug or alcohol-fueled altercation. Mayor Mike McGinn’s solution? More social services. Yeah … that’s going to fix the problem.
And when it doesn’t? Why the politicians and the bureaucrats try to “solve” the problem by pointing fingers at each other and calling for more social services. None of our politically correct “leaders” would ever think of trying something really radical, like enforcing the law.
Seattle’s streets have become a zoo and the animals are in charge. Until our elected and appointed officials start letting the police department do its job, things are only going to get worse.
Gerald D. Cline, Kent
September 21, 2013 at 7:53 AM
Easy fix for vandalism
I just read the article about blue spray paint being bought by two intoxicated youths, leading to a tagging spree. [“Vandals give Hendrix statue the blues,” NW Friday, Sept. 20.]
Seattle should make it a law that you must have ID to buy spray paint and it should be entered into the computer at the point of sale. In addition, it should be locked up in a metal cage.
People who are genuine in their purchase don’t mind showing their ID, just like with cold-medicine purchases. It is taggers who mind, and people who think anarchy against everyone is acceptable.
It’s time to take a stand and get Seattle to make a positive move to protect property owners and renters, as well as state and city property.
Too much money is spent, and it’s an easy fix.
Tova Hornung, Seattle
September 13, 2013 at 7:33 AM
The despicable crimes that Carri and Larry Williams committed against their adopted children are very difficult to comprehend. [“Parents convicted in adopted girl’s death,” page one, Sept. 10.]
It is unthinkable that any member of a civilized society would commit such heinous, inhumane acts against a child. What the Williams couple did to the little Ethiopian girl, Hana, will remain a tragic reminder of the horrors that many young adopted children face.
Hana’s young life ended in the cruelest and most undignified manner; dogs and cats receive a far superior treatment in America than what little Hana got from her adoptive parents.
Ethiopians around the world, like myself, are mourning the terrible loss of a promising life. The guilty verdict may not serve as a consolation for any of us, particularly to Hana’s family in Ethiopia.
I hope the case will present a compelling reason for a thorough review of the adoption process. The lives and well-being of thousands of defenseless children are at stake.
As I was reading your article, I noticed that Hana’s brief life on this Earth ended in a double-edged tragedy. As her adopted last name indicates, Carri and Larry Williams managed to kill Hana’s identity first, before they murdered her. I hope her original name was restored at her final rest.
Tewodros Abebe, Accokeek, Maryland
September 2, 2013 at 7:29 AM
Similar cases, different outcomes
If a Muslim (Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan) kills 13 adults, he is sentenced to death. [“Fort Hood shooter gets death,” News, Aug. 29.]
But if a Christian (Sgt. Robert Bales) kills 16 civilians, some of them children, he is only sentenced to life in prison. [“Afghans decry Bales’ sentence,” page one, Aug. 24.]
True, there are technical reasons for the disparate sentences, such as demanding a trial versus pleading guilty, but these distinctions may be lost on the wider Muslim world.
Charlie Blackman, Seattle
August 29, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Family court dropped the ball
How in the world did the sadistic Brandon and Viviana Gunn of Kitsap County get guardianship of his 13-year-old brother? [“Around the Northwest: Couple charged with child assault,” NW Wednesday, Aug. 28.]
Their arrest for brutally torturing the boy sickens me. I just recently jumped through numerous legal hoops here to be given guardianship of my disabled younger brother after our mother died, even though I had lovingly overseen his care for most of his life. I had a criminal-background check and had to be vetted by a court-appointed family attorney, at Thurston County’s expense. This was after decades of working with my brother’s case manager.
With such scrutiny and expense made over a dependent individual in my family’s situation, where did Kitsap County’s family court drop the ball? Surely there must have been warning signs of this couple’s outrageously cruel behavior.
They should never have been awarded guardianship of this child, and need to go to prison for a long, long time.
Carolyn LaFond, Olympia
August 29, 2013 at 6:26 AM
Former New Yorker Stuart Marvin’s pointed observations about Seattle’s grizzly downtown and his recommended solutions are right-on. [“Downtown crime shocks New Yorker,” NW Wednesday, Aug. 28.]
But as someone whose migration pattern is the reverse of his — after 35 years in Western Washington, I moved to metropolitan New York — I know why his solutions won’t happen.
In New York, citizens and taxpayers are protected from rabble-rousers and criminals. In Seattle, it’s the reverse: rabble-rousers, who are often petty criminals, are coddled and protected by city officials.
[City Attorney] Peter Holmes’ unwillingness to act against repeat offenders is an example. Ditto the mere presence of Nickelsville, the illegal homeless camp that’s a stick in Seattle’s eye with only empty City Council rhetoric directed against it.
New Yorkers wouldn’t tolerate either for an instant. I saw two NYPD officers take a paper sack containing a bottle of Jack Daniels from a man and pour it into the gutter, then he was hauled off.
In Seattle, go after scofflaws or impose legal sanctions against unlawful encampments and you incur the wrath of nonprofits and bureaucratic sycophants.
You’re then checked by official timidity, political correctness and the fear of hurting someone’s feelings, none of which matter to a New Yorker.
Scott St. Clair, Clifton, N.J.
August 21, 2013 at 6:43 AM
Violent crime is worse
To the letter writer who was upset about drug crimes, I understand your annoyance. [“Northwest Voices: Crime in Seattle,” Opinion, Aug. 18.]
I get annoyed with drug users at times, too. But to equate a drug transaction with violent crimes, such as murder, rape, assault, domestic violence and armed robbery, is ridiculous.
Let’s get real here. What’s the bigger threat to you — the man beating up his girlfriend, someone assaulting a bus driver, or a recreational drug user looking for a good time?
Violence is always bad. I’m not going to judge nonviolent crimes. I’ll leave that for you to do.
Brian Fehr, Kirkland
June 19, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Court system mishandled case
I wonder how Rutherford’s attorneys would react if they were mugged or robbed by a private citizen and the Seattle Police Department did not take the tactic it did against Rutherford. [“Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal of $1 verdict in SPD case,” NW Tuesday, June 18.] Is security worth more than the $50,000 they seek?
Daily, I am bewildered as to why people on the street seem unconcerned about illegal activity around them. Could it be because of how Rutherford’s attorneys and the court system handled this case?
Jim Morris, Renton
April 12, 2013 at 8:07 AM
DUI penalties must be more severe
My closest friend was Morgan Williams, the innocent victim killed in last week’s head-on collision with a vehicle being driven by Michael Robertson the wrong way on Highway 520 [“DUI again? Wrong-way driver kills Seattle woman,” front page, April 5]. He was a repeat DUI offender and should not have had the means to get behind the wheel, endangering all who came into his vicinity.
Not only am I incredibly sad at the loss of this wonderful woman, but I’m also incredibly frustrated that our laws and court system aren’t able to prevent these tragedies from happening.
While tougher penalties and fines may influence some people’s decisions regarding whether to get behind the wheel after drinking, those policies are based on the assumption that those people are making rational decisions.
For someone with a chronic drinking problem, there is no rational thought process. In those cases, the decision that they won’t drive needs to be made for them. We need to enact laws that place a physical barrier between them and the road.
I support Rep. Goodman’s proposal that a vehicle that has been impounded due to a DUI should not be released from the impound lot until it has been fitted with an interlock device. The cost of installation should be borne by the offender and/or the vehicle’s owner.
In addition, if someone helps the restricted driver circumvent the interlock device, either by blowing into it for them or by disabling the device, that person should be charged as an accessory and face the same punishment as the driver.
If the driver proceeds to injure or kill someone, they should both face vehicular assault or homicide charges.
Another proposed amendment calls for harsher penalties, specifically for DUI drivers driving on the wrong side of the road. This, again, is based on the assumption that the impaired driver is capable of making a rational decision. Obviously Michael Robertson was not capable of rational thought, and the threat of punishment didn’t come into play when he made his U-turn on Highway 520.
I support the proposal that makes drunken driving a felony on the third conviction rather than on the fifth, but there should be no time limit for including past offenses, as there currently is. If someone has three DUIs in his or her lifetime, that person is done driving, forever.
I encourage all Seattle Times readers to contact their state representatives as soon as possible. Call 1-800-562-6000 to make them hear your voice on House Bill 1482. The clock is ticking and this legislative session ends very shortly.
Earline Carlone, Edmonds
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