You will likely recall that last February a group self-published a report on “prolific offenders” who cause problems for local communities and businesses, and who cycle through the criminal justice system. As I wrote at the time, that report had plenty of methodological issues and other flaws that limited its usefulness, since the authors didn’t have access to most of the relevant government, law-enforcement, and human-services records. However, in the aftermath of that report, Mayor Durkan commissioned her own task force to look into the issue of prolific offenders. That group published their report last week, concurrent with a budget proposal from the Mayor for four new programs to address the problem.
Last week, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that during the month of May the city would conduct “emphasis patrols” in seven neighborhoods across the city “to improve public safety and address community maintenance needs.” This left many people — including most of the City Council members — confused about what this program was about. Council member Lorena Gonzalez sent Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best a letter, asking over a page of detailed questions. After some back and forth, it was agreed that representatives from SPD and other participating city departments would present at Gonzalez’s committee hearing this morning to shed further light on the program.
The city has published a feasibility study on establishing a “safe consumption” site in Seattle, and for the first time we have a sense for how much it might cost.
This morning the Council held a hearing to continue their deliberations over the proposed soda tax. Most of the time was dedicated to two panels: one of small business owners, and one of government and healthcare professionals.
(trigger warning: math ahead, but not the scary kind)
This morning, the Council heard a proposal to tighten the rules and streamline others in order to prevent vacant buildings from becoming neighborhood nuisances — or worse, fire hazards.
Late last summer, Mayor Murray announced Bridging the Gap, his administration’s short-term plan too address homelessness while the longer-term plan Pathways Home, took its time to spin up. Both efforts have sputtered along since then, mired in city government bureaucracy and hidden behind a maddening lack of transparency and accountability. But there are now signs that the shorter-term effort is starting to find its groove thanks to a creative idea for how to reorganize the effort.
The City Council members today spent a fair amount of their public meeting time discussing one issue: what to do about the unsanctioned encampment called “The Field” that is scheduled for clearing tomorrow.
A full read of the 99-page report of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force paints a very different picture than what the press reported. The report isn’t without its faults, but nevertheless it’s worth understanding what it actually says — and doesn’t say.