Homeless in the Mayor’s Race

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Scott Lindsay, a candidate for Seattle City Attorney, will be a guest speaker Oct. 19 at the mayoral candidate forum in Georgetown. His invitation to speak at the forum is not an endorsement of Lindsay’s candidacy against incumbent City Attorney Pete Holmes. We know so little about the City Attorney post, we wouldn’t hazard a guess about who might be the better candidate.

But, the invitation is a robust acknowledgement of Lindsay’s contributions to the city effort to ease the homeless crisis, which is also emerging as a major issue in the race for Seattle Mayor.

As a deputy to former Mayor Ed Murray, Lindsay came up with “Navigation Team” team approach that integrated city departments in efforts to better clean up camps while providing better services for the homeless. He also helped persuade city leaders to acknowledge that for some among the homeless, heroin addiction compounds all problems.

Erin Goodman of the SODO BIA, who leads local efforts to respond to impacts of homeless camps, gives Lindsay credit for improving the city effort. “The change before and after the Navigation Team was dramatic,” she said. “Before, it was haphazard. After, all the players from different city departments were in the same room at the same time.”

As an example, Goodman cites a special event last spring that drew 7,000 middle school students to a Mariner game at Safeco. The students were scheduled to walk a route past the site of a homeless camp. The Navigation Team helped remove the camp before the event, clearing the way for the students to walk undisturbed to the stadium.

The need for continued work on the problem was driven home last week for the author of this article by an episode that resulted in the police windshield notice illustrated above.

It was posted after two vans appeared on a residential street last week on Phinney Ridge in north Seattle. The occupants frequently came and went over a two day period.  A neighbor complained to police. The police put a warning sticker of an impound violation on the windshield of one van. The next morning both vans were gone. Were they simply homeless? Engaged in narcotics?

Nobody in the neighborhood knows but the incident drove home the potential impact of a proposed ordinance that would enable people to sleep in parked vehicles without interference from the police.

Seattle still has a long ways to go on this issue, but it might be closer to solutions thanks to Scott Lindsay. Hear his views on this issue at the forum with mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon.

The forum is being held at the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College, Thursday, Oct. 19. in the auditorium at Building C. Enter the campus at 6737 Corson Avenue South.

Doors will open at 11:30. The program will run from Noon to 1:30 PM. A light lunch will be provided. Admission is free but if you plan to attend, please RSVP to the Manufacturing Industrial Council by emailing Becklynn Martin at becklynn@seattleindustry.org, or call her at 206-762-2470.