When will City Council say enough is enough?
I have worked on Third Avenue since 1996. During this time, I watched Third Avenue become an open-air market of drugs and stolen goods, and other criminal activities. I have witnessed shoplifting at nearly every store; stores close due to shoplifting; people defecate in the streets; people injecting heroin; and untreated addiction and mental illness cause heartbreaking misery. My suburban friends have stopped coming downtown.
The Seattle City Council has tolerated this criminal behavior for years. Criminal activity begets more criminal activity, which in this case led to eight people shot — one critically, one a 9-year-old child and one dead. What does it take for the City Council to say enough is enough and stop tolerating criminal activity?
Until then, I will watch businesses continue to leave downtown, and I will continue to put the blame on the Seattle City Council’s inability to make the changes needed to make downtown safe.
Shoshana Driver, Seattle
‘Behavior allowed is behavior continued’
I am the founder and an owner of Pacific Northwest Asset Management, LLC, located in downtown Seattle. My wife and I are downtown Seattle residents.
In April, I sent Mayor Jenny Durkan an email regarding the overt crime that constantly occurs downtown, especially the drug dealing and use on Third Avenue between Pike Street and Pine Street. Despite the lip service of the copied and pasted email reply from one of the mayor’s surrogates, Durkan clearly did not get the message.
Criminals and thugs have laid claim to downtown, and Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best have done little or nothing to thwart criminal activity that I, or any other brave Seattle citizen, can witness — night or day — by walking Third Avenue between Pike and Pine. The fact that Durkan and Best have not permanently stationed SPD in that area speaks volumes. As I mentioned in my email to Durkan, behavior allowed is behavior continued. Durkan has allowed it, and it has obviously continued. Unless Durkan cleans it up, Wednesday’s mass shooting will be one among many. Durkan must open her eyes and take action because inaction has not served her constituents well.
My wife and I are fed up, and we will not accept crime, fecal matter, drug dealing or use as simply a quirky part of the downtown living experience. It must stop now, and Durkan, Best and the entire administration better make a concerted effort to eradicate or significantly diminish crime in our neighborhood.
Stuart McGehee, Seattle
Mayor Durkan, I implore you
I am a lifelong Seattleite. I have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, but I have been clean and sober for 25 years. I got with the Union Gospel Mission, and have visited “the jungle” and talked to the homeless on a few occasions, and am aware of the different hot spots in the city for different drugs and crimes.
I’ve spent the last 35 years traveling the planet, and have become a student of how different cities operate and change over time.
Two years ago, my band Guns N’ Roses played in Seattle. One of our security staff took a walk to the health and nutrition store GNC downtown from our hotel, and came back shaken up. In all of his travels — and we go to some pretty “bad” cities, crime-wise — he’d never seen anything like downtown Seattle. And this particular individual is a large and very physically able man who served in the U.S. Army Special Forces. I was crestfallen.
Seattle is the only city in the world that I take a knife with me downtown when I go to my gym, or take my family to the theater or dinner.
Something has to be done here. This is enough! More police. No open drug zone. I implore Mayor Jenny Durkan to make Seattle’s downtown a place of safety.
Seattle is my city, and it’s gotten way past the point of being scary.
Duff McKagan, Seattle, bassist, Guns N’ Roses
Screwed up criminal-justice system
Reading that two of the suspects in the latest downtown shootout reportedly have been arrested 75 times in Seattle, and have felony convictions and numerous misdemeanor convictions, it makes one wonder how it is that they were free to walk the streets with guns and shoot innocent bystanders when they have an argument with each other. It further makes one wonder why bond for the captured suspect is only $50,000 when bystanders have been shot and killed.
This is yet another case study in how radically screwed up Seattle’s criminal-justice system is. Clearly we need a new mayor, a new city attorney and generally new city leadership.
Allen Johnson, Seattle
‘A disgrace to anyone in public office’
I am 34 years old, born and raised in Seattle. I work downtown and have seen the problems on Third Avenue get out of hand.
When is enough enough? I don’t let my wife go on Third Avenue alone anymore (that was before the shooting). Now we are simply avoiding Third Avenue all together.
This is real, and it is affecting people’s everyday lives. We were looking to buy a house in Seattle, but now with all of the recent crime activity this past year, we are considering changing jobs and moving to Bellevue or somewhere else altogether.
It is unbelievable that a major city, during business hours, has a shooting incident in the major transportation corridor where everyday people who are abiding the law and just trying to go to work suffer. I have seen decades of verbal abuse and physical abuse on Third Avenue, and now we have mounting deaths occurring on Third Avenue. It is a disgrace to anyone in public office that is responsible for this.
Dean Lewis, Seattle
‘Vote of confidence’ from first responders
Given the number of individuals who currently have warrants for arrest and lengthy arrest and release records, plus the continuing drug, crime and violence problems in Seattle and King County, I challenge Mayor Jenny Durkan, City Attorney Pete Holmes, King County Executive Dow Constantine and County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to seek “vote of confidence” opinions from Seattle and King County police, medics and firefighters.
These first responders will tell us how confident they are in our city and county government’s effectiveness supporting our law enforcement officers, emergency medical crews and our judiciary system.
Mike Kirk, Vashon Island
‘This is not just about guns’
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s response at her news conference was shockingly limited, reactive and unacceptable.
This is not just about guns. The mayor glossed over, in fact avoided totally, the disgraceful condition of Third Avenue. It is a hotbed of disease, homelessness, drug dealing and mental illness.
I walk through downtown every single day. The corners of Third Avenue and Pike Street are out of control and totally unsafe. I heard there was supposed to be a police presence there. In the last two months, on my daily walk through the area, I have never once seen a police officer anywhere.
I am a senior citizen. I have cancer and a compromised immune system. The disease factor alone in the area of Third Avenue must be off the charts. What diseases exist there among the homeless, the urine, the feces, the needles? Do we have typhus, tuberculosis and other medieval diseases as they do in Skid Row in Los Angeles? Should I have to confine myself to my home?
When are the mayor, the chief of police and the courts really going to do something? There needs to be a vagrancy law with teeth.
Marilyn Page, Seattle