Re: “Seattle’s fight over park rangers doesn’t bode well for fixing the police” [Sept. 24, Local News]:
We are living in a crisis of houselessness for our low-income neighbors who are under- or unemployed, and suffering from substance use or behavioral health disorders. Listening carefully to policymakers over the last 10 years, I understand that the proposed solutions include building more affordable and supportive housing, community building, and restorative services like counseling and addiction treatment.
So, why invest in 26 park rangers? I agree with advocates who equate park rangers with surveillance. Even if deployment of more rangers doesn’t create more ticketing, banning and incarceration, I’m unclear what good it will do. Do we believe people don’t know or understand park rules? I doubt it. I believe folks not following the rules are simply trying to survive. Instead, I’d like the mayor and city council to consider deploying 26 social workers, roaming downtown, building relationships and connecting people in need with the services that will help them live with more stability and dignity.
Why not spend the money on enhancing well-being instead of increasing surveillance? There’s no question the results will be better.
Janis Avery, Seattle