I moved to Seattle in 1985, drawn by its beauty, the inclusivity and opportunities it provided. Of all that has made Seattle a beacon to visitors, too much has been stripped away of late. We still live in a vibrant city, with unique neighborhoods and spectacular scenery, but too often the scenery is marred by crime tape. Neighborhoods are no longer the safe refuge they once were.

The safety and security of Seattle residents should be a priority for all who serve in leadership roles. But what has become increasingly clear, and dangerously so, is that those leaders are losing sight of what is required to maintain a safe city. Ignoring the problems that are creeping into more neighborhoods is the difference between success and failure for our incredible city, and I fear we are heading toward failure, mainly due to the self-promotion and self-interest of some of the city council members.

Now when they have the opportunity to correct the mistakes and make public safety a priority, they are once again pushing the narrative of defunding our police.

Driving through the neighborhoods of Seattle, the impact of this divisive city leadership is immediately noticeable and negative. We had homeless people camping on our mosque grounds. Pleas for help to address damaged property, stolen or damaged cars go unanswered, not because of a police force unwilling but because of city leadership that is unable to find a way forward.

Where are the compassionate and impactful efforts to house the unhoused? Where are the coordinated and resolute actions to restore confidence in our safety? I’m concerned those questions will not be answered in the current city budget cycle as city council members choose to grandstand instead of lead.

We need true and sincere collaboration with city officials and public safety departments working together and putting the interest of the city and the people above politics. We need to make sure that the Seattle Police Department has the budget it needs to maintain its already dwindled ranks, and hire and train new officers while the city continues to expand educational and social services to address drug abuse and mental-health issues.

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A complex problem requires a complex and well-developed solution. Demanding cuts from one side without an actual plan is setting the city up for more failure, and yet that appears to once again be the plan as council debates over the budget continue.

Please don’t let my plea for addressing our city’s failing policies diminish what I believe is still a city full of beauty. There is so much potential for Seattle to grow and prosper while protecting the vitality of the neighborhoods we call home. I think of the kindness of the people here, the progressive values, the healthy lifestyle and the local outdoor markets as a symbol of the city I fell in love with.

We cannot restore what our city once was by ignoring the problems that brought us to this point. Public safety helps to build strong, vibrant, cohesive and participatory communities. Shouldn’t that be the goal for us all?