Re: “Reject Seattle’s absurd misdemeanor proposal” [Oct. 29, 2020]:

Is this déjà vu? Are the same people crying wolf about the proposed Seattle City Council measure to expand the definition of duress as a defense for certain misdemeanors the ones who claimed “Seattle is dying”? How did a proposal about decriminalizing poverty become a debate about legal loopholes for bad actors?

Social-safety nets and taking care of neighbors used to rest on the public at large. Our current complacency about others’ circumstances sets the foundation for resorting to behaviors of last resort. Instead of criminalization and judicial discretion, think about making public services easier to access so people do not have to resort to crime.

I agree that this must not proceed without a thorough analysis of how it would affect public safety and justice for all. However, embedded within that statement is justice for those living through poverty, mental illness and homelessness.

Shift the debate from loopholes to how we provide services so folks aren’t turning to crime when in need.

This proposal’s negotiation strategy is good. If we start radical, everything negotiated thereafter will seem more rational. Hopefully, this will help end us closer to justice for all than if we had started with the less “absurd.”

Daniel Narváez Zavala, Seattle