JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle removes plants instead of dealing with homeless

Oct 2, 2018, 6:30 AM | Updated: 12:27 pm
lake city...
(KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

The homeless community in Lake City is plaguing the business community by using the planters as beds and toilets. But rather than sweep the homeless, the city is removing the planters — the latest manifestation of a policy that punishes tax-payers, while giving a pass to people who refuse help.

RELATED: Dad finds needles on Seattle waterfront, blames city council

KIRO 7 reports a group of homeless people are terrorizing shoppers at nearby businesses, like the Grocery Outlet in Lake City.

“I’ve had numbers of customers come up to me and say, ‘Love to shop at your store but I won’t come back because I don’t feel safe, I can’t bring my children,’” Mike Sandberg, the owner, told KIRO. “The residents here were pooping on the sidewalk, behind Papa Murphy’s and the stairwells back there and creating a health hazard.”

“They can be agitated and aggressive,” shopper Majid Namini explained. Another, Paul Heistand, told KIRO “If you don’t give them what they want sometimes they get kind of angry and sometimes they will just scream at you.”

Despite being offered services from the city, most of homeless choose to live on the streets there. So, naturally, the city is just giving up on enforcement and is removing the planters, a move that’s both lazy and sure to enrage the city’s hardcore activists.

Why are you taking out a neighborhood amenity because lawbreakers are abusing it? If you know, for example, drivers keep running red lights or stop signs, you increase enforcement until the behavior changes. Likewise, if you have a neighborhood taken over by folks who don’t care about the law, you should be increasing enforcement.

Do you honestly think someone who finds it appropriate to use a sidewalk or plant as a toilet will care that you take the planter away? You think that will change behavior? They’ll just camp out closer to the businesses, or just sleep on the sidewalks like they do in many parts of Seattle. Have you ever been in downtown Seattle after 9 p.m.? Sidewalks are full of people just laying there, fast asleep. If they don’t want the resources we’re offering, then it’s time to make it clear they’re not welcome here. We’re not talking about folks who cannot be helped, but people refusing it. That decision is on them.

To be fair: I’m surprised the city is making this move, given their fear of angry Kshama Sawant-led activists who will likely say taking away their planter beds is a social justice fight worth taking.

The Seattle policy apparently requires you to do the bare minimum in attacking the homelessness problem, while making neighborhoods less hospitable to taxpayers.

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Rantz: Seattle removes plants instead of dealing with homeless