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Dori: Why are Bill and Melinda Gates sponsoring this bogus poll?

In this Monday, May 7, 2018 photo, with CenturyLink and Safeco Fields in the background, two people walk past a half-dozen tents set up along a sidewalk at the Seattle waterfront. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

As long as we have people in power who are trying to deceive us, there is no chance of solving any of our issues. There are a bunch of stakeholders, including some very wealthy philanthropic groups, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ballmer Group, that are pushing out a counter-narrative to KOMO’s Seattle is Dying TV special. They even have a new hashtag, #seattleforall. They are trying to tell us that things aren’t all that bad.

But the thing is, we all see the drug vagrants and the crime all over the city on a regular basis. Trying to tell us that reality is not so just ensures that we’re not going to accomplish anything.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ballmer Group, the Campion Advocacy Fund, and the Raikes Foundation enlisted a PR firm that sent out results of a poll it did on homelessness that show that everything is just fine in Seattle.

According to the poll, 53 percent of people the PR firm talked to said that we are not spending enough on homelessness “when they learned that homelessness increased by nine percent [sic] between 2014-17, while spending on social services had only increased by 2.4 percent.”

That is the purest definition of a push-poll question — where you phrase a question a certain way to get a desired result. And they only got it barely above 50 percent even with that biased phrasing.

What the question doesn’t tell you is that the reason homelessness has increased by 10 percent is because people have moved from all over this country, because they’ve heard this is the best region in America to be an addict.

What if the pollsters had said, “We’ve increased spending to $100,000 per homeless person per year, and many of the homeless have come from out of the region. Do you think we should spend more?” I think 99 percent of people would say no, we should not spend more. The push-poll nature of their question was just designed to get tax hikes.

Then they said 60 percent of poll respondents believe people who are homeless have an addiction problem, when actually it’s only about 21 percent of homeless who have addiction problems.

That’s completely false.

You know it, I know it, the people who did this poll know it. And I suspect that Bill and Melinda Gates and Steve Ballmer know it. The poll cited that bogus study commissioned by the City of Seattle and King County, All Home, to make it look like all of the homeless are just victims of the affordable housing crisis.

And some of them genuinely are — but in general, they tend to be the ones trying to get out of their situation, and are not the people living in tents refusing services.

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Do you believe only 21 percent of homeless have a drug or alcohol abuse problem? They are citing self-reporting. Yeah, go talk to a homeless drug vagrant and ask them if they’re addicted to drugs. Of course, they’ll tell you they’re not.

In another question, people answered that they believe 40 percent of the homeless are not from here, but “All Home found 83 percent of people it surveyed reported living in King County or Seattle immediately prior to losing housing.”

You know why that is? So many of them list the downtown emergency service center as their last address. If they came from Phoenix or Austin and they had one service at the downtown center, they are encouraged to list that as their last address.

That’s because the city wants you and me to feel like these are the kids we grew up with who have just fallen on hard times; they don’t have any addiction problems, and we should spend more on them. The narrative is to make you feel guilty so that the city can get as much of your money as possible.

I find it all disturbing. Bill and Melinda Gates are focused in efficiency, in bang for your buck, through their philanthropy. I think that it’s really interesting that community stakeholders are pushing this out. Seattle is an impossibility because of who is in power politically, and because of narratives like this.

Here’s what we’ve got to do. The answer has never been clearer. We need services for every single person who wants to turn their life around — addiction treatment, mental health counseling, meals, beds, job training. We will do that for every single person who wants it.

If they refuse that, or if they are found using, then instead of giving them a legal place to shoot up, we’ve got to take the money we’re spending on the homeless industrial complex and build more prisons. We will say that there is no public camping, that you cannot shoot up in front of police officers, and if you do these things, you will be locked up.

The path that we’re on is not working. We must do a 180. If the people who have been elected aren’t willing to do it, we’ve got to get rid of them and put someone in power who has got the guts to do what needs to be done.

I’m amazed that these billionaire stakeholders like Bill and Melinda Gates, who know what it takes to build a responsible, self-sufficient life, are buying into this idea that we just need to tax people more. Yeah, and then we’ll import another 10,000 drug vagrants from around the country, because this is the best place in the U.S. to be an addict.

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