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Seattle activist: Our tax dollars are helping the destruction of parks

Activists fought hard to maintain a deadly encampment at Cal Anderson Park. (Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)

The recent news that housing activists refused to leave a hotel in Fife sheds light on ongoing homeless issues in Seattle and the surrounding region, and how leadership is playing a part in potentially contributing. Community advocate Erika Nagy joined the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio to discuss how she believes Seattle’s approach to homelessness is impacting surrounding areas.

“People consistently point to Seattle as this isolated kind of place within Washington state where things are happening — or even Olympia, let’s say — and the reality is, it is just like a cancer. These ideologies spread into suburban areas, spread across the state. And if we don’t deal with the problems at the core, if we don’t go and radiate the problems at the core, this will spread,” she said.

She believes that too many people are simply watching the Seattle homeless issue from the sidelines, and are naïve if they think the problems will not worsen and spread.

“Clearly, our current city elected officials are not managing this properly whatsoever. And I think it’s time that citizens really uprise and kind of demand further action. You know, too many people are sitting on the sidelines, complaining about it. But not enough of us are actively becoming a part of the solution or raising our voices loud enough and organizing to make sure that we’re being listened to,” Nagy said.

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“It will impact us even more greatly going into 2021 with all these budget shortfalls. If you go and look at the state of Seattle downtown, and if people don’t think that what is happening within our city — the businesses that are leaving and the residents that are leaving and the reduction in the tax revenues — isn’t going to impact Washington state on the whole, they’re dead wrong.”

Nagy is part of a group that tries to help clean up Seattle parks and other public areas, but worries that such groups are doing work the city should be doing, and therein enabling a passive approach.

“I’ve kind of become a part of a group … where they’re really kind of organizing groups of people to clean up parks, to clean up sidewalks, and do all these activities. They were posting today about what we could do, for example, at the Ballard Commons. The city is there today, in my words, providing maid service, which is really all we’re doing is enabling this behavior and the destruction of the park,” she said.

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“And while this organization has good intentions of going in there to help, my point is we’re not addressing the real problem, which is our tax dollars are being used to essentially help enable the destruction of our parks and our cities, and the environmental destruction that is happening. And by us just helping to clean up what the city should be doing if they enforce the laws is, by definition, enablement.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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