Ross: Fentanyl-smoking passengers on light rail present huge danger

Feb 27, 2023, 8:17 AM | Updated: 10:57 am

Photo: Light Rail train at UW Station....

Light Rail train at UW Station. (Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)

Even open-minded Seattle liberals have their limits. Two weeks ago, longtime listener Mike Goldenkranz saw the David Horsey cartoon in The Seattle Times – depicting a couple of super friendly Sound Transit ambassadors handing a gift to a fentanyl smoker as a bribe to get him to leave the train.

And he fired off an email to me.

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“When I saw the David Horsey cartoon, light rail ambassadors politely inviting a fentanyl-smoking passenger to please leave, complete with an incentive gift, I lost it,” Goldenkranz told me.

So I said Mike, why don’t you just do a commentary? So here he is:

“As a liberal Seattleite since 1980, I’ve been okay with increasing my taxes to pay for successful mental health drug rehab programs and even alternative housing for street campers. But we spent billions to try to catch up with other cities’ excellent public transit systems.

“I use the light rail to go to the airport, and if downtown ever gets its act together, light rail [is] the way.

“At 70, I know I won’t drive forever, but our light rail trains should not be a refuge or safe house for drug users. Paying more to have light rail Sound Transit ambassadors versus our already hired Sound Transit Police to cajole flagrant drug users off of the light rail. It’s absurd.

“Arrest them! Treat the problem, and invest in resources, but don’t turn our public transit into de facto pilot safe house programs.

“It was pretty daft in the first place to construct our walk-right-in, sit-right-down transit portal system with infrequent checks of ticket purchases after the fact just encourages this mess.

“Put in some turnstiles or gates like New York City. Oh, that’s too insensitive. Keep in mind when New York City was the armpit of the nation, Rudy Giuliani was their chosen knight in shining armor mayor who cleaned up that city’s landscape and crime. Let’s fix this before that happens.

“Hey Dave, it reminds me of the old Grateful Dead song, riding that train, high on cocaine, trouble ahead. Troubled by light rail ambassadors just blows my mind.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Fentanyl-smoking passengers on light rail present huge danger