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Seattle’s results on homelessness speak for themselves

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)

Results. They speak for themselves don’t they.

Now our pals at Starbucks have joined the choir that I’ve been singing for years. The green mermaid would like to see some results from the City of Seattle on the homelessness crisis as she peeks her head above her Seattle headquarters.

From a Seattle Times story this week, “John Kelly, the company’s top executive for public affairs … says the city should reform its homelessness programs and show results before it seeks more money.”

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Kelly went a step further and said that the $500 head tax amount is beside the point. It’s not about the $500, it’s about results.

I find it very ironic that publicly-traded companies like Starbucks that have to demonstrate progress to Wall Street at regular intervals are pleading with the city to do the same. For the elected officials listening, there’s a word for this: accountability.

When you think about this critically, there are really only two scenarios that could be happening right now.

Scenario one: Politicians are spending the money wisely, getting solid results, and are just really bad at communicating those results to the voting public.

Scenario two: Politicians are just spending money with no oversight, not getting good outcomes, and then have come back to ask for more money.

OK, let me keep an open mind. On its face, which one seems more likely? Scenario two? That’s the one I’d pick too. But if there are a sea of success stories that I am unaware of, please tell me those stories.

Positive results

I’ve heard of some positive results at Mary’s Place. But, oh, wait, that’s backed by Amazon. Ouch.

I’ve seen positive results with my own two eyes with the Union Gospel Mission. But wait, UGM is mostly funded by private donations.

Speaking of my own two eyes, there’s a phrase I want to borrow from the sports world. When a coach is evaluating a new player, they ask “does he pass the eyeball test?” Meaning, does this guy look like an athlete we want?

Does the response of the politicians meet the eyeball test? Seems like more and more folks are agreeing with me and saying “no.” Anyone with even one eye can look around and see what’s become of the Emerald City.

We’ve officially been in a “State of Emergency” about this issue since 2015. Maybe it’s time to act like it.

You can hear “What are we talking about here?” everyday at 4:45 p.m. on 97.3 FM.

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