Downtown Seattle Crime: Don’t Despair, Get Involved

Re: “I loved my downtown Seattle neighborhood, but it got too depressing to stay there,” Sep 18, Opinion]:

Mary Lou Sanelli writes: “Rarely do policymakers live in the hardest hit neighborhoods they rule. I can only hope (and pray and vote!) That our people will finally admit that the homelessness issue has become too permissive Seattle public policy.

In fact, the people of Seattle can do more than hope, pray, or even vote. Seattle residents can donate their time, money and skills to welfare societies. They can engage in dialogues with their homeless neighbors. They can volunteer in community kitchens, shelters, libraries. They can demonstrate in favor of rent control and against evictions. They can donate backpacks and non-perishable food items. They can volunteer to host a refugee.

All too often, instead of engaging directly with our communities, we become too dependent on our democratic institutions. But remember, in a democracy you get the government you deserve. Maybe if the board seems disengaged, it’s because its constituents are disengaged. Why should the council listen to your concerns, if you’re just going to leave town as soon as you can’t? If your neighborhood is too depressing, don’t move to the suburbs – by all means, do something about it. Don’t wait for the town hall to save your neighborhood. Since when has autonomy practically left our city?

Sean Koa Seu, Seattle