by Inlander Readers
Spare a Dime... or a Park -- Mayor Jim West has been a bad slum landlord. Most of you are aware of the media coverage on the homeless protest that was booted off the island due to the fact that trees needing water come before humans needing a home. The Spokesman Review stated that, "West bolstered his own decision to wear a tie." Quote from West: "I've got to distinguish myself from the homeless." Then he said he planned on dealing with the campers by sending them to Commissioner John Roskelley's home. What kind of heartless man is making decisions for the people?
Mayor West does not know what poverty is. I think not a day has gone by that his mouth did not have food, that his stomach did not ache from hunger and his shoes did not have a scratch on them, let alone a hole to let the earth's waters soak in. We need to take a stand. Mayor West stated that the campers do not have a right to pitch their homes on city land. Well, as a taxpayer I say, "Yes they can." I give my OK for them to lay their heads on part of any city land that my tax dollars have watered and mowed.
My point to all of this is that I would like to see some support for those who no one wants to listen to. Many homeless are people who had some misfortune and possibly mental illness. Why can other cities embrace homelessness and set aside city land for tents, but Spokane shuts the door on the issue? The people may have shelters to go to, but Spokane has so many homeless that not all can be accommodated. Families are separated by "male/female only" rules. Some shelters do not have funding to be open at nights for sleepovers during the summer months. Why can't the city grounds be open for free camping in the summer months? Tax dollars go to city cops to search and find homeless campers along the river and move them on. Why can't this money go to the police to patrol a community camp? We are the city of parks, and we have more than we can use. One can be spared to the homeless for a community camp in the summer.
Let's come together and let it be known to all of Spokane that we give our support for the homeless to camp on our city land. It only takes one in your family to lose their job, and then you may be looking for a place for you and your family to sleep or camp on the land that you spend paying for with the taxes you worked for.
Publication date: 07/22/04