City Manager’s Weekly Report for week ending April 12, 2019

City Manager’s Weekly Report
for week ending April 12, 2019

Seattle is definitely in trouble. Thursday night, Chief Yourkoski and I, with Mayor Chicquette participating, met with local residents at John Knox Church to participate in a discussion about homelessness. Local resident, Melissa Petrini organized the event. Several participants made the case that homelessness involves the economically homeless, drug-related homeless and the criminal homeless; the boundaries between these classifications are confusing. Moreover, enforcement restrictions on police officers make intervention difficult to achieve. This difficulty is clearly defined in the recent Seattle is Dying program produced by KOMO News.  It seems to me that Americans, freedom-loving and entrepreneurial, historically have a hard time drawing limits to independence, especially when it comes to social responsibility. We tend to readily accept inadequate, easy solutions to complex problems, and we’ve been this way for a long time, repeating the same mistakes over and over with respect to health-related issues.

For instance, in The New York Times in 1911, Wright was quoted as saying, “Of all the nations of the world, the United States consumes the most habit-forming drugs per capita. Opium, the most pernicious drug known to humanity, is surrounded, in this country, with far fewer safeguards than any other nation in Europe fences it with. China now guards it with much greater care than we do; Japan preserves her people from it far more intelligently than we do ours, who can buy it, in almost any form, in every tenth one of our drug stores.” In response, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 – the first major piece of U.S. legislation to control the sale and use of opiates – was passed. The act passed restrictions on the distribution and sale of heroin and opium, as well as cocaine. Ten years later, Congress made it illegal to make, import or sell heroin when it passed the Anti-Heroin Act of 1924.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” (Winston Churchill and George Santayana later gave this quote slightly different twists.) The opioid epidemic has direct ancestors, and we all have an old, old problem.

Melissa Petrini reported after the meeting, “The Group agreed that everyone will take the time to volunteer or do something this month, even for 1 hour and then when we meet back up, we will share what we did and learned and seek to invite others to join in our group. Sometimes we need to get over our fears and just get involved and help create the community we wish to see.”  Melissa suggests as a good place to start.

South King County Housing and Homeless Partners.  This week marked the first Executive Board meeting of the SKHHP, a group formed by interlocal agreement to work toward improved low-income housing options for South King County residents.  This partnership is open to all South King County cities and is supported by King County participation.  A brief report about the nature of the group and its purposes is attached.

[SKHHP Report]

Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager
City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA  98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)

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