KOMO ABC 4 News produced a video titled, KOMO – 4 Seattle Is Dying. View the video to learn what has happened and what has failed to happen in Seattle, Washington. Seattle’s troubles are only 30 miles north of places we care about such as Lakewood, University Place, Steilacoom, and DuPont.
Before it is too late, we should ask a fundamental question. Is societal cancer infecting Seattle starting to kill parts of Lakewood and other nearby towns?
The homeless all across the country think of Seattle as “Free-attle.” With a false sense of compassion, at the cost of more than a billion dollars per year, Seattle attracts a multitude of people from all over the US, who are down and out. These individuals suffer from homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and for many, mental illness. By providing an abundance of free goods and services along with the benefits of a sanctuary city offering homeless freedom from arrest, prosecution, and jail time, Seattle attracts droves of irresponsible people with needs.
As a consequence, Seattle has the second highest crime rate in our nation hovering at 5,258 per 100,000 of population. When compared to the low of 2,500 crimes in Los Angeles, and high of 6,168 crimes in San Francisco, Seattle is unacceptable.
Look at it this way. If you pour a jar of honey on a picnic table, the picnic table will soon be covered with ants. Free-attle to the homeless is the same as honey to the ants.
There are some who think providing free honey shows compassion to the ants. There are others who think providing free honey to the ants shows lack of compassion for picnickers wishing to use the table for its originally intended purpose.
Let’s look at Lakewood. While it does not appear our West Side towns and cities are currently facing the same level of death threat as Seattle, we are experiencing some of the same issues.
For this story, I was drawn to the Lakewood Cinema Plaza as just one example of problems that have infested our West Side. This shopping center suffers from negative homeless issues radiating from both Tacoma and Lakewood.
In preparation for this column, I made contact with Ms. Shirley Ritter, owner of The Fairy Store, a unique specialty gift shop currently located inside the Lakewood Cinema Plaza Shopping Center. After our interview, the complex security officer gave me a tour of the entire commercial property which allowed me to see first hand some of the problems Shirley was describing.
Shirley, who retired after a quarter century of service as a neonatal nurse, purchased her business in 2010 when it was located in Tumwater, Washington.
On March 1, 2014, Shirley moved her business from Tumwater to Lakewood. Her store is currently located in what used to be the Ruby Tuesday Restaurant. She was attracted to the Lakewood location for several reasons including…
- She liked the visibility from the high traffic roadways of I-5, 84th St South, and Tacoma Mall Boulevard.
- When she moved her business to Lakewood, she thought she was bringing something good to our community.
The Fairy Store is currently located at 2202 – 84th Street South, Lakewood, Washington 98499. P: 253-584-9761. Website: http://www.efairies.com.
Shirley has been so successful with The Fairy Store bringing joy and happiness to so many customers, especially children, she is known and loved across our great land as The Fairy Godmother.
Using a structure familiar in comedy, we might refer to the above writing as the setup. Now comes the punchline, but unlike comedy, what I have to write next, is not funny.
The sad news is the problems Seattle is experiencing seem to be expanding to cities such as Lakewood. While Lakewood’s issues are not yet as severe as Seattle’s in general, for any individual business owner, homeowner, customer, or visitor the problems are just as critical as Seattle’s on a case by case basis. If anyone fitting one of the categories listed above is victimized by the homeless, who are emboldened to do whatever they want including narcotics violations, stealing, car theft, car prowl, burglary, strong arm robbery, shoplift, physical assault and sexual assault, for that victim it is just like they are in Seattle.
The next three photos below depict how most homeless people destroy everything they come in contact with wherever they are located. What you see in these photos is stolen, destroyed, damaged, abandoned, and littered property. These images cause the terms slum and third world country to come to mind.
Most citizens do not wish to be in this kind of environment, nor do they want to risk crossing paths with the defective humans responsible for this kind of decadent behavior. No one wants to be threatened physically.
It hurts me to declare that the Holiness Church, located in the shopping center, is a magnet for the homeless problem. While I do not know Pastor Rufus, who leads the church, I am confident he is a good man with a good heart and an abundant amount of compassion. None-the-less, through no fault of the church, the members are causing problems for others in the shopping center. Why? Because the church is forced to operate its free food program in a vacuum. By vacuum I mean the city and law enforcement are not set up and organized with a uniform program to eradicate the problems caused by the homeless. If the city organizes a well-rounded approach to the homeless problem, the church will become an asset to our community, rather than a liability. Free food is like the honey on the picnic table. The church attracts the homeless and then the homeless steal and destroy property, victimize the business owners, and chase customers away who might otherwise patronize this shopping center. When that happens, a little piece of Lakewood dies.
Part of the area the homeless destroy is in Lakewood and part is in Tacoma. Most of the property being used for homeless camping and homeless dumping is known as Wards Lake and is owned by The City of Tacoma which is located right next to the victimized Lakewood shopping center. A Tacoma Public Works sign on the Wards Lake site reads, “To report problems, call 253-591-5595”.
Additional language reads, “This pond is maintained by Tacoma Public Works.” It appears the sign is a lie as it is obvious the property is not being maintained. In fact, the Wards Lake property suffers from being allowed to serve as a homeless camp in what can only be described as a garbage dump-like condition.
If Lakewood and Tacoma fail to act, how long will it be before businesses like The Fairy Story decide to leave the shopping center now run by the homeless resulting in Lakewood having numerous empty commercial buildings?
Death of a city is already happening in Seattle. An example is Karan Dannenberg who after many years of operating her clothing store in the Belltown area of Seattle, was no longer able to successfully and safely run her shop when the neighborhood changed from a city jewel to a city cesspool. Karan was forced to move her store out of Seattle to Bellevue. In her new location, the city, not the homeless, are in charge. Karan no longer has to worry about the death of her business by the homeless.
Mrs. Ritter has been directly approached three times on her own business property by homeless people who appeared mentally disturbed. The irrational behavior of these three homeless trespassers scared her.
I know what she experienced based on my having suffered at the hands of the homeless at the Lakewood Walgreens and the Lakewood Library.
I reported to staff at both locations that I had been negatively impacted by the homeless running amok on their property. The response I received was, “There is nothing we can do.” So for me, Lakewood Walgreens and the Lakewood Library are both dead. That might just mean Lakewood, like Seattle, could become a cesspool.
I do hold a glimmer of hope as it appears some mysterious metamorphosis may be occurring which could bring the Library back from death in Lakewood. If my observations are correct, I know not what has caused the improvement.
I recently had the opportunity to visit with an accomplished highly educated and experienced psychiatric nurse. I have known Nurse Victoria Leavitt for over twenty years and thus have high confidence in what she has to say. Not only is Victoria’s credibility based on her education and professional career, but she also personally experienced homelessness first-hand when she was a kid in the Bronx. There were occasions she and her family were forced to live in her mother’s car.
Victoria educated me on the fact that most, if not all, homeless individuals suffer and struggle with substance addiction and / or mental illness. She has observed the causes of homelessness both in her childhood and in her professional life. My friend knows what she is talking about.
The essence of what Victoria was telling me is that society has a drug and mental illness problem, not a homeless problem. Homelessness is a symptom of the real foundational issues of substance addiction and / or mental illness.
With firm conviction, Nurse Leavitt told me that society needs to develop a properly designed compassionate two-step solution for homelessness.
Step one is to enable our police to enforce the laws; all the laws including misdemeanors and civility rules. Returning power to our police requires lawful cooperation from victims, victim business owners, prosecutors, judges, and the jail to support law enforcement efforts as they police our city to keep us and our property safe.
Step two is one of compassion involving intervention including helping the homeless escape from the prison of substance addiction and mental illness.
For evidence on how using one or both steps can prove victorious, study New York City’s and Rhode Island’s history, experience, and results.
Take another look at photos above and ask yourself, can and should the City of Tacoma and the City of Lakewood be doing more to prevent Lakewood from dying?
What does The Fairy Godmother wish for?
She wishes that Lakewood City Council, Lakewood City Staff, Lakewood Police, the courts, the jail, and mental health professionals will come together to create a permanent solution plan that will help business owners, customers, citizens, and the homeless. If her wish does not come true, then like Karan Dannenberg, Shirley Ritter may ultimately be forced to move out of our city which will mean a little bit more of Lakewood will die.
An essential function of Lakewood’s Economic Development Department is to attract and encourage new businesses to establish themselves in our city. An even more critical role of Economic Development should involve active problem solving so companies already in Lakewood, will not be forced to leave because of the homeless situation. That means solutions are required to eliminate drug and substance addiction, mental illness, poverty, joblessness, and homelessness.
If we do not make it better, it will get worse. The final question might well be, will there be a new video titled KOMO ABC NEWS 4 – Is Lakewood Dying?
David Anderson says
Bipartisan Senate Bill 5261 in this last legislative session would have created a pilot program to hire homeless persons for local beautification projects in but three cities statewide.
As I understand the process, it died in committee. No action in the House; none in the Senate to take it to the floor for a vote; thus, no Chamber action; no legislative discussion; no Governor’s desk for a signature and thus no homeless persons hired to prettify the city.
Lakewood’s Mayor Don Anderson, after joining Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier’s executive team, travelled to New Mexico to participate as part of a homeless crew in Albuquerque’s nationally recognized program that hires the homeless to pick up litter.
“There’s A Better Way” is what Albuquerque calls it’s paying the homeless to pick up litter program. It’s so successful it’s been featured on ‘NBC Nightly News’, ‘New York Times’, and nearly 10 million folks have seen the video highlighting the program.
So enamored with Albuquerque’s ‘trash-to-cash’ success (“over 6,700 people connected to services they may not have known about previously; 426 day jobs offered; 92 city blocks cleaned with over 41,000 pounds of trash and debris cleared”) Mayor Anderson encouraged the Pierce County Council to implement H.E.L.P. (Homeless Empowerment Labor Program) in its 2018 budget.
But it never passed.
Because, as one County Councilmember put it in the July 31, 2018 council meeting, “A lot of these people are drug-addicted. They need recovery, not a job.”
Beg (speaking of homelessness) to differ.
It’s hard to figure how you argue with Albuquerque’s success and wonder why the powers-that-be would not want to give the old-fashioned work ethic a try.
‘Old’ as in 450 BC.
Said Socrates, book eight, of his Tripartite History: “who does not work with hands, is like a thief.”
Likewise, Carlyle’s Chartism, chap. Iii: “In all ways it needs, especially in these times, to be proclaimed aloud that for the idle man there is no place in this England … he that will not work according to his faculty, let him perish according to his necessity.”
And yet another: “It is a false charity to give food to persons who are capable of working and able to get work but who are too indolent to do so. Those who beg should never be assisted unless they are willing to do all they can do for their own support. No one can be justified in assisting a lazy man. In no possible circumstances are we to contribute to foster indolence. A man might as properly help to maintain open vice.”
Fast forwarding to the present day, if the Department of Ecology can hire teens at $11.50 per hour to pick up roadside litter throughout the state of Washington during the summer, then is there a reason why the homeless can’t be hired to do the same?
Do not beautification projects – the purpose of Senate Bill 5261 – include picking up litter?
Is hiring the homeless – the purpose of Senate Bill 5261 – not better than a handout?
Albuquerque’s Mayor Richard J. Berry, said “People give money because they are compassionate, but don’t have the benefit of certainty to know where that money is going.”
In announcing the “There’s A Better Way” program Berry said, “we are calling upon members of our community to stop giving money to panhandlers.”
Albuquerque offered an alternative.
“There’s A Better Way” works because it puts people to work.
In “When Helping Hurts,” subtitled “How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor . . . and yourself,” authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert suggest that in most cases unless the help offered is “to stop the bleeding,” i.e. an actual emergency, we do more harm than good.
“If a person can help himself then a pure handout is almost never appropriate, as it undermines the person’s capacity to be a steward of his own resources and abilities” (p.106).
“It is paternalistic to do for people what they can do for themselves.”
When I was a chaplain for both the Tacoma and Lakewood Police Departments, we chaplains were instructed in a crisis to (a) go, and (b) say we could not help. Hard-hearted? Not at all. The best source of help for victims of so many crises is their own support network. We were there to assist, but the initiative had to be their own.
So important is our grasp of this that Corbett and Fikkert write, “Memorize this, recite it under your breath all day long, and wear it around your neck. Every time you are engaged in poverty alleviation, keep this at the forefront of your mind, for it can keep you from doing all sorts of harm” (p.115).
If in fact one of the “major causes for homelessness” is the unavailability of employment opportunities, and best-practice programs exist as proof that work works, then we will forever be wringing our hands at the magnitude of the growing problem of homelessness until we return to putting those hands to work.
Joseph Boyle says
Thanks for your informative response. Work is a foundational life survival skill.
When I was 10 years old I asked my dad, “Hey dad, when I turn 16 what kind of car are you going to start me out with”. My dad’s answer, “Joe, it sounds to me you need to get a job. I started working and saving for my first car. Five years later I had the $150 necessary to buy a 1948 Ford 2-door sedan. Work, worked like magic. I worked my way through life giving in to retirement at age 70. I love workand anyone, including the homeless can make a success of it, if they know or are taught some work life skills.
Quote from your comment: “Because, as one County Councilmember put it in the July 31, 2018 council meeting, “A lot of these people are drug-addicted. They need recovery, not a job.”
My response which I think is more helpful than the Pierce County Councilperson’s remark. “Yes, a lot of these people are drug-addicted. They need both recovery and a job.” The work program should provide careful and close supervision when a homeless person is drug addicted. That goes without saying. No, it is not a good idea to have a drug addicted homeless person clean your teeth in a dental office. But come on Pierce County Council. If supervised, providing trash pickup work for the homeless can be a huge success.
What is the council’s excuse for not creating the program for the homeless who are not suffering from addiction?
Yours are good thoughts Mr. Anderson. Let’s hope one day the politicians can wake up and allow common sense to work so the homeless can go to work.
P Rose says
It may become necessary to repeal the laws against littering so we can legally discard trash in an effort to create work. I saw this while visiting Japan in 1983, drivers deliberately throwing litter from their cars to create work for the less fortunate. No trash leads to no work that leads to no money that leads to…………….?
Joseph Boyle says
It is an interesting observation you make from your experience in Japan. I say, No worry here in America. There are so many trashy people out in public there will never be a time when the homeless will not have trash to pick up.
People are so thoughtless I have seen them lean up against a garbage dumpster and throw trash on the ground.
Judi Hunter says
Great article Joe! It was a real eye opener!
Kris Quinn says
I support the idea of hiring homeless folks to pick up trash. Performing a simple job like that would give a person a sense of purpose, which might well develop into a feeling of belonging to the community.
But a job is only part of the solution. Housing is key, and must be offered as part of the package. It must be supervised housing, with a no tolerance approach to alcohol and drug use. To reinforce the no tolerance rule, drug and alcohol rehab must be offered on site, as must mental health counseling. This three part approach — work, housing, substance abuse and mental health counseling — will work for those who are willing to try it. Not all homeless folks will succeed in such a program, but many will.
Yes, it would be expensive to start up and run such a program, but Lakewood would benefit in the long run. Our town could be an example to the rest of the country, showing the way to help people out of homelessness.
Fred Block says
I do not understand why people living on the streets are allowed to commit crimes with impunity. When I see someone pushing a shopping cart far from the business that owns the cart, I assume the cart is stolen. Why then do police simply drive by when evidence of a theft is in plain sight? Are the officers somehow restricted from enforcing the laws?
I would like to see officers detaining individuals who are openly committing crimes, then have judges order diversion to treatment programs instead of jail when appropriate.
Our current treatment programs and housing assistance are well intentioned, but I suspect they may be more successful if they become mandatory. The idea of giving a mentally ill person or a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol a choice to remain on the streets is not compassionate.
Joseph Boyle says
Thank you for your comments and question.
The answer to your question is subtly included in my article above in the STEP 1 section. It reads in part, “Returning power to our police requires lawful cooperation from victims, victim business owners…” I repeat, Lawful cooperation from victim business”.
The unsubtle answer is when I worked as a police officer for 1/4 century including 15 years in Lakewood I was frustrated with my inability to enforce the law when I saw someone with a stolen shopping cart because all the businesses in town refused to play their rightful role as victim. They did not want to “press charges” because of political correctness. They did not want to go to court to serve as a victim witness.
It boils down to NO VICTIM – NO CRIME. What retailers do is write off the theft and jack up their prices to cover the loss. So you and I pay for the theft.
When I served on Lakewood’s Public Safety Committee, much discussioin on the committee and with the public went on and on with no results.
The committee decided to try a soft approach as step 1, which I approved of as long as if we found the letter was ineffective, we moved forward with Step 2 which would have been a plan to request that Lakewood City Council design an ordinance that would have, shall we say, inspires business owners to cooperate with police in their victim role.
What is our status today? The letter did not work. No Step 2. No Victim – No Crime.
If I were still a police officer and I was given authority to work the problem within 6 months you would very seldom see anyone stealing a shopping cart. Why? I would make contact and investigate every homeless thief I observed.
I would start with what I call the honeymoon period. That means plenty of contacts and verbal warnings, but no criminal citations and no jail time. I would inform each homeless thief that Lakewood is a Zero Tollerance city meaning no matter how small, no crime is tolerated in Lakewood.
After the honeymoon period I would follow up with criminal citations that will go to warrant if they arrestee failed to appear in court. Custodial arrests would be used as an enforcement and educational tool also.
The word on the street would become, Deputy Boyle is back out of retirement. Do not steal in Lakewood and do not get caught with a stolen shopping cart.
If I was the only officer working it, give me 6 months. Problem solved.
If I had a good number of officers helping me, then every time a homeless theif turned around he or she would be contacted by law enforcement.
I have plenty of experience with this kind of problem solving. I know it works.
If the police have a crime, a victim, and a suspect, they can do their job. Eliminate any part of the criminal justice equation such as no crime, no victim, or no suspect and then there may not be much for police to do.
Add to this kind of reactionary program a compassionate component such as help with addiction, mental illness, housing, and employment and you will find that the police department is really equipped to make a difference.
Years ago I arrested a couple for stealing hamburger from a grocery store. They were not stealing steak. They were just stealing hamburger to survive. After learning their life story, I connected them with Jan at Lakewood’s emergency housing known as LASA. Bingo, out of jail and into housing. Now that is Big Picture street work.
Our Lakewood Police is made up of quality hardworking people, but they have to have the power and a program to work with if they are to help solve the homeless problem.
I could say more, I am sure, but I hope, Mr. Block, I have answered your question.
Great answer and I concur.
I respect the police, appreciate what they do, but also understand their frustration. The homeless situation in the area of Lakewood in which my office is located, close to the Towne Center, is very problematic. A couple of years ago I had to call the police to remove a man living on the roof of my office building. We had a number of mentally-challenged individuals barge into my office causing great fear for my staff, so I was forced to put a locking “buzz-to-come-in” mechanism on my office door. I’ve had to call the police on numerous occasions to remove homeless people from our property, including a situation recently in which a man and woman were camping out in my office doorway (it took three calls before the police told them if they showed up there again they would be arrested). I’ve had my office’s welcome mat stolen so many times I gave up and now have no welcome mat! Finally, not long ago a dead body was found on the office complex’s property. Obviously, some of Lakewood is dying, literally!
The problem is there are not enough facilities to house the large amount of homeless people who are mentally ill and/or on drugs. Instead of spending money the way government currently does, which isn’t too effective, the money should be spent building and maintaining such facilities. These people need serious help, and giving them money isn’t the help they need.
For almost 25 years I have been on the board of Network Tacoma, a non-profit which helps homeless families with children get out of homelessness. We have a success rate of between 70-80%. We own two apartment buildings and three houses, which, of course, are almost always full. How do we achieve such a high success rate? Two reasons: 1) we help people who are willing to work to change their situation, and 2) we are a faith-based organization. The latter is something most people in government don’t want to acknowledge, yet it’s hard to argue with a success rate that is so much greater than what the government achieves.
Change comes from inside a person, but mental illness and drugs makes reaching some people a significant challenge.
Joseph Boyle says
Thank you for your comments. You are so on target and you obviously know what I was trying to talk about because you have personally experienced the victimization caused by the homeless.
Let’s hope the people in power are listening and will move towards a solution.
Excellent article and agree with the solutions proffered. Thank you for keeping this issue out there.
Jason Whalen, Deputy Mayor says
Many good ideas here; thank you all. Speaking as just one member of the Council, we have discussed many ideas, but obviously, the entire issue needs another look (employment options to hire the homeless for possible beautification tasks, housing options working with the many nonprofits doing good work, and rigorous enforcement of existing laws (e.g., the shopping cart theft). As I hope many know, Lakewood was one of the first jurisdictions to have an “imbedded mental health professional” within our Police Dept, which we continue to fully fund. Carolyn and Officer Rocco have done really solid work in making contact with the homeless in Lakewood, connecting them with family members or services, and, if they don’t “want” services, we “encourage” them to move along. We have gone the lengths to address panhandling at intersections (to the consternation of the ACLU and others I am sure…). The City also invests 1% of its General Fund, or about $376,000, in various human services through local organizations that are vetted and selected for funding by a committee of hard working citizens. These monies go to food and shelter needs (among other basic needs) in Lakewood. It will continue to take a regional effort to address the homeless issue (housing options, necessary incarceration for drug treatment, and consistent law enforcement). While I am thankful that Lakewood is experiencing less of the homeless impact than other neighboring jurisdictions (try out Tacoma or Puyallup), we do have to remain vigilant AND compassionate for those who truly need (and are willing to accept) a hand up, but not a hand out. The more we all discuss it, the better the possible options and outcomes. Thanks for the conversation.
Joseph Boyle says
Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen,
I am certain I speak for many Lakewood citizens when I thank you for participating in this public discussion. We appreciate any effort you and our entire city council put forth to help solve the homeless drop-down menue of problems.
F. Leroy Read III says
Dear Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen,
Thank-you so much for your continued vigilance and participation in looking for workable solutions to this matter. My question at this point is how might we as citizens help you and other government officials find and implement viable solutions. I am sure that many of us would be more than happy to help in any way possible, whether it be writing letters to express out concerns, or sharing programs which have a proven track record with those officials who have yet to be convinced of there viability. Somehow we must all work to get everyone on, or close to on the same page, so that we can actually move forward with solutions for the benefit of all concerned.
Thank-you again for your concern and public participation.
F. Leroy Read III
Out of curiosity did you reach out to Pastor Rufus for comment for your article? I agree that the systems (government, police, businesses, nonprofits/churches) need to communicate about this issue and come to a comprehensive action plan. However, many people doing good things like feeding the homeless are not invited to these opportunities or are working two jobs that make their schedule difficult and busy. I hope we can make the best decisions by using solutions proven to work rather than just another program with a budget that has little result.
Joseph Boyle says
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with our readers.
As to your question and I quote, “Out of curiosity did you reach out to Pastor Rufus for comment for your article?” My answer is I did not.
While I am certainly willing to meet and visit with Pastor Rufus, time management has not yet allowed me to do that. There were a lot of other things I did not do, I must admit.
My thinking was I wished for my article to point out that the good work Pastor Rufus is doing to solve one important problem actually creates all kinds of other problems for other innocent victims.
I would support having Pastor Rufus continuing his good work, but his work could be made even more successful if his free food was surrounded by other programs including enforcement of the rules of society and additonal compassonate programs helping those in need with addiction, housing, employment, and mental illness.
Pastor Rufus represents one block of the total solution. What we need now is all the other building blocks to build the total effective solution and we need to work together.
All these are ideas are good ideas
But require time. And in the mean time things continue to decline. Feed people who can work isnt an option.in fact it’s the problem. Shut down free food shut Down shelters shut down all parks to homeless people they dont pay for it they shouldnt be able to use it. Clean up homeless camps I mean completely get rid of them. And arrest them for loitering. They will leave. Their not down on thier luck homeless. Their buns and that’s it. Stop being p.c. about all this their creating the problem. Get rid of them
Mel Vaniderstine says
Joe, this is another one of your great articles, possible one of the best. I have been harboring many of your thoughts. Over the past 40 years I witnessed a decline to the quality of life in the Puget sound area. Some of the decline has been caused by the increase of population and the traffic. However most of the problems are due to poor judgement and decisions by our politicians. I was talking with my cousin who lives in Bend Oregon and he told me that both Washington and Oregon were sanctuary states. I said no way Gary Seattle may be but other cities are not that stupid including Tacoma. He said want to bet? so I googled the question and much to my dismay our Governor declared the Washington in 1917 a sanctuary.state. so I called and had to apologize for the stupidity of our politicians which of course does not stop with the Governor.
Joseph Boyle says
Your observation regarding the deterioration of our quality of life is right on target. I arrived in Pierce County in 1959 which can be described in another way as 60 years ago. My residency in Lakewood is now at 50 years.
Sometimes when I drive out onto the public roadways, including surface streets and especially the I-5 Freeway, I think I must be in Los Angeles, California.
Most younger citizens have no experience with what we know a relaxed higher quality lifestyle can be like, so the current state of affairs does not consciously bother them.
Stop the planet. I want to get off.
Joseph Boyle says
One of my avid readers sent me the message that follows: I am attaching it to this story because the ideas he expresses have merit at least for further discussion.
Even if the ideas shared in his comment do not apply to every single homeless person, the concepts would certainly apply to a good many homeless with the end result of reducing homelessness.
Joe; I hate to think that Lakewood could ever be like Seattle. My solution THERE AINT NO FREE RIDE. The cities should feed and shelter anyone who needs it with one exception you must earn it thru community service of some sort . Trash removal , park service , maintenance of government buildings etc. You perform some public service you get B and B bed and breakfast/ seems simple to me , but then I am a simple man.