In a scathing op-ed published in the Seattle Times, Alex Berezow, a biomedical science fellow at the American Council on Science and Health, blasted Seattle’s City Council for prioritizing virtue signaling over the plight of the city’s most vulnerable residents and its increasingly strapped middle class.
When Berezow first moved to Seattle 14 years ago, homelessness didn’t exist in the neighborhood of Northgate, where he continues to live.
But as home prices have skyrocketed – to the point where the median home value has reached nearly $900,000, placing homeownership in the city far beyond the reach of most American millennials – Berezow said homeless camps have begun appearing in the neighborhood. Many of these camps have no access to social services and are subjected to disease and abuse and as a result, crime has risen.
But it wasn’t until a meeting with city council woman Debora Juarez that Berezow was inspired to pen an editorial for the Seattle Times. After the council woman blew off his concerns about the homeless and about housing (the city has been accused of artificially restricting supply through overly strict zoning laws), Berezow decided to appeal directly to the city’s residents.
Seattle’s politicians are so focused on being anti-Trump, they spend more time talking about issues they have no control over – like foreign policy – than ensuring that Seattle’s streets are clean and safe, that potholes have been repaired, and that younger residents can at least entertain the hope of home ownership some day.
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Read the full editorial below:
I KNEW Seattle was no longer a place for me when I met with Debora Juarez — the District 5 City Council member I had voted for.
Last September, at what I thought was going to be a friendly one-on-one meeting between an elected official and her constituent, I expressed some concerns that were on my mind. I fretted over the deterioration of a city with which I had fallen in love — a city that, despite my 21 trips to Europe, I still believe to be the most beautiful in the world.
I told my council member that Northgate, my home, had seen a noticeable increase in litter and graffiti. To my dismay, she seemed to suggest these issues were someone else’s job, not hers. So, I moved on to a bigger issue: homelessness.
When I first moved to Seattle 14 years ago, to attend the University of Washington, homelessness essentially didn’t exist at Northgate. Though I have never been a victim of or witness to a crime, some of my neighbors have been, and they believe homeless camps are the reason. Additionally, the conditions in such camps are often atrocious — not only are the homeless more likely to be victims of violent crime, they are susceptible to infectious disease, such as the hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego that sickened nearly 500 people and has killed 20.