[Hpn] seattletimes.com: Tent city: New site, new set of opponents
Sun, 16 May 2004 04:30:23 -0700
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Comments from sender: This is where some public education about homeless persons is needed,as many sterotypes and fears must be laid to rest.
Some that have been told to us from our grandmothers about the tramps whom used to ride the rails years ago.
Urban Legends that need reality not based on hysteria or wives tales!
A Brother In The Struggle
Tent city: New site, new set of opponents
Full story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2001930512_tentcity16m.html
By Julia Sommerfeld
Seattle Times staff reporter
The surprise decision on Friday to move a planned tent city for the homeless to a Bothell church instead of county land brought a new group of angry residents into the debate over King County's handling of the issue.
Last night, nearly 200 Bothell residents questioned the Bothell City Council, tent-city sponsors and St. Brendan Catholic Church leaders about the last-minute deal, which places the homeless camp on the church's 2-acre site tomorrow.
Phil Quartararo, whose three children attend school nearby, asked the panel point-blank: "Let me ask you three groups. No matter what happens here tonight is this going to happen anyway Monday?"
The answer, yes from all three groups, sent some exasperated residents out the door.
"This is a fuzzy feel-good meeting so people can vent," Quartararo said. "This isn't going to make a bit of difference."
Quartararo was one of many parents who spoke at the meeting.
Susie Peterson, whose daughter attends Heritage Christian School, said she plans to keep her daughter home from school tomorrow because the recess area is separated from the tent-city location by only a chain-link fence.
"She can put her little 6-year-old finger through the chain-link fence," she said.
County Executive Ron Sims said the change in plans came after reconsidering potential liabilities of moving the homeless community onto fields next to the Brickyard Road Park & Ride.
But the tent-city site also had been opposed by Brickyard Area Community for Fair Process. That group sued the county and asked for a temporary restraining order.
At a news conference, Sims said the county's decision had nothing to do with the opposition and everything to do with his desire to guarantee the tent city a home.
Bothell officials have said the county and SHARE/WHEEL, sponsors of the planned tent city, struck the agreement to move to the church location without involving the city.
"We had no involvement in the selection, the site," Bothell Deputy Mayor Mike Johnson said Friday.
Bothell Councilwoman Sandy Guinn echoed that sentiment at the meeting last night.
"I'm angry about the short notice in the process and that a King County representative wasn't here tonight to listen," she said. "It's not fun to have a room full of angry people."
Sims did not participate in the meeting.
The City Council planned to meet in executive session after the public meeting last night to review its options.
The church also scheduled an informational meeting for the public at 7 p.m. today.
For Barb Hair, who has two children, ages 2 and 4, and lives a half-mile from the church, the issue is about safety, she told Rodney Harmon, the church attorney.
"I am offended you are guilting me into having threats to my children nearby," she told Harmon. "No amount of your guilt will make me not afraid."
Julia Sommerfield: email@example.com
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