Re: Mayor gets tough on Seattle's Tent City II/advice/contacts

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 19 Jun 1998 22:44:06 -0700 (PDT)


Anitra wrote today:
>SHARE/WHEEL met this afternoon with Tom Byers and Theresa Fujiwara of
>the Seattle Mayor's office, and Alan Painter of DSHS.  The offer from
>the Mayor's office was to work with SHARE/WHEEL to open a 50-bed
>shelter in the Municipal Building next week -- but we have to take
>the tents down in return.  They insist that the Beacon Hill site must
>be cleared.

Have City officials _promised_ the 50 bed shelter _and_ allocated funds?
Or have they just promised to "meet and talk about it"?

>Tom Byers states repeatedly that the time and effort it will take to
>site legal encampments is better spent on developing more shelter and
>housing.

So what do the 1200 to 2500 shelterless homeless people in Seattle do in
the meantime?

>The members of Tent City 2 are meeting tonight to decide their
>response.  SHARE as a whole will meet tomorrow.

How best to respond pivots mainly on how much _support_ you have.  If
homeless people the City recently ousted from the "Jungle camp" are visibly
with you, that increases your credibility.

Do you have strong support from advocates, activist groups. faith groups,
the media or even among some officials?  That would help too.  If not,
network that support post haste.

>Just from me: Tom Byers is a nice man, but he is not a brave one.  He
>is afraid that if he gives us an encampment he will be flamed by the
>rest of the public.  I think we should prove to him that if he
>*doesn't* give us an encampment he's going to catch a whole lot worse.
>The problem is that our detractors are more vocal than our supporters,
>giving the Mayor's office a skewed view of public opinion.

Have people at the site clearly defined your protest aims and had
nonviolence training?  Are homeless people or supporters willing to be
arrested to support your cause?

If so, perhaps "refusing to be moved" may be the way to go.  But you will
need a least a few brave souls right now to have a chance at winning your
aims.  Even a small solid core can be enough upon which to build wider
support later, IF you hold your ground nonviolently.

If you have solid support from even a few dedicated people, this advice
from my TIPS FOR SQUATTING AS A POLITICAL ACT would apply:

"11)  REFUSE TO BE MOVED

Don't let officials off the hook by moving off their turf and out of their
minds.  They will tell you that the problem is somebody else's, not theirs.
If indeed they have power to give what you demand and need, stay where you
are.  Hold officials' feet to the fire, so that they finally "walk their
talk" about helping homeless folks.

EPILOG

Hundreds of people participated in Boston's HOMEFRONT '88.  Yet our gains
were largely nullified by drinking and drugging on site and by public
quarrels (including fistfights) among would-be "leaders".
It also hurt us that we let officials scare us into moving our encampment
from one site to another."

>If you have any local Seattle contacts, please urge them to drown the
>Mayor's office in letters, phone calls and email.

Below, find email addresses and phone numbers for Seattle's mayor and City
Council:

FWD via links from http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/
City of Seattle Feedback to Elected OFFICIALS

Mayor Paul Schell can be reached at:
Municipal Building, 12th Floor
600 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-1873
Phone: 684-4000
Fax: 684-5360 OR E-mail <mayors.office@ci.seattle.wa.us>

Seattle City Council Phone Numbers  (Area Code 206)

 Martha Choe        684 8802
 Richard Conlin     684 8805
 Sue Donaldson      684 8806
 Jan Drago          684 8801
 Nick Licata        684 8803
 Richard McIver     684 8800
 Margaret Pageler   684 8807
 Tina Podlodowski   684 8808
 Peter Steinbrueck  684 8804

Seattle City Council Members Email Addresses:

Martha Choe <martha.choe@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Richard Conlin <richard.conlin@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Sue Donaldson <sue.donaldson@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Jan Drago <jan.drago@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Nick Licata <nick.licata@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Richard McIver <richard.mciver@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Margaret Pageler <margaret.pageler@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Tina Podlodowski <tina.podlodowski@ci.seattle.wa.us>
Peter Steinbrueck <peter.steinbrueck@ci.seattle.wa.us>

END FORWARD

Folks at Seattle's Tent City II are faced with a pivotal decision tonight.
I wish you success in winning shelter and housing for all in your community.

Seeking peaceful means to homeless peoples' aims. -- Tom Boland


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