Seattle school board members demand city not remove homeless encampments from schools

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SEATTLE, WA– Massive homeless encampments have taken over several school grounds in Seattle. Instead of demanding that the growing tent communities be removed, the Seattle School Board president and one of its directors have reportedly urged Mayor Jenny Durkan to not clear them out.

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH obtained emails which showed Seattle School Board President Chandra Hampson and Director Zachary DeWolf tried to stop the mayor’s office from sweeping encampments near Meany Middle School on Capitol Hill and at Boardview Thompson K-8 in Bitter Lake.

DeWolf said in an email to Durkan, Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller, and three Seattle City councilmembers:

“I want to state very clearly this is not an ask for a sweep! I do not believe in sweeps. Please experiencing homelessness need housing and resources not traumatic sweeps of their livelihoods and belongings.”

Seattle school board members demand city not remove homeless encampments from schools
Tents erected in Miller Community Park in Seattle

On March 28th, DeWolf and Hampson released a joint statement on Facebook about the issue:

“We demand that sweeps NEVER be performed on school grounds, adjacent or elsewhere in this City. Our students deserve to see the adults in their lives behave compassionately and responsibly in the face of a tragically mounting homelessness crisis. Sweeps are not a form of compassion, nor do they demonstrate responsible adult behavior.”

In mid-march, a librarian and parent with the Seattle Public School district grew alarmed at the growing encampment at Miller Park on Capitol Hill, steps from the Meany Middle School campus. She said:

“Being a parent of a middle schooler and an employee who regularly walks by this to enter Meany, I am concerned for student safety. Middle school students coming from the south will walk through the encampment to get to school. If it is there when school starts, can the district provide extra adult supervision, before, during, and after school to ensure student safety?”

Durkan released a statement saying that it is ultimately up to Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to decide what to do about encampments on school property.

The mayor said:

“The decision of whether to address an encampment on school property is up to Seattle Public Schools. Recently, the Seattle School Board President issued a statement decrying City outreach strategies that may eventually lead to a removal and demanding that removals should ‘never be performed on school grounds, adjacent, or elsewhere in the City.'”

Outraged parents, guardians, and area residents have been demanding for months that the potentially dangerous problem be fixed prior to students returning to class, but that never happened.

Residents said that the school district previously assured them that the encampments would be gone by September of 2020. Neighbors said that substance abuse and theft has become a rampant problem in the area since the encampment was established.

In February, neighbors said a woman died of an overdose at the encampment.

Neighbor Annie Greer said:

“Her body remained in the middle of the street for hours.”

Neighbors want safety for the kids who attend the school here and help for the unhoused who are living on the property. Greer said:

“I feel like sometimes the only recourse I have is to move out of Seattle. It feels like taxpayers have no recourse against this. We have no rights, all the rights seem to belong to the homeless.”

Bill Steele, who also lives near the schools said:

“Obviously, nobody is taking the problem seriously. All parents need to speak up and let the school board know that our schools are not campgrounds.”

Ryle Goodrich said his six-year old son is among the children who went back to school this week. He said:

“You question the judgement of those in charge of keeping your children safe. I am calling on the school board to allow Mayor Jenny Durkan to take care of these encampments as she has in the past, which would be to offer services and then guide campers out of the park and let children and return to school.”

Many parents have said that they are unwilling to send their children to school of the homeless encampments are not taken down.

Goodrich said:

“I know a lot of parents who wanted to send their children back to school, but are unwilling to because they don’t feel safe. We are house shopping already, out of Seattle.”

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Los Angeles city council member has a plan to combat homelessness – put shelters on local beaches

April 7th, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA– City Council member Mike Bonin has released a proposal to help shelter the city’s growing homeless population. His solution, called the “everything in” approach to homelessness includes adding shelter facilities at local beaches on the Pacific Ocean.

His plan also includes a motion to study a “temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping at the county-owned parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach” as well as similar sites at “Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey and Fisheran’s Village in Marina Del Rey.”

Bonin’s motion added that there be a “temporary site specifically for RV safe parking at the county-owned parking lot at Dockweiler.” His motion does not, however, address the environmental impact of homeless encampments on public beaches, including sewage, drug use, crime, and other problems.

With the coronavirus pandemic closing or restricting many other recreation sites, the beaches have provided a refuge for local residents, especially since the city council used public recreation centers as temporary homeless shelters.

Many local residents are not happy with Bonin’s proposal and stated their concerns. One resident comments on the NextDoor website by saying:

“I don’t understand why they are trashing our city’s infrastructure and the lives of tax paying citizens?! Bonin’s proposal sounds so crazy and ridiculous! There is a lot of cheap empty land just outside of LA where tiny homes and homeless communities can be concentrated and all the needed help centralized and provided.

“It’s cheaper, less controversial, and gives them a goal to return to the community once cleaned up and able and willing to live a normal life.”

Fox 11 reported that a Change.org petition, asking residents to say no to Bonin’s proposal for the homeless site at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, had nearly 4,000 signatures by Monday morning. Just one day later, Tuesday, April 6th, there were over 6,000 signatures.

The petition reads:

“Homelessness is an obvious problem, but this is not a solution, it is simply brushing the problem under the rug and creating a whole other set of potential problems such as crime and danger to our families and children who use these public beaches on a weekly basis.”

The petition adds:

“Simply look at Venice Beach and it is clear this does not provide help or assistance to this community and it negatively impacts every other resident who lives responsibly in that neighborhood.”

Allegedly, the motion wouldn’t close the beaches, but rather allow the homeless to temporarily live at locations that are mostly away from commercial or residential areas.

Beachgoer Marcella Debidda said in a statement to ABC 7:

“Did anyone ask the homeless where the best place was? Because I mean, as a society we make assumptions all the time about what is best for people without asking people.

And one would argue, it’s beautiful, but I’m sure it’s cold at night and it’s not necessarily comfortable and there is no shelter when it rains. I think we can go back to history and every time people have been confined and out in ghettos there wasn’t much improvement.”

Jessica Rogers with the Pacific Palisades Residents Association said she has lost confidence in Bonin after homeless encampments now occupy most of the Venice beach boardwalk.

She said:

“At this particular time when our economy needs it the most, this is an area that is of tremendous value. So, this motion causes us a lot of concern for the safety of not only the homeless that are here and could be affected by this high traffic along PCH, along with the safety of the community of LA who comes to enjoy this beach.”

In addition to the proposed homeless sites at Los Angeles County beaches, Bonin’s motion has also asked for temporary camping sites at Mar Vista and Westchester parks and also at a site owned by the Los Angeles International Airport.

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Protesters in Los Angeles attack LAPD officers trying to clear homeless encampment

March 29th, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA – A crowd of around 200 protesters blocked a squad of riot-gear-clad Los Angeles Police Department officers from removing a homeless encampment in Echo Park, which was an area once known for its scenic appearance.

According to a report from Breitbart News, city officials sent LAPD officers in riot gear to evacuate homeless people who had been occupying Echo Park. After residents shared complaints that the homeless camp was destroying the park’s beauty, the order from city officials was issued.

On March 24th, officials announced that the encampment would be closing and that residents who were occupying the area should remove all of their personal belongings from the encampment.

Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department infiltrated the homeless encampment in Echo Park wielding batons and rifles and sporting riot gear to evacuate the area. Around 200 protesters essentially stood in the way of authorities to thwart the clearing of the encampment.

The camp grew to nearly 200 tents and spread out over half of the park, which was once a generally scenic area. Drug usage, various crimes, and the ever-present amount of trash were among the grievances made by local residents.

The protesters were ordered to disperse by 10:30 p.m., as the demonstration was deemed to be an unlawful assembly. The demonstrators refused to leave the area and started to become combative with police, as one might expect in modern times.

A line of police was observed moving slowly along Glendale Boulevard at the edge of Echo Park Lake at one point during the altercation, urging demonstrators to leave. This instead fueled chants from the protesters, who reportedly started yelling:

“Whose park? Our park!”

With cadenced chants being a favorite among the protesting crowd, demonstrators reacted to the riot gear adorned by officers by chanting:

“Why are you in riot gear? I don’t see no riot here!”

Despite orders to evacuate the park, a slowly dissipating crowd remained in the area during the early morning hours of March 25th. Needless to say, the attempted sweep of the area was essentially unfruitful.

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