A Community-Based Approach to Spokane Solutions
Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Since declaring my candidacy for Spokane Mayor, I have spent countless hours meeting with constituents and stakeholders throughout our community. Time and time again, I have heard the same priority concerns facing our residents: Public Safety and Homelessness. These topics are what my campaign platform is built upon and the topics in which we seek positive and impactful ‘Spokane Solutions’. My campaign addresses our city’s homelessness issue from a position of proven data and facts, not fearful distance. Wishing away this problem will perpetuate the issue, not help manage it. Throughout my campaign, I have met with the Union Gospel Mission, Catholic Charities, Transitions, Frontier Behavioral Health, addiction counselors and law enforcement. I’ve served dinner to the homeless population with Blessings Under the Bridge and sat side-by-side with those facing addiction and homelessness to hear their stories and discuss their future aspirations. It is hardly what I call a “view from the castle”. According to the most recent preliminary citywide crime report, downtown commercial burglaries are up 35% so far in 2019, following a huge increase in downtown crime in 2018 (see those stats below). A small percentage of the homeless population is committing these crimes, including aggressive panhandling, theft and property damage. As mayor, I will direct the SPD to crack down on this criminal element by increasing police presence that uses a community policing approach. I will encourage the department to become more intertwined in our community to facilitate public trust, while cracking down on criminal behavior. Since day one, I have stated we must work as a community to get those who want help into treatment programs. For those homeless who are facing jail time for property crimes committed to fuel their addiction, we must offer them a choice: Mandated Medicaid-funded drug treatment or jail. We mandate treatment for DUI-offenders, it’s time we did the same for drug addicts who are habitual offenders. This is the approach shown to be effective in Marysville, where I just returned today after visiting with Mayor Jon Nehring and the police commander in charge of their homeless program. For the mentally ill, we must collaborate with our local medical community and direct those in need to the services that already exist. As your next mayor, my Number One priority will be every single resident of our great community. We must face the hard realities of our situation, even when it isn’t easy, and we must work together to create successful avenues that will lead to a better future for Spokane. Thank you for taking the time to hear about my vision for Spokane, not inflated punchlines from agenda-driven local opinion writers.