This November, we have an opportunity to elect two downtown, small-business owners — Mike Volz and Cheryl Selby — to the Olympia City Council, and we must. Downtown is rapidly declining. Violent crime is going up, heroin needles are strewn throughout, our alleyways are being used as urinals and businesses are moving out.
How did we get to this point? Through a series of council decisions that attracted crime to downtown and then proceeded to nurture it. Does the council intend to ruin downtown? No. Just the opposite. In the last six years, the council spent millions on City Hall, the Hands On Children’s Museum, Percival Landing, The Washington Center, parking meters, buying a small property on the isthmus, dock floats, etc.
Did the council spend money on things that would reduce crime in downtown? Except for the $100,000 on the police walking patrol this year, the answer is no. The council might mean well, but it’s not investing in the right things. Until we have pragmatic business owners on council who understand what will actually work, downtown will continue to go downhill. We have such a person in Mike Volz, and I think in Cheryl Selby, too.