Downtown fears, NIMBY attitudes are overplayed

OlympiaFebruary 8, 2014 

Your recent coverage of issues surrounding homelessness in Olympia has been severely hampered by a lack of balance. While I realize that controversy and fear-mongering might sell papers, I fail to see how encouraging divisiveness and pandering to some readers’ prejudices will help to actually solve any of the multifaceted and long-standing problems facing downtown businesses, residents and the greater Olympia community as a whole.

In playing to — nay, encouraging — the fears and NIMBY attitudes of some of our neighbors, you seem to give preference and greater weight to their perceptions of possible risks, in contrast to the real dangers faced every day by some of the most vulnerable members of our community: people who are unhoused.

Do some people feel threatened downtown? Apparently, yes. Are other people actually endangered by camping bans and other ordinances that seek to move them out of sight and into the woods/shadows/spaces where they are more vulnerable to physical assault and other harms? Emphatically, yes (although you seem to feel this is not worth reporting).

This is why I support the People’s House: because every person needs a place to go, a place to be safe, a place to be treated as person, with all of the sometimes messy complexity that can entail. Encouraging readers to fear and mistrust others won’t help advance any new ideas, solutions, or coalitions in our community (it will, however, sell papers, so kudos on that one).

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service