Letters to the Editor

Pioneer Square no longer funky, but it is scary

I am an engineer and generally seek to achieve the broad, long-term objectives of an overall organization rather than genuflect to the populist whims of a community. Seattle astounded me by electing someone who emphasized listening to them in many town hall meetings rather than crafting a platform from experience and strategies.

In the case of vetoing the panhandling law, I believe that Seattleā€™s mayor sacrificed the safety and vibrancy of Seattle for what political reasons I fail to understand. In addition, he appears to be restricting the budget of the police department. As a relevant example, let me share my experience.

Years ago, my family and I used to love to go to Pioneer Square for a number of reasons: Elliot Bay bookstore, the neighborhood funkiness, the sunken story of the buildings and Il Terrazzo. I even would have my wife and daughter meet me at work so that we could walk to Kingdome events through Pioneer Square. It was an experience.

Over time, Pioneer Square became less safe, drunks and panhandlers multiplied, and urine odors became offensive. Then, one day when I was lagging behind my family, a drunk panhandler started harassing my wife and daughter for money. Even when I caught up and intervened, he was aggressive.

We no longer go to Pioneer Square and rarely travel to downtown Seattle. Our reasons are lack of safety, panhandlers, crime, obnoxious traffic and challenging parking.

Seattle just is not a funky, safe, clean city any more. The citizens have turned over their streets to the drugs, drunks and the disadvantaged. I personally believe that their tolerance is only exceeded by their shortsightedness. Meanwhile, we now choose to focus our activities on the Eastside.

Harvey Gillis, Bellevue

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