Tag Archives: Erica C. Barnett

Harrell’s Budget Would Move Parking Enforcement Back to SPD and Use JumpStart to Backfill Budget

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Mayor Bruce Harrell’s first budget proposal would use JumpStart payroll tax revenues to shore up spending for non-JumpStart programs, move the City’s parking enforcement officers back into the Seattle Police Department (SPD) from the Department of Transportation (SDOT), and provide pay increases to homeless service providers well below the rate of inflation.

Continue reading Harrell’s Budget Would Move Parking Enforcement Back to SPD and Use JumpStart to Backfill Budget

How Seattle’s Crackdown on Crime Ensnared a Homeless Man

And Made His Struggle With Addiction Worse

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Here’s how charging documents describe Trey Alexander, a 40-something Black man who was recently charged with organized retail crime for stealing liquor from a Target store in downtown Seattle: a “career criminal” and “chronic shoplifter” whose offenses over the past 15 years have included theft, drug possession, and criminal trespass. (Trey Alexander isn’t his real name; we’re calling him that to protect his anonymity.)

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Metro Wants to Get Rid of Cash Fares. Will Vulnerable Riders Be Left Behind?

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)

Join me in helping the Emerald create ripples and sparks everywhere! Information is Power! Imagine media for, by, and accountable to the community — thankfully, you don’t have to, because the Emerald already exists! As a founding board member living in a community so often treated as powerless, I’ve seen the Emerald grow to become a beacon of light that reminds us of our power, our wisdom, and our agency. But we can’t continue to do it without sustainable financial resources that allow us to thrive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28, by becoming a recurring donor! 

—Bridgette Hempstead, Community Activist, Founding Board Member, & Rainmaker

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, King County Metro plans to rip out its existing fare boxes, which accept cash, tickets, and ORCA transit passes, and replace them with a cash-free payment system — part of a long-term plan to expedite boarding, integrate the County’s bus system with Sound Transit, and reduce conflicts between riders and drivers. “Every second you save at the curb is money you can reinvest at keeping service operating,” said Carol Cooper, Metro’s Market Innovation Section manager.

Continue reading Metro Wants to Get Rid of Cash Fares. Will Vulnerable Riders Be Left Behind?

Davison’s Plan to Clear Case Backlog Includes Dismissing Nearly 2,000 Misdemeanors

by Erica C. Barnett


(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


City Attorney Ann Davison’s office announced Davison will decline to prosecute nearly 2,000 misdemeanor cases referred by the Seattle Police Department as part of an effort to eliminate what she has described as a 5,000-case backlog left over by her predecessor, Pete Holmes. “In order to maintain close-in-time filing for present day cases, some cases from the backlog will be declined, including those involving: Property Destruction, Theft, Criminal Trespass, and Non-DUI Traffic,” the announcement from Davison’s office says.

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Just What Is Social Housing?

by Erica C. Barnett


Later this year, Seattle voters could take a first step toward building a new kind of permanently affordable, mixed-income public housing known as “social housing.” The House Our Neighbors! Coalition — a project of the housing advocacy organization Real Change — is collecting signatures for Initiative 135 (I-135), which would create a new public development authority (PDA) to build and operate new housing; funding for the PDA would come later, through future State or local legislation.

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Sound Transit Fare Enforcement Plan Could Send Riders to Court & Collections

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


This Thursday, April 7, Sound Transit’s executive committee will take up a proposed new fare enforcement policy that would reinstate fines of up to $124 and impose legal penalties against riders who repeatedly fail to pay their fares. The new policy, if adopted, will go into effect on Sept. 1.

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Councilmembers Say Better Rent Data Could Preserve Affordable Housing

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Until 2017, elected officials (and reporters) hoping to get a handle on the availability and cost of rental housing in Seattle relied on reports from a private company called Dupre + Scott, whose forecasts used cheeky videos and graphics to illustrate market predictions and trends. Since Dupre + Scott shut down, the City has relied on Census tract-level data to assess housing trends, including residential displacement — a blunt, high-level instrument that does not account for differences between adjacent neighborhoods that may be in the same Census tract.

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Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


A three-week standoff between mutual-aid volunteers and the City of Seattle over a row of tents across the street from City Hall ended abruptly this morning, March 9, in a surprise sweep spearheaded by police and the Seattle parks department, who cordoned off Third and Fourth Avenues between Cherry and Washington Streets and began ordering people out of their tents at 8:00 am. (The parks department posted removal signs at 6:00 a.m., giving anyone who happened to be awake just two hours to pack up and get out.)

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Pallet, a For-Profit Provider of Utilitarian Shelters, Could Be a Contender for County Funding

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Over the past two years, a broad consensus emerged that non-congregate shelter — hotel rooms, tiny houses, and other kinds of physically separated spaces — was both healthier and more humane than the typical pre-pandemic congregate shelter setup, in which dozens of people sleep inches apart on cots or on the ground. When people are offered a choice between semi-congregate shelter and more private spaces, they’re far more likely to “accept” a hotel room or tiny house, and once there, they’re more likely to find housing than they would in traditional congregate shelters.

In January, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) issued a request for proposals for almost $5 million to fund new non-congregate shelter spaces. (An RFP is a preliminary step in the process of selecting and funding nonprofit service providers.) The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which operates a dozen tiny house villages in and around Seattle, applied, as did Seattle’s JustCARE program, which offers hotel-based shelter and case management to people with complex behavioral health challenges and criminal justice involvement.

Continue reading Pallet, a For-Profit Provider of Utilitarian Shelters, Could Be a Contender for County Funding

Cold Weather Shelter Plan Illustrates Challenges With Encampment Elimination Proposals

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared in PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


As temperatures dipped below freezing Tuesday, Feb. 22, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCHRA) announced the opening of a single, nighttime-only shelter for up to 96 single adults at City Hall. The shelter will open at 7 p.m. and close at 6:30 a.m. Two additional shelters are opening for young adults and unaccompanied youth — one in Rainier Beach and one at the Orion Center near downtown. (Details and updates, including information about shelters outside Seattle, are available on the KCRHA website.)

Continue reading Cold Weather Shelter Plan Illustrates Challenges With Encampment Elimination Proposals