Dear Mayor McGinn,
The southeast Seattle community respectfully invites you to participate in the Rainier Valley Live Local Challenge – an opportunity to walk in the shoes of your less fortunate constituents and learn first-hand the challenges that many of us face just trying to get to school and work each day.
To raise awareness and put a realistic experience to a set of statistics. To help our government understand how urgent our needs really are.
This isn’t Ballard or Belltown where crime may happen but you can still feel relatively safe walking down the street while using common sense. We live in an area where frankly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking down certain streets within a block radius from where I live without at least a tazer gun and a large friend. Even the safest of precautions won’t account for the fact that 80% of the children shooting other thugs around here can’t shoot worth a darn and may end up hitting me in the leg.
Yet, city officials treat us as if we can “hang tight” and find some way not to get mugged or shot in the leg on our way to and from our cars and buses every morning and night. There’s also the underlying message that we can either expect to put up with it because most of us are poor or because it’s always been this way. Even worse, we have people who don’t live here telling us if we don’t like it then we can just move to a nicer area. The problem with this logic is that there are families who’ve lived here for generations. There is culture, beauty, and community in SE Seattle. This is where we live. Ignore our problems and crime will only get worse and spread to your part of the city.
We feel that if officials could see exactly how dangerous our area has become due to complete negligence, it might light a fire under their seat. We honestly feel that anyone who would witness our experiences first hand could not possibly do anything but act.
Bottom line, we’re tired of the city treating SE Seattle crime with the same urgency as a pot hole report. We cannot accept “we’ll get to it, improvement is hard”. Mich
So please, Mayor McGinn, accept our challenge to:
- Live on the Henderson side of the Lake Washington Apartments for four weeks.
- Attend a Rainier Beach block watch meeting.
- Call the police to report a home burglary and see how long it takes an officer to respond.
- Ride the #7 while listening to an ipod, then walk home carrying an arm load of groceries.
- Ride light rail between Columbia City and Rainier Beach after dark, then walk down Henderson to Rainier.
- Take a tour of local attractions, including the Rainier Valley abandoned house tour, Genesee Car Ranch and the “hoe stroll” on Rainier between Othello and Rose.
Finally, welcome to the Rainier Valley!
BIG thanks to all the faithful RVP readers who contributed suggestions to the Rainier Valley Live Local Challenge for Mayor McGinn, especially Davis, Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors, Lou, Mark B, Mich, sjh, tlp, luigia, Tom T, C, Tiffany, Brian, Ryan, JB, Sheri, really, Dave, mavis rudy, and Sable Verity, who were all entered in a drawing to win an RVP t-shirt and four free tickets to Columbia City Cinema (RVP sponsor). Congratulations to Mich for winning the prize! Find more entries here and here.