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Speak up before we look like Seattle

Speak up before we begin to look like Seattle does with homeless tents on city streets, trash and needles all over.

Recently, I estimated that probably 95% of Federal Way’s homeless population are drug users. My view, my estimation. The Mirror omitted that sentence from my letter that was published April 12. It was explained to me that it isn’t the Mirror’s practice to publish percentages not based on fact. It was not my intent to present my view as fact. It was simply my viewpoint and I thought that was what letters to the editor were all about.

On May 9, the unofficial “mayor” of Federal Way’s homeless, “Ranger Rick” Nickolson, stopped by my home, so I asked him to give me his bet bet on the numbers of addicts who are homeless. Rick believes it is around 82% with another 17% being at-risk youth who have left their homes because their parents were drug users.

Now this information may not be of interest to the average Joe, but I bring it up because we have two factions in Federal Way with opposing opinions. Those who I call the “bleeding hearts” and those who I call “sound thinkers.” Those who want to build tiny houses and furnish housing for our homeless, which would lead us to a situation that looks a lot like Seattle, and those, like myself, who say “no way, you are enabling them.”

I’ve spent my share of time in Al-Anon and Nar-Anon where families of the addicted are taught that enabling the user serves no good purpose.

So, back to my estimation. In the Mirror’s April 19 edition, Bob Roegner in his mayor-bashing column states, “according to documents from a former city staff member, only a small number are homeless due to drug use.” OK. That was stated as fact. What was the staff member’s position? Did they do a documented study on the subject? What year is that opinion garnered from? Will Roegner share that information with me?

So which is it: 95%, 82%, or a “small number?” You be the judge, readers. What do you think? Or does it matter to you? It should. It should matter to all who live here. Because what this city presents to the rest of the world is important. It’s important here in Federal Way, it’s important to Seattle, it’s important to Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. When it does not matter is when we, as a country, lose all legitimacy. When it does not matter, we become a slum. When it doesn’t matter, we just languish in our slop, and that is the beginning of our downfall.

It is time for all you sound thinkers to speak up. Make your feelings known. Do you agree that enabling only encourages continual use? Think about it this way — would you be apt to change if your life was made so comfortable with housing, food, personal care, clothing, medical care, etc., and you didn’t have to work? You could just steal and use, steal and use. No, you would not be spurred on to change your bad habits under those circumstances.

Well, this is what we are forced with, and the bleeding hearts are not playing nice in their well-meaning, but misguided quest. Speak up! Speak up before we begin to look like Seattle does with homeless tents on city streets, trash and needles all over and a definite increase in crime. Speak up!

Sheryl Nevers

Federal Way

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