Panhandling is back in the news again. Last week, the Downtown Seattle Association scored another touchdown with a major article in the Post-Intelligencer and made the field goal as well with a follow-up interview on Dave Ross’ show on KIRO 710. Last May, they did the same thing with a hit in the Puget Sound Business Journal and a follow-up story on Q13.
Panhandling, they say, their Have a Heart Give Smart “education campaign,” is up 38 percent this year. This, of course, is ludicrous. No one but them seems to have noticed the increase. Yet, there is much talk within the DSA of criminalizing panhandling with time, place, and manner restrictions similar to those recently passed in Tacoma.
In a town where, relative to most major cities, panhandling isn’t a serious issue, one wonders why the DSA has identified this as a priority.
Look no further than the upscale downtown condo market and the businesses this may soon attract. There’s the Escala at Fourth and Virginia, which will feature a 24,000 sq ft. members-only fitness club. Or the Fifteen Twenty One in Belltown, where the average condo goes for $1.8 million. Or the new Four Seasons, where prices start at $2.5 million.
With all this wealth comes a vision for the kind of downtown where no one ever has to feel uncomfortable. No one who’s rich, that is.
Read daily posts by Tim Harris at apesmaslament.blogspot.com.