Health One, go!
Officials formally launched Health One on Nov. 4, a new medical response that aims to address the needs of mentally ill people and people with substance abuse issues in the downtown.
Health One involves teams of firefighters and social workers that will assist people with non-emergency 911 calls who need assistance and connection to services. The new set up is more nimble and better equipped to deal with the large volume of calls that don’t require a full emergency roll out.
Approximately 42 percent of calls in 2018 were considered “low acuity” and would fall under the purview of the new team.
The goal is to divert people away from emergency departments, which is an expensive intervention, and free up the majority of first responders for things like structure fires and vehicle accidents, according to the press release.
The Health One vehicle will be stationed at the Seattle Fire Department headquarters in Pioneer Square, and operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, according to the press release. The team will respond to calls in the downtown core and nearby neighborhoods, including Capitol Hill.
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw earmarked $475,000 for a program that would turn into Health One in the 2019 budget and the Fire Department put in another $25,000, fully funding the program for one year. The mayor’s budget includes another $400,000 for the program.
Campaign sign tagged with slur
A campaign sign for City Council candidate Shaun Scott was defaced with a racial slur, an act that launched a show of solidarity from sitting politicians, the chief of police and campaign supporters.
A campaign staffer discovered the sign in front of his home vandalized with an expletive and a racial slur against Black people and posted the image to Twitter on Oct. 29.
Scott’s campaign quote tweeted the post along with lyrics to Gil Scott-Heron’s “Home is Where the Hatred Is.”
The act drew immediate recrimination from a suite of elected officials and candidates including Mayor Jenny Durkan, Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez (who has endorsed Scott) and Chief Carmen Best. Supporters took to Twitter to remind Seattle that for all its progressive veneer, old-fashioned racism is very real.
However, commenters on Facebook group Safe Seattle expressed doubt about the incident, going so far as to suggest that the vandalism was an inside job aimed at stoking sympathy for Scott in the week leading up to the election.
To be clear, there is no evidence of such a conspiracy. Chief Best announced that officers would be investigating the matter.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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