In a bit of kismet (or misfortune?) so perfect it almost seemed planned, the 43rd District Democrats held their primary-election endorsement meeting last night at Kane Hall on the UW campus—right next to a forum sponsored by the 36th District Republicans titled “HOMELESS & ADDICTED IN SEATTLE.” (Two Democrats I talked to in the foyer outside both events referred to the panel as “the hate group meeting” and “the Klan rally,” respectively).
The 43rd’s endorsements were uneventful (no candidate reached the 60% threshold for endorsement in Districts 3, 4, 6, or 7—the four districts that partially overlap with the 43rd), so I spent my night popping back and forth between the Democrats and the Republicans, whose security guards eventually stopped checking my backpack every time I returned.
The panel brought together two AM radio hosts, a police union leader and SWAT team offcer, the founder of Safe Seattle, a former Republican state legislator who now leads the Family Policy Institute of Washington, the program manager for Christian shelter provider Union Gospel Mission, and several others, to spend three hours agreeing at length about what causes homelessness and how to fix it. (In the panel’s apparently unanimous view, addiction, specifically heroin addiction, is the main root cause of homelessness, and the fix consists of tough-love “solutions” like forced treatment and making it “more uncomfortable to stay addicted,” as one panelist put it.)
It would have been a perfect echo chamber, if not for the presence of a few hecklers (quickly ejected), plus a handful of folks who stuck around to ask questions that challenged the unanimous tough-love narrative of the panel (quickly shouted down). I find echo chambers exhausting (witness, on the other end of the spectrum, my extreme reluctance to cover council member Kshama Sawant’s endless “PACK CITY HALL” rallies), so instead, I’ve gathered a few quotes from last night’s panel into a little quiz.
See if you can guess which speaker from this list made each of the following statements (answers below the jump).
1. “You can’t have a relationship [with a homeless client] when you’re a social worker. My ex-wife is a social worker…. There’s no relationship.”
2. “Take the ties off of the hands of our brave men and women who are officers and allow them to do their jobs.”
3. “[There are t]hose who are advocating for giving more and more and more money and more and more services to people that aren’t taking any responsibility, and that is called enabling.”
4. “I don’t like doing my job anymore.”
5. “That question is a setup! I’m not going to tell him!”
6. “If you want to have a conversation with a bunch of experts, you can organize your own panel.”
7. “There is no homelessness in South Korea, in Japan, because they have a culture of family, of focusing on virtue. … If you have a culture that’s broken… you have evil, you have drugs, you have no accountability.”
8. “I’ve worked with hundreds of homeless people over 15 years. I have dozens of friends who have been homeless. The majority of those dozens of friends are not addicts.”
9. “Third and Pike, the downtown market, is the largest criminal organization for shoplifting in this country.”
10. “I think we have to stop calling it homelessness. I think we have to start addressing it as addiction.”