Oct 9, 2008

Seattle City Budget Issues

OK, so I (and maybe you) missed the first Public Hearing about the City Budget, but there's another one on October 27th. Yes, of course projected revenues are down, and things are being cut right and left. As in the past, City Council will do what it can to move the money around and benefit YOUR favorite issue, IF you make your views known (and if enough others do likewise).

Two items grab me:

1) The perennial attempt to short-change the library. We're a city of readers, it's a great resource and [in tight economic times] it's a source of really cheap entertainment.

Library cuts, restored after a concerted campaign by library fans, seems to be an annual part of the budget pageantry. It'd be easier for everyone if they just funded the place.....

The Stranger gives you all the details.

2) No funds in the budget for the GOTS program. Here's info from East District Crime Prevention Coalition.

As many of you are aware, the GOTS (Get Off The Streets) Program did not make the Mayor’s budget for 2009. If you or any of your organizations feel that GOTS is a critical program for the community, I encourage you to write to, call and/or email all the members of City Council in support of the GOTS Program.

GOTS operates at the corner of 23rd & Union every Tuesday from 1:30PM – 3:00PM. Through the direct street outreach of trained and compassionate staff who are well acquainted with or from the area themselves; individuals who need it most are directly connected with the resources that may save their lives, including housing, drug rehabilitation, mental health resources and more. This service of providing direct resources is in my humble opinion the most important and humane approach to reducing crime – through prevention. It encourages community building, relationships, and allows individuals who have been disenfranchised and marginalized from our society to become productive community members. It is also costs much less than incarceration. After the Neighborhood Drop-in Center on 23rd & Union opened, people who had successfully completed the GOTS Program were hired to maintain the Center, helping the neighborhood, and at the same time building up their work history and credibility.

More information about GOTS is available at: http://www.sngi.org/epcpc/gots-project.html

Also, I have linked to the letter to City Council Member Tim Burgess from the EPCPC in support of GOTS. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance. Also, you may contact the GOTS Program Coordinator, Jamila Houston. Jamila can be reached at jamila@sngi.org or at 206.323.9584.

If you feel this issue is of great importance, I welcome you to spread the word about current situation of GOTS to your various groups and contacts; however, I will ask that you please refrain from cutting and pasting this email directly and posting it. It is of course fine if you include both my contact information and Jamila’s contact for questions.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Kindest Regards,

Sita DeGiulio Das
East Program Coordinator

So, please go and testify to City Council on the 27th, or write to them in some manner: see end of Stranger article. Thanks.

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