I just read the Stranger’s Endorsement for the City Attorney’s office and felt I should respond:
The Stranger makes the case that the City of Seattle’s current process of not prosecuting low level crime has made our city safer and that we should continue on this path by voting for Nicole Thomas-Kennedy. They cite Seattle’s diversion program, LEAD, stating it led to 60% lower odds of arrest for six months after a first arrest and 39% lower odds of catching a felony case over the next two years. What they fail to mention is that if the city has stopped arresting people for committing crimes and stopped prosecuting crimes, it doesn’t mean that crime has decreased. I believe Seattle is under reporting crime because it has stopped prosecuting crime. I have lived in this city for 30 years and I talk to people and hear incidents of crime. I was standing in line at my local hardware store earlier this year and the two people in front of me had had their front windows broken in. I was there for the same reason. These spates of crime just didn't used to happen. Tent encampments have taken over our city streets and parks, graffiti and trash are now inescapable, and yet were told the homeless population is stable. Except for murder which has doubled in the last couple of years and is hard to hide, crime statistics reported on the city’s crime dashboard remain virtually unchanged for the last 10 years.
They also cite statistics from Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco, stating that not prosecuting low level crime in these cities has made those cities safer as well. While I don't have any personal experience in Boston or Baltimore, the last time I visited San Francisco in 2019, it was not the same city; it was dirty and dangerous and I have no plans to return. People are leaving SF because that city is becoming a lawless and a dangerous place to live and we are following suite.
The Stranger also makes excuses for Nicole Thomas Kennedy’s stance on ignoring and even promoting crime as tool for positive social change. They suggest that the city attorney's office only prosecutes misdemeanors, and state that felonies are dealt with by the higher courts, so her permissive stance on crime is not really a concern. This is also very misleading. The city attorney's office screens crime and does pre-trial felony hearings before referring cases on to the state or federal courts. So the city attorney’s office doesn't prosecute felonies, but it can prevent felonies from being prosecuted.
I find the Stranger’s stance on these issues to be poorly researched and poorly informed. The Stranger needs to stop supporting the latest shock and do real research and reporting. People don't feel safe in our city and the Stranger needs to take that seriously. We have already gone down this path of not prosecuting crime with Pete Holmes and it has been a failure. Our city is becoming a dangerous dumpsite and we need to change our attitudes about enabling criminal activity or we will end up with the opposite of what we are all working towards: a safe, just, and caring city.