Seattle Homeless Memorial OK – Police Memorial On Hold

seattle-state-police-uniformI love living in the Pacific Northwest, but I have to say that nearby Seattle is a really screwy place.  I’m very happy not to live in King County.

In 2011, the city approved the “Leaves of Remembrance project” which allowed for bronze leaves to be installed on the sidewalks with the names of homeless people who died on the streets.  This project cost about $280,000, $75,000 of which was paid by the taxpayers.

Seattle Police Officer Michael Severance has tried to get approval for a memorial that would honor Seattle police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty.  His project, which would honor 81 brave men and women, would cost approximately $40,500 and would be covered by private donations.

So why does Seattle approve a project to “honor” the homeless while it won’t approve a project to honor our fallen heroes?  Hell if I know.

According to Council member, Sally Clark, who says she supports the Historical Sign Project proposed by Officer Severance, but also says he needs to get more documented support from community groups and still needs to clear the hurdle of getting approval from the Design Review Commission.

Putting aside the approval from the DRC, why does Officer Severance have to get “more documented support from community groups”?  His project would honor the men and women who took an oath to protect all the citizens ofSeattle and, as a result, gave their lives doing just that.  Fallen police officers and firefights are not special interest groups who should need support from a particular community group.  The City Council, representing the citizenry ofSeattle, should approve the project itself.  Police and firefighters are on the streets of Seattle protecting all of us and should not be considered a group of people who actually need community advocates to fight for them like the homeless.

It’s absolutely ridiculous that getting approval for a project proposed by Officer Severance should take even more than five minutes during a City Council meeting.  And here he is going through all the bureaucratic red tape for something so simple that could be approved by the City.

When I read comments like “police memorial? LOL they kill are hurt more people than they help” (re-posted here verbatim) from some anonymous jerk who calls himself or herself “DR710” and who doesn’t have the guts to use his or her own name or location, I just have to shake my head.  Really??? Police “kill [and] hurt more people than they help”?  What planet does this idiot live on?

As another commenter stated, Seattle can’t figure out how to get the homeless off the streets, but has $75,000 for a memorial.  Once again, as with so many liberal ideas, form over substance.  Plant a few bronze leaves in the sidewalk and we’ll feel oh so good about ourselves while the real problem doesn’t go away.  Typical.

Officer Severance doesn’t get and I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • Ron F

    The big question to me is whether Officer Severance and his group are being treated differently than other groups applying for similar permits. It does seem silly but the article I read said that it took 10 years to get the approval for the homeless memorial and the police and firefighter memorial application has been pending for 3 years. As to the council members comments, was she talking about more documented support from community groups for the funding of the project or the maintenance of the signs or general support. Are they imposing a requirement on the Officer Severance that is not being imposed on other groups. General public support should not be a requirements. The Council should be able to decide to honor fallen police and firefighters without obtaining any public support. As for DR7, there are always idiots. Luckily, they are not taken seriously and generally we only hear about them in republication of their comments as in this article.

  • Roger Ward

    You say the “Leaves of Remembrance” project honoring the homeless cost $280,000, of which $75,000 is paid by the taxpayer. Who is paying the rest? Is it coming from truly private sources or is it coming from yet another government body? If it is from a truly private source, is it a tax deductible program? If either a government body is paying, or if it is tax deductible, then the taxpayer is putting in more than $75,000 — perhaps as much as the entire $280,000. Remember: government has no money of its own …. all the money that comes from any government body was paid by the taxpayer.
    Now, I have no problem with how the people of Seattle spend their money. If they want to honor the homeless in death, that’s fine with me. I think the money would be better spent in helping the homeless while they’re alive, but maybe that’s just me. (I can’t imagine any homeless support group turning down a donation of $280,000.) The real issue is that Officer Severance’s group should not be made to jump through hoops to honor those heroic police who died protecting the citizens of Seattle …. particularly when the program is paid for with private donations. Like the writer, I think that any action which slows the proposed program to honor the police is shameful.

  • tarmac 492

    This is a good article reporting a disgraceful subject. I grow tired of people trying to always paint the picture that our police officers are members of the Gestapo. We should all be grateful we don’t live in a country where the police are allowed by law to act like storm troopers clearing out a ghetto. Are there cops who are rotten apples? Yup. No more than pro athletes or politicians or teachers. My father is a retired NYPD cop. He always told me “Most people hate the cops until they need one.” I am sure this isn’t his quote. A small story. When I was a teenager filled with the self-righteous rage that beer swilling teenagers think they are entitled to, I was brought home by a Nassau County Cop for drinking with a group of kids in a parking lot. He proceeded to take me home and in front of my horrified mother I taunted him and said he wasn’t a real cop and other such disgraceful things. He quietly said goodnight to mother and left. The next day when my father came home from work he knocked on my door and asked me about the situation. He never yelled and just asked me how I would feel if someone said that about him(not being a real cop). He also told me that by me acting that way I insulted him, as well. Not to mention that the cop had done me a huge favor by taking me home and not arresting me and that the only reason he probably did that was because my father was a cop. Let me tell you that I have rarely felt so embarrassed or low since. We have to understand that most cops are the most understanding and patient people out there and that they generally encounter people who are either having a very bad day or in the act of committing crimes. For every story about a cop breaking the law there are probably a thousand that don’t go reported of a cop helping people in a bad situation. Not to mention, that they put their lives on the line every time they go out on patrol. Seattle is honoring their football team, they should also honor their fallen police officers.

    • SAWB69

      Amen, brother! I hope you apologized to the guy that brought you home. That would have been the manly thing to do, and to honor your father.

    • Mike Severance

      I spearheaded the Historical Sign Project in 2010. One City Council member supported it 100%. The project was on the fast track with a launching ceremony scheduled for June 17, 2011 at Seattle City Hall. Then Seattle politics set in. The Seattle City Council mandated that the project be reviewed by the Seattle Design Commission. I gave the Design Commission everything they asked for in 2012. I have been ready to appear before the Design Commission since 2012. The project has received the overwhelming support of Neighborhood and Community Councils throughout Seattle whose members represent every neighborhood in Seattle. The last email I received from the Design Commission in July 2013 stated they had not received a request to review the project. Apparently my request as a Seattle resident, taxpayer, and employee doesn’t count. All the pieces of this project have been in place since 2011. It could launch tomorrow if it was given the OK. It uses no taxpayer dollars. The project cannot use any contributions it has received until it is approved by the Seattle City Council. The Council says it can’t do anything until the Design Commission does its review. The Design Commission refuses to do that review.

      • Roger Ward

        Surely the Design Commission must have a reason for the delay — even if they don’t want to divulge it. What do you think it could be? Are they so anti-police in Seattle? And why is the City Council allowing this to languish in the hands of the Design Commission?

        • Mike Severance

          The Design Commission has not communicated with me since the July email. The Commission has seldom responded to my emails since 2012. Council President Sally Clark has told me the project is not “City owned” or “owned” by anybody. The project is designed to be administered by the Seattle Police Department after it launches. All the procedures for doing that were established and approved by former Chief of Police John Diaz long ago. The SPD can’t administer a project until it starts. The City Council and the Design Commission have been advised of this several times. The Seattle Police Foundation gave the project a $2500 grant in 2011 showing its support for the project. Although Sally Clark has been told this many times, she is repeatedly asking me if the project has the support of the Foundation. The Design Commission apparently won’t act on my request for review. I am told that any project involving the “right of way” on city streets requires Commission review although I have been unable to find the written regulation covering that.

      • Ron F

        Was the request for review supposed to come from the City Council and if they had not received a request to review by July 2013, why did the Design Commission request information from you in 2012? I have no idea about what the motivation is or whether this is a result of bias or ineptitude. In addition, why hasn’t the City Council done anything about the Planning Commission not doing the review the Council mandated? It is absolutely amazing to me that a decision that should have been so simple and straightforward can be screwed up so badly by politicians.

        • Mike Severance

          This is what the 7-9-13 email from the Design Commission said. “Has Sally Clark or anyone in the mayor’s office or SDOT asked you to get Design Commission approval? I haven’t seen a request for review yet.” Your guess is as good as mine. One of the many documents I gave to the Commission in 2012, and twice since, is the written mandate from the SDOT Director stating the project had to be reviewed by the Design Commission. I sometimes wonder how anything gets done in Seattle.

          • Ron F

            Thanks Mike, it sounds like it is ineptitude and political.