Low income doesn’t mean troublesome

The Jan. 6 front page headline read, “Everett presses city core cleanup.” I concluded that this article referred to garbage. Wrong! The cleanup pertained mainly to low income people. By requiring special permits for food banks, social service agencies, and churches the city of Everett essentially is targeting the needier segment of our population.

According to this article, downtown establishments that attract people with limited incomes cause crowds to congregate. The argument is then made that this hinders the revitalization plan for downtown. What should our city’s goals be in order to enhance our retail and restaurant trade?

We need to assure all citizens they are welcome and safe. Anyone who exhibits criminal behavior or who harasses others needs to be dealt with immediately. A city with a reputation for delivering public safety will attract people. To assume that someone in need of social services will somehow deter patrons from using downtown facilities is unjustified. For instance, weekly feeding programs at some of our inner city churches operate successfully. Participants show their appreciation of the meals through their cooperation and good manners. Never do they loiter. Most walk or use public transportation.

For many years local business owners have set a standard for success by respecting customers from all walks of life. These merchants are welcoming and accommodating. They selected highly visible downtown locations convenient to other businesses. Isn’t it interesting that these owners never requested stipulations for agencies serving low income people?

It is not simplistic to believe that Everett can be a dynamic city and still be inclusive. People will patronize businesses and restaurants if their product is really good, if their establishment is clean and attractive and if they are accepting and sincere. I sincerely hope that our city leaders will come to embrace programs that serve the needs of low income individuals. Rather than restrict helping agencies, work together for the common good. Then the only “cleanup” necessary will be the garbage!

Marsha Cogdill

Everett

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