‘No sit, no lie’ ordinance hides homeless, doesn’t solve problem

I am writing to express my disagreement with the expansion of Everett’s “no sit, no lie” ordinance (“Mayor given new authority to expand Everett’s ‘no sit, no lie’ zones,” The Herald, May 4. The proposed expansion would not only increase the number of areas where it would be criminal to sit but it would also prevent people from doing outreach and providing food and water in these areas.

There is an exception for groups who have a permit to do so but I see an issue in that because it could be difficult for groups to obtain a permit, as getting the supplies they need to help people is hard enough. I understand the idea is to support business owners and decrease the public’s disapproval of having more shelters (a sort of out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach) but I think this is allowing people to disconnect with their empathy. Homeless people are our neighbors, whether we like it or not. The solution to homelessness is not to hide people away so they are not an eyesore but to provide places for them to go.

Additionally, I can see this proposed ordinance increasing the number of homeless people in jail. Jail is not a place to hide homeless people away or a substitute for housing. People will be used to being able to stay close to shelters as there are few day shelters and many overnight shelters ask people to leave early in the morning so if it is suddenly illegal to be in a space, they are most familiar with this will lead to frequent arrests. It is also likely that the people who do outreach with homeless folks will have a harder time connecting with them if they are forced to move, decreasing highly needed street-level services.

Devon Smith


Talk to us

More in Opinion

Lummi Tribal members Ellie Kinley, left, and Raynell Morris, president and vice president of the non-profit Sacred Lands Conservancy known as Sacred Sea, lead a prayer for the repatriation of southern resident orca Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut — who has lived and performed at the Miami Seaquarium for over 50 years — to her home waters of the Salish Sea at a gathering Sunday, March 20, 2022, at the sacred site of Cherry Point in Whatcom County, Wash.

The Bellingham Herald
Editorial: What it will require to bring Tokitae home

Bringing home the last captive orca requires expanded efforts to restore the killer whales’ habitat.

Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, June 6

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

A map of the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Set your muscle memory for work zone speed cameras

Starting next summer, not slowing down in highway work zones can result in a $500 fine.

File - A teenager holds her phone as she sits for a portrait near her home in Illinois, on Friday, March 24, 2023. The U.S. Surgeon General is warning there is not enough evidence to show that social media is safe for young people — and is calling on tech companies, parents and caregivers to take "immediate action to protect kids now." (AP Photo Erin Hooley, File)
Editorial: Warning label on social media not enough for kids

The U.S. surgeon general has outlined tasks for parents, officials and social media companies.

Anabelle Parsons, then 6, looks up to the sky with binoculars to watch the Vaux's swifts fly in during Swift's Night Out, Sept. 8, 2018 in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Birders struggle with legacy, name of Audubon

Like other chapters, Pilchuck Audubon is weighing how to address the slaveholder’s legacy.

Comment: Biggest part of debt limit deal was the dealing

The White House and Congress showed they could find a path that can make real progress in reducing the debt.

Comment: Do we need refuge from drag shows and naked staues?

GOP lawmakers should know that most parents have bigger concerns than men in dresses and Michelangelo’s David.

Comment: To save Twitter, Musk should take it public

It goes against conventional wisdom, but then Musk has always defied how others get business done.

Comment: Milton Friedman was right; CEOs should focus on profit

Stumbles by Target and Budweiser show why wading into politics brings too many variables into the mix.

Most Read