Send In The Clowns?

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Brett%20at%20Txori.JPGBrett Paulson, barman at Txori, responds to recent violent incidents in Belltown by circulating a petition that asks Governor Gregoire to send in the Washington State Patrol "to help eradicate the open air drug trafficking." Txori is two doors from Wally's, a convenience store that's a magnet for low-lifes, and Paulson's beginning to think it's safer to walk through Belltown's alleys than its sidewalks.

Councilman Tim Burgess is on the case as well, surprised to find mid-morning, open-air drug dealing at 1st & Battery and asking the mayor for stepped up police patrols.

"But the city says they don't have the manpower," Paulson says, "so everybody's jazzed about the petition." There's a copy on the counter at Txori, others making their way around the nabe.

The folks who get shoved around (and even seriously injured) in sidewalk altercations have all been tourists unfamiliar with the neighborhood and uncomfortable around street people, addicts, crackheads, pushers and hookers. No doubt, some out-of-towners visit Belltown to score drugs. No doubt, drunk frat boys from Bellevue think it's macho to taunt some dark-skined dude in a hoodie. No doubt, it takes restraint to ignore taunts from a gaggle of meth-addled vagrants blocking the sidewalk, but ignore them one must, if one is to live in a vibrant downtown.

The notion of more jurisdictions patrolling the corner of 2nd and Bell is not reassuring. On the contrary, it assumes that law enforcement alone can make all our urban ills disappear. That's Disneyland.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on September 8, 2008 8:30 AM.

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