Home Letter To The Editor Letter to the Editor: Seattle DESC Tenants Live Without Heat In Freezing...

Letter to the Editor: Seattle DESC Tenants Live Without Heat In Freezing Temperatures


Tenants at Lyon Building in Downtown Seattle claim no heat for weeks, rough conditions

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By Gem of the Sound Reporter

Whether we like it or not, DESC is coming to Burien. The Burien council voted approval of the 95-room building for predominately single men coming off the streets in King County. The building will be mainly a shelter for non-Burien persons, and King County-not Burien- gets to select who lives there. Many questions have still not been answered. For example, additional crime will impact small businesses and residents in the downtown core, but how severe? The use of illegal drugs on sight is allowed; in fact, the implements for using them are offered by the DESC in each of their facilities.” Bootie bumping” is an encouraged practice by DESC. Illegal drugs bring crime. Who will pay for all the theft and crimes to support DESC residents’ drug habits that will plague our small businesses? So far, there has been no discussion or response from Council.

Another concern is the impact on emergency services. A facility like this creates additional demand for paramedics, police, and other taxpayer-funded services. Even Normandy Park will be drawn into this as Burien and Normandy Park share fire and aid services. What will the cost be to Burien and Normandy Park taxpayers? This does not even touch the idea of the lost taxes and city fees due to DESC being exempt from city development costs and given tax-free status for fifty years.

Currently sitting Burien City Council members who voted for this, Kevin Schilling, Jimmy Mata, Cyndey Moore, Sofia Aragon, and Hugo Garcia, have yet to clarify the numbers or the potential negative impacts to our community. Hugo is a previous member of the Planning Commission who promoted DESC. 

Through the DESC presentation process, proponents touted DESC as a well-managed organization. This “Low Barrier” means they do not require any change of behavior to move in or to participate in rehabilitation programs once there. Some have lauded DESC as having “wrap-around services” to help the residents should they ever desire them. So how well run is DESC? Are we to believe that a company that cannot provide heat or water for their residence for weeks at a time is competent? What kind of factual investigation was executed by the Council to ensure that this organization, which stands to make millions over the next few years, can manage an ultra-high-needs community in the heart of our city? Council Member Schilling is shown as a donor to DESC. (see page 17). Did this involvement bias his decision or vote on DESC?

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