by Local Resident
Erica C. Barnett, a Seattle-based writer, is the latest outsider seeking to influence Burien policy. She does not live here. It seems as though Seattle and King County do not have enough of their own problems to solve. Given their success in solving their homeless crisis, so successful that they need Burien to be their safety valve (according to Krystal Marx,) they sense a moral authority to tell Burien how to solve ours. A problem largely sent to us by Seattle.
Ms. Barnett, owner of The C Is for Crank: Correcting the Record on Compassion Seattle, an X site, wrote an article in her publication Publicola highly critical of Kristine Moreland and her organization The More We Love, who successfully cleared the tent camp on 152nd in front of Grocery Outlet.
The hypocrisy in Ms. Barnetts’ article is stark. Ms. Barnett brought a DUI charge against Ms. Moreland as a reason that could disqualify her from a contract with the City of Burien. However, Ms. Barnett wrote a book on her alcoholism and failure to overcome it. By her own standards, she should remain silent. Ms. Barnett calls into question Moreland’s effectiveness due to tent campers who have been placed returning a few days later to Burien. However, Ms. Barnett’s own experience of relapse should inform her that most workers engaged with drug addicts and mentally disturbed say, for most of these folks, it will take many attempts and failures before they finally succeed. The double standards run throughout the article.
Whatever you want to say about Kristine Moreland and her team, they delivered results. For some, those results will be life-changing. Some who made it to detox may credit this as the first step in healing. For some who made it to shelters, this may be the link to becoming permanently clean. For families wanting their loved ones back from a life controlled by the tyrant of drugs and being trafficked, this is reason for celebration! For the families that invested life savings to open a store to serve residents of this city, this was economic salvation.
It raises the question of why Ms. Barnett feels the need to bring her failing solutions into Burien? Is it because Ms. Moreland was actually successful as a private organization? Was it because the business community solved the problem rather than a government-sanctioned organization? Ms. Barnett states the cost for Moreland to clear the area was $515 per “camper,” or about $20,000 for a “40-person sweep. The businesses funded this in an effort to keep their operations going, as they lost customers and products due to the homeless encampment. This, of course, is not the total cost to move the tent folks, but it is likely a much smaller amount than the price paid to LEAD, REACH, and other government-contracted organizations, including our city staff.
But to some, this was not good news. Their political careers are on the line. Without a steady churn of homeless, they have no platform. The actual placing of addicted men and women living in filthy tents by unsafe roadsides into detox and drug-free shelters, giving them a real chance of healing, which reduces their brokenness, is terrifying to the homeless industrial complex that candidates like Krystal Marx and Cydney Moore depend on. It is the campaign issue that allows them to shame folks into voting for them. The rolling of the eyes, the self-righteous smirks, and the tearing up as they “plead the cause” of more government spending, more staff, and more restrictions on those who have actually freed these humans locked in bondage all dries up by allowing people who are genuinely committed to saving these folks do their good work.
It would be helpful if those who have pushed and advocated for the failing policies of Seattle kept their opinions north of the Burien city line. We are too busy cleaning up the mess they are creating to spend time telling them how to succeed.
Erica C Barnett
Quitter: A Memoir of Drinking, Relapse, and Recovery
By the time she was in her late thirties, Erica Barnett had run the gauntlet of alcoholism. She had recovered and relapsed time and again, but after each new program or detox center, she would find herself far from being rehabilitated.