Seattle is dying; will Anchorage follow suit? - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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Seattle is dying; will Anchorage follow suit?

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Watching a Seattle television station’s take on homelessness in the Emerald City is shocking and makes us wonder about Anchorage’s future.

The latest in KOMO-TV’s raw, gritty trilogy on homelessness and addiction in the city – “Seattle is Dying” – is sometimes stunning, sometimes sad, sometimes infuriating.

The city is losing its battle with homelessness despite more than a billion dollars being spent on the problem in the Puget Sound area. The more Seattle spends, the worse its problem becomes.

We wonder how Anchorage would fare if a local television station – and we are not holding our breath – invested the time and money to honestly detail and document our city’s homeless problem. That report likely would be stunning, sad and infuriating, too.

From where we sit, in Seattle and Anchorage – and other cities, as well – the old adage certainly is true: If you want more of something, subsidize it.

In Anchorage, the Assembly and Mayor Ethan Berkowitz are hawking Proposition 9, a 5 percent retail alcohol tax they managed to place on the April 2 ballot, along with a charter change to allow its adoption with less than the normally required 60 percent supermajority vote.

Watch the KOMO special here.

Read the rest of the editorial at:

‘Seattle is Dying’; is Anchorage?


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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The problem is addiction, not homelessness. We need to identify it and call it by name. Addiction.

    • Actually, the problem is MENTAL ILLNESS.

    • Seattle and Anchorage haven’t figured out that the invaders are mainly zombies. Until the problem is accurately assessed a solution is low probability.

  • So what would your MRA readers recommend, Suzanne? Your conservative views vastly oversimplify the situation. Let’s hear solutions, not just complaints about paying to try to help others who are less fortunate. And by the way, Seattle is vibrant and booming. Anchorage not so much.

    • Seattle taxes its residents for using straws from which to drink from.

    • Whidbey Thedog, Suzanne did not pen this article. If you actually took the time, you would see, right below the picture, it says “Anchorage Daily Planet”. Then, at the bottom of the article, there is a link that specifically says “Read the rest of the editorial at:”. Why don’t you list some solutions instead of simply attacking Suzanne and her readers? FYI, I’m a libertarian, not a conservative, but I find it refreshing to read MRAK after trying to read the ADN.

    • “The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness”
      suggests a simple concept.
      Two challenges have to be overcome, then the concept could work in Anchorage.
      First, voters lost control over their voting system, when the Assembly eliminated traditional balloting and forced mail-in voting on voters, opening the door to virtually undetectable vote fraud, including use of bogus addresses, such as those that’ll come into existence if the concept is implemented.
      Second, a lot of the poor souls were banished from villages, exported like so much hazmat to Anchorage so Anchorage taxpayers can subsidize their care.
      So… what if a conservative city government requires: (a) villages, associated Native corporations and non-profits assume housing and care costs for their homeless in return for, say, exemptions from payments in lieu of property taxes, and (b) mail-in voting be scrapped, traditional polling places be restored, and regular audits of city voter rolls be conducted.
      Seems simple enough…

  • “The city is losing its battle with homelessness despite more than a billion dollars being spent on the problem in the Puget Sound area. The more Seattle spends, the worse its problem becomes.”

    Much the same could be said for Alaska Public Education. Is the Big Guy going to be our Education Governor or will he play the role played by Sean Connery in the 1950s movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People?”

  • When a person or an entity tries to rehabilitate an addict, it will never work unless the addict wants to be rehabilitated. It’s simply a waste of time and resources unless the addict is determined to “kick the habit”. Rarely does that happen.

    Little Ethan and the dims in Anchorage are trying to go down the same road as Seattle. It will be with the same results. Any time criminal activity (illegal drug use) is sanctioned by a municipality, state or other entity, it draws more and more “criminal” drug users to the area. Why not? Free drugs, needles and a secure place to “use” them. Look at California. Plague diseases, filth, crime and a myriad other less than desirable actions occur. Anchorage does not need that. Alaska does not need that. If Anchorage goes there, it will turn into a cesspool like San Francisco, Seattle and many other “sanctuary” cities/states.

    I have seen the results of “sin taxes”, like alcohol, tobacco taxes. The taxes are never used for the purpose advertised by the promoters of those taxes. The taxes usually go to some pet projects of the proponents, not the problem. The “sin taxes” are a TARGETED TAX. The citizens that can least afford it are the ones taxed the most, by a huge margin. Poorer people tend to drink and smoke more than affluent people. That is a “targeted tax”. Not one where all taxpayers participate. Not good. “Taxation without representation” is what it is. Remember the American revolution?

  • I like what NJ is doing. It’s an approach that seems to be working. It is about addiction and breaking the cycle.

  • Yet non profits are praised in Anchorage for enabling addiction contributing to endangering some of the weakest section of our population by giving out needles and housing for active drunks. This should be illegal to cause and promote such harm!

  • Butcher our babies
    Baby our bums
    Either way we pay

  • Solutions that work would NOT involve government. Evangelization does. Addiction and homelessness are a spiritual problem, not an economic one. Hopelessness exists because of the failure of Christianity … all denominations. Hell is real and awaits us all. The failure to preach “sin” and its consequences both spiritual and temporal, has brought us here. Socialism never works. Real Hope exists only in one direction: UP!

  • Here’s a thought – the city funds a homeless shelter offering anyone really wanting a new life a shower, clean pair of clothes, one night stay and a one way ticket from Anchorage to San Francisco. It’s a win-win. Alaska saves money in the long run, and there’s lots of sympathy, money and support for people in California.

  • WA State Governor and POTUS candidate has proposed to spend $1.1 billion on killer whales.

    So they have that going for them, which is nice.

  • I watched the KOMO video. It paints a terrible situation in Seattle. It also shows a solution. The solution is enforcement at all levels, incarceration and intervention. The official attitude in Seattle, and apparently in Anchorage, is that homeless people are just following an alternative lifestyle and are otherwise in control of themselves. That is not the case and they need intervention or they will die of exposure, overdose, or despair.

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