A Five Hour Recorded Virtual Town Hall Meeting, No Other Responses, Regarding Our Questions About Homeless Hotel
In response to the great outpouring of heartfelt concerns about King County's purchase of the Redmond Silver Cloud Inn for the homeless, The Bellevue Zone requested that King County Council Chair District 6 Claudia Balducci and her co-host, Leo Flor, King County Director of Community and Human Services, respond to questions. The Bellevue Zone attended the meeting and was seeking some information that could have provided more information to the community.
Questions that could shed some light on;
Did she learn anything after hearing her constituents speak? Was she prepared with questions she would pursue to answer their questions? What had she done after the meeting that had lasted nearly five hours? What were the plans to ensure questions were fully responded to by the constituents who attended the meeting? Had anything changed?
See our story here - the virtual meeting took place on 9/2/21: Dissention At Virtual Town Hall Meeting About Hotel For Homeless Silver Cloud Inn
The Bellevue Zone received a link to the entire Virtual Town Hall Meeting that TBZ had attended and comments by Balducci can be seen on her webpage.
Her webpage states that "Next steps include selecting an agency to provide services and operate the housing" so that nothing said during the meeting changed the timeline or plans for moving forward in this endeavor.
She still plans to continue on without the knowledge of the public's view of her being involved in the hotel project for the homeless and has many people feeling she has "dismissed" their concerns and "twisted" their message. Some people expressed that they were not against helping the homeless, but since they were raising children in the area of the hotel they were worried that some homeless residents would use drugs in the presence of their children, bringing in a criminal element into their neighborhood.
People who attended the meeting complained that they weren't consulted, they were pushed into accepting this project that many feel lacked any planning to keep the neighborhood safe. Safe from crime related to drug using homeless people, some who are mentally ill and unable to work. The homeless who will be able to live normally - working, going to school, and taking care of themselves - will be welcome.
As was said by some during the meeting, most homeless people are not well, needing services for their drug addictions where none would be provided by the hotel staff and that associated criminal activity supporting drug usage would also be a problem by subjecting possible fragile mentally ill persons to crimes surrounding using illicit street drugs.
Apparently, the possibility of the criminal activity being a threat to the mentally fragile is not of concern.
Some attendees of the meeting expressed that plans were laid out and then proposed to the neighborhood who were having it "forced down their throats at the end" of the plans. Someone brought up the fact that their was no environmental impact report done beforehand.
Whoever was on the planning committee served to keep their discussions behind closed doors, subjecting the neighbors in the area to be caught off guard in hearing the disturbing news about the hotel and that the plans were ill-thought out, incomplete and not following common sense in the location it was being created in.
If drug usage is going to be a common practice by the residents leaving a trail of hypodermic needles and other paraphernalia around, why are there services provided at the hotel? This seems to lack the common sense that the area community is demanding but Balducci seems to dismiss these concerns as their "fears."
One might ask, who wants to work with Balducci and the group she is working with under these conditions. She says she thinks the hotel could work if "we all work together", but she hasn't seemed to work with the area residents in any meaningful way, other than to try and make them believe it's a good idea, and at the nearly end-point of the program's completion.
From the tone of the meeting it doesn't seem like she is succeeding in making the majority of her constituents that showed up at the meeting believe in her claim.