Letter to the editor: Proposed county drug ordinance is premature


My response to Tamara Nelson’s letter to the editor: 

I’m sorry that you didn’t receive a response from the administration when you reached out to inquire about the mayors’ letter.

I’m not speaking on behalf of Mayor Nelson’s administration, but in my own capacity as a councilmember. In my opinion, the ordinance is premature, because Governor Inslee has requested a special session to negotiate a legislative fix for the State Supreme Court’s Blake decision. So, even if an ordinance were passed at the local level, it stands a good chance of being preempted soon by action at the state level.

Personally, I would like to advocate for a humane response to people experiencing the twin crises of drug addiction and homelessness. I believe that public use of illegal drugs, especially fentanyl, presents a public safety hazard, a risk to bystanders, and possible contamination of public spaces. There’s also a biohazard risk from abandoned needles.

In Snohomish County, we have a severe lack of beds available in detox and rehab facilities for everyone who needs treatment. Any Blake fix by the state should be accompanied by a major infusion of cash to fund space in treatment facilities for people experiencing opioid addiction.

The cities and counties have been scrambling to address this catastrophe, which is destroying lives and families every day. We need help from the state and the federal governments, since they have the tax money to properly address this epidemic.


Jenna Nand, 
Edmonds City Councilmember, Pos. 7

  1. I have a little different perspective on this. Why do we have to wait to be told what to do? Let’s be proactive and protect our citizens and city. If there is one thing that irks me is our inability to try to get out in front of problems. We seem to run this city on emergency ordinances when some common sense legislation could go a long way. I’m pleading with all Councilmembers to do your jobs.

  2. Thank you, Councilmember Nand, I did receive a call from the mayor.
    Jim is correct about waiting for the results of the special session. If city after city steps up with their own plans that represent the people of their communities, Olympia will be forced to respond accordingly. We have no idea what these special sessions will come up with. Two legislators told an audience Monday that the governor demanded the session too soon off the regular legislative session and there is not the time to research and rework proposals, so they don’t expect a changed outcome.
    A republic is designed to go from the people up, not the government down.

  3. Regarding your “humane response,” which you leave undefined, you say there needs to be “a major cash infusion” to solve this problem. That cash you want, whether it comes from city, county, state or federal government, all comes from taxes paid by hard working people. People who are threatened and attacked in grocery store parking lots by addicted and mentally ill people, people experiencing home invasions. Where’s the compassion for the law abiding, tax paying citizens who feel unsafe in their own communities?

    Can you tell us a plan for success with the money propose? Can you provide examples of successful programs run by government to help the addicted recover lives of productivity and joy? Can you provide information about the lack of beds, because the people in the field tell us the addicted don’t want those beds. Maintaining law and order, including thorough prosecutions, have a provable success rate. I’d be happy to provide you with more information.

  4. It has been my observation that after decades of throwing hundreds of millions of dollars and lots of “compassion” at the addicted, the homeless and the mentally ill, nothing has been accomplished beyond building an “industry” around all of it. An industry that demands evermore compassion and lots more cash from people who work hard, play by the rules and contribute to a civil society only to be met with ever more of the problem. Time to try something different and if involves unpleasantness and accountability from those who “are the problem” so be it. This has become not only tiresome, but dangerous and a rotten ROI.

  5. Jay Demme: To sum up your comments in a few words: It’s time to try tough-love and responsibility! Living/sleeping on the streets is not an option! The Homeless Industry won’t be happy for they don’t really want solutions, just more taxpayer money.

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