Moving On: Charter Amendment Failure Puts Responsibility Back Where it Should Be


A charter amendment was not the way to move our city forward on homelessness – it would have punted a comprehensive approach into sometime next year, let local officials off the hook for months and, as the judge in the case here states with force, violated state law. It also, in its vagueness of language, could have made the amendment’s ultimate goals — to free sidewalks and public parks of encampments while giving the homeless effective alternatives – actually more difficult to realize.

So the ball is back where it should be – on those holding office now and those we elect in November, to create a workable strategy to reach those goals. No charter change is needed or appropriate for that work, just the vision and will of those in council and mayoral positions to find effective answers.

The court ruling does cloud the mayoral election in particular — Bruce Harrell had made Charter Amendment 29 a fundamental part of his campaign and now needs to offer his own specifics ASAP.  As to Lorena Gonzalez, who opposed the amendment – she’s been president of the city council through all the dissatisfactions of the last 2-3 years, hardly a ringing call for her election. It’s not the choice many of us wanted.

But it puts the right question in front of all local candidates re homelessness – what is your plan, now, if elected/re-elected? Now, not in some charter future.


Mike James
Mike James
Mike James was a long-time anchor newscaster at KING TV.


  1. Maybe so, but I for one don’t think the activists in the city council care about a reasonable approach to the problem, other than throwing money at groups that ARE NOT very efficient .
    We need to have laws enforced (big and petty crimes) or we have a society that does not meld.
    Let’s start with a remote drug farm with free drugs for those who can’t avoid the addiction and get them off the street, which should eliminate some of the homeless. Then provide off street shelters for tenters living on our streets – NOT permanent free housing AND mental hospitals for that part of our citizenry

  2. I think Ross Anderson’s article is a little bit confusing. When he suggests that the utility is returning “that kilowatt” next winter, he suggests or at least to me implies that there’s some special deal that the solar folks get.

    I suspect all he means is a kwh is a kwh and he’ll get one when needed next winter, but not at any special price break because he’s got solar


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