O Bellevue! What Were You Thinking?
Bellevue's City Council majority looks even more odd this week as the City of Woodinville considers its own tent city ordinance. According to the Seattle Times, a Woodinville City staffer in charge of the ordinance says Woodinville has no intention of following in Bellevue's footsteps by limiting tent cities to 60 days. "'We didn't have a reason to shorten it. Our experience was it functioned well,' [Sturtz] said."
Bellevue's ordinance, supposedly made so restrictive in order to ensure public safety, looks even more strange given Bellevue's latest public release about tent cities. Here's a direct quotation:
Information gathered from other Eastside cities who have hosted Tent City IV over the past year indicates that neighbors are not significantly impacted by any increased crime. Police are called to the encampment to respond to disputes among residents of the encampment or to provide assistance with removing or denying entry to a resident of the encampment. However, the presence of Tent City IV has not led to an increase in crime against the neighborhood or neighbors.
What's left to ask of Bellevue is this: If there's no threat to public safety, what's the reason for restricting the rights of churches to host tent cities?