Jail-sites meeting tonight: Fury about the locations, and the process

June 26, 2008 at 9:49 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle jail sites, West Seattle news, West Seattle video | 38 Comments

That two-minute video shows you the most emotional moments — out of MANY emotional moments — at tonight’s city-organized public forum about the two West Seattle sites that are among the “final four” possible city-jail locations. Highland Park Elementary teacher Laura Drake truly brought down the house; we were at a table with Highland Park Action Committee leaders and members, and some were dabbing at tears after Drake finished. Concern, as well as raw emotion, also centered around the process, the meeting’s format, the lack of background information about how the city whittled down its original list of sites, and much more – here’s our full report (finalized in the early am):

Also spirited, though in a lower-key way, was HPAC chair Dorsol Plants, who first asked pointedly if future meetings were going to be as tightly formatted as this one (we described the format in this earlier post), then listed the concerns detailed by his tablemates, and ended with a quote from a federal jail-siting study that’s on the city’s own website, followed by one last concern about whether all of the area’s residents really had the chance to hear about the meeting:

Plants, HPAC vice chair Rory Denovan, and others later expressed frustration when — during the “answers to the main questions” section at the end of the meeting — city reps didn’t truly reply to their pleas for detailed information about how and why 30-plus originally proposed sites were cut from the list (the city website has some short explanations). This led to one of many tense back-and-forths with city reps – PR consultant Lee Keller is seen with the city’s Doug Carey, who was also the point person at the very first HPAC meeting on the jail sites more than a month ago (WSB coverage here):

One more exchange in this next clip — attendees were asking why Sodo had been ruled out; the first person you see countering Doug Carey is Kathleen Voss from HPAC:

Meetings like these are usually tightly managed by the public agencies that organize them, and to some degree you can understand why, as you run the risk of anarchy if you invite hundreds with no real plan of how to get through three hours.

However, the format deployed tonight — breaking the room into small groups, each of which makes a list of questions/concerns, then gets a few minutes to present it with the whole room listening, followed by some answers from the officials in attendance and/or promises of later answers online — does not seem optimal for dealing with large crowds whose general sentiment can be predicted in advance to some degree.

We saw an identical format deployed in February at the last Seattle Public Schools-organized public meeting before the school board took its vote on the controversial Denny/Sealth combined-campus project. (WSB in-depth coverage of that meeting is here.) One difference this time: The officials attempted to provide some semblance of answers after the group reps presented their questions, while at that school meeting, the questions were noted, and answers didn’t turn up till a week later, hours before a pivotal school-board meeting.

At tonight’s meeting, as you can see in the last two video clips above, what “answers” were provided did not include the details the attendees were hoping for. The briefing that started the meeting didn’t include new information — though to be fair, the city has stated and restated that it’s early in the public-input process, at least the way it’s seeing that process (jail-site opponents insist the public-input process should have been initiated long before the list got down to a final four).

Perhaps that explains something else opponents complained about – the fact no elected officials were on hand to face their concerns, questions, and yes, even their anger. The only elected official seen in the room, and publicly acknowledged, was the state representative for South Park and parts of White Center, Rep. Zack Hudgins, who worked the crowd before the meeting formally began, scattering business cards to anyone who would take one.

The decisionmakers in this case will ultimately be the Seattle City Council, though the King County Council has a role at this stage of the game, as they are considering a proposal to extend the county’s agreement with the city regarding misdemeanor jail inmates (it’s on the Committee of the Whole agenda for Monday) – the agreement that currently is scheduled to end in a few years, which is why the city is looking at building a jail, albeit reluctantly: “We got out of that business 25 years ago, and didn’t want to get back into it,” Carey reiterated, while making the same point he made at the first Highland Park meeting last month – that this is a project the city isn’t relishing. He also restated that the city is open to extending its agreement with the county – although at last week’s Delridge District Council meeting, as we reported, City Councilmember Sally Clark said it would be a mistake to be distracted by the possibility of a two-year extension, as she believed the city was already behind where it should be in the jail-building process if it needs to be ready by the original deadline.

One issue that continues to surface is how many jail spaces really are needed. As we reported after a public meeting in SeaTac last Friday, King County Sheriff Sue Rahr declared that “building out” the county’s Regional Justice Center in Kent could take care of the problem; she said she personally feels it’s a “waste of taxpayers’ money” for cities to be in the jail business. But in one part of tonight’s briefing, city reps said that building out the RJC would create fewer than 500 spaces, while almost triple that would eventually be needed.

Unexplained is a slide from a presentation that was on the county’s website last week, suggesting that the county jail population is way below projections, with the inference drawn by city-jail opponents that the facility may not be needed.

Even if it is, the site-judging criteria may change — next month, city reps said, they get a consultant report showing whether their “assumptions” were correct regarding a low-rise jail being superior to a high-rise jail. Attendees tonight expressed disbelief and displeasure that the city could have reached this stage without an earlier evaluation of that aspect.

Meantime, there were signs the city is incorporating refutations to common concerns into its presentations as the process evolves (to the degree that some on hand voiced suspicion the city reps were reading from a script, which they said wasn’t true – just printouts from their website). They offered a refutation to the oft-voiced worry that a jail would attract businesses like bail-bonds offices. “That’s not the experience in Issaquah and Renton, which run their own jails,” contended Carey. “Just for context, 10 percent of the people discharged from jail are discharged on bail – we think that might total three per days (in a jail like this).” Wouldn’t make business sense for somebody to set up a bail-bonds office with that clientele level, he suggested.

In other cases, it’s different views of the same reality, depending on which side you’re looking from. Opponents stress that the Myers Way site is close to the huge new senior-housing complex that’s going in; the city stresses that the site is close to the Fire Department’s Joint Training Facility. (Myers, by the way, is the only one of the four finalists that’s wholly owned by the city already; the Marginal Way site includes state, city, and private property.)

An attempted “answer” that drew some derision was the city’s display of jail structures from Kansas and Lake Tahoe, California, as examples of what they suggested to be jails that didn’t really look like jails.

In the end, though as the video shows, attendees didn’t get all the answers they want — particularly the specifics on exactly what led to the ruling out of more than 30 potential sites — they did get to make their points, as none of the table spokespeople really stuck with the framework the city requested for their discussion points:

1. What are the top 5 factors city should consider to choose between sites?

2. What’s the biggest concern you have about these two sites?

3. Given a jail has to go somewhere, if it was one of those sites, what are the top three things the city could do to address those concerns?

Holly Krejci
of the Georgetown Community Council countered that she didn’t agree a jail has to go somewhere, and voiced regret that this seems to be deteriorating into another case of north Seattle vs. south (and west) Seattle:

Though the last 20 or so minutes of the meeting were tense, all grew more civil as it adjourned to opportunities for participants to personally question the city reps; Plants and others were last seen in intense conversation with Doug Carey.

WHAT’S NEXT: Monday morning, the King County Council Committee of the Whole, chaired by West Seattle’s County Councilmember Dow Constantine, considers the proposal to extend the county’s jail agreement with the city (agenda here). July 21 is the next meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee (which is updating its jail-sites-fight website section frequently; you’ll find it here, including an online petition to “sign” if you share their opposition to the West Seattle sites); July 26 is the second city public forum on these two sites, 9 am at South Seattle Community College. Then in August, the city plans two public hearings as part of the environmental “scoping” in the process; sites have not yet been announced, and a round of hearings related to SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act components) is due early next year. A final decision is expected in the second quarter of next year. If you want to let any of your elected officials at any level know your thoughts on this issue, they’re listed on the HPAC’s jail-sites page. And watch the Seattle Channel page (plus its on-air channel) for tonight’s meeting videotaped in its entirety.

38 Comments

  1. Whoa! GO LAURA!

    Comment by Bonnie — 10:00 pm June 26, 2008 #

  2. ditto Laura you rock!!

    Comment by cc — 10:22 pm June 26, 2008 #

  3. good for her! great!

    Comment by thee — 10:23 pm June 26, 2008 #

  4. She said what we’re all thinking. Placing TWO jail sites in THIS area is like the city SPITTING on us after we’ve worked so hard for so many years to turn this neighborhood around. It’s about time that someone stood up to the city and said that we’re NOT going to take your garbage any more! I’m so glad that her outrage was so eloquently put.

    Comment by HighlandParkster — 10:35 pm June 26, 2008 #

  5. As Dorsol Plants said after the meeting, Ms. Drake “took us to church”.

    Comment by d — 10:42 pm June 26, 2008 #

  6. can we put that Doug Carey video on youtube and send it to everyone in the city to show them who they have sent as a representative and how he answers questions? especially the end part with the OPEN-MOUTH-PAUSE when asked to elaborate on what “economic displacement” and “fatally flawed” actually mean. are taxpayer dollars paying that guy’s salary?

    Comment by c — 11:04 pm June 26, 2008 #

  7. Our video is embeddable and resendable. For one, I’d suggest sending the URL to this story to anybody you wanted to see it, since it has multiple clips. But if you’d rather send the URL for the specific clip, our “channel” at blip.tv, which we use for playback because YouTube takes FOREVER to upload among other reasons, is at:

    http://westseattleblog.blip.tv

    and you can see how to share individual clips from there.

    Comment by WSB — 11:12 pm June 26, 2008 #

  8. I know Laura personally, my kids go to Highland Park elementary she is just as great of a teacher as she is a community member she brings passion and conviction to whatever she does and does it so well. THANK YOU LAURA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by cc — 11:20 pm June 26, 2008 #

  9. c- what you didn’t see after the “open mouth pause” was the “moderator” trying to save Doug Carey by saying too many people were asking questions from the front of the room and simply jumped to another person.
    THE QUESTION HAS YET TO BE ANSWERED.

    Comment by Kat — 11:27 pm June 26, 2008 #

  10. Well that’s certainly a lot of emotion. But where are the facts? Why are these folks so certain that a jail will bring ruin our neighborhoods? The bad guys and gals are locked up inside. And someone else said it before, people who break out of prison tend not to hang around the neighborhood. I applaud this woman’s activism but my gut tells me that she’s projecting a lot of frustration from other issues on this one.

    Comment by Jaime Gummer — 11:31 pm June 26, 2008 #

  11. Wow I just saw the Doug Carey clip that is pathetic he was so speechless!!!! Who thought it would be a good idea to send him to this meeting?

    Comment by cc — 11:37 pm June 26, 2008 #

  12. FYI, the city has spent over $100,000 on studies, forums, websites, etc. so far on an –assumption- that a low rise jail is the best plan. BUT WAIT! The study that would tell them whether or not this is even true won’t have its results until next month! Our tax dollars at work!
    Of course, they ordered the study to try to prove their own assumption… It seems the City of Seattle has learned its process from George W. Bush and his justification for going to Iraq – just twist information until it says what you want it to regardless of actual truth.

    Comment by Kat — 11:45 pm June 26, 2008 #

  13. Jaime-
    From the Dept. of Justice’s Brief on Siting Correctional Facilities (the flawed study the city keeps touting):
    .
    “the presence of an unpopular facility, especially a large one, can greatly influence a community’s sense of pride, identity, and image”
    .
    There is not a single neighborhood in this city that wouldn’t be fighting this. All else being equal, given a choice between buying a home next to a jail or not, I would bet money that you would have a hard time finding people who would choose the jail.
    .
    You are right, however. We do need more facts. Unfortunately, the city is not cooperating. The information we do receive is (to use one of their terms) “fatally flawed”. HPAC is working nonstop to be as informed and well-versed as possible. Just make sure that you remain open to the truth when it finally emerges…

    Comment by Kat — 11:58 pm June 26, 2008 #

  14. The facts are posted in multiple locations on our website and I would like to point out as far as the economic situation goes the city released study is not consistent with the type of city we have here. This is why Kathleen and several other HPAC members have been doing their own study where we have found in cities comparable to Seattle that the presence of a jail did in fact lower the value of houses the closer you get to the jail location. This is one of many clear examples of how a jail will adversely effect a sensitive area on an economic upswing and not just because we don’t want it in our backyards.

    Comment by Dorsol Plants — 12:02 am June 27, 2008 #

  15. Jaime, What the real issue is is not escapes it is releases an average misdemeanant stay is 8 days the jail is over a 400 bed jail so this is a lot of criminals being released onto the streets everyday while some of the lucky ones will have a ride from a friend or family member alot will not.Where do they go after being locked up for 8 days with no drugs or alcohol? and no money, into our neighborhood to look for quick cash to get what they need and how will they get it usually by burgalarizing a car or home or a business closest to them. Or a prostitute who could turn a trick to get some cash where does she go to the nearest busiest street. Not to mention the traffic in and out of here and with the viaduct out of commision. It all spells disaster.

    Comment by cc — 12:03 am June 27, 2008 #

  16. Loooove public meetings.
    Person: “But what about XYZ?”
    Official: “We looked at XYZ and it would cost the amount of this year’s entire city budget.”
    Person 2: “You looked at X but not X2! What about X2???”
    Official: “Well, X2 was not even an option, because it’s 100 feet square.”
    Person 3: “But what about X3?”
    Official: “X3 is under water.”
    Person 4: “Or ABC? Or NOP?”
    Official: “I’m not sure about NOP.”
    Persons 1,2,3,4: “See how incompetent the City is!”

    Comment by Michael — 12:04 am June 27, 2008 #

  17. Michael: Well said. The short clips of video left the impression that the crowd was comprised of some belligerent people who walked in there with their minds made up. It seems to me that issues like this are complex and the worst way to work with complex issues is to raise your voice and grandstand.
    .
    cc: That does sound like a scary scenario. But is this just off the top of your head or are you aware of another community in which the presence of a prison has raised local crime rates precipitously? What about the increased traffic of jail administrators, employees and corrections officers who will also be working in this area and spending money at local businesses? Not to mention the years of construction workers who will do the same.

    Comment by Jaime Gummer — 6:55 am June 27, 2008 #

  18. I Say, “No Jails ANYWHERE.” How about we first look at the number of non-violent drug offenders and mentaly ill that fill the criminal system.
    -
    When we expand jail capacity there is a unsaid urge to fill that capacity to justify the expense.
    -
    Also, as Rahr said, cities should not be in the jail business in the first place. The very idea of a new city jail is flawed on many levels.
    Property in the city limits is a high value commodity regardless of the location. Is this really the best use of ANY of these properties?

    Comment by worms roxanne, I'm afraid of worms — 9:12 am June 27, 2008 #

  19. Jaime – I appreciate the importance of looking at both sides of the issue. My question is, if building a jail in a neighborhood provides the benefits you listed, why aren’t more neighborhoods fighting to have the jail put in their communities? The answer is obvious: noone WANTS to have a jail in their neighborhood.

    According to a study published in the Journal of Urban Health, “…conditions that are overrepresented in incarcerated populations include substance abuse, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other infectius diseases, perpetration and victimization by violence, mental illness, chronic disease, and reproductive health problems.” Building a jail which houses a concentration of individuals with these problems in already-fragile neighborhoods is not going to help those communities make progress.

    The onus is on the city to provide proof that this decision will not negatively impact our neighborhoods. And that proof must be from examples similar to our nieghborhoods where they are proposing to build the jails. They must answer the tough questions regardless of the fact that some people asking those questions might have their ‘mind already made up’.

    If we want the benefits you mentioned such as, increased traffic, employees spending money at our local businesses, and increased construction, how about building more community centers, parks or other facilities that will have a positive impact on our precious communities?

    Kudos to those who are taking such pride in their communities to attend these meetings and fight for promoting a happy and healthy environment for their families and fellow neighbors. If we all looked out for one another like this on a regular basis, maybe we wouldn’t need to be building more jails.

    Comment by Kim Kelly — 9:12 am June 27, 2008 #

  20. I work in law enforcement and definitely do not want a jail in my neighborhood (my family and I live near Riverview) but I support Jaime fully for raising her questions and comments. I don’t believe she is playing devil’s advocate but actually trying to further the discussion by tying research and facts into this heated discussion.

    Most everyone has had thoughtful comments and is very passionate about this issue, but level heads and level-headed questions and discussions will prevail.

    Bringing up comments that are political do no good whatsoever (see comment #12 by Kat) and only damage the well-thought out arguments for not putting this facility in this vibrant and emerging neighborhood.

    While I am not as optimistic as Kim Kelly (in the last paragraph above this post), I do like the idea of us all taking care of each other better; this is part of what makes this part of West Seattle special, and worth fighting for preserving.

    Comment by island dweller — 11:14 am June 27, 2008 #

  21. Hello HP neighbors!

    I attended the meeting last night. It was full of passion and concern. And rightfully so. The south end does take the brunt of the City’s undesirable issues.

    I’m of the belief that the City does not need to get into the jail business. And that all of Seattle, north and south, should echo that sentiment above all others.

    We must be very careful when we suggest other locations for a jail.

    For instance, Georgetown is an industrial area. We do not have a school. Our playfield is zoned industrial. Our commercial core along Airport Way is zoned industrial. So when I heard people at the meeting last night suggest that the City examine areas that fit such criteria, I cringe. Especially since many of the rejected sites are located in Georgetown. SODO (N. Georgetown) has already taken a level three sex offender housing facility – so I think they’ve taken a pretty fair share of the City’s burden.

    So…

    Let’s unite! We need to stand our ground that this is bad policy for Seattle – north and south. Seattle isn’t prepared to enter the jail business. It has trouble hiring police officers as it is.

    Thanks for all of the great work on this blog and that HPAC has done. We look forward to working with you over the next year to create a better solution to this jail issue.

    Best,
    Holly

    Comment by Holly Krejci - Georgetown — 11:16 am June 27, 2008 #

  22. KAT-

    You should stick to the subject as not everyone here suffers from BDS. The issue of where the jail goes has nothing to do with your opinion of our president.

    Comment by Danno — 11:38 am June 27, 2008 #

  23. Well said Holly (my main work facility is in Georgetown). Georgetown is also benefitting from a renewed vitality evidenced by its’ business and residence growth/improvements.

    Let me also state that we need to support Dow Constantine in his efforts to get the County proper to look at what it needs to do to support the cities therein by either expanding or more likely building a third facility, likey in the NE area of the county since downtown and the SE are already covered by the main jail and the RJC, respectively.

    Comment by island dweller — 11:39 am June 27, 2008 #

  24. Was there any discussion of a regional solution? That is where this conversation needs to go. It is ludricous for three different municipalities to build jails and then have to staff and maintain them. OR better yet ….does anyone really think we can solve this problem by building more jails. It is the old time worn issue of you build them and they will get filled. It is time that we started looking at other solutions than putting folks behind bars…we need to look at mental health services, on demand drug treatment, making it socially unacceptable to be arrested and not a badge of honor amongst friends that you committed whatever crime and now you should be looked up to….

    It is time for some new ideas and new ways of thinking to solve this problem. I for one do not beleive that we can build our way out of it.

    Comment by Pete — 12:19 pm June 27, 2008 #

  25. Very funny, Michael, but the point is that the City freely admitted that they did not truly evaluate a high rise option.

    They made assumptions about high-rise vs. low-rise that may or may not be correct. That is why they are paying for a study now. If the high rise option is viable, that certainly changes the siting criteria. That lack of proper analytical approach to the problem is one reason that many of us in the room feel that the City is trying to ramrod certain choices without actually considering the full facts of the situation.

    Pete- Yes, nearly every group that spoke pushed for further consideration of a regional solution.

    Comment by vicki — 12:54 pm June 27, 2008 #

  26. As someone who has worked VERY hard to do my part for my neighborhood (South Park), I found Laura Drake’s comments to be right on.

    These ARE fragile neighborhoods–neighborhoods currently all fighting the same demons: drug dealing, prostitution, and gang violence.

    Dropping in a jail into either location would do more harm than good, and considering the city doesn’t even NEED the jail (See Sheriff Rahr’s comments.) Add to the fact that the city has already proven themselves to be more than incompetent stewards of the land at the JTF site, and you’ve got yourself a pretty clear solution: back off City of Seattle!

    If you really want a jail put it downtown next to the courts WHERE IT BELONGS. Or are you scared of having some misdemeanor criminals running amuck downtown around your office buildings?

    Again, props to Laura Drake and all who attended the meeting. Your comments brought tears to the eyes of a temporarily exiled South Parker watching you on the web.

    Comment by Michelle — 3:22 pm June 27, 2008 #

  27. Kim Kelly: My gosh, they’re not proposing some kind of new criminal-filled neighborhood or housing project. They’re talking about a prison. With walls. And steel bars.
    .
    A quick Google search revealed the following communities that have fought to ATTRACT new prisons to their respective areas: New Braintree, MA.; Northumberland, NH.; Berlin, NH,; Erie, PA.; Springfield, VT.; Muskegon County, MI.; Kingman, AZ,; Malone, NY

    Comment by Jaime Gummer — 4:46 pm June 27, 2008 #

  28. Jaime -

    You made an inquiry whether any other city has had negative impact on residential areas. Ever heard of the Bronx?

    Comment by d — 4:50 pm June 27, 2008 #

  29. Pardon me -

    That should read any other “jail”.

    Comment by d — 4:51 pm June 27, 2008 #

  30. Has everyone seen the following Department of Justice study?
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/municipaljail/docs/DOJ_study_010591.pdf
    .
    Page 9 of this report reads like it was written about this exact situation, including the public reaction to the prison siting proposals. This study found that the presence of prisons had little to no negative effect on sales prices for housing in the community around the prison. They found that there was no significant difference between the crime rates for the target area versus the control area of the study or that the crime rate in the target area was significantly lower than the control area. Local law enforcement officers interviewed for the study stated that, in their opinions, the presence of the correctional facilities had not contributed to community crime rates. Furthermore, none of the officers reported having heard about crimes committed in the community by inmates’ visitors.
    .
    There are some other scholarly articles I found online. They’re not free. But they seem to contain some valuable information and methodologies for examining the topics that everyone seems to be up in arms about. WIth a few minutes of research I found:
    .
    In his scholarly article entitled “Myths and Realities of Prison Siting” (Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 38, No.1, 70-87, 1992), author David Shichor reviewed arguments for and against prison development. Among the reasons for opposition he examined fears of negative social impacts on communities (i.e., increased crime rates, resettlement of prisoners’ families and released prisoners into the community, decline of property values). He concluded that the fears of negative social consequences were subjective and of little relevance. Similarly, researcher D. Sechrest in his article “Locating Prisons: Open Versus Closed Approaches to Siting” in the same journal dismissed social concerns as unfounded. In yet another study by Katherine Carlson in 1992, the author examined the impact upon the community of the Clallum Bay Corrections Center right here in Washington State. Ms. Carlson’s findings were mixed.
    .
    There is probably much more information like this that might lend some facts to these topics to balance some of the heightened emotions.

    Comment by Jaime Gummer — 6:22 pm June 27, 2008 #

  31. Jaime,
    I studied this DOJ Brief extensively. I am sure that the information contained within is true (or was at least for the first 3 years. However, the study (as anyone who has even taken a course in statistics and methods can tell you), is flawed in its basic design.
    .
    The brief looks at 7 facilities that vary in size, population, region, etc. Which basically gives you a sampling size of only 1. There are too many variables to carry over. It would be equivalent to asking:
    1 protestant caucasian in Indiana
    1 african american Jew in Albany
    1 Buddhist Asian American in San Francisco
    1 Hispanic Catholic in Texas
    1 agnostic Pacific Islander in Hawaii
    1 Native American in Alaska
    To give their opinions about liking vanilla ice cream and then publishing the data under the heading “All religious and ethnic groups across America love vanilla ice cream”
    .
    You have touched on many different areas but the opinion still count only for that ONE individual. You simply cannot generalize results that way. My example may seem simplistic but the guiding principles are the same – get information about single sites that otherwise have little in common.
    .
    Another quick example, would you consider free climbing a skyscraper because someone did it successfully? Why not, the success rate is 100%! Or would you feel more comfortable if 100 people had done it successfully? Truth in numbers.
    .
    Statistics may only be reliable when you look at only one or two variables with all else being comparable. And even then, your sample size must be as large as possible to reduce the standard deviation for the results. One prison in Idaho, etc. does not translate to Seattle.
    .
    To say with any degree of certainty that a jail would not have a negative impact, we need to see long-term studies on Misdemeanor.Jails.Adjacent.To.Urban.Residential.Areas.With. Comparable.Demographics.To. Seattle.
    .
    It is science.
    .
    Here are some other things the DOJ study said:
    “…the presence of an unpopular facility, especially a large one, can greatly influence a community’s sense of pride, identity, and image.”
    - up to 50% of respondents believed the safety of their neighborhood was adversely affected by the presence of the correctional facility (I inverted their touted stat)
    .
    As emotional as we are – we are also level headed and looking for as much information as possible. However, it is frustrating when the city does not respond to requests for specific information.

    Comment by Kat — 7:07 pm June 27, 2008 #

  32. I’m sure someone from HP will chime in later to say this themselves, but since I happen to see it first — HPAC has analyzed that study thoroughly and even at last night’s meeting Doug Carey from the city agreed with their points that the communities in the study were not comparable with the situation here. It was a big focus of the last HPAC meeting, as covered here
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=8505

    Comment by WSB — 8:04 pm June 27, 2008 #

  33. I appreciate WSB quick response to Jaime’s note on the study. I would like to add that we have conducted our own study, and we have found proof that the presence of a jail does in fact impact the price of housing in a community in a negative way. You can even track the radius of the jail based off of price drops in housing.

    It is true that in some settings a jail can bring a boost to an economy, such as in a rural area. How? Because a new jail means new jobs bringing in new people to a city that will now grow. Seattle is not a rural setting, and employees there can and will continue to live in the areas they are at rather than consider a move to be closer to the jail.

    Also, we have several brand new and empty townhomes which we hope to soon see filled with middle class families which will bring a major boost to our economy. If a jail is built we will see middle to upper middle class families reluctant to move to the area, canceling out any benefits the jail will bring and more likely we will see the jail drag the economy backwards from where it is now when families already here will consider leaving the area.

    Comment by Dorsol Plants — 10:06 pm June 27, 2008 #

  34. My apologies to all for my earlier Bush-bashing (comment #12). It was indeed counter-productive. I was fresh out of the meeting and feeling frustrated. Please look instead to my more level-headed responses. I will strive to keep vitriolic comments off of the blog. Thanks.

    Comment by Kat — 11:41 pm June 27, 2008 #

  35. Has anyone read the original paper that the DOJ brief cites? It is a 600 page document and may be less biased (i.e. less filtered) than the DOJ summary.

    Comment by u — 7:34 am June 28, 2008 #

  36. Jaime, where do you live? Are you familiar with Highland Park? Sorry if that’s covered in one of your posts. Just curious about your personal experience in the context of this issue. If I were looking to buy your house in HP and suddenly found out the city is proposing a new jail a mile away, I can’t say I’d be convinced by some random academic or government studies. It might be different if the jail were already established in an already stable neighborhood.

    Comment by Jill — 8:56 am June 28, 2008 #

  37. Thank you Jill how can one study what is said in realators vehicles before even entering a neighborhood, I would say no thanks we can pass on the house 1 mile from a new jail. The studies showed no similar neighborhood in any state in its biggest city, with a misdemeanor jail that will have such a high traffic flow of people who break the law, the average stay is 8 days, at least with a prison the least amount of time spent is 1 year there is not such a huge number of released criminals. And the main point is we dont want a jail in any of the 4 sites the city has named, most of we believe a regional solution is the right one, not for all these individual cities to start building their own jails. And Sue Rahr seems to support that very same thing, which tells me we are not alone in that thinking.

    Comment by HP — 3:47 pm June 28, 2008 #

  38. I moved to West Seattle (HP) from Portland, OR (although I am a Seattle native) about a month ago and found this site thanks to the “no jail in West Seattle” signs on Thistle and on 9th. I am concerned that there is a basic lack or unwillingness to understand peoples’ objections to a jail in their neighborhood. As suggested before, you can spout off statistics about the positive effects of jails on neighborhoods but that won’t change the perception of the people living there or thinking they’ll move there. the simple fact is that we don’t want a jail in our neighborhood. That should be the end of the conversation.

    Comment by SW — 12:45 pm July 22, 2008 #

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