Real Change asked us to publish an open letter of sorts, thanking you for your support – and asking that you be sure to support only authorized vendors of their award-winning publication. It’s a West Seattle-specific message, including descriptions of people they say are selling without authorization – which is only verified via a badge like this:
Thank You for Your Support, West Seattle
From Real Change:
Every day, Real Change offers opportunity, dignity, and a sense of community to 350 homeless or low-income vendors that sell Real Change News. For over 18 years, we have worked hard to support our vendors and respond to community concerns.
Vendors must follow a Code of Conduct if they wish to sell our newspaper. Vendors who are authorized to sell the newspaper wear a color-coded identification badge. If someone is selling the newspaper without a current badge, they may not be an authorized vendor and did not receive papers from our organization.
We know that there are a few people in West Seattle who are not authorized to sell our newspaper but have sometimes illegitimately acquired papers outside our office. They aggressively panhandle and actively disrespect community members, business owners, and Real Change vendors.
Two individuals in particular have been especially aggressive and threatening, and are not authorized to sell our newspaper. One is an African American male, approximately 5’3” tall, with light brown/green eyes and braids/dreadlocks. The other is an African American female, approximately 5’9” tall, with a slender build and wearing glasses. They have been active at West Seattle businesses such as Safeway at Jefferson Square, Safeway on California Ave., Thriftway, the Post Office, QFC at Alaska and 42nd, Easy Street Records, Metropolitan Market, and Westwood Village.
Here’s how you can continue to help:
· Purchase the paper from badged vendors only. Please only
purchase the paper from vendors displaying a Real Change badge with
the current year printed on it. If a vendor is not wearing a badge,
please ask to see one. The 2013 badge will be orange.
· Support your badged vendors. Please continue to support authorized Real Change vendors and let them know their presence is appreciated. They appreciate and deserve your support!
· Notify Law Enforcement. Do not hesitate to contact law enforcement if there are individuals engaging in criminal activity in your community.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Vendor Services Program Manager Tara Moss at (206) 441-3247 ext. 204. Real Change’s Field Organizer, Neal Lampi, will also be visiting West Seattle businesses frequently. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Moss and Lampi explained Real Change to the Junction Neighborhood Organization in 2010 (WSB coverage here), two months after a police officer’s candid briefing at JuNO included harsh words about RC (WSB coverage here). The “fake vendors” problem also was brought up to Mayor McGinn last year during his visit to a West Seattle Chamber of Commerce-sponsored lunch meeting (WSB coverage here).