ELECTION 2023: Voting starts this week for behavioral-health levy

This week, King County Elections will send out your ballot for the April 25 special election, with one issue on the ballot: The countywide levy to fund crisis-care centers. King County’s website is in transition this weekend, so we don’t have access to all the relevant links, but here’s an info-sheet about the levy. As we reported in January, it’s a nine-year levy to raise a total of $1.25 billion to fund these four county-specified goals:

*Create five new regional crisis care centers

*Preserve and restore the dramatic loss of residential treatment beds

*Grow the behavioral health workforce pipeline

*Provide immediate services while centers are being constructed

Ballots are scheduled to go into the mail on Wednesday (April 5th), with dropboxes and voting-access centers opening Thursday. You’ll have until April 25th to get your ballot postmarked and into USPS mail, or (by 8 that night) into a dropbox. (West Seattle’s dropboxes are on the south side of SW Alaska just west of California, on SW Raymond just east of 35th SW, and in front of the South Seattle College [6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor] administration building.)

37 Replies to "ELECTION 2023: Voting starts this week for behavioral-health levy"

  • Lucy April 2, 2023 (5:30 pm)

    I am not against this levy, per se.  I want to see the balance sheet on other social projects first.  What money is coming in, exactly how it is being spent and what is the goal.  I want to know how the leaders were chosen, what their qualifications are, and what they are being paid.  And I want to know what success looks like.  When will the funding end?

    • Mr J April 2, 2023 (11:26 pm)

      I’m sure that information will be available, maybe not exactly how you’d like. But maybe you should run?

    • Canton April 2, 2023 (11:26 pm)

      Spot on. All reasonable questions. We have hundreds of homeless nonprofits that need that transparency. Mayor Harrell said he would get to the bottom of it. We hope he follows through, and follows where the money is spent.

  • WS Res April 2, 2023 (5:48 pm)

    If you want to see fewer people living in encampments and exhibiting erratic or upsetting behavior on the streets, vote for this levy.

    • Anne April 2, 2023 (10:56 pm)


      • Mr J April 2, 2023 (11:27 pm)

        Right! It’s like Jesus said “go forth and smite all ye who live in tents, are poor and have mental conditions, amen”

  • ltfd April 2, 2023 (6:47 pm)

    Homelessness and drug addiction – More money will help. Rinse, repeat. More money will help. Rinse, repeat. More money …..

    Yet, after repeated bouts of more money, we have more homelessness than ever before and more substance abuse deaths than ever before. But, trust us, more money will help, and we assure you that we will administer the funds wisely and efficaciously. 

    • Frog April 2, 2023 (8:52 pm)

      If you want to know why progressive leftists can spend vast sums of money, and everything they claim to be doing takes forever, and it never works, I would recommend this article from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/02/opinion/democrats-liberalism.html It’s a very long read, and takes some stamina to get through, but explains why even after King County and Seattle suck another couple of $billion from property tax payers,  nothing much will improve.

      • WestSeattleBadTakes April 3, 2023 (2:55 pm)

        Look, someone else who doesn’t know the difference between liberals and leftists.

        For those who don’t plan to read, the claim Ezra Klein makes is that often “too much” is being added to the projects. The argument for this is quite weak. Ezra starts with a specific project, the Tahanan development in San Francisco, and extols about how quickly and cheaply it was done by “working around government.”

        Ezra then takes a moment to explain the phrase I am sure he is quite proud of, Everything-Bagel Liberalism. Packing in “too much” means you’ll end up with nothing. He doesn’t say at what level this is happening, one would assume the project level but it isn’t quite that simple.

        Ezra continues to describe some of the laws that complicate matters such as 14b, local hiring requirements, unions, art commission, office of disability, etc. All of this seeming undercut by this one line (which comes before these other references).

        Tahanan could get off the ground only because of legislation passed by State Senator Scott Wiener in 2017 that fast-tracked certain kinds of affordable housing projects in California past the local entitlements process. 

        Look at that, legislation designed to get things moving. And from a liberal? Oh my. Of course, he goes onto reference how the private money is what helped it move along, so which is it? Neither? Both? It’s complicated you say? Well yeah, of course it is.
        On its face, I can agree with Klein’s central thesis – sometimes we have laws and regulations that gum things up. It makes them slower, it may even seem antithetical to the real goal. I think we can and should question these things.

        In Ezra’s world, we would have a singular focus but that is a simplistic (and dare I say childish) way to approach the problems we face. Especially considering Ezra doesn’t seem to have any answer for the things he thinks we should brush aside.

        Ezra has trouble internalizing multiple causes and multiple goals. Everything should be discrete, focused. We can’t consideration the unintended outcomes or any other mission when it comes to policy. This would be a fine argument if we didn’t in fact live in a complex society where we need to balance many different goals at once.

        I find it laughable that this would be linked on this specific levy considering it is quite specific in its goals and doesn’t (from what I’ve seen) include any of the extras such as equity requirements, union requirements, etc. But I am not that surprised, the reactionaries among us simply see red and post their tired, thoughtless screeds.

        Now, might it be gummed it with some existing laws and regulations. Absolutely. And let’s discuss those. Rather than foster a fruitful conversation, all we get is essentialism and oversimplifications.

        The fact that you fell for this as some important argument is telling.

      • Wseattleite April 3, 2023 (3:27 pm)

        Good article. I agree completely. 

    • Fred April 3, 2023 (8:32 am)

      I agree. 

    • WestSeattleBadTakes April 3, 2023 (3:04 pm)

      I know this is crazy, but it is almost like our systems are messed up?

  • bobby brown April 2, 2023 (7:02 pm)

    why so little make it a trillion….

  • Mike April 2, 2023 (7:48 pm)

    No accountability, no money.  It’s a no from me.

  • Mr J April 2, 2023 (11:32 pm)

    The bigger problem with this sort of continuous levy etc system is that it’s never ended and feeding commenters on here (and some of the general public) that we’re constantly writing open checks.  I get that frustration. At to some credit all these little administrative levy’s and bills are wasting a bit of money (not much in the grand scheme). We need progressive taxation at the state level and to ease up in property and sales taxes. There’s no real safety net here and that would go a long way to helping. We should vote yes for this levy because it will help people and we need to do more of that.

    • Wseattleite April 3, 2023 (3:32 pm)

      The government here in King County and Seattle will never “ease up” on taxes. They will only want more. They only continue to build systems that take more and more money, regardless of the results. There will never be enough the way they operate.  

  • Fatigue April 3, 2023 (4:29 am)

    I am so fatigue out with levy after levy..The best thing to do is just say NO

  • WS Guy April 3, 2023 (5:42 am)

     No. This levy plus Harrell’s housing levy would raise property taxes by $700 per year for the average home.

    • Canton April 4, 2023 (12:33 am)

      That levy, at 970,000,000, would only provide 3000 units at $323,333 each. We are wasting money hand over fist. Just like most issues, homelessness is just a cause, to finance the complex. Without homelessness, alot of people won’t get paid. Hence the need to serve those that get paid, very well.

      • CAM April 4, 2023 (9:29 am)

        I’m glad to see that Breitbart, OAN, and Alex Jones have entered the conversation. 

  • Jeepney April 3, 2023 (7:18 am)

    Politicians will never end homelessness because there is too much money to be made.

  • Seattlite April 3, 2023 (9:06 am)

    I want 100% TRANSPARENCY of where and how King County has spent citizens’ tax dollars.  Over the years since about 2011 or so, KC has received millions (at least $42 Million) of state tax dollars to clean up the homeless crisis.  Where and how has the millions of dollars been spent?  Until I see a spread sheet of how KC has been spending the millions of dollars it has already received to solve the homeless crisis, I will vote NO.

    • Duckie April 3, 2023 (12:04 pm)

      This Seattle Times articles details Seattle and King County homeless promises.  4 promises broken and many others not yet fulfilled.

      Cue to Naked Eyes’ 1983 song, “Promises, Promises”:You made me promises, promisesYou knew you’d never keepPromises, promisesWhy do I believe?

    • WestSeattleBadTakes April 3, 2023 (2:15 pm)

      Maybe you missed it, but this levy is for behavioral health. Housed people need these resources as well.

      • Duckie April 3, 2023 (3:45 pm)

        You appear to have missed that I was responding to Seattlites request for info on what’s happened on solving the homeless crisis.  Or maybe not, which explains your “bad takes” user tag. 

  • anonyme April 3, 2023 (11:10 am)

    It’s absurd that there is an expensive special election being held for this single issue. Is the intention to hold a special election for each and every one of the levies in the queue?   Yet another devious move to hide just how much in total taxpayers are being slammed with these levies. I might have voted yes if this had been on a ballot with other levies, but now it’s a hard NO.  This sneaky shell game has been going on long enough.

    • WestSeattleBadTakes April 3, 2023 (2:18 pm)

      It’s absurd for us to vote on a single issue? Sounds like you just hate democracy.  Pretty un-American of you actually.

      • Duckie April 3, 2023 (4:39 pm)

        Anonyme makes the point as to “expense” for presenting a single issue on a ballot. Whether or not this is correct, it’s not the same as you presenting that Anonyme is stating it is “absurd” to vote on a single issue and then concluding that concerns over expense equate to “hating democracy” and being “un-American” . This is just not justified. You don’t have to agree with Anonyme’s point, but you also shouldn’t conclude because you don’t agree with it that Anonyme is a hater of democracy or undemocratic. Comment and debate are essential to democracy. I’m grateful The WSB allows this comment and debate which makes us all better Americans and a stronger democracy. 

  • sf April 3, 2023 (11:17 am)

    I’m going to express my personal opinion here (and also on Facebook and Twitter) because these modes of communication are the ones most read and influence others opinions at a 87% success rate.

    Just Go Vote and save your keyboard callouses.

  • Del April 3, 2023 (1:49 pm)

    The last voting measure in February was the day before property tax increase notices went out for the year. It was sneaky way to get votes before people realized property taxes were going up another 20%. 

  • Scarlett April 3, 2023 (3:08 pm)

    This is absolutely needed.  Go into any emergency room and you’ll find the mentally distressed, often on a gurney in hallway,  waiting for some place to go.   It could be your brother, sister, relative or friend. I have my own reservations about the the mental healthcare system, but we need to do something.

    • Waeattleite April 3, 2023 (3:37 pm)

      Yes, something. Not “anything”.  People continue to vote for initiatives so that “something” will be done with nary a thought on its merit. Case in point. I will vote for good concepts that do not continue to raise the price of housing. 

  • Admiral April 3, 2023 (5:55 pm)

    And when does it stop, this tax will increase rents and reduce housing affordability.  It’s time for the voters to resoundingly reject adding more cost on housing!

  • CAM April 4, 2023 (9:33 am)

    If you want to have an informed opinion about whether or not this levy is needed, rather than whether or not you like the people proposing it or like giving away money, please talk about the substantial decrease in the number of inpatient mental health beds in King County in recent decades. As has been noted already in comments, this isn’t about homelessness (surprise, many people without housing are not mentally ill) and is not about crime. It is about a mental health crisis and a lack of available beds to which people can be admitted when treatment is needed. Read the newspaper any day of the week and you’ll see the stories about it. 

  • Scarlett April 4, 2023 (12:15 pm)

    As noted above, this levy is about the lack of beds for the mentally ill.  Some of these mentally ill spend days, even weeks, on a gurney in a crowded emergency room.  It is exhausting and traumatic for medical staff and other patients as often these patients are combative, screaming and need to be restrained, ie strapped down.  Many, eventually, will end up back on the street.  There will be undoubtably unefficiecies in how the money is allocated and spent , unfortunately, but I don’t see any other options for this ongoing crisis. 

  • Scarlett April 6, 2023 (8:45 am)

    My father, who was the wisest man and “straightest shooter” I ever knew,  used to say: “Poor people are big business.”  
    Of course he was referring to that vast bureaucracy (putting private charities aside for the moment)  whose job it is to manage the poor, indigent and others, is a reliable employer of thousands, even millions of people.  Given this and people’s desire to stay employed, institutions primary goal is to survive until the next round of funding.  But then, you could say this about a police department, or the B1 bomber, or anything else. 

    This is the complaint from many and it is not without merit.  However, these same people are blind to the fact, willingly or not, that the state is subdizing their lifestyles as well, from farm supports to tax and capital gain carve-outs for homeowners, to a thousand other subsidies.  We are in the business of subdizing wealth in this country far more than poverty.   My father also bitterly pointed out this hypocrisy as well. 

    It doesn’t make the financial comfortable “bad” people, but we have to start being honest about  where our money comes from, who is getting paid and who the payor is, indirectly or not.  Then we can begin to discuss issues honestly and fairly.  

  • AdmyrlByrd April 6, 2023 (5:47 pm)

    Too many levies, too much taxes.  Mine have more than doubled since 2014 when I bought in WS.  My value and salary have not.We need to vote no on these sneaky, special levies until there is a full accounting for all of them; none seem to fill their promises, and it’s time to send Dow, Bruce and the City Council a message that our homes are not their piggybanks for experimentation.  In most cases, I’m convinced more money brings more problems.

Sorry, comment time is over.