Monorail, Homelessness, the Police

Monorail

"Now arriving at Nowhere," the recorded voice might say as the 2011 Seattle Monorail pulls into beautiful downtown Interbay. "This is Dravus Street Station, last northern stop of the 10.6-mile line from West Seattle that voters approved on Nov. 8, 2005, at an overall cost of $462.3 million per mile, including interest through 2044. When you leave, please enjoy Interbay's history–we're a former city landfill—and points of interest. There's a gas station, grocery store, bar, and your choice of food: Chinese, burgers, or takeout pizza. For your golfing pleasure, a small course and driving range over there is open at night under garish lights. If you are here to pick up your car, the towing impound lot is down the street. For those continuing on to Ballard, the bus stop's this-a-way. For those going up the hills to Queen Anne or Magnolia, the cab stand's that-a-way. Or enjoy an overnight pause with other strangers in the local ball field bushes. And thanks for letting the monorail take you for a ride!" RICK ANDERSON

Homelessness

A longtime homeless-shelter provider is likely to have Seattle funding cut, possibly leaving about 300 people without a place to sleep, because of a dispute over data required under King County's nascent 10-year plan to end homelessness. The provider, SHARE/WHEEL, which organizes the roving Tent City program, is threatening to retaliate by opening three more encampments in Seattle if it loses $227,000 in city funding next March. Besides running tent cities of up to 100 residents each in Seattle and on the Eastside, the group houses about 300 people a night at 14 small shelters throughout the city, many at churches. The city and King County will require homeless-service providers to enter client data into a computer system. SHARE/WHEEL organizers decline to speak for attribution, but they oppose personal-data collection on principle. In their mind, asking homeless people to provide name, age, and race, for example, is discriminatory, multiplying the stigma of homelessness. Patricia McInturff, the city's Human Services Department director, says collecting such data is crucial in combating homelessness. PHILIP DAWDY

The Police

Six years after the City Council enacted limited civilian oversight of the Seattle Police Department, those involved are still trying to figure out how to do it without a legal showdown with the powerful Seattle Police Officers Guild. At issue is what the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Review Board, a group of three citizens, can reveal in reports to the council and the public about the integrity of OPA, an SPD internal affairs unit that investigates complaints about misconduct. The board hasn't issued a report since April 2004 because its members fear being sued for inadvertently revealing officer identities, even if they don't know the names. Review board Chair Peter Holmes, whose term expires next year, is calling the process a sham and is turning to the City Council. Council member Nick Licata, who chairs the public safety committee, says he'll consider legislation that could clear up the issue, but he makes no promises. "This is such a hot issue that I could not bring it to a vote" of the full council, says Licata. City Attorney Tom Carr and Mayor Greg Nickels' office say they want to make the review board work, and Carr says he'll propose a solution. PHILIP DAWDY

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