Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Adventures in Irony, Jan 24, '07

[Until I can redo and update my home website, I'll post these here along with whatever else.]

The Downtown Seattle Association, or the DSA, as we like to call it, has its “Have a [heart-symbol], Give Smart” campaign, with brochures and a devoted website at Let’s figure it out!

The DSA says it’s about panhandling, which is about mostly non-homeless people wanting, “in many cases,” drugs and alcohol, and therefore you shouldn’t give them money.

I say it’s about begging. Panhandling is handling a pan. Begging is asking for money. Words have meanings, DSA!

Once we understand that they’re really talking about beggars, rather than pans, we can go to the next fundamental question. Namely, who the freakin’ hell is the DSA and why are they begging me not to give to beggars?

The DSA is an association of, at last count, 439 businesses located in or interested in Seattle. For example the New York City based Merrill Lynch is a member. They have offices here. US Bank is a member. They’re part of US Bancorp, which is headquartered in Minneapolis. Macy’s, which owns the former Bon, is a member. Nowadays they’re based in San Francisco. Tillicum Village and Tours is a member, reaching out to Seattle from Blake Island.

Almost exactly 25% of the DSA’s members are real estate firms. Nearly 25% more deal heavily with real estate firms. There are architecture & planning firms, law firms, banks, insurers, finance companies, and title companies. So about half are companies that profit not just out of a dedicated business site in Seattle, but from the money that flows from pocket to pocket when those sites are created, leased, and sold, and leased again and sold again, and again, and again.

So they’re begging, “Please, please, don’t give the beggars money. Help us send them away! They might scare off new businesses and we won’t make as much money as we want to. PLEASE let us make as much money as we want! We PROMISE neither we nor our children will use our profits to buy cocaine. We PROMISE we won’t use any of our profits buying other things we don’t need, like Italian shoes, Pinot Noir, jogging shorts, or canopied beds.”

Here’s what I think about the real estate business: It’s all stolen property, people! Remember who Seattle was? This land doesn’t really belong to these jackasses!

The Seahawks and Mariners are members. And, here’s your irony, so are the Oklahoma-group-owned Sonics and Storm.

I suppose the Sonics had no representative on the Give Smart Committee. Still, isn’t it odd that one of the most talked-about members of this organization that’s telling us beggars shouldn’t get money just begged for a sackload of money from tax-payer funds?

“How much of a sackload, Wes?” I’ll tell you how much. If you took all the money they’ve just asked the governor to help them pry from tax-payers and you gave it to Seattle’s street beggars instead, each one would get a minimum of $300,000 (assuming a high estimate of 1000 street beggars. There may be only 439, one for each business in the DSA.) That would allow them to all retire.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should do the opposite of what the DSA says and go out and give the street beggars every dime and dollar they ask for.

I’m just saying, the various highly rich and some not so rich hotshots who run and own the businesses that identify themselves with downtown Seattle, who act like they ARE downtown Seattle, buy drugs and alcohol with the money they make off of this corner of the world. IN MANY CASES. That’s a fact.

You should consider that before you let them earn any more money than they really need for necessities like food, water, housing, and toilet facilities.

They’ll tell you it’s different for them precisely because they earn all their money (the Sonics, Seattle Opera, SAM, a hundred others, aside.)

But it’s not all earned! It’s made by dealing in stolen property. Never forget that.

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