Letter Writing Program

The West Seattle Democratic Women organization wishes to make change. We are not simply a group of women who wish to “lunch”.

One of the ways in which we can make a difference is to write letters supporting our progressive agenda to the various politicios who can affect the outcome of the cause and/or campaign.

 

RECENT LETTER WRITING IDEAS

  1.  JOIN “THE IDES OF TRUMP” (Date sensitive March 15!)

On March 15th, nationwide many will mail Donald Trump a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to him. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure,  show the media and the politicians what standing with him — and against us — means as well as most importantly, bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing Donnie that he’s FIRED!

If each of us — every protester from every march, each congress calling citizen, volunteer, donor, and petition signer — write even a single postcard and we put them all in the mail on the same day, March 15th, well: you do the math!.

No alternative fact or Russian translation will explain away our record-breaking, officially-verifiable, warehouse-filling flood of fury. Hank Aaron currently holds the record for fan mail, having received 900,000 pieces in a year. We’re setting a new record: of over a million pieces in a day, with not a single nice thing to say.  So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and see if your sincerest ill-wishes can pierce Donald’s famously thin skin.

Prepare for March 15th, 2017, a day hereafter to be known as “#TheIdesofTrump”. Postcards are important here! Regular mail must go through content inspections that slow them down, whereas postcards don’t have such postal obstacles.  Write one postcard. Write a dozen! Take a picture and post it on social media tagged with #TheIdesOfTrump!  Spread the word! Everyone on Earth should let Donnie know how he’s doing. They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.

Send, on March 15th (or alternate date depending on your circumstances to arrive around March 17th) and mail your messages to:

          President (for now) Donald J. Trump
          c/o  Nancy Pelosi
          90-7th St., Suite 2-800
          San Francisco, CA  94103

It might just be enough to make him crack!

 

2.  A great big “THANK YOU” card or letter to Washington State Attorney General BOB FERGUSON for his heroic efforts to stand up to Trump’s unconstitutional travel ban on Muslims and refugees.   We, the Washington State Democratic Women, stand with you and are proud to have our collective names on the lawsuit as The State of Washington v. Trump.

ADDRESSES:

Main Office:

1125 Washington Street SE

PO Box 40100

Olympia, WA 98504-0100

 

OR

Consumer Protection

800 5th Ave, Suite 2000

Seattle, WA 98104-3188

 

3.  A great BIG “THANK YOU” card or letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren for heroically standing against the nomination of Jeff Sessions and defending your right to read Coretta Scott King’s letter on the Senate floor. Thank you for persisting!

ADDRESSES:

Boston Office:

2400 JFK Federal Building

15 New Sudbury Street

Boston, MA 02203

Phone: (617) 565-3170

 

Springfield Office:

1550 Main Street

Suite 406

Springfield, MA 01103

Phone: (413) 788-2690

 

 

Washington Office :

317 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-4543

 

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A SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLE FOLLOWS:

Lynne Ingalls shares the following as a demonstration that correspondence on issues you care about to elected leaders can be effective. You can read Lynne’s letter and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold’s reply below. Emphasis to the portion of the response specific to Lynne’s concern has been added but the whole letter is informative.

Lynne’s letter written about a month ago was addressed to our City Councilperson Lisa Herbold and concerned “Garbage Collection at Homeless Encampments”.  Lisa’s response follows.

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About a month ago I wrote via e-mail to Lisa Herbold re: garbage at homeless sites, suggesting that this is a public health issue and regardless of any other actions the city does or does not take about homeless camps, the garbage must be cleaned up. Below is her lengthy reply. While the response is a generic one, there is a specific answer to my suggestion (see Item 4 of her comments to the Executive branch (the Mayor’s office). Since many of WSDW members are vitally interested in the homeless encampments, I request that this reply from Lisa Herbold be forwarded to the membership.

BTW, this is also a good example of the result of a letter to a City Councilperson.

Lynne
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From: “Lisa Herbold” <Lisa.Herbold@seattle.gov>
To: btrees@centurylink.net
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2016 12:46:04 PM
Subject: RE: Garbage Collection at Homeless Encampments

Dear Constituents,

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the homeless encampments on Myers Way. Over the last few months, I have received numerous emails from constituents concerned about the people living in an unauthorized encampment on this property. While some of the campers are on city land others are on WSDOT land. The city only has jurisdiction over the city owned property. The Second Chance Encampment is on city property, outreach services are ongoing and removal has not yet been scheduled but will likely be pending.

On any given night in Seattle, 2,813 are living unsheltered in our community.  Since the beginning of the State of Emergency, approximately 522 sites have been identified through the city’s Customer Service Bureau. Last year, the Council passed legislation to authorize 3 sanctioned encampments. These are the only city-sanctioned encampments.  The locations are: The Ballard Encampment at 2826 NW Market Street with 21 residents; TheInterbay Encampment at 3234 17th Avenue W., with 63 residents; and Othello Village* at 7544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., with 47 residents. The sanctioned encampments have served 178 individuals. According to the Low Income Housing Institute’s, Authorized Encampments Moving Residents into Housing and Jobs – From October 1, 2015 to June 28, 2016:

  • 57 encampment residents moved to housing
  • 30 encampment residents moved into other shelter
  • 40 encampment residents found employment
  • 3 encampment residents were reunited with relatives

Other encampments we may see throughout the City are unsanctioned by the City.  Under current administrative protocols, before the City takes action to remove an unauthorized encampment, the City must provide 72 hours’ notice and outreach to the campers to connect them with needed services and shelter. Outreach providers seek to establish relationships with the people living in unsanctioned encampments and referrals for services such as housing, case management, substance abuse, and mental health assistance. They also provide immediate basic needs such as food, water, clothes. Outreach providers have some access to flexible funds to use for one time financial support, such as rent assistance, travel assistance (for getting to a support system outside Seattle), and hotel/motel vouchers. Between February to June 2016, 679 outreach visits were made resulting in 1,881 contacts and 277 offers of shelter.

Over the months that I have been on the City Council there has been much discussion of how the City should work with people living in encampments. We are a City with very long lines for shelter and years’ long waiting lists for affordable housing and rent assistance.  Whether caused by a lack of access to housing or a reluctance to accept help when available, sometime it takes time for outreach workers to help campers.  As part of these discussions, I have urged the Executive not only to have its work guided by established public health and safety prioritization criteria, but I’ve asked whether outreach workers have the ability to ask for more time if, in their estimation, more time would help get campers access to services.   I have been assured that the Executive’s administrative protocols do allow for a “go slow” approach in these instances.  As it relates specifically to the Myers Way properties, I have told the Executive that:

  1. I understand that complaints have been made about the encampment and that this obligates the City to accept those complaints;
  2. As it relates to acting on these complaints, I believe health and safety prioritization criteria should be used in determining when to schedule action on this encampment;
  3. I want a report on the outreach and services being provided to the campers with assurances that should outreach workers find that more time will result in better outcomes for the campers, more time will be given; and
  4. I’d like the City, in the interim, to provide garbage services for the campers, consistent with the encampment garbage removal project I proposed in March.

The current City process to complain about encampments that are unsanctioned begins with filing a complaint by calling 206-684-2489or (TTY) 7-1-1 or via the Customer Service Bureau (CSB) Web Form at www.seattle.gov/customerservice/.  CSB researches property ownership and determines which department is responsible for the property.

When property ownership is determined, CSB sends a report to the Seattle Police Department, the responsible department, and the Human Services Department for review and inspection. HSD administration then notifies the appropriate representative of the responsible department to clean-up.

Once the complaint is made, it is current city policy to prioritize removal of encampments according to the following criteria:

  1. Physical hazards to those at the site or in the community (e.g. on dangerous freeway overhangs, blocking sidewalks);
  2. Areas with significant public safety issues (e.g. reported crimes); and
  3. Areas with significant public health concerns (e.g. large accumulations of debris and biohazards).

These three factors are then balanced with the availability of resources; encampments that do not meet these criteria are not prioritized for removal.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you.

Best,

 

Lisa Herbold

District 1 Councilmember, Chair Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee

206-684-8803

lisa.herbold@seattle.gov

 

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