Seattle City Council
8/11/2004 10:43:00 AM
COUNCILMEMBERS JOIN MEAL SERVERS AT CITY HALL PARK
SEATTLE – City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, Jean Godden and Peter Steinbrueck will join The Meals Partnership Coalition at City Hall Park this evening at 6:30 p.m. to serve meals to the hungry. Mayor Greg Nickels has restricted the meal providers from serving meals after 4:00 p.m. However, they will provide meals as usual, accompanied by many of Seattle’s civic and religious leaders, offering friendship, hope and a warm meal to the homeless.
The Mayor has said violators of the 4:00 PM curfew will be cited for violating the restriction.
“We are going to find a solution to the Mayor’s concerns, but people shouldn’t go hungry while the City figures out what needs to be done,” said Rasmussen. Rasmussen, Chair of the City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee, has offered to work with the Mayor and the Human Services Department to find an alternative site or another solution to continuing the distribution of evening meals in downtown Seattle.
“While I don’t like disobeying the law,” said Councilmember Jean Godden, “sometimes civil disobedience is called for to draw attention to the needs of the poor. We can—and must—do better to help these organizations serve meals to our homeless,” she added.
Seattle’s citizens are compassionate people,” said Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, “and we believe we can work together to assure the poor and homeless they will have a safe place among friends to get a healthy meal.”
Council members and human service providers are concerned about the effect of the Mayor’s decision to put a curfew on the meals program. “I am grateful for the dedication and commitment of these meal providers,” said Rasmussen. “They have told me the program had been going smoothly until the City moved it from the Public Safety Building site to City Hall Park. I would ask the Mayor to work with them to first seek a solution to his concerns about public safety before ending the program,” he added.
More than 300 meals are served each evening at City Hall Park by a coalition of non-profit organizations. In spite of the City’s budget challenges over the last several years, the City Council has prioritized the funding of food programs and other human services.