Seattle or Vancouver? Only 1 city has an effective response to homelessness and drugs | Opinion


Vancouver versus Seattle

My wife had this week off so we decided to get out of town and do something. Spent three days in downtown Vancouver B.C.

Had a lot of fun. Walked to Stanley Park. Took the subway to Chinatown, had a beer in Gastown.

There are few cities more similar to each other than Seattle and Vancouver. Culturally, economically, population size, even similar topography.

Yet in Vancouver, there’s much less homelessness. Oh, they had homeless people and drug use on the streets, but fewer tents, drug deals, litter and graffiti. A lot less.

But Canadians also have more social services. In the morning, you’d see government people sweeping the streets, picking up litter and washing walls so the streets were clean. Medical personnel and police walked the streets as well; they didn’t just sit in their cars.


It made me conclude that nothing is free. By being opposed to social services like universal healthcare, welfare and mental health facilities, you end up paying with garbage, tents, graffiti, hypodermic needles and the smell of urine.

The Canadians even had the gall to have public toilets.

John Whitmore, Gig Harbor

Early childhood learning

As an early learning advocate, I’ve witnessed the effects of children who do not receive adequate access to early learning, which leads to impacts and outcomes that do not reflect the full potential of those students. It’s one reason why I believe there should be an increase in full-day Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and Head Start slots provided to all families.

Expanding full-day slots will better serve working parents and meet children’s needs. I want to urge lawmakers to support and provide funding for more full-time early learning slots for working families. Parents are challenged with economic disparities and inequities, forcing many to choose between a quality paying job and services for their children.

Early learning programs prepare children to develop the social and emotional skills they need to flourish, thrive and have better successful outcomes as they move into K-12 education. We must lay the foundation and plant the seeds for our children to flourish early. Programs like ECEAP and Head Start play a vital role..

Kristen Marie, Tacoma

Tuberculosis vaccine news

Debbie Cockrell’s March 7 story in The News Tribune on a tuberculosis vaccine being developed, now in Phase 2 clinical testing, is great news. TB is the biggest infectious killer in our world. At my annual physical, my doctor told me that he is more concerned about TB than COVID. Funding to fight TB was depleted while fighting the COVID pandemic, putting children around the world at risk.

Tuberculosis is very easily transmitted, even just by talking. Our U.S. Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, have voted to support funding for TB programs. Please let them know to continue funding the disease as a priority. We can tell what our members of Congress’ values are by the way they vote.

Andy Clarke, Gig Harbor

Traffic enforcement

I read The News Tribune’s article on traffic deaths in Pierce County and nowhere did it seem to address the main reason for the study. The truth is the third rail of politics. Police need to be better funded to handle the increased traffic and population.

Each municipality needs to have at least one dedicated traffic team. New laws are not needed, just enforcement of existing statutes. Speed limits should be that, not a recommendation. The state and local governments should be funding and reviving emphasis patrols. Better education at schools needs to be revived with driver training.

Again, the culture needs to change.

Ernest LaChapelle, Fircrest