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Jared Leto Biography

Jared Leto Biography

Jared Leto is famous for his vast career in film and television, as well as his work in the music industry. The roles he takes on are challenging and nuanced. He’s a method actor, applying himself rigorously to the roles he’s been given. His band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, is also an accomplished rock group.

Early Life

Jared Leto was born in 1971 in Bossier City, Louisiana. Following his parent’s divorce, he and his brother, Shannon Leto, lived with their mother and their maternal grandparents. The family moved around often, all over the United States, thanks to Leto’s grandfather’s career in the Air Force.

Jared Leto’s mother, Constance Bryant, raised her sons in the communal art experience of the hippie movement. This environment fostered their involvement in the arts, creativity, and expression. Against that backdrop, Leto was able to develop a wide range of artistic talent. Following graduation, he initially enrolled at the University of Arts in Philadelphia to study visual fine arts. He later became interested in filmmaking and transferred to the New York City School of Visual Arts to pursue that field.

Early Career

Jared Leto moved to Los Angeles in 1992 to continue his directing career. While there, he also pursued a music career and took up acting roles on the side. Acting, of course, became a much bigger part of Leto’s life. While looking for film roles, he was cast in the 1994 TV series My So-Called Life, turning a guest appearance into a recurring love interest role by impressing the producers. He even assisted with the show’s soundtrack. Leto’s film debut was in the 1995 ensemble How to Make an American Quilt, alongside Winona Ryder, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft, Alfre Woodard, Kate Nelligan, and Jean Simmons.

Jared Leto first became known for his method acting during his role in Prefontaine (1997). It is a skill he brings to all his roles, devoting himself to research and maintaining character throughout filming. The movie, in which he played the lead role of Olympic-hopeful long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine, garnered him a lot of critical attention. Leto’s dedication to method acting meant that he trained for weeks for the role and also spoke with Prefontaine’s friends and family. Leto had a strong physical resemblance to the long-distance runner, and his intense and powerful performance made the role very memorable.

In 1998, Jared Leto and his brother Shannon formed the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars. In addition to the band’s early work, Jared Leto began to pick up more acting roles. He starred in the horror film Urban Legend (1998). The same year also saw him in a supporting role in The Thin Red Line, which was nominated for seven different Oscars. In 1999, Leto was cast in Girl, Interrupted, and Fight Club. He then received much praise for his performance in American Psycho (2000). His method of acting was very intense for his lead role in Requiem of a Dream (2000). He lived on the streets and spent months starving himself to accurately portray a heroin user working toward sobriety. His hard work paid off, and he received widespread acclaim. Leto then focused on his music career with his band as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Their debut album was released to positive reviews on August 27, 2002.

Recent Work

Throughout the 2000s, Jared Leto had a number of accomplishments, from albums to roles. Thirty Seconds to Mars released albums in 2005, 2009, and 2013, each album bringing the band increasingly into the public consciousness. Their success was both critical and commercial, with the band having sold more than 15 million albums as of the present day.

Leto’s acting roles throughout the 2000s were numerous, including movies such as Alexander (2004), Lord of War (2005), Lonely Hearts (2006), Chapter 27 (2007), and Mr. Nobody (2009). In 2012, Leto had his directorial debut with the documentary Artifact (2012), which was given the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary. His 2013 co-starring role in Dallas Buyers Club earned him an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe, all for Best Supporting Actor.

Jared Leto Now

Leto has continued to be very active in Hollywood, taking on successful roles such as Suicide Squad (2016), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), The Little Things (2021), House of Gucci (2021), and Morbius (2022). His performance in The Little Things earned him nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his supporting role, and his role in House of Gucci earned him nominations for a Critic’s Choice Movie Award, a Satellite Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. His ongoing success in acting and music, as well as upcoming acting and directing jobs, has ensured that his star will continue to rise. Read more on his Crunchbase.

Photo by “Jared Leto” by Nathan Congleton

Landlords in Seattle May Soon Be Compelled to Submit Their Rent Data

Seattle Rental Reporting Law

Seattle intends to compel landlords to disclose their rent rates in order to get more accurate information. As part of an attempt to better understand the local housing market, landlords in Seattle may be obliged to disclose the amount of rent they charge, which sparked objections from some building owners.

Seattle’s City Council narrowly adopted a measure on Tuesday that would compel landlords to report twice a year on the rent and other fees they collect for each rental and other facts including square footage, the number of rooms, or if the home or unit is occupied. The measure is now in the hands of the mayor, who will have to sign it.

Council member Alex Pedersen’s plan would require landlords to provide data to a research institution that has yet to be chosen by the city. The new legislation will take effect once the city hires a university to collect the data from landlords.

Data collecting is not expected to begin until sometime next year, and the statute would expire at the end of 2025 if all goes according to plan.

Why Collect the Data?

At present, there is little private rental data available in Seattle. Apartment List and CoStar monitor the prices of new leases that are often more than what renters pay when they remain in a rental for a long time. They do gather some data, but it takes a long time for such data to be made public.

There is also the Center for Real Estate Research in Washington State but there isn’t any precise information regarding the rent data they collect in Seattle. And of course, after years of collecting rent data from local landlords, Dupre + Scott, a private corporation, closed their operations last year.

It was suggested by council members that the information was needed to prevent the relocation of low-income renters or to make the case for the construction of additional affordable homes. The information, according to Councilwoman Tammy Morales, would allow the city to monitor the rate at which rents are rising.

When she spoke earlier this month, she stated that it will “enable us to have a clearer understanding of truly how huge the demand for new houses that are more affordable” is. The council approved an amendment offered by Morales that said that the information landlords provide to the university “should be made accessible to the public.”

However, landlords testified before the council that the law would force them to disclose sensitive business information, which might lead to property owners selling their rentals.

The lack of up-to-date rental statistics is an ongoing issue. “It’s happening all throughout the nation. Nobody has this kind of data unless you are talking about some of those one-off surveys,” said James Young, director of the University of Washington’s Washington Center for Real Estate Research.

The suggestion, however, was questioned by Young. If landlords are reporting correct information, researchers must be able to verify it. For Young, the city’s policing may be improved by including university academics.

Asked whether the university would report those who didn’t provide the report, Young stated that the centers of education and research would never do that. But “everyone needs more data,” he said. “No question about it.”

The program’s expenses have yet to be determined. Enforcement of the regulation will need extra personnel, according to a number of local agencies participating in the new initiative.

However, landlords in Seattle need to know that failure to comply with the new regulation may result in penalties of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for any subsequent offenses within three years after it is put into effect.

Photo Credit: “Seattle Housing – Miniature effect” by Jenni Reynolds-Kebler is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

SDOT Finally Announces the West Seattle Bridge’s Opening Date

West Seattle Bridge

The Seattle Department of Transportation has established a date for the reopening of the West Seattle Bridge, which was closed for more than two years. On Sept. 12, the West Seattle Bridge, which has been closed for more than two years after discovering cracks considered to be hazardous, is slated to reopen after a lengthy restoration process.

As per the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the West Seattle Bridge has traditionally been the city’s most-trafficked bridge, transporting an average of 100,000 cars every day.

The bridge’s reopening date is many months behind the city’s original estimate. As a result of a lengthy concrete workers’ strike, the city’s high-profile projects and others around the area have been delayed.

Concrete pouring was slated to begin at the start of the year, but the contractor didn’t begin until mid-April, a month behind schedule. The structural concrete pour was completed on May 26 by the construction team.

In order for the bridge to reopen, technicians need to complete pouring epoxy into fractures, encapsulating carbon fiber to strengthen the structure, and post-tensioning using steel cables.

There are still “difficult and complicated” tasks ahead, and SDOT warns there may be unanticipated issues that might influence on the timetable, even though it says it would keep its contractor responsible to reach the revised timelines.

When inspectors observed fast-increasing fractures in the 40-year-old bridge on March 23, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee had already ordered a stay-home order because of the pandemic. Repairs to avoid future cracking were finished in 2020 and the last phase of the project started in 2021, SDOT said.

It was at this point in time that the city was debating whether to repair or rebuild the bridge, which could have taken millions and kept the route closed until at least 2026 if the bridge was completely replaced.

During Jenny Durkan’s first term as mayor, she said that the city will rehabilitate the bridge as a means of boosting the economy, which depends on transportation.

The West Seattle Bridge Project History

Traditionally, the West Seattle Bridge has been the city’s busiest thoroughfare, with an average daily traffic count of more than 100,000 people.

Since its completion in 1984, the concrete bridge has served as a vital artery for the movement of people and products between West Seattle and its surrounding neighborhoods, including SODO and the Duwamish Valley.

The 1,300-foot-long, three-span bridge rises 140 feet over the Duwamish River at its highest point. Because the bridge was built on-site, workers built segments on each side of the piers until all segments were linked, making it an overhanging and segmental concrete bridge.

Travelers and companies in South Park, SODO, West Seattle, Georgetown, and Seattle meanwhile have been affected by the shutdown. SDOT is grateful for everyone’s perseverance and sense of camaraderie as they work through this difficult closing.

The 1st Avenue S Bridge and the South Park Bridge are two possible diversions. In order to guarantee quick emergency vehicle movement, the Spokane St. Swing Bridge has been limited to authorized users only.

Photo Credit: “Under west side of West Seattle Bridge” by theslowlane is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cardiovascular Ultrasound Imaging Specialists, Enthusiasts Will Connect in Seattle June 10-13

City of Seattle

(SEATTLE, June 1, 2022) – With cardiovascular disease still the leading cause of death in the United States, improving the diagnostic assessment of patients with cardiovascular ultrasound is paramount. The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) will host its Scientific Sessions in Seattle, June 10-13, bringing together experts, enthusiasts, and multidisciplinary partners to teach and learn the latest in cardiovascular ultrasound imaging.

The conference, in its 33rd year, is aimed at advancing patient care across the U.S. and the world. More than 1,200 physicians, sonographers, nurses, veterinarians, scientists, and others are expected to attend the four-day conference, which for the first time will be held in a hybrid format. In-person attendees will convene at the Seattle Convention Center and will have access to over 60 sessions, workshops, oral and moderated presentations, and hands-on learning labs featuring cutting-edge education, foundational concepts, evolving practice and developing research.

Virtual attendees can live stream sessions from the main plenary room. “ASE 2022 is a comprehensive program that weaves together basic echo foundations, innovative science, and the traditional networking and social interactions that we have been missing since the onset of the pandemic,” says ASE Program Chair Sharon Mulvagh, MD, FASE, FRCP(C), FACC, a cardiologist and echocardiographer who retired from the Mayo Clinic and now works in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. “The meeting’s theme, Sound Waves in Seattle: Connecting the World, celebrates the silver lining that we have learned from our recent virtual meetings by also providing equity in digital access and global connections that our multidisciplinary cardiovascular ultrasound community now expects.” Examples of cardiovascular topics and abstracts that will be covered during the conference include ischemic heart disease, stress echocardiography, cardiomyopathy, and cardio-oncology; pediatric, congenital, and fetal echocardiography including the impact of COVID; structural heart disease, interventional and perioperative imaging; quality and appropriateness in cardiac imaging; and innovation and technology, including artificial intelligence, point of care ultrasound and critical care echocardiography. “ASE 2022 is the largest echocardiography-specific gathering in the world where attendees learn the latest and greatest in current practice and get a glimpse into the future of care,” says ASE Abstract Chair Dr. James Kirkpatrick, MD, FASE, chief of cardiac imaging and director of echocardiography in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. “In addition to providing a platform for echo enthusiasts to learn and network with colleagues and thought leaders, in-person attendees can handle an echo probe and learn practical skills with one-on-one mentoring from an expert.” Dr. Kirkpatrick explains that cardiovascular ultrasound provides a unique window into the anatomy and function of the heart and blood vessels at the patient’s bedside, and that correct diagnosis determines a patient’s medical therapy. “Cardiovascular ultrasound is central to the practice of modern medicine, and ASE 2022 gives cardiac ultrasound specialists opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills and learn about the latest new developments, which ultimately improves the quality of care for patients living in the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” he says.

Other happenings at ASE 2022 include the Echo Expo, which consists of nearly 50 exhibitors, presenting new concepts, technology, devices and research; a keynote session by ASE’s 2022 Gardin Lecturer, Suzanne Simard, PhD, who will sign copies of her book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest; dynamic social and networking events; and the 13th Annual Research Awards Gala—a black-tie fundraiser hosted by the ASE Foundation. On Sunday, June 12, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Monday, June 13, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Convention Center, attendees are encouraged to visit rescue dogs in the ASE Bark Park, which will feature dogs from Ginger’s Pet Rescue—a Seattle nonprofit specializing in saving death row dogs. ASE’s membership includes veterinarians who use ultrasound in their practice to safely assess animal’s circulatory and cardiac functions. Learn more about ASE 2022 and download the conference’s final event program at ASEScientificSessions.org.

About ASE The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is the Society for Cardiovascular Ultrasound Professionals. Founded in 1975, ASE is the largest global organization representing cardiovascular ultrasound imaging. ASE is the leader and advocate for physicians, sonographers, scientists, veterinarians, students, and all those with an interest in echocardiography, setting practice standards and guidelines for the field. The Society is committed to advancing cardiovascular ultrasound to improve lives.

For more information about ASE, visit: ASEcho.org and follow us @ASE360. Suggested General Photo Cutline: The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) will host its Scientific Sessions in Seattle, Wash., June 10-13, bringing together experts, enthusiasts and multidisciplinary partners to teach and learn the latest in cardiovascular ultrasound imaging. The conference, in its 33rd year, is aimed at advancing patient care across the United States and the world.

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) will host its Scientific Sessions in Seattle, June 10-13

Photo Credit: “Seattle Sunset” by Howard Ignatius is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Why is This Seattle Highway Exit an Accident Magnet?

Seattle Traffic

The I-5 off-ramp at the Seattle Convention Center is a frequent site of car accidents. So much that many residents have begun asking why this is so. Although the DOT has made various modifications, this off-ramp continues to be a wrecking ball.

At least one risky road or crossroads may be found in every city. In certain cases, it might be that there aren’t enough turn lanes, or that there is a piece of road with a different speed restriction than the rest of the road. The I-5 off-ramp at the Seattle Convention Center is an excellent example of this.

Actually, this route has been the topic of a recent viral video compilation that has swept the internet. As the videos show, this exit ramp has seen a number of collisions over the years, prompting many to wonder whether or not it is safe for other motorists and pedestrians to continue using it.

Apparently, this specific off-ramp has been problematic for some time. A Seattle YouTuber, Michael Basconcillo, has been documenting the spot since 2017 when he filmed a Lamborghini catching fire as it veered off the freeway. Basconcillo says he saw many vehicles speeding through the intersection while driving, which prompted him to record them and share the information online.

Many residents and visitors are wondering why this particular exit is such a hotbed of car accidents yet there is concrete and reflective signage all around this short one-lane exit in Google Street View. One of the reasons is that most motorists don’t seem to be capable of reducing their speed from the highway’s limit of 60 mph to the suggested departure speed of 20 mph.

There are roughly 464 feet from the exit gore to the middle of the steep bend where accidents are happening, according to a Washington Department of Transportation spokeswoman. Because the speed limit on I-5 is 60 miles per hour, the driver of a 60-mph vehicle would have around 5.25 seconds to slow down before exiting the freeway.

As a reminder to slow down, there are multiple warning signs and reflective markings on concrete barriers: a 30mph sign at the solid white line before the exit, 20mph signs before the exit gore, and a 20mph warning below the exit gore, and stoplight warning signs.

The reflective poles and markers visible in the video shot at the site, as well as the extra speed warning under the exit sign, had all been erected by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) as of 2019. Since the new signs were put up, Basconcillo’s cameras have filmed at least three more collisions.

Even towing firms were taken aback by the high number of automobile accidents on that specific off-ramp, considering how abrupt the bend is. Regardless, the clearly designated portion of the road has seen its fair number of fatalities through the years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

No particular future upgrades were mentioned by WSDOT, although that does not exclude interim measures. According to Basconcillo, rumble strips might help prevent inattentive drivers from making errors.

People in the area need to keep an eye out for how many accidents occur and how many automobiles end up leaping over the curb. This steep off-ramp might one day be the cause of the death of an innocent pedestrian if a reckless driver fails to slow down.

Wet and Cold Seattle Gaining the Admiration of a Drought-Stricken World

Seattle Sunshine Weather

Seattle is indeed the admiration of a globe afflicted by a severe water shortage. Everyone in this area is aware of the chilly months of June through January and the fact that the official start of summer is on July 5.

However, this year is just rainy and chilly. We’ve apparently passed through spring completely. Long underwear during Little League games or a down jacket in the backyard are obvious targets for grouses. However, given the alternative, it may be appropriate to show some appreciation.

Excessive heat and a lingering drought are wreaking havoc throughout the globe, including in parts of California. Franklin County, for example, is located in southeast Washington.

There is now a severe drought that affects all inhabitants, 62,999 acres of wheat, and 34,623 livestock in the area. This has resulted in stunted crops, more wildfires, and greater difficulty feeding cattle. According to the United States Census Bureau, Franklin County has a population of 98,000.

Even in the worst-case scenario of drought, no one in King County will be affected. Actually, it’s been a great season for skiers. To put this into perspective, in King County there are only 14 acres of wheat compared to 11,000 cattle.

Heat isn’t an issue in the Seattle region, at least not just yet. We’ve already absorbed more rain than is average for the month of May, and it’s still raining. On the 13th of April, Olympia had its lowest temperature ever recorded: 28 degrees.

Others are envious of our ability to get rain. Drought conditions have gripped large swaths of California and the Southwest. Hydropower production is at risk as reservoir levels fall to unprecedented lows. People with backyards are being urged to turn off their sprinklers by water regulators. This isn’t a big deal in Seattle, where yellow lawns seem to be a staple of summer for decades.

Although summer officially begins on June 21, parts of the southern Plains and the Midwest are already seeing temperatures that are approaching record highs. Much of the Western United States is on fire. This was a year without spring for both India and Pakistan.

While May and June are often the hottest months of the year, this year saw record-breaking temperatures in March and April. Recognizing the atmospheric dangers of the rest of the globe will not make it easier around here to ruin your BBQ or damp outdoor wedding.

For the second time in as many years, we’re experiencing a La Nina year. It’s hard to say what the weather might be like following this chilly period. On June 28 of last year, the temperature reached an all-time high of 108 degrees. According to the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group, human activity has caused the area to continue to warm.

The heat won’t be an issue for long. Now, let’s be grateful for the cool weather and rain. It is a blessing to be working and living in Seattle at this time of the year.

Paul McCartney Lights Up Seattle – Nothing Short Of Spectacular

Paul McCartney Sings Black Bird In Seattle

I questioned why I decided to drive six hours in traffic to see a 79-year-old Paul McCartney perform in Seattle. It occurred to me that McCartney is nothing ordinary, he is modern-day history. Concert number four of his 16-date Get Back tour was a privilege. My heart pounded, the lights dimmed, and a sold-out crowd roar sent goosebumps everywhere. McCartney wore his classic waistcoat and jacket and jumped straight into his show as he sang, “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Thousands of fans, young and old, screamed when McCartney removed a layer of clothing and rolled up his white sleeves as he showcased his instrument versatility.

McCartney performed hits after hits from “Love Me Do” to songs on “Abbey Road”. McCartney mocked his fans when he played “Blackbird” on a rising stage. He asked how many fans have tried to play “Blackbird” and questioned how many of his fans were unsuccessful. “Here Today” broke me, and other fans had tears streaming down their face. A tribute to John Lennon that resonated with so many. McCartney suggested, “if you love someone, just tell them. Don’t wait.” The words were so simple yet, so comforting. “Lady Madonna” lifted the spirit of the crowd. Of course, McCartney was the center of the show, but “Being for The Benefit of Mr. Kite” felt like a circus as many gazed at the ceiling light show instead. “Ob La Di, Ob La Da” ignited the crowd. McCartney encouraged everyone to sing as people danced and shouted the bizarre lyrics. An elderly couple in their 80s caught me by surprise. I feared watching them struggling to walk to their seats. Nonetheless, when the 1968 Beatles song played, the married couple stood up and danced. For a few minutes, I witnessed a miracle catching a glimpse of the two in their 20s and pain-free. McCartney turned fantasies into reality. He paused his show for a few minutes to read different posters audience members created. McCartney read and explained that “Saiko” means fantastic in Japanese. Another fan held a sign which stated he attended over 120 of McCartney’s concerts. McCartney jokingly said, “that might be slightly obsessive”. His simple acknowledgments will be lasting memories by those fans.

Paul McCartney then said he wanted to enjoy the moment. His eyes moved through every inch of Climate Pledge Arena, gazing at as many faces as possible. A solid three minutes of loud cheers and appreciation passed. McCartney got back to his show by playing “Get Back” which included video clips of Peter Jackson’s documentary about The Beatles. Emotional fans lit the venue like stars with flashlights for “Let it Be”. However, “Live and Let Die” stole the show. A loud boom and several fireworks set off as the wind pushed McCartney’s hair in every direction. McCartney concluded the song by covering his ears as the loudest firework exploded. The arena continued to go wild as McCartney signaled he could not hear.

A Paul McCartney concert is not complete unless “Hey Jude” is in it. McCartney calmed the audience down and sang the famous words, “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad”. Strangers wrapped their arms around other strangers and sang “na na na nananana nannana, Hey Jude.” It was a touching moment to see everyone come together happily. McCartney enjoyed the moment himself; his eyes lit up, and a bright smile overcame his face while listening to the echoing crowd. As he walked off stage fans whistled and screamed until he came back out. McCartney picked up his bass and recited “I’ve Got a Feeling”. Unexpectedly, McCartney provided a twist. John Lennon appeared on the videoboard singing a verse with such great sound and visual quality that it felt like Lennon was there. The moment I saw McCartney and Lennon singing and playing in sync, I believed it was real.

McCartney finished the night with songs from “Abbey Road” including “The End”. Soon to be 80, McCartney looks as healthy as ever, but age will catch up. While the band left, McCartney remained on the stage to take one more moment to say thank you and cherish everything as we all should.

– By Mario C.

Photo Credit: Emerald City Journal

Paul McCartney Singing at Climate Pledge Arena 4/3/22. The Got Back Tour

Seattle’s Homeless Problem: End Of The Road

Seattle's Homeless Problem

The homeless crisis in Seattle is something that many Washingtonians are very well aware of. Native residents and visitors alike both ask the question: How has it gotten this bad? From the nomadic tent cities that struggle to find a placement within the city, to the prime windows of world-renowned corporations downtown, the juxtaposition between affluence and poverty is alarming. The income gap is massive.

Although the community has only recently seen a sharp incline, homelessness has always been in the city’s limits. The history of Seattle in particular is important to know when learning about how the current day homelessness affects the city.

In the 1890s, around twenty years after the city of Seattle was incorporated, early signs of poverty were starting to become apparent. On one hand, the city was starting to flourish and grow, as many of Washington’s early industries such as lumber and fishing were starting to gain traction; On the other, the population growth led to many residents being pushed to the fringes. Petitions were made by the community to the city for help keeping their businesses afloat or for housing but the city denied them. In fact, the city even went as far as to burn some of these camps down due to complaints from other residents with reasons mainly concerning the crime increase and public health.

 Soon after the 1929 crisis, one of the biggest “Hoovervilles” (shanty towns built by the unemployed and destitute during the 1930’s) was in the city of Seattle. In 1941, just after The United States entered the second world war, many of the Hoovervilles, including the largest one, were burned to the ground for wartime use.

Evidently, Seattle leaders have failed to maintain sustainable or reliable solutions for the city. Instead, they have succeeded in alienating a population of thousands.

To this day, people experiencing homelessness struggle to stabilize their lives when the city does a relocation. IDs, wallets, and medications are some of the most crucial losses. This is also incredibly triggering for some people.

Currently, the city of Seattle has a budget of millions to help aid this crisis. According to The Seattle Times, The budget has gone from $50 million in 2015 to an estimated $150 million in 2022. Where is all of this money going?

“In 2017, the City of Seattle directly invested $68,098,060 in the homelessness crisis (City of Seattle, 2017). Such spending included money for rental assistance programs that prevent people from falling into homelessness, providing transitional shelter, building low-income housing, and other various assistance methods.” (Source)

According to Seattle.gov, there are three main categories that the city invests into:

Prevention (services to help those already in homes), emergency (services that provide safe spaces for people to stay, and a connection to housing), and housing: (services focused on permanent housing solutions including; rapid re-housing, diversion, and permanent supportive housing). There are also locations where the homeless can shower and some programs where donated toiletries are accessible, though these are limited.

I believe prevention is the most important place to invest in for the following reasons: Whether the homeless population is receiving assistance from the city directly or not, there is still a massive impact on the city. Homelessness is not something that is exclusively impacting those without homes, but also the community at large. Think about the children who face the harsh realities of not being permitted to play in playgrounds and sports fields due to potential needle exposure from the percentage of homeless who are drug users. Think of the average income taxpayers who wonder where their contributions are going, and what impact their money is truly making. Think of the thousands of frustrated service workers who work in shelters with those struggling with addiction and psychosis who do not have enough assistance, and see high turnover rates, and regressions back into the streets on a daily basis. It is also disappointing to be a city official who may deeply care for the displaced community but whose efforts are ultimately having little to no impact.

“The metric’s always been, ‘Well, we’re spending more money,’” said Jon Scholes, president of the Downtown Seattle Association and a supporter of the authority’s plan. “And then you walk down the street and you don’t see a difference.” (Source)

More examples in favor of prevention are the following: If an individual is homeless, this has the potential to lower their immune system from exposure to unsanitary environments, high-stress, and high risk potential for heightened drug use. A percentage of the homeless population often is in and out of the emergency room which makes it incredibly hard on hospital staff to address everyone who needs immediate care for those with homes and without homes alike. Also, once an individual becomes homeless, it may be harder to regain stability if they are having difficulty improving their lives. This is connected to a variety of issues Seattle faces, such as a portion of homeless individuals turning to crime. This is even exacerbated by less funding for the police force, which can potentially have a hand in making local businesses suffer due to theft and vandalism primarily.

Hope exists not only in direct solutions like the aforementioned ways of getting help but also in investing in public education so students are getting more opportunities to succeed. This includes food programs, increased mental health awareness and assistance, and higher pay for teachers so they have a greater drive to connect with students that are on the fringes. More alternatives include: implementing more opportunities for apprenticeships in the workforce (so young adults can have more respected alternatives to college), lowering the cost of education (to welcome more prospective students and lower post-education debt), and overall, a different reformed curriculum in the school system that is not only more forgiving, but encourages more meaningful critical thought, diverse classes, and equal wealth distribution. 

The last angle on this issue I would like to explore is: Why might Seattle’s homeless reject help? In an article written in 2021 for The Seattle Times, an article cited that the city’s outreach assistance was struggling to give referrals that the homeless would follow through with in terms of short-term shelter. There is always a hesitation before one may decide to stay in a shelter because they are extremely uncomfortable. Many people report crowding, assault, thievery, cleanliness (i.e lice and other pests), or just generally poor experiences within shelters. The staff in these facilities are more often than not, overworked with pay that isn’t reflected by the amount of effort that is given. People also may deny assistance because of an inability to be accepted. People among this group would be illegal immigrants or refugees, individuals with pets that they are not willing to part with and individuals who abuse drugs. For the latter, there is also the inverse issue, where some shelters are known to accept drug users, therefore turning off those who are working towards sobriety. What homeless residents do tend to accept referrals for are private rooms, such as single-motel rooms or tiny houses. The average length of time stayed at enhanced shelters and tiny houses in 2020 was 102 and 349 days, compared to 68 days at basic shelters.

Many more efforts are needed to be done on everyone’s part to even begin to remedy homelessness as a social epidemic. What is being done isn’t enough. It is imperative to realize that homelessness is a symptom of a variety of ills that plague society; This is including the way drug addiction is handled, our societal attitudes toward mental health, surrounding regional cities not giving their homeless populations adequate assistance and then the said community relocating to Seattle, and lastly, the popular narrative that it is primarily due to skyrocketing rents and social security payments to at risk households, those claiming disability, and individuals struggling to find work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a large percentage of those below the poverty line were pushed into the streets, due to social programs withdrawing assistance, and shelters limiting capacity. Inversely, the homeless that previously camped in forested areas have come further in, due to scarcity of resources. This has resulted in rising health issues (mental health, illness spreading more rapidly), and increased drug use. According to an article in The Seattle Times, one local study found there to be a 50% increase in tent usage between the summers of 2019 to 2020. Seattle is not unique, because many cities across the country suffer from rising homeless populations; It would be optimistic to conclude that I believe it will improve soon, but unfortunately, in a society where many even above the poverty line struggle with ailments such as increasing living expenses, and studies reporting mental health worsening in all age groups within The United States, there is understandably a lowered initiative to change attitudes among all social classes to shift the situation.

Photo: “Seattle Homeless” by davidjlee is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0

Seattle’s Free Riders Are Creating a Strain on the City’s Transit System

Sound Transit Map

Passengers who refuse to pay for the city’s transit system are causing problems. A recent study showed that almost two-thirds of all passengers in Seattle are free riders.

Most stations lack turnstiles. This being the case, passengers have to either buy tickets or use pre-paid cards as they enter the station. As a result of the low number of users who are willing to pay, only 5% of the system’s operating costs are covered by fares, a far cry from the required 40% by Sound Transit.

The departing CEO of Sound Transit, Peter Rogoff gave a succinct summary of the issue at a recent Board meeting. “Our fee collecting system depends largely on an honor system,” he stated. “And our extremely severe issue is that our passengers aren’t following the system.”

Estimates show that close to 70% of passengers in the city ride free. This is just an estimate because fare enforcement measures have not yet been implemented. In the wake of a study revealing a disparity in the amount of money fined to passengers of color, Sound Transit eliminated its fare enforcement officers.

There’s however a new “fare ambassadors” system currently in place. If you’re on the light rail system, you’ll only see a few of these vehicles. The fare ambassadors’ approach only works on 2 percent of all the transit system users. They currently only work with 2% of all riders.

When fare ambassadors board a train, they inquire as to whether or not passengers have paid their fare. Usually, not everyone has. Rather than removing ticket evaders off the train, fare ambassadors begin the conversation by requesting proof of identity. It is hard to issue a warning since 76 percent of the free-riders fail to present a valid ID.

Prior to issuing the first fine, Sound Transit provides two warnings to the offender. However, penalties are seldom issued and even less commonly paid due to a lack of identity. Fare ambassadors may not be able to persuade many free riders to pay their fare, but they do gather useful information about them. Non-payers are compelled to provide personal information such as their home address, race, and gender.

Councilmember Reagan Dunn views the lack of enforcement as only a piece of the greater issue in the transportation system in King County. “We are currently experiencing a form of decriminalization of many things, including farebox recovery and even failure to register known sex offenders under the pretext of equity and social justice,” said Dunn. “And the result is an increase in crime”.

Several additional light rail systems, like those in Portland, Denver, and Dallas, depend on the honor system. The first time a fare evader is found, they are all going to impose substantial penalties.

A majority of the Sound Transit Board do not show a lot of concern for the decreased fare collection problem. Claudia Balducci is one of the few who applaud the nonchalant approach of the ticket ambassador. “It’s less scary for people to utilize our system because of the lack of fare enforcement,” said Balducci.

The Sound Transit Board’s only Republican, Bruce Dammeier, says taxpayers who paid more than $168 billion for the system are being scammed. “This is the largest waste of money we’ve ever seen,” said Bruce Dammeier.

Photo: “Sound Transit System Map” by Oran Viriyincy is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0

Why Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is a Good Pick for the Seahawks

Seattle Blitz

The Seahawks recently traded Russel Wilson. They now have a top 10 draft pick and the question on fans’ minds is who could be the person to fill that No. 9 position. As we head for the April 28 draft, there are several prospects the Seahawks might consider in the first round but the person to watch out for is cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.

So who exactly is Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and why is he a perfect pick for the Seahawks? Well, Gardner is a Detroit native and a 3-star recruit in high school. Notably, Gardner never got scholarship offers from Michigan’s Big Ten schools and never played defensive back in high school. As a senior in high school, he weighed 160 pounds only.

After helping Cincinnati make its first berth in the College Football Playoffs as a junior, Gardner allowed only three receptions (on four targets) for 17 yards versus Alabama. According to Pro Football Focus, he was a first-team All-American in 2021 and never allowed more than 18 passing yards in any game. In 33 career games, he has nine interceptions and 17 pass breakups, with no touchdowns allowed in coverage.

He might be an excellent match for the Seattle Seahawks because a lot of people have compared Gardner to the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman because of his size, quickness, and confidence. If the Seahawks’ scouts feel the same, Gardner should be the easy choice at No. 9 for the team. Actually, it’s a great matchup.

Gardner embodies everything Pete Carroll looks for in a cornerback—size, length, speed, and, of course, confidence. In a recent tweet, Gardner stated “I’m the greatest draft pick in the league. God knows how modest and confident I am and how much effort I put in to even be able to make that remark, and that’s all that counts. Confidence and cockiness are required for the position I’m in,”

When Russell Wilson retires, Carroll has said that he intends to rebuild the defense to be even more dominating, and acquiring a cornerback with Sherman’s press coverage skillsets would be a wonderful place to start. Additionally, the Seahawks are in need of a new cornerback with the departure of D.J. Reed to the New York Jets in free agency.

No one disputes that Gardner can play as a starter right away as a rookie cornerback. If Gardner is still available at No. 9, the Seahawks should choose him. According to several draft experts, Houston too might choose Gardner in the top three.

However, there are a few reasons why the Seahawks would not want to sign him. When was a Seahawks obvious selection made under John Schneider-Pete Carroll? You could trade down and take a cornerback like Trent McDuffie or Andrew Booth with the first selection if the Seahawks are looking to acquire additional draft capital, which they are known to do. Even though Schneider and Carroll have participated in 12 drafts together, they have never selected a cornerback in the first round of the selection process. They picked Shaquill Griffin, a cornerback, in the third round in 2017. (90th overall). For now, we can only wait to see if the draft will happen.

Credit: “Loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium Seahawks” by Philip Robertson is marked with CC BY 2.0

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