EugeneAdvocates is in receipt of your emails dated October 19th and October 22. We wish to thank you for your emails and want to start by acknowledging the many tools that you and the Council have implemented over the years. We have not said that you have done nothing. The question that those tools prompt is how successful have the selected tools been? We continue to have high crime, growth of crime levels that lead the nation, and evidence that the tools have not been successful as shown in Pictorial 1 and 2. If you haven't read it yet, the most recent OCJC report highlights the fact that Eugene's 26% increase in 2008 property crime is the worst increase among the 266 U.S. jurisdictions the FBI tracks. We also appear to be heading to a new high according to the statistics for the first six months of 2009.
Click on http://www.oregon.gov/CJC/docs/CJCNewsletterSummer2009.pdf is very telling.
Mayor, you point to economic times, county seat, jail space, number of officers, and others. Those are contributors to our downtown public safety matter but they are not in themselves the problem. We have too many other tools (aka solutions) that can be implemented that will bring immediate and long term rewards. We have started a list of those in Pictorial 1 and 2 and welcome you and the Council to add to and implement that list. Further discussions appear fruitless.
Please remember that we are all in this together. You indicated in your last email that a Council work session is scheduled to specifically work on Public Safety in downtown. What is the date of that work session? Eugene needs it very soon as your Councilors have advised you and the City Manager. In addition, you have raised the following in your emails:
1. Economic picture--while we are in bad economic times we also have suffered thru those in years past and the problem persists. As we pointed out in our last email to you of October 19th you have written very similar and in some instances the same emails sympathizing with local business owners in 2005 and using the same words in 2009 on the same issues. The problem has been around for a while as you suggest. However it is important to note, most of those suffering from poor economic times do not turn to a life of crime and they are not the main challenge downtown.
2. "Behavioral issue", we have not raised that as an issue. The clothes a person wears, the color of their skin, their educational level, their economic status are unimportant to the Eugene Codes. We are all equal in the eyes of the law and the Eugene Code. The Pictorials point out code violations.
3. County Seat--we believe that you have an excellent point here. We do receive folks into our downtown area seeking county seat services and we might suggest that the City on a longer term basis look at relocating those services away from the downtown area. Please remember we have one of the best bus systems in LTD and that could assist folks to get to outlying areas away from downtown where they could avail themselves of county seat services.
4. No lack of love for our city. There is definitely no lack of love for our city but there are folks who have discontinued using or visiting the downtown area a long time ago due to fear for their safety and those of their families. If revitalization is the goal then the downtown area has to be made safe without lawbreakers. This will be a benefit to the city in three ways--visitors, investors, and current commercial building owners. We noted that you listed financial assistant, site additional bathroom facilities, and others. Most of those would be covered by "pride of ownership" in a safe downtown.
5.Jail space. This is a common problem and one that will continue. Perhaps the city needs to investigate the opportunity of leasing more beds from Lane County or Springfield jail, the Forest Work Camp lease by the city of Eugene, the Serbu Juvenile Justice Center use of their extra spaces, and/or use of Sprung Structures.
6. Disconnect. Mayor, we respectfully point out that there is a disconnect obvious in your email of October 19th. In your October 19th email you say"...but this Mayor has worked on all of these efforts and much more while respecting the humanity of us all." The disconnect appears to be your desire to shepherd those in the downtown area depicted in the Pictorials, but the Police need to understand that you support the Police Department no matter what a person wears, what their skin color is, what their educational level is or what their economic level is and that you will respect and expect the Police to cite anyone regardless of these things knowing full well that we are all equal in the eyes of the law (Eugene Code). The best way to portray that is for the Mayor and Council to pass a Memorandum of Understanding stating the policy that the Eugene Codes will be enforced. The law is the law and applies to us all. A Vote of Confidence by our elected officials for our Police Department is needed to further encourage Public Safety.
7. You state:"...a message going out that criminals need not worry about consequences." This is a true statement in Eugene currently and one that could be corrected if the solutions (aka tools) are implemented immediately. Implementation of immediate solutions could enhance the satisfaction of your campaign promises on Public Safety.
8. Additional officers in downtown. There are two bike officers assigned to downtown only 4 days per week. This is hardly an increased or acceptable police presence.
9. Additional red hat downtown. We endorse the empowerment of agencies that currently are in Eugene so that the shortage of Police Officers can be overcome. We currently have 195 Police Officers in a city that should have 300 Police Officers. Empowering the red hats, Police Volunteers, LTD, Library, Parking and others to issue non-violent citations would increase the presence downtown without budget consequences.
Mayor, we are once again all in this together and need to solve our mutual problem. We also need to measure our successes. Please help all of us to focus on the challenges and more importantly the immediate and long term SOLUTIONS.
EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City