Listen. Learn. Lead.
The biggest and most important issue I've found with the people of Spokane is the topic of homelessness. On this topic, some say they're compassionate while others say they're the tough-love kind. What do I say? I say...
People Matter. Every single person on Earth was uniquely created by God for a purpose. Everyone Matters. Because they were created by God, they have value that goes beyond their homelessness. Every individual has a story that belongs only to them. After speaking with many working in the field, a one-size-fits-all approach is not only inefficient but also ineffective. How can we help someone without knowing their story? My approach to homelessness is to have the team necessary to determine the best course of action for each individual. To better communicate my stance on the homeless, let's break the issue down into three general groups: 1. The Hard Timers 2. The Sick 3. The Anti-Social.
The Hard Timers
Most individuals who are homeless in Spokane are not living on the street. Rather they are living with friends, family, loved ones, or even in their car. These people are living paycheck to paycheck and often times one bill forced them into their current situation. For this group, there are wonderful, caring services in the city to help them get back on their feet thanks to the generosity of our great city and the citizens who call it home. I commend you on your service to your fellow human and I encourage you to continue being generous.
This group is comprised by those who have a mental illness or find themselves addicted to drugs. For this group, we need to provide services for their recovery. This includes analyzing each individual to determine the best path to walk them down. Do they need a program to help them stay on their medications? Do they need care in a treatment facility? Everyone who is sick and looking for help will find it if I'm elected Mayor.
When discussing homelessness, this is often the most frustrating group for people. The Anti-Social group are those not interested in contributing to society, not interested in helping their fellow man, and are usually only interested in how their life can be made better without adding any value to our community. Do these people still deserve any amount of aid simply because they're human? Absolutely! This group is able to find help from religious and non-religious non-profits in town because of the goodness of their hearts. But, if I'm elected Mayor, this is where I draw the line for the city. To be compassionate without also having accountability creates dependency. There's an old adage, "give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." We have the capability to be both compassionate and create a system of accountability for all the homeless in Spokane.
We are not Seattle. We are not Portland. We are not LA or San Francisco. We are Spokane and together we can solve this issue in our community.
The city of Spokane has great momentum when it comes to our economy! For the first time in history, Spokane County generated more revenue from sales tax than from property tax. The city has entered into strategic partnerships on the West Plains, creating a Public Development Authority, which resulted in the new Amazon fulfillment center being built. We have been marketing to businesses outside of Spokane with some encouraging results. If we continue to make this a place that is friendly to businesses, we can continue to provide better jobs for everyone in our community, median income levels will rise, sales tax revenues will continue to rise meaning we can lower property taxes as property values increase, and we can see more industries emerge in Spokane.
I believe that the government should take as little as possible and only what is necessary from citizens and businesses.
Owning a home, I know how much added expense goes into owning a home. I know how precious my dollars are when my AC unit goes out or I want do a little DIY project to increase the value of my home. I know every increase in property tax means less money to take care of myself and my family.
Owning a small business, I know how to make my money work for me and to my advantage better than anyone. This could be in savings, investments, storing it for when the time is right to invest, etc. I think that if people have more of their money, they can better prepare for the future, purchase more of what they want or donate to a cause they deem worthy.
As Mayor, I will fight against unnecessary tax increases, I will work to find cost savings in our city projects, and end wasteful spending of your hard-earned tax dollars!
Using FBI data, reviews.org determined Spokane was #3 on their list of worst cities for property crime per capita. Part of the problem is that we are unable to book criminals due to an overcrowded jail. Another part of the problem is the ability to supervise criminals properly after they are released from jail; this will require a change in state law. Spokane is actively working on the latter. Would a new jail allow us to book criminals deserving of such a punishment? Absolutely. Is it worth it to the taxpayer to allocate our funds in this way? Until we know the cost, we can't make that determination. Or, would introduction of new methods of justice alleviate the jail? The city of Spokane is currently working on some systems including supervision programs to help transition criminals into becoming successful citizens again. As Mayor, I will do what is right for us and help to restore the criminal to society after their time has been served.
Jonathan's Mission for Spokane:
"Spokane is my home; because it’s my home it matters to me and you matter to me. Passion for community, public service and justice is what fuels me, but the burden on my heart to serve Spokane and it’s people is my calling. I endeavor to “listen” by lending a compassionate ear to the needs of our community,“learn” by stepping out into the community and talking to the people, and “lead” by putting into action the needs of this great city with wisdom and creativity."