We Need Better at City Hall

In the week prior to what was touted as the biggest storm since the early 1960s, community leaders approached Olympia City Manager Steve Hall to implore him to open a city facility for storm relief. Hall had a different reason to say “No” everyday. “The storm isn’t going to be that bad”- “We can’t cancel programming at the Olympia Center on such short notice” – “It’s too great a liability for the City to take on.” Apparently, Hall values human life less than imaginary legal liability.

Probably two dozen times in the days I spent at First Christian Church staffing the emergency storm relief shelter, I was told some version of, “What you all are doing is a blessing.”

What does it say about our community that so little is considered a blessing? We threw together some donations and places on a hard floor for people to sleep because our city, specifically our City Manager Steve Hall refused to even consider stepping up. This is not a blessing, it’s a shame. We should be ashamed, and we should ask ourselves a serious question: Is this the kind of leadership we want at City Hall?

If you’ve never been to, or spoken at a City Council meeting, make this Tuesday your first. Please. This storm passed us by and spared innocents from its wrath, but we could be searching for bodies right now of people turned away from shelter, turned away from society.

We can do better. We can BE better.

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