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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

October 28, 2010 at 4:01 PM

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Seattle Mayor McGinn, citizens panel want homeless camps

Posted by Letters editor

Homeless will muck up parks — ‘extensions of our backyards’

Editor, The Times:

First, Mayor Mike McGinn closes community centers like the one at Green Lake [“Call for city homeless camp,” NW Tuesday, Oct. 26]. Now he’s inviting the homeless to reside in our publicly funded parks. How nice. I didn’t realize Seattle’s parks weren’t already “open” to the homeless.

So, all this time I’ve been taking my toddler to local parks and playgrounds, the drug paraphernalia, empty 40s and human waste weren’t left there by homeless individuals? Perhaps Mayor McGinn and his staff will now patrol and clean up the parks, so I don’t have to worry about what my daughter will step on or grab? And God help us if SHARE runs these encampments; they refuse to do background checks for sex predators. Surely the city has some close-in industrial areas as an alternative to our neighborhoods?

As parents and taxpayers, these parks and playgrounds that we pay for are extensions of our backyards. As someone who voted for McGinn, I’m getting buyer’s remorse. But who knows, I could change my mind if he stepped up and offered his backyard to the homeless.

— Phil Cochran, Seattle

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