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Real Change vendor Laura Ditsch doesn't let impaired vision slow her down

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00

It takes determination to advocate for the same thing for 30 years. But that is exactly what Laura Ditsch has done. Ditsch began advocating for people experiencing homelessness in 1989 in upstate New York when she was 21 years old. Today she is the Real Change advocacy department’s rep on the Vendor Advisory Board.

If George Washington were still alive I bet he couldn't prove he was born here

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

I just had a birthday. I’m now the oldest I’ve ever been, by far.

I’m so old my childhood memories are all in a dead language. I remember first grade entirely in black and white. For a long time I thought steampunk was a nostalgia trend. I’ve read books about the Middle Ages, to better understand the influences upon my youth. I liked Napoleon until he declared himself emperor.

The Middle Ground by Sam Day 7/17/19

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00

Contact Sam Day at

To live fearlessly at last

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

In 1971, Republican President Richard Nixon declared in his State of The Union address that highest on his legislative agenda was a plan to “place a floor under the income of every family […] in America.” It called for $1,000 per month in today’s dollars. Nixon’s bold goal was to eradicate poverty. The bill floundered in the Senate, paradoxically, because the Democrats insisted on a higher basic income. Today’s idea of a $1,000 guaranteed monthly minimum income is causing us to reconsider the meaning of work and redefine success for a human life.

Book Review: 'Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World'

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00
Author Annie Lowrey takes a global look at universal basic income and why it might be essential in an age of rising inequality, persistent poverty and technology

When Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang introduced his “Freedom Dividend,” a plan to give every adult in the United States an unconditional $1,000 per month, he did so by prophesying a world in which you, the average worker, are no longer necessary.

The machines are coming for your jobs, Yang argues on his campaign site and in most public forums. None of your livelihoods are safe under the new world order promised by automation, but this policy will keep you afloat in the face of autonomous vehicles and robotic warehouse workers.

The world has a hostile architecture problem. Is public space becoming private?

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00

Anti-homeless policy has been a staple in cities all over the world for decades, whether those policies be forthright, like loitering laws and sit-lie ordinances, or peppered into a city’s infrastructure and public spaces.

Mobile pet clinic treats pets of those experiencing homelessness

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00

Dr. Hanna Ekstrom recently set out to “serve the under-served” — and their four-legged friends, who serve them in so many ways.

Ekstrom parked her mobile vet clinic in front of the Real Change office on Main Street on July 10, unrolled a Seattle Veternary Outreach banner, set up a covering to protect her staff from the rain and used a chalkboard as a waiting list. Vendors signed in with theirs and their pets’ names to get free veterinary service.

Indigenous student group files suit against district to save program's site

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00

A Native-run nonprofit dedicated to supporting Indigenous students appealed a decision by Seattle Public Schools after the district decided not to renew an agreement that allowed the group to use space rent free for an after-school program for Native youth.

Reporter's Notebook: vaccine funding, Snohomish earthquake, sharing data with ICE

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:00
County funds Hep A vaccines

King County announced that it would allocate $375,000 to pay for Hepatitis A vaccines to stave off a potentially deadly epidemic.

Over the next six months, four part-time health workers will provide vaccinations to people experiencing homelessness in shelters, on the street and in camps.

The money to pay for the effort will come from the Loss Control Program, which is meant to handle “unanticipated risks,” according to the county’s press release.

Donald Trump and his followers are the gifts that just keep on giving

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

President Trump’s Fourth of July speech at the National Mall was amazingly coherent and hardly at all nonsensical. I was impressed. Sure, he said that the Continental Army seized airports from the British during the Revolutionary War, but we all know that was a natural mistake. His speechwriter wrote “seized the ports”, and Trump said “airports” because those are the ports he knows. 

Remebering Real Change vendor Steven McCausey

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

When you ask people who knew him about Steven McCausey, one of the first things they mention is his smile.

“He always stood out there with Real Change and smiled,” said Carol Allen, who works in the Seattle-King County Public Health office where McCausey sold the paper. “Even if it was raining, he was out there with Real Change.”

McCausey died unexpectedly at age 60. He’d been a Real Change vendor since 2010 and was known in the office for his kindness and effort to make other people feel comfortable and secure in the community he had found.

The fallacy of ‘listening to all sides’

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

As the Seattle City Council races heat up, we are hearing rhetoric from some candidates about how city government should spend more time listening to “all sides.” This is coded language. Candidates who want to hear from “all” are usually found making the point of the business community — which is simply organized corporate economic interests, and rarely a “community” in any sense of the word. These candidates indicate that the bleeding hearts who run city government are failing to care for the needs and desires of business.

The Middle Ground by Sam Day 7/10/19

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

Contact Sam Day at


Book Review: 'Age of Anger: A History of the Present'

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00
Author Pankaj Mishra's 'Age of Anger' captures the hatching of global discontent

On June 18, Donald Trump initiated his reelection campaign in Orlando, Florida. His rambling speech was typical of this creepy commander in chief with name-calling, half-truths and bloviation. He even promised a cure for cancer if reelected. Thousands in the Amway Center exemplified his base of obsequious supporters loving every fulsome minute of Trump. Out of ignorance or mean-spiritedness, his minions are ever enthralled by his childish antics, outbursts and unpredictability. 

Not Done Yet: Dykes over 50 revered in CoCA show

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

In a society that’s obsessed with staying young, the lines of people waiting to erase the lines on their faces by dipping into the restoring waters of the Fountain of Youth would be so long that someone could get old and die just waiting. But there’s always Botox, which is no longer for Hollywood’s elite; anyone can get their face frozen in time by a local doctor. At least one person enjoys the years she’s accumulated: Artist Kathy Ross. She has no qualms about being 70.

Community Lunch program serves up a warm plate of food, a dry pair of socks and a place to connect

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

People were already gathering on the steps of All Pilgrims Christian Church in Capitol Hill at 4 p.m. on a gray Wednesday afternoon. The meal program run out of the church by Community Lunch wasn’t set to start for another hour, but participants were out on the sidewalk chatting and laughing, biding their time until the meal would be served.

Reporter's Notebook: Megan Rapinoe FTW, housing lawsuit, holiday shooting

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team successfully defended their 2015 World Cup win against the Netherlands team on Sunday, further cementing their dominance in the sport and scoring political points against opponents as powerful as the president of the United States.

New regulations open opportunity for BLOCK Project backyard dwellings

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

While the Seattle City Council considered passing legislation loosening rules on the construction of basement apartments and backyard cottages, the folks over at Facing Homelessness were waiting on pins and needles.

Blame Liberalism: Trump’s attack on progressive cities mirrors Seattle backlash

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00
Director's Corner | Timothy Harris, founding director

Nothing could be more predictable. Trump has finally weighed in on homelessness, and liberals are to blame.

Here in Seattle, the president’s recent remarks on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” echo a familiar narrative of privilege, power and “filth” on our streets.

Homelessness, Trump said, is “destroying a whole way of life,“ and is “not what our country is all about.”

Real Change is an essential part of vendor Matthew Wilson's emotional survival

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 04:00

Matthew Wilson was a mental health ombudsman working for King County when a stroke  changed his life. “I loved that job, helping people with their therapist, doctor, health center that they feel stuck with. ‘This is so-and-so’s difficulty. Is there some way we can work it out for them?’” Matthew had a degree in Jungian psychology and neurolinguistic programming. “I knew what I was doing,” he says. “A lot of time, they come back and say, ‘I want you to be my therapist, not just my advocate.’”