A lot of fun as usual. We spent most of our time in an abandoned homeless person's campsite. Hundreds of pounds of all kinds of garbage was hauled out. It looked like it had been abandoned for a long time.
Not to get preachy, but you can add the transient camps along our river to the outcomes of conservative causes, private market solutions and other efforts to gut the social safety net. What we do to our mentally ill haunts our streets, our economy and our national conscience. And it washes up right here on the banks of the Spokane River.
The Spokane County Jail is the largest mental health care facility on the east side of the state. And the only treatment many of the residents receive is when they are behind bars. For many, when they aren't "receiving treatment," they abide in their garbage-strewn camps along the river.
Some of the most recent controversies in Spokane are direct outcomes of those who slash funding for the mentally ill and work to destroy government. Ironic that some of these same politicians now run for office and shamefully "cash in" on their abandonment of the mentally ill. They point their fingers at sad, unnecessary events and blame the incumbents who have had to deal with the crisis these office challengers have created, championed and will continue to champion. It is very sad, and hopefully the voters in Spokane understand that they are being played by these morally ambivalent hucksters. We must work to keep them out of our city offices where they will only make things worse.
It would be nice to have seen some of these office seekers out here cleaning up the garbage, seeing what they helped create. I doubt they would have made the connection. Mayor Mary Verner was out here with us though, cleaning up the mess. Cleaning up other people's messes is something Mayor Verner does - a lot. I hope the voter knows what a great, smart, hardworking, ethical person we have as our mayor. We could do a lot worse. I just hope in November we don't.
OK. Off my soapbox. Here are some cool things other people found in the river: