25 April 2017

Dear Mayor Strickland and Tacoma City Council Members:

Indivisible Tacoma is a nonpartisan group of over a thousand local citizens. We came together after the election out of concern that the Trump administration does not represent our welcoming, West Coast values. Although we are not experts on immigration, law enforcement, or the zoning of real estate, as neighbors and community members we reject the politics of fear.

Here are our thoughts on the zoning regulations before the Council today:

1. We are strongly opposed to the existence of any private prison anywhere, including here in Tacoma. No private corporation should be put in a position where profit steers them toward the incarceration and mistreatment of human beings.

2. We strongly support increased scrutiny of public correctional facilities, which should include a difficult permitting process that includes input from the community on whether this kind of facility is even addressing a genuine need, or whether we can find other solutions for public safety.

3. It is important to get this process right, and we do want the City Council to make sure that any regulatory framework the City imposes will be effective and will hold up in court. However, promptness is also important. Please update these zoning regulations and make them permanent as fast as possible.

4. We would like to request an additional hearing or other forum to discuss our concerns about human right violations at the Northwest Detention Center. We are very concerned with reports coming out of the NWDC about the conditions in which people are being held, the nutrition and hygiene situation, and the fact that detainees are being put to work for literal slave wages. We support the Northwest Detention Center Resistance and would like the City Council to listen to people with firsthand experiences and accept their guidance when directing the Health Department or other appropriate agencies to address these issues. An additional hearing would be very helpful.

Thank you for listening to our concerns. We look forward to speaking with you again at the next opportunity on conditions inside the Northwest Detention Center.

Indivisible Tacoma

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