Downtown Spokane wants all Spokane County taxpayers to pay $15 million (or more) to relocate the bus plaza to a central place that serves the entire county. For 15-year funding, taxpayers would need to provide an extra $1 million per year.
It wouldn’t even solve the real problem. Spokane’s downtown needs to be friendly to business and tourists, not just vagrant-free. They should borrow an idea from Phoenix, which hires full-time paid uniformed ambassadors who do many things for visitors: monitoring hazards, giving directions and business information, and generally making visitors feel welcome.
In Spokane, the ambassadors would walk around the blocks in the vicinity of the plaza. Spokane’s ambassadors should carry video cameras to document hazards and adverse behaviors by anybody. They should also have police radios so legal action can be immediately taken. The videos and witness testimony would be legal evidence.
An unarmed security guard in Spokane makes around $30,000 a year. For $150,000, there could be five ambassadors. That’s a lot less than $1 million a year of countywide taxpayer money.