Kshama Sawant's center stage pathology is now draining the city's treasury

Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant was elected in 2013 and again in 2015 to expand the city’s political dialogue to the left, but her penchant for bombast over governance — a combination already poisoning the national discourse —has undermined her agenda and now is costing taxpayers real money.

Her desire to make headlines is going to hit the city pocketbook for somewhere north of $600,000 as it now defends her in not one, but two, defamation lawsuits.

Like The Donald, The Kshama is unsuited for the serious work of the public trust.

The Seattle Times photo of her that ran with its Friday article about the lawsuits was too fitting: a bullhorn in hand, mouth open.

Don’t get me wrong. The Councilwoman has as much right to speak her mind as anyone. As an activist in the streets, she is perfect. Her spirited fight for a $15 minimum wage serves as Exhibit A in that regard — and convinced me and others at the time that she might be an exciting new voice on the city council. I voted for her once. And that tally has stayed, and will forever stay, at one.

Why?

Because, as an elected official, she bears more than just bullhorn responsibility.

Serving an entire community requires something beyond ideas, a loud voice and a knack for being quotable when the cameras are turned on. Serious public service requires digging deep into the weeds on a range of issues, building bridges and, yes, even compromising now and again. That’s how good government works.

Perfect? Not at all. Largely effective over years and years in practice? Yes.

Sawant already put city taxpayers on the line for an estimated $300,000 to defend her in the defamation lawsuit brought by Carl Haglund, a landlord who, per the Seattle Times, “took issues with Sawant referring to him as a ‘slumlord’ and as a ‘notorious slumlord’.”

Now comes word from interim Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell — in a move he rightly dubs as likely unpopular but grounded in sound policy — that the city also will defend Sawant in a second defamation lawsuit. This one is brought against her by two Seattle Police officers who say they were defamed when she declared they had committed “a brutal murder” in last year’s shooting of Che Taylor. An inquest jury found no basis for her claim. This legal defense for Sawant also will cost taxpayers and estimated $300,000.

So we citizens of Seattle are now on the hook for at least $600,000 to cover her legal fees because Sawant — a duly elected official — is more comfortable lobbing up fireworks and seeking headlines than she is doing the unglamorous chore of finding workable solutions to the sticky issues and challenges we face collectively.

The merits of her arguments against Haglund and Seattle Police aren’t the point here.

What is the point is that she appears to be obsessed with being the center of attention. As an elected official for all the people, a little circumspection now and again is a good thing. Being measured is not a sin.

Sawant isn’t just distracting from getting work done but now draining the treasury as well.

She has proved herself to be a self-serving sideshow.

There is no better illustration of her pathology than this: last fall she went out of her way to tear down Hillary Clinton -- "I'm not with her" -- and then in January started elbowing her way to the front of the Women’s March line to complain about the horror of Donald Trump.

I mean, who in their right mind possibly could have conceived of the notion that Hillary not winning the electoral college would result in Trump in the White House?

What a phony she is. What a hypocrite she is.

And now, what a waste of $600,000 taxpayer dollars that could have gone to something useful but instead will go to protect Sawant from herself.

BY GREG WITTER OF CASCADE FORUM

Photo at top of page: Sawant doing what she loves best: talking in front of a mic. Photo from Seattle.gov.

Comments
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kygofan15
kygofan15

I live in Vancouver WA and cannot believe that I live in the same state as some of these people. Sawant is far from the "anti-Trump" that so many wish to have as a leader. A true "anti-Trump" would bring unity, not continue to shower the other side with insults.