Seattle is barreling forward with civic policies that are driving-out working and middle-class families. As the city slowly rots from within, voters continuously contribute to the core problem: a socialist city council and arch-liberal state representatives.
Dr. Alex Berezow explained why he was leaving Seattle in an article published by the Seattle Times this week. It is an all-too familiar tale of over-priced housing, creeping homelessness, rampant drug abuse, and a seemingly oblivious city council member. If you live in the Puget Sound area, such stories have become routine. For those living elsewhere, some background:
--The Seattle City Council and the King County Council last year hatched a disastrous plan to provide “Safe Injection Sites” for heroin users. Qualified medical personnel would be on site to supply clean needles and administer Narcan as necessary. It is all too often necessary, as this report shows. When concerned citizens banded together to stop these sites, raising the requisite signatures to put the issue on the November ballot as an initiative, a King County Superior Judge, Veronica Alicea Galvan, struck down the measure. In her ruling, she stated that the legislature’s right to determine funding was impinged by the initiative to stop safe injection sites. The Seattle City Council has since allocated $1.3M for the initial site. Eastside cities such as Bellevue, Renton, Kent, and Lynwood have all banned safe injection sites in their cities.
--Homelessness is rampant and growing at an exponential rate. Municipalities continue to throw money at the problem while simultaneously making it harder to discourage those who migrate to Seattle intending to be homeless. A local judge recently ruled that motor vehicles used as dwellings are protected under Washington’s homestead protection laws.
--Property crime has become so commonplace that Seattle police officers spend their time lecturing visitors on how to prevent break-ins, rather than tracking the thieves. As a couple learned this past weekend, no place in Seattle is safe from smash-and-grab robberies.
Dr. Berezow states that he is moving to the Eastside: the local euphemism for the suburbs on the eastern shore of Lake Washington. I regret to inform him that, unless he moves east of the Cascades, his problems will reduce by degrees rather than number.
Seattle and its suburbs are blessed by a booming economy. Tech industry companies and their workers flock here for the mild climate, no state income tax, decent schools, and accessibility to Asia. Unlike Seattle, built on a narrow strip of land between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, the Eastside has plenty of room to spread out and grow. But with that growth comes the usual problems: traffic congestion, poor public transit, and over-crowded schools. Crime and homelessness soon follow.
Unfortunately, the judges and city councils we--Puget Sound residents-- continue to elect are increasingly socialist. They vote to increase the minimum wage, allow squatters rights to homeless persons, squander money on “safe injection sites” that would be better spent on treatment, and pander to homeless activists that portray police forces as occupying armies. Councilwoman Kshama Sawant fought the construction of a new police station, saying the money would be better spent on services for the poor—though she failed to outline exactly what those services were. We continue to elect state legislators that turn over major construction projects to an un-elected and therefore un-accountable board that have raised our property and car taxes to exorbitant levels.
Go into these Seattle neighborhoods of immigrants, or high-rises filled with young tech workers, or go to the Eastside and interview middle class couples fighting traffic and over-crowded schools and you will hear the same concerns over and over again. Then, ask them who they voted for in the last few elections. Outline the disastrous policies that engender the very problems those voters just mentioned and how their chosen candidate was the one who espoused those policies. Now tell them about a candidate who wants to fund treatment centers, build more schools to reduce class sizes, reduce the car tab taxes, increase the number of police officers to enhance community engagement, and remove the ridiculous 405 toll lanes. Basically, outline their dream candidate. Watch them nod in agreement and applaud all of these common-sense measures.
Then tell those same people that the candidate you’re discussing is a Republican. “Oh, I could never vote for a Republican”, will be the response. I know they’ll say this because I’ve had these discussions, thousands of times. Almost as many times, in fact, as I’ve had to assure someone that yes, I’m really a Republican.
Western Washington voters choose their own demise. Moving further east won’t solve their problems, if they bring the same tribalist voting patterns with them.