May 10, 2021

What Seattle Needs in Its Next Mayor

Seattle’s future is now in jeopardy and two paths lay before it. One path leads to growth into an exciting world-class city. The other leads inevitably to decline, with a rapid exodus of our most creative and innovative individuals and the loss of opportunity for all of Seattle’s citizens.
Richard Croft.  Creative Commons License

San Francisco demonstrates how a once world-class city can rapidly decline.  We do not want to follow its example.  


Seattle residents have watched in dismay as our mayor and city council allowed a homeless crisis to fester, stood by as a portion of our city was abandoned to the mob, took little action as violent individuals destroyed businesses and threatened those with differing viewpoints, supported defunding of police and the reduction of public safety, discouraged major businesses from growing in our city, and neglected making critical investments in infrastructure.


No great city can remain a great city under such poor leadership.  And no city can grow and flourish when those entrusted with its future are so irresponsible and ineffective.  But more than anything else, we need leaders with a positive vision of Seattle.  A Seattle that is a place of exciting possibilities, world-class educational institutions, stimulating entertainment and restaurants, world-leading businesses, great opportunity for all, and a city that is clean, safe, and appealing.


Essential Tasks for the Next Mayor


Public Safety  


No city can be successful if its inhabitants and visitors fear for their personal safety, and recent trends in Seattle have been disturbing. Police response times have increased substantially as their ranks have been thinned by attrition,  and large numbers of homeless fill our streets and parks, resulting in increased crime and attacks on local residents.  Several public schools in the city have homeless camps close by, with needles and physical threats spreading onto campuses.  The city’s murder rate has doubled and the Seattle City Attorney has released many charged with serious crimes, with many committing more crimes within days of release.  The loss of police has become a flood and public safety is seriously threatened.



Unbelievably, several city council members have irresponsibly supported defunding the police by as much as 50%, with no coherent idea of how “reimagining” policing would work. Others have directed cash from defunding to their political allies.
  The loss of public safety hurts the city’s low-income and minority communities the most, a situation of little concern to the current leadership.  

Would anyone suggest defunding all doctors by 50% because of some criminal or negligent physicians?  Of course not.  Defunding police makes as much sense.

So, above all else, the next Seattle mayor must be a fierce advocate of public safety, a strong opponent of defunding the police, and a powerful defender of the right of all citizens and businesses in our city to live without fear for their physical and personal safety.


Homelessness


Our city is overrun with thousands of homeless individuals.  The majority are either mentally ill or on drugs.  Many live in filth or barbaric conditions; many are involved in crimes; some have violently attacked others.  Shoplifting and other impacts of the homeless population have led to many businesses leaving Seattle.  Spent needles and human waste are a common sight around the city.   It is morally unacceptable to leave these vulnerable individuals on the street with some dying alone in the cold, being the victims of violence, and spiraling downward into despair. No moral society can leave such people on the streets.  No city with a future can allow this situation to remain.


Courtesy of David Lee


The current leadership of our city has been profoundly ineffective regarding homelessness.  Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent and the problem has worsened, not improved. 


The next mayor should make a promise:  that no individual will be allowed to camp out in public spaces and that there would be zero tolerance for doing so.  But with this strict regime should come a program ensuring that every homeless person in the city will be offered safe housing and the services needed to improve their lives.   One could imagine building “barrack-like” housing made up of single rooms that would provide privacy and safety.  Homeless could be divided into those with serious mental illness, drug dependencies, family units, and those simply out of luck, with services tailored towards their needs.  Such housing would, by design by spare to avoid attracting outsiders, and would impose a strict policy against drug use in its facilities.


This must end

Infrastructure


The literal foundation of every city is its infrastructure:  its roads, bridges, water supply and sewage systems, electrical systems, and parks.  Seattle has allowed its infrastructure to degrade to a point that critical bridges (e.g., West Seattle) are too dangerous to be used, roads are filled with potholes and are deteriorating, and electrical poles are sufficiently rotted that they fail from minor windstorms. Key bicycle paths (e.g., the Burke Gilman) have been allowed to deteriorate, while no safe cycling path exists for entering the city from either the north or south.  Irresponsible city leadership has neglected necessary maintenance, spending limited funds on showy projects with little benefit (e.g., streetcars).


The next mayor needs to make infrastructure a major priority, pushing for wise investments in the essentials, such as bridge/highway maintenance and the reliable provision of key services.

Courtesy of Joe Mabel

Maintaining an Attractive Environment for Business


A thriving business community is the economic engine that makes everything else possible, a fact that seems to escape many of Seattle’s political leadership.  Head taxes that hurt medium size and larger businesses can only encourage flight to more welcoming communities.  Lack of public safety and a severe homeless problem discourages customers from visiting our downtown or other business centers of the city for shopping, dining or entertainment.  Downtown employees feel threatened. Ignoring roving rioters that break windows and loot businesses communicates a powerful message, and it is not a good one.   Businesses should not be seen as the enemy, as suggested by several city council members, but prized partners in building a better city.


Budget Excesses


The next mayor must be more prudent regarding the costs of city government and its services.  The city budget has doubled during the past decade, driven by unsustainable increases in city bureaucracy and salaries.  Showy, ineffective projects, such as streetcars, have been funded at great public expense.  Seattle residents pay more for water than in any other major city, unexpected considering its reliable, bountiful and easily accessed water supplies.  And taxes have escalated under seemingly endless special levies.   Lower-income people in the city suffer the most from the increasingly regressive costs of city government.


The next mayor must bring some fiscal responsibility to the city.


Courtesy of the Seattle Times


There is Much More


There are many other items that should be on the “to do” list of the next mayor, such as improving the quality of K-12 education (essential for our kids future), increasing the amount of affordable housing (e.g., encouraging more condominiums and townhouses, and fewer apartments), and improving the flow of traffic through the city (such as getting rid of the silly reduced-capacity “throttled” roads).  


Disappointing ridership


As a scientist, I feel strongly that the next mayor should base their actions on facts and science, rather than taking unthoughtful, highly politicized decisions.
  For example, the decisions by the current Seattle administration to restrict park access due to COVID were not based on science and prevented Seattle residents from enjoying needed outdoor recreation during trying times.


Progressive Versus Regressive


Most of Seattle’s current leadership and the long list of current mayoral candidates trumpet their “progressive” credentials.    A true progressive should care about progress.  The progress of the city’s citizens towards a better, safe, and more fulfilled life.  But this group of leaders has overseen a city moving backward.  Regression towards less public safety.  Regression towards a worsening homeless crisis.  Regression towards a failing infrastructure.  And a more regressive tax and fee structure that hurts our poorest citizens the most.    Perhaps our current leaders are better termed regressives.


Hopefully, a true progressive will come along and run for mayor.  An individual who cares more for fundamental services, rational decision making and public safety than virtual signaling or appealing to the latest political fad.   A mayor with a positive vision of Seattle.  A mayor that does not view the city as a warring caldron of competing identity groups, but a diverse, rich tapestry of individuals working energetically towards improving their lives and others.


Jay Huang Photography


We can only hope that such a candidate will appear.
  But without such an individual, and a similarly minded city council, the future of Seattle will be a shadow of the great city that could have blossomed on the shoreline of Puget Sound.



 

102 comments:

  1. Perfectly said Cliff!! May your vision for this once great city come true. One can hope, pray and VOTE!

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  2. No tolerance for sleeping outside, and a zero tolerance for drug use in housing provided? What are you suggesting we do with addicts? Send them to jail? Analogizing cops with doctors?

    Maybe you should write a post about reimagining policing, and contribute to the discussion, rather than sitting in your ivory tower waxing on about making Seattle great again.

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    1. Agree completely! Cliff - please do some research on the Housing First model. If we simply meet people's basic need for safe shelter without stipulations, the overall societal cost will be lower and their outcomes will be statistically better. Not to mention the morality of helping people in a way they can access that help.

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    2. False syllogisms aren't helpful here Cliff. Doctors and Cops have little in common, and the paramilitary system of race-based policing in this country is structurally flawed. I have hung in here with you for years, but reading this column (again) and reading your defensive responses to the comments here, and not engage with the real intellectual heart of this problem, means I'm getting a divorce now I'll see you maybe... not... ever... again.

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    3. Tari... it would be sad if you were so closed to other viewpoints, that you would refuse to read them. Both doctors and police are tasked to protect lives. Both belong to professional organizations. Both are necessary. What intellectual heart of this problem am I not engaging in?

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    4. Cliff you are failing to understand that the problem with police is not caused by problematic individuals but by the entire culture of policing. Physician culture is flawed but it was not founded on (literally) the violent oppression of black people trying to escape slavery. Early police forces were largely composed of members of the KKK. Police officers often come with traumatized backgrounds and are traumatized by the work itself, the violence they commit and the fear of violence being committed against them. Physicians have none of this. Cliff, you are a smart man with a voice. Please do your research and think about this better than you have been.

      And Cliff, you are a scientist. Where is your research? Can you cite the studies that support your claim that most homeless folks are "either mentally ill or on drugs?" And have you considered that being addicted to drugs is more likely to be a symptom of homelessness rather than its cause?

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    5. The idea that the policing system in the US was founded to capture slaves is not exactly correct. So to put that out as a blanket statement is deceptive. A little bit of research would provide more context and background.

      https://thedispatch.com/p/the-problem-with-claiming-that-policing

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    6. I was wondering how the tolerant left would take the truth.

      I was correct.

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    7. What are you doing to solve the homelessness, drug addiction and mental health epidemic?

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    8. Ben's comment about the origins of policing is just SO typical of the stereotypical Seattle "progressive" who thinks it knows everything but actually knows nothing. This doesn't keep a "Ben" from lecturing, unimpeded by any knowledge or any diligence. Cliff, a formerly middle-liberal city has lost its mind. Will it recover? Maybe, but it's going to take a very long time to counteract the Army of Bens there.

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  3. You speak truth to power. I hope enough people listen to demand change.

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  4. I think defund is poor word choice, much like global warming has been replaced with climate change.

    Camden, NJ is an excellent example of what SPD should become. Disband and rehire in order to do away with the awful union contract.

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    1. Yes, and the way Seattle is going, its future is Camden's.

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  5. you sure have guts Cliff, saying what millions think, knowing you will be attacked personally by hundreds of zealots.

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  6. So well thought out and stated perfectly. I am wondering if Cliff might want to run for mayor.

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  7. I don't live in Seattle, but at one time had over 100 relatives there. Most have passed away, but the remaining ones moved away. My brother lived there for over 40 years and bailed. I used to spend a lot of time there, but avoid it as much as possible anymore. Now, I come in to see my doctor, and get back to the airport as quickly as possible. It's no longer a place I feel safe, and definitely don't feel welcome.

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  8. All major urban centers are having to do a bit of soul searching, thanks to Covid. Its not just Seattle.
    Covid allowed those who were professionally unaffected and affluent a reason to flee the city while those who are marginal remain trapped. So it comes to an inflection where the urban cores rot and those with the means flee to where ever they feel they are comfortable teleworking from. Typically your lower tax/crime areas. Which represents a brain drain. Urban areas need all socioeconomic levels to be able to co-exist and further separation is not going to work.

    Not sure how much better a purely GOP regime would do. Its doubtful they would be inclined to rezone areas of the city for density/re-examine some of the regulatory hurdles to building when their MO tends to be more car dependent suburban sprawl. Always a trade off with them. Yes, there are the job growth aspects but then there is also the faith that businesses are the real stewards of the well being of the constituents. So you might get jobs at the cost of more pollution, more traffic and more plutocracy/oligarchy. Purely market driven decisions, basically, without much empathy.

    The police would remain a para-military organization and the homeless problem might be solved with driving them out of town or incarceration. It really would draw up some battle lines.

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    1. Smart people are fleeing the cities that you and your fellow "progressives" have worked so hard to ruin. Good luck trying the same out here. A few months ago, your "Black Lives Matter" jokers rented a bus that drove to a town 20 miles from us. They were met by a dozen men holding (but not pointing) AR-15s. They turned right around, got on the bus, and went back to Seattle where they belonged. LOL

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  9. But you don't want any taxes to be raised, or imposed on the businesses doing billions of dollars of business every year. How are you going to pay for any of this. Homelessness will not be solved by "hundreds of millions" other wise it would be already. It's going to take absurd amounts of money to deal with just that one issue. Where does that money come from? I agree few have the political will to drastically address homelessness, but if we as a people want to deal with it, we have to direct billions at it for at least 10 years. And then maybe, maybe we can see some change. Locking people up or putting them in camps is not going to fly. Good luck.

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    1. There are huge amounts of money being spent now....and wastefully so. This is not a problem we need to throw more money at. It is a problem we have to deal with in a more enlightened and smart way.

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    2. Thank you, Cliff. We also needed a more enlightened and smart way to deal with our overly militarized police forces in our country. Our society needs better answers to dealing with crime, social unrest and especially mental health, instead of brute force.

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    3. We could start by raising our kids right. Fix the root (family), and the rest will magically improve...

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    4. SixgillT, I think that is quite true. The Brookings Institute even did a careful study that showed if young people graduate high school, get employment, and put off marriage (& children) until the first two items are accomplished, the stability of the family and its financial wellness improve dramatically. And that results in healthier (mentally & physically) kids, and stable, productive, happy communities.
      It's crucial that children have adults they can rely on for counsel, food, safety, and LOVE. I wonder sometimes how well our culture is doing supporting, strengthening, and advocating for those things.

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    5. Most young Americans, in Seattle and elsewhere, do all of those things. WA has some of the best stats in US: teen birth rate in WA states is 12.7 per 1000 births; average age for first marriage in WA is 29.2 years old; high school graduation rate is 86%

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    6. SixillT... spot on...spot on!!!

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  10. "Would anyone suggest defunding all doctors by 50% because of some criminal or negligent physicians?"

    That's not the right question Cliff. How about this one instead: "Would anyone suggest defunding all doctors by 50% if the entire medical apparatus was set up to protect physicians from being held accountable for any criminal or negligent action (qualified immunity; https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/26/opinion/blm-protests-police-violence.html), and if the entire medical training system encouraged physicians to treat their patients without respect, as disposable objects? (https://medium.com/@OfcrACab/confessions-of-a-former-bastard-cop-bb14d17bc759)"

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    1. Tim... I disagree with your characteristics of policing. It is unfounded to claim that the entire "apparatus" is flawed. There are a (very) few bad actors that need to be dealt with. And improved resources and training for police would be useful. Policing has come a long, long way during the past decades...look at the hard numbers and you will see proof of it.

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    2. The Chauvin outcome contradicts your theory. He was held accountable and tried with a guilty verdict.

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    3. Let's look at today (just today)'s news:

      We have a cop who got drunk and terrorized a family because of a BLM flag, and then another cop who just gave him a ride home instead of arresting him: https://apnews.com/article/or-state-wire-vandalism-race-and-ethnicity-5850655d262765ad00e01853e18ca44f

      We have two women almost shot to death because they were driving a UHAUL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/10/women-sue-lapd-violent-uhaul-arrest/

      We have a woman assaulted by an officer during a traffic stop - that should never have happened in the first place: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/05/10/virginia-trooper-arrest-video/

      That's just 5 minutes of searching the news. Today. Very hard to say "just a few bad apples" when it's just about every police department in America.

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    4. Branden... I few cases like this prove nothing. In the vast majority of cases, police well serve their communities. The evidence is overwhelming that his is true....cm

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    5. Cliff - you just ignored Tim's point and didn't even address it. These two are not equivalent. I have both Cops and Doctors in my family as an example, and even then I know that brings bias to the way I think. So I choose to explore and understand.

      You are a smart person, do the same, use the scientific approach here instead of showing your bias, please.

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    6. Cliff, there are studies showing that our police forces are needlessly and unjustly violent, such as this recent one:
      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/13/us-police-use-of-force-protests-black-lives-matter-far-right?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

      Please don't ignore the evidence of out-of-control police, and please don't resort to the "few bad apples" statement. Remember that the original use is that those few will spoil all the apples.

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    7. deadheadned. If you look at the U.S. DOJ stats on police use of fatal force, you immediately learn that it is proportional to the offender population demographics. These are the facts. Of course, there are occasional (and rare) examples of excessive violence, but every profession have problems. This is true of doctors for example. How many professions spend most of their time dealing with societal problems, with violence always a threat to their personal safety?

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    8. JC: The Chauvin outcome shows that, given overwhelming evidence and months of nationwide protests, accountability can sometimes be found. Then again, we'll see what happens on appeal.

      I challenge you to name 4 other instances of police being held accountable for their unjust actions. I assure you, for each of those I can answer with 10 instances of officers unjustly beating or killing someone, serving a couple weeks of paid suspension, then returning to work with no further consequence.

      As a society, we cannot keep pretending that we don't have any problems with the systems and structures of policing.

      Cliff, I don't understand how you can read Branden's easy-to-find examples of police overreach from a single day, then claim that these incidents of excessive violence are occasional and rare. "Multiple times a day, every day" is not rare. "Police encounters are usually non-fatal" does not excuse this behavior.

      It's nice that you have not personally experienced an officer over-asserting authority over you. I urge you to listen to the lived experience of people who encounter it every day.

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    9. Can I take it that you approve of Seattle's legalization of property crime as long as the criminal is from the correct ethnic group?

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  11. Well thought out Cliff. If I was Mayor I'd take over the unused half of the Port of Seattle and construct a large center to house and care for the homeless. Most are suffering from opioid addiction or have mental health issues. Some just need a clean place to live for a few months and perhaps a micro-loan to get them back on their feed. Allowing people to camp on the streets must end as its cruel. Let's start treating the disease of addiction and stop with the "feel good" terms and burying our heads in the sand.

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  12. Fully agree. Minor nit: our water bills aren't high; our sewage bills are high (which are calculated as function of water usage with some estimation for summer outdoor use that doesn't go into our sewers).

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  13. Prior to COVID-19, I took the South Lake Union streetcar almost daily to/from downtown. Almost never could get a seat, there were so many people. People at some of the intermediate stops (Amazon) often had trouble finding space. I think the C Line took some pressure off, but not a ton. I wouldn't call that poor ridership though, however I bet the numbers are very different right now with so many SLU employees being remote (myself included). My main gripe with the streetcar is that it runs at grade (same as certain segments of the light rail, ugh), and so if there's a traffic jam, there's also a streetcar jam.

    Rest of the column had parts I agreed with, others I didn't. I think there's more to the "defund" movement than you're acknowledging. Suffice it to say law enforcement needs serious reform almost globally in the USA. I'm a white, well-mannered upper class guy, and even I have had or witnessed a couple of uncomfortable encounters with the police over the years; too many officers seem to forget themselves, aided and abetted by hyper-protective police unions. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for those in more vulnerable demographics, can you? I have colleagues with just as sterling of backgrounds, who happen to be black, and some of their stories of encounters with LE would make you shudder.

    In a number of instances, we need a services-first approach, which includes housing and treatment (something I am tremendously grateful you mentioned). To some extent that could still involve LE, but with additional training and perhaps the hiring of officers of better temperament. Another commenter above suggested Camden, NJ as a possible template? Maybe.

    Infrastructure? Bike paths in particular? Totally on board. I have the good fortune of being a ferry and transit commuter recently - no longer a driver after many years of driving into the city for work - but a lot of my fellow commuters bring their bikes for the "last mile(s)." I would too if there was a safer way. I'm also excited about the work Sound Transit is doing, though I wish they'd hurry. We needed light rail decades ago. We can't add lanes forever.

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    1. Josh... the streetcars are a very poor investment. They are on grade and stuck in traffic. Buses can do the same thing and are much more flexible. Buses are FAR less expensive. And the streetcar rails are very dangerous for cyclists...cliff

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    2. Unfortunately Sound transit is a corrupt program, it's a huge money waste.

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    3. On that I agree Cliff, and so does most of the council. The streetcars are a waste of money. Fortunately, we haven't paid that much for them, and it is quite likely we won't in the future, given their general unpopularity on the council and citywide.

      The big money is being spent on ST3, which unfortunately is a gigantic boondoggle. The urban parts (UW to downtown) are money well spent. But light rail to Everett and Tacoma is a huge waste. It violates every "best practice" for mass transit. Likewise, West Seattle should have Bus Rapid Transit, not a light rail line that will force almost everyone to transfer, while giving them nothing in return. Even the one good project in the whole thing (Ballard Link) will quite likely miss Ballard, dramatically reducing its value.

      Unfortunately. the Sound Transit board isn't elected, and none of the officials on it have the time to understand transit. They all have other, very important jobs for which they will be judged.

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    4. The most regrettable vote I ever cast when I lived in Seattle was the one to establish Sound Transit. I wasn't cynical enough.

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    5. Sound Transit is under budget and ahead of schedule on their light rail extension. Hardly seems corrupt.

      Good point about the rails, Cliff. I still see and have enjoyed the benefits, but safety is important. With more battery powered and trolley buses being added, those may be sustainable alternatives.

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  14. The same attributes that Cliff is seeking for the next mayor of Seattle apply equally to those in the Seattle City Council. In 2021 two seats are up for election on the City Council. We need to vote thoughtfully.

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  15. We live about 100 miles from Seattle, and - alas - very few people I know see the city as safe or feel that the "Emerald City" is the destination and gem that it used to be. We used to take our kids to Seattle Center, go to concerts, Bumbershoot and other big events, attend sports events, federal court, shop downtown and Pioneer Square, and visit UW (my husband and son are both alumni). Of course Seattle remains everyone's go-to regional medical center west of the mountains. The homeless camp situation and increase in violence percolating for more than a decade have come to a head under what seems like completely unhinged city government, and a state of civil disorder exists. KOMO's "Seattle is Dying" shows revealed the reality of what Seattle's become. The ideologies touted are a far cry from effective or constructive. It's all very sad business; I miss the city as it was and all it had to offer.

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    1. Stop watching the news, and go enjoy Seattle. I've never felt unsafe, and neither do the thousands of people who still enjoy it just fine. Or just stay away, Seattle would probably prefer that anyway.

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    2. Colin: "Or just stay away..."??? Seattle (metro, city) voters wag the dog (run the table where it comes to state and federal politics) and also burn through masses of public funds for its programs and projects funded by people across the state who don't benefit from the taxes they're forced to pay-in to subsidize y'all. Maybe if Seattle carried all of its own burdens a person could make a case for exclusion.

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    3. No, go enjoy Seattle. Thats what I said. Stay away if you want to buy into the evening news sensationalism.

      ... not sure why you bring up taxes, but sure... You understand tax allocation. You have it backwards. Seattle pays enough tax dollars to fund state projects in Seattle, and then some. The flow of money, contrary to popular belief, is west to east. Without Seattle and Puget Sound area tax dollars, there would be less money for rural state funded projects throughout the state than the status quo. I dont understand why people just cant understand this... Seattle has way more voters, way more tax payers, and they are on average, quite a bit wealthier, and get taxed more than rural voters elsewhere.

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    4. You have it backwards. Seattle subsidizes the rest of the state. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/why-are-we-exporting-billions-of-dollars-around-the-state-the-coming-showdown-over-seattles-money/

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    5. If you want to feel really unsafe in Seattle, just wear a red ball cap! The big hearted liberals in the area will judge you severely. No thanks.

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    6. And many in Seattle fear going into suburban and rural areas, based on stories about racial and sexual harassment etc. My worst-ever scariest experience was in Republic, WA. But Seattle is not the doomsday project described here, and I'm sure your community isn't as closed-minded as some think it is.

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    7. Rebecca, when (not if) that subduction fault goes off, make sure not to come over the mountains with your Seattle sense of entitlement. What's ours is ours, and we are quite well equipped to keep it that way. We don't want you out here in even the best of times, but especially not after the quake. You'll be on your own, and so will we. Let's see who does better.

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  16. I am a long time democrat but I'm very dissapointed in the democrats lack of logical solutions and I agree with Cliffmass. A combination of high housing costs and drugs are making alot of people homeless. When you have to make 30+ an hour to afford the cheapest apartment you get depressed/overstressed, you are more likely to turn to drugs/lose everything and then once you are homeless the drugs keep you homeless. For many years I rented a room in a house full of strangers even though I made $25 I could not afford my own place. I had to put up with crazy and messy housemates and landlords who tried to force their religious beliefs on me and forced me to live like a monk no vistors/girlfriends. There were times I was so miserable I thought about drugs but being athletic mountain climbing kept me off drugs. To solve the homelessness problem we need to make housing more affordable, have a drug recovery program for the homeless, punish those living on the street especially the ones that are commiting crimes. We also badly need better infrastructure traffic jams are starting to seriously hinder business and people are not going to want to live in a place where even a weekend drive involves heavy traffic. I realize it will take a long time to solve these big problems but I'm looking for a canidate with a logical plan that will at least try it doesn't matter what party this canidate is in I will vote for them.

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  17. I'm not going to agree or disagree with the bulk of the blog, but your citation for the decline of SF is a non sequitur. It's about the decline due to the pandemic, not policies.

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    1. Andrew.... SF started to decline years before the pandemic. The problem are the policies in SF....cliff

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    2. San Fransisco grew by about 10% the last decade. Real estate prices remain high, lots of people moved there, unemployment was low. Yeah, some decline.

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    3. Ross...check out the last five years....by almost every measure SF is tanking. Businesses leaving city, homelessness, crime and more:
      https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2020/12/04/viewpoint-guestcomment-hansson.html

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  18. Great piece and I share your sentiments.

    Your refusal to be silenced is an act of courage.

    The city has lost it's way. There is a homeless encampment on Broadview Thompson elementary school. Recently, the school went into lockdown because an individual in the camp had what appeared to be a rifle- which turned out to be a pellet gun. Still, weapons are not legally permitted on school property. Yet, we have Chandra Hampson (President of School Board), Zachary DeWolf (Operations Chair) and Director Liza Rankin refusing to have these individual taken off of school property. There are individuals in this town that support their decision!

    We have truly lost our way.

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  19. Please send this piece to the Seattle Times! Your common sense approach and call for a "powerful defender of the right of all citizens and businesses in our city to live without fear for their physical and personal safety" is a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

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  20. Caution Cliff! You are dangerously close to being declared apostate. You’ve already been canceled from one radio station…. Keep this up and you will lose your blogger platform and podcast platforms too.

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  21. I have decades working for one of the largest park systems in the area but for the last 5 years a major part of my duties was keeping homeless camps from taking hold. If a homeless tent sets up the public cannot use that space. Our parks and sidewalks are not meant to be human habitat. All homeless sites become hazardous waste sites requiring special care and steps to clean up. And the garbage and litter spreads for a block at least.

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  22. I very agree with much but not all of what you wrote. I certainly agree with "increasing the amount of affordable housing (e.g., encouraging more condominiums and townhouses..." and "I feel strongly that the next mayor should base their actions on facts and science". Putting these together I hope you support reforming zoning so that much much more housing can be built in Seattle. Cheaper housing, both condos and more rental, would do far more than anything else to decrease homelessness (and I speak as someone who has worked with homeless people in both Seattle and in another major city) while also preserving a working and middle class in Seattle. Tokyo (pop. 37m) is cheaper than Seattle (pop. 0.7m). Tokyo has less restrictive zoning than Seattle.

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    1. CATO.

      40% crazy
      30% addicted
      20% hoboes
      10% out of luck

      Government can help the 10%, but that's all.

      Delete
  23. Very well Cliff, thank you for being brave enough to speak the truth

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  24. Right to camp is self-evident. Why do you stereotype homeless? Your own raw sewage is dumped by the millions of gallons into Puget Sound, regularly. Drive to the mountains and you will see garbage dumped by homeowners worse than any homeless camp. You have a log in your own eye. Public land should be open to public camping, and the garbage produced by your wasteful supply chains can be picked up before it becomes a problem, instead of simply ignored by public policy. Public garbage is a public policy problem, and the vast majority of public garbage comes from homeowners.

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    1. I have yet to see even a trashy home as nasty as any of the variety of homeless camps around Olympia. They're disgusting.

      Delete
    2. "Public land should be open to public camping," says the Seattle "progressive" who has never camped on public land and is completely ignorant of the rules about that. But hey, it's the Seattle "progressive" way: Know nothing, but don't let it interrupt yet another tedious lecture.

      Delete
    3. I'll show you plenty of homeowner trash dumps in the forest. Roofing materials ...

      Placeholder, want to see my camps?

      Delete
    4. Do all "progressives" miss the point, or just you?

      Delete
  25. Well done, Mr. Mass... as a 45 year resident, you have identified the needed platform and plan... now all we need is to find someone to run with these priorities

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  26. New info coming out on the CDC's exaggerated and questionable statistics on outdoor transmission: https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?abVariantId=2&campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20210511&instance_id=30578&nl=the-morning&productCode=NN&regi_id=61223809&segment_id=57734&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2Fa1606adc-e1e1-5581-9f2e-aee007a098ea&user_id=62d7d697d0b3a5001308c3122f8093b6

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  27. There is nothing progressive about letting people live and then die on the streets due to drug addiction.

    Too late. My family is already actively seeking a new life in other states. WA leadership has proven it does not care about its citizens.

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    Replies
    1. I am right behind you brother!

      Delete
    2. You could also just move across the mountains. People in Eastern WA aren't anywhere close to as crazy as Seattle's arrogant, clueless "progressives." In our rural Eastern WA county, we have no homeless camps and no "safe injection centers," nor are we paying a "reformed" pimp $150K + bennies to "teach" the police how to handle criminal derelicts like himself.

      That kind of stuff doesn't cut it out here. Crime is very low, probably because every would-be criminal is well aware that the significant majority of residents are armed.

      Delete
  28. Well said, Cliff. Thoughtful, and thought-provoking. Thanks.

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  29. dr cliff: throw your hat into the mayoral ring.

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  30. Not really seeing many solutions proposed here. Other than basically "Vote Republican". Which would be a good idea if Trump had not turned the GOP into a deranged cult. Seattle needs BALANCE and counterpoise in its government. Which the GOP could provide if it wasn't so mired in so much stupid.

    Basically Seattle, or any major city, has to check off a few major boxes.

    1) It has to be inclusive...which leads to ...
    2) A basic standard of living has to be affordable.
    3) The city has to be user friendly and easy to navigate on a HUMAN scale. IE:, not every bit of civil engineering designed around the automobile.
    4)The city has to be business friendly, but also not a one sided arrangement. It can't just be about business exploiting every resource and giving nothing back other than jobs, which can typically be used as a blackmail tactic all to often.
    5) There has to be opportunity for all.

    Right now cities just serve at behest of the rich during Gilded Age 2.0. Its not like we have not gone down this road. Maybe talk to some of your friends in the Humanities Dept, Cliff. History has already logged plenty of precedent.

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    Replies
    1. Always fun to see a Seattle "progressive" with no money issue instructions to his betters. So typical.

      Delete
  31. I agree with many of your points, Cliff, but the issue of police reform really deserves more thoughtfulness. Cities, including Seattle pay out millions of our tax dollars every year to settle police misconduct lawsuits, in some cities hundreds of millions of dollars annually. This is money that could be better spent for better training, especially in the area of conflict resolution and how to deescalate violent situations. Also, if you have a few bad apples in the police department but you can't fire them because of the powerful police unions, this can cost a city a lot of money. Hopefully, strong police reform legislation will get enacted nationally, including being able to hold police accountable. I support better training, a college education, and higher pay for police officers.

    It is easy to seize on the "Defund the Police" slogan as absurd, but much harder to put yourself in the place of communities where the police are seen as just as much of a threat by citizens as the criminals. Until you understand that you will never understand the outcry for justice behind that slogan.

    Also, many more resources need to be spent on helping the mentally ill. A sizable percentage of the homeless and prison populations are people who suffer mental illnesses or are mentally challenged. They definitely need housing. It is appalling how we, the world's wealthiest nation, have abandoned these people to the streets. I hope you support universal healthcare, which how most other developed nations help those with mental difficulties.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't see anything about accountability or behavior. Why of course! You're a Seattle "progressive." The city has effectively legalized property crime, and trashed a bunch of neighborhoods, but I'm sure not YOUR street in Queen Anne. No wonder the place is so thoroughly screwed.

      Delete
  32. The post makes sense, but it doesn't matter. There is an Iron Law: "You can always tell a Seattle 'progressive,' but you can never tell a Seattle 'progressive' a single thing."

    We left in 2017 after 21 years there. Now in a secure undisclosed rural WA location, paying one-third the property taxes. No homeless encampments. Very little crime, probably because non-gun owners are a minority here.

    Seattle was a beautiful, easy going city when I moved there in the 1990s. I expected to live the rest of my life there, but after 2010 it began going downhill. No one could have predicted the events of 2020, but the craven responses by the city's "leadership" were predictable as all get-out.

    Hey, kids, I see that the average house in Seattle will pay $275 per MONTH for water, sewer, and garbage. We pay nothing for water; we're on a well, and it's much better than what came out of the tap there. We pay nothing for sewer, being on septic. Garbage is taken on the same schedule as Seattle's but for $14.50 a month.

    All that, and no riots and no "safe injection centers." We voted with our feet. Others should think of doing the same, because Seattle will only get worse.

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    1. Those areas tend to not be where the majority of jobs are. Unless you like a 2 hour commute. Sequim is very much like what you speak of, only there the majority of jobs are mostly taking care of the wealthy transplant old farts and retail.

      Caregivers and retail workers don't exactly make a good living. Far from it.

      Cities still represent the greatest confluence of capital, ideas and ambition as well as the most efficient use of our resources. Humans are social animals and suggesting the fix for the city is we all move to the sticks, sequester ourselves from the world and watch Tucker Carlson while cleaning our CCP H&Ks....yah most of us have a bit more living and earning to do yet. Plus that represents running from problems instead of solving problems.

      Delete
    2. One thing the virus showed everyone was that it's not necessary for many people to go to an office. I live in the countryside, and people are fleeing the cities like crazy to get here. If I didn't loathe moving, I could easily double my money compared to what I paid a few years ago. But hey, enjoy your degradation. It's the "progressive" way.

      Delete
    3. White flight is not a new concept, even if you believe you came up with it all on your own. Its both a collar and a complexion.

      Delete
    4. Leave it to a typical "progressive" to accuse everyone ELSE of the racism that he harbors himself. LOL

      Delete
  33. It doesn't matter who the leaders are.. if there is no unity of purpose and a certain degree of commonality within a society then that society will fragment and decay. And commonality isn't even supported anymore - in fact, perversely, it's discouraged. It's a much bigger problem than any one person can fix. The path back to a healthy society begins with every one of us having a long and very frank talk with the person in the mirror.

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  34. Maybe we need to revisit this conversation when the pandemic has passed, all the shortages are resolved and the inflation is in check. Hopefully that happens before the next crisis dejour. Be good to just have a bit of boredom for a few years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With the "progressives" running Seattle, there'll be plenty more crises.

      Delete
  35. The police should arrest all vagrants like they did back in the 1960's. That would put an end to all of this nonsense. Keep them locked up for 3 months at a time until they change their ways or go to another city .

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  36. The problem I have is that I remember being a young college student in Seattle. At that age you tend to cross paths with those who are living on edge of homelessness, who have interactions with the police that are not ideal and you are full of idealism and compassion. No you haven't run a department yet, had to fire anyone, or spent decades on household budgets. It's a different perspective, but one that any successful mayoral candidate will have to channel.

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  37. I don't understand why "more condos and town homes and less apartments". Rental apartments are easy, convenient and affordable. They are the solution in many central European counties. And in Seattle you'll find many well-maintained and safe apartment units often with a great view and that foster community and for any price range.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I haven't been to Seattle since 1962 but I hear it's an absolute disaster. Here in Minnesota we're trying to follow in your footsteps.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Cliff, if you’re so worried about the well-being of the poor, why do you write twice as many words on crime and trash? Those things are at worst an inconvenience for folks like you and I whereas being homeless is life-shattering.

    If you were arguing that hurricanes were an important issue to address, would you write 500 words on how they impact vacation plans for travelers and one sentence about how people lose their homes and loved ones?

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    Replies
    1. Leave it to a Seattle "progressive" to call crime "at worst an inconvenience." That's a perfect illustration of why we left -- and are paying one-third of the local taxes that you are. Oh, but wait! We have NO homeless camps, and no "safe injection centers," nor did our county find $150,000 a year to hire a pimp to "educate" its police.

      Delete
    2. By the way, we will host visitors from the Midwest this summer, and I have told them to avoid Portland and Seattle because they are unsafe and disgusting.

      Delete
  40. Ryan... although crime and trash affect everyone, minority and low-income communities are hit the hardest of all. You must know that. And I AM worried about the homeless...that is why they must not be allowed to remain on the streets. You second paragraph does not make any sense to me...sorry...

    ReplyDelete

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