Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Adios, Seattle

Alex Berezow has had it. He’s over Seattle. After fourteen years he’s decamping from one of America’s most beautiful cities and moving to the suburbs. One suspects that he leans toward the political left, but he does not say so explicitly. Perhaps he is a canary in the coal mine, but clearly a city that has produced some of America’s most dynamic companies—think Amazon, Starbucks and (on the outskirts) Microsoft is being damaged by leftist politics.

Berezow had seen some problems developing, so he met with his City Council member. He was shocked to hear what she had to say.

First, she explained that issues concerning litter and graffiti were not her problem:

I KNEW Seattle was no longer a place for me when I met with Debora Juarez — the District 5 City Council member I had voted for.

Last September, at what I thought was going to be a friendly one-on-one meeting between an elected official and her constituent, I expressed some concerns that were on my mind. I fretted over the deterioration of a city with which I had fallen in love — a city that, despite my 21 trips to Europe, I still believe to be the most beautiful in the world.

I told my council member that Northgate, my home, had seen a noticeable increase in litter and graffiti. To my dismay, she seemed to suggest these issues were someone else’s job, not hers.

And then, he moved on to homelessness… which, as happens in true blue cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, is destroying quality of life and bringing high levels of crime and disease:

When I first moved to Seattle 14 years ago, to attend the University of Washington, homelessness essentially didn’t exist at Northgate. Though I have never been a victim of or witness to a crime, some of my neighbors have been, and they believe homeless camps are the reason. Additionally, the conditions in such camps are often atrocious — not only are the homeless more likely to be victims of violent crime, they are susceptible to infectious disease, such as the hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego that sickened nearly 500 people and has killed 20.

Berezow recommended that the mentally ill homeless be involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment. Juarez was not moved:

Because many (but certainly not all) homeless people struggle with mental illness or drug addiction, I suggested that Seattle find a way to make it easier to provide treatment to these troubled souls — involuntarily, if need be. It could literally save their lives.

Juarez exclaimed, “What is this? Nazi Germany?”

One notes the subtle quality of her mind. How does it happen that a government official can conflate the wish to treat sick people with Nazi Germany. Does it get any dumber?

Multiculturalism and identity politics has made Seattle an angry place. Berezow explains:

Slowly but surely, Seattle has become an angry place. Councilmember Kshama Sawant called a police shooting a “brutal murder.” She also tweeted that it was “terrible” for a feminist organization to wish that Barbara Bush, on her death, rest in peace. As a congressional candidate, Pramila Jayapal supporters implied that her respectable opponent, Brady Walkinshaw, was a misogynist and racist. And former Mayor Ed Murray, whose pattern of alleged sexual behavior finally caught up with him, remained defiant until the bitter end.

And, of course, local government has rendered the city unaffordable:

The toxic politics are bad enough, but the city also has become unaffordable for the middle class. Partly, that is due to high demand (which is a good problem for a city to have), but it’s also due to self-inflicted wounds, such as a restrictive housing policy that artificially caps supply. Seattle is well on its way to becoming the next Vancouver, British Columbia, with the median housing price having spiked to an eye-watering $820,000, far outside the reach of the middle class. Unless they are able to save for about 14 years to afford a down payment, millennialscan forget about homeownership entirely.

The new and higher minimum wage has made things worse:

The $15 minimum wage has added gasoline to the fire. Though it hasn’t even been fully implemented yet, the most recent study last summer revealed that when the minimum moved from $11 to $13 an hour, low-wage workers lost about $125 per month. That means that the law raises costs for businesses and customers while actually harming employees it was meant to help.

But, rather than deal with the issues that affect the everyday lives of Seattle’s citizens, the City Council is fighting the good fight against… climate change. And it is also involved in important foreign policy issues.

But stubborn facts and a hurting middle class don’t seem to faze the City Council, which seems far more concerned about issues over which it has zero control — such as climate change and foreign policy — than it does about issues over which it has at least a modicum of control, such as the cost of living, homelessness, crime, traffic and potholes. For our City Council, virtue signaling is more important than governing.

Well, at least the Council is diverse. After all, that’s what really matters.


Anonymous said...

There are reasons people are homeless, and those reasons are not comducive to civilized urban life.

If you understand that the left hates Western civilization, it all begins to make sense. They hate standards. The left says some people can do whatever they want, and other people have to pay for it. It doesn’t work. It makes life filthy, mean and everything becomes agonizingly ideological. For a group that hates religion, leftists have a lot of faith-based dogmas.

And I’m tired of hearing everything mindlessly compared to Nazi Germany. Those most likely to use this epithet know absolutely nothing about the subject, and throwing it around willy nilly has diminished the horror of National Socialism. And it’s also interesting that those who say “Nazi!” the most are likely to favor socialism at a national level. The irony.

JPL17 said...

Although I sympathize somewhat with Mr. Berezow, I had to chortle when I read his comment, "[T]he law raises costs for businesses and customers while actually harming employees it was meant to help."

Doesn't he realize that the law is helping exactly the people it was meant to help? Namely, City Council members. It's helping them get re-elected. They couldn't care one fig about the people living on minimum wage.

Unless and until Mr. Berezow wakes up to this fact, he'll just be bringing his deluded voting preferences to the suburbs (to the suburbs' great loss).

Sam L. said...

"One notes the subtle quality of her mind. How does it happen that a government official can conflate the wish to treat sick people with Nazi Germany. Does it get any dumber?"
Yes, I'm SURE it will.

Anonymous said...

Sam L,
I would posit that most graduates from a fairly current time period have been taught to use name calling vice a well reasoned argumentation for their positions. And yes you are correct it is possible to get even "dumber." They are a reflection of the academic institutions they partied at before getting their attendance diplomas.

Tonestaple said...

Dear Sir:

Please do not ask, with respect to anyone in Seattle city government, if he can get any dumber. This will simply provoke the entire city government along with everyone who voted for the current office-holders to cry as one, "Here, hold my beer!"