Seattle’s City Council is made up of 8 Democrats and one Socialist. That breakdown gives you an idea of how progressive the city’s residents are. But with seven out of nine City Council seats up for grabs this fall, one issue is making liberal voters consider new options: homelessness. Today the Seattle Times profiled three Seattle voters, two of whom are progressives who are now thinking about what a vote for a left-leaning candidate could mean for their neighborhoods:
Until a few years ago, Christi Muoneke didn’t pay much attention to Seattle politics. “I couldn’t even tell you who my council member was,” she said.
That changed when the streetsides around her Beacon Hill home were lined with tents and vehicles occupied by homeless people…
Last year, Muoneke and her family sold their house and moved to a more secluded neighborhood, near Genesee Park, where they leave their car doors unlocked and see no RVs. The homelessness crisis can be hard to avoid, however. Around that time, the city quietly made plans to allow overnight car camping at Genesee. For Muoneke, that was the last straw.
“I’m a Democrat. I used to consider myself liberal,” she said. “But I’m a single-issue voter this time around.”…
The Nigerian immigrant also is bothered by the shaming tone she says some social-justice advocates adopt. She “rants every day about Trump” on Facebook, has served on the boards of nonprofits and says her ideas are mainstream. It’s socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant who’s out of step, she says.
The piece also profiles a tech industry worker who says he’s a fan of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But he is bothered that he can’t take his kids to the local park anymore because it has become a tent camp.
[Austen] Ruf uses the city’s Find it, Fix it app to report problems, but more often than not, he says, the requests are closed a few days later with the problems unresolved. Rather than walking their three daughters down to the spray park in the summer, Ruf and his wife load them in the car and drive to a park in another neighborhood.
“I’m an environmentalist,” Ruf said. “God that’s frustrating, that’s so frustrating.”
Ruf also seems bothered by the tone of self-censorship about neighborhood problems:
In 2010, “violent crime and property crime start to tick back up,” Ruf says. “Is that the end of the world? No, but if we’re trending in the wrong direction, it’s OK to talk about.”…
“People say that Ballard is just a bunch of pearl-clutching NIMBYs; I’m like wait a second,” he said. “Maybe we should listen to some of the concerns that people are bringing there.”
The third voter profiled in the piece is a chaplain whose job is ministering to the homeless. His car and his house have been broken into but that won’t stop him from voting for a left-leaning candidate for City Council. According to Justin Almeida, the real danger is that angry voters will lead the city toward fascism: “When people are scared and angry, they tend to elect law-and-order candidates and those candidates tend to devolve into fascism.” There you have it. Seattle is on the verge of fascism if it stops supporting City Council members who blow through public money like a sailor on shore leave.
The bottom line here is that the worse the situation in Seattle gets, the more people are going to decide that tolerance for disorder and violence in the streets has its limits. Some of those people will even be smart enough to vote for candidates willing to make changes. But clearly, some people are so terrified of fascist boogeymen they’re not able to think clearly.