On Tuesday, I set up a tent office on the sidewalk outside of KIRO studios in Eastlake.
I didn’t want anyone to think I was making fun of the homeless. I was making fun of the Seattle government – not only how they’re handling the problem, but also the inconsistencies. Sometimes it’s monotonous to come in and yap about the same problems every day, and sometimes you need to add a little texture to illustrate what you’re talking about. I thought it was a fun and intriguing way to show how crazy our Seattle City Council has gotten.
I did all kinds of insane stuff early in my career – I jumped off a bridge, I jumped out of airplanes, I even got tased. A lot of people, as they go through their career, start to get lazy and lose that fire that they had early on. Letterman is an example of that. I don’t ever want to get lazy – I’m still as fired up today as I was back in the early days.
But I also think that this is an important issue because of what’s going on in Seattle right now. We can have seven people lying down in the middle of a street downtown, shutting down traffic for seven hours, with nothing happening to them, and yet someone trotting across the street gets a jaywalking ticket. I don’t understand how the city can justify treating people with such inequality. There’s a new homeless encampment near Green Lake with heroin needles everywhere, yet a neighbor down the street got a ticket for parking in her own driveway because her bumper was six inches over the sidewalk. I don’t understand how the city can justify this.
Right before I got off the air, a guy wearing a reflective vest came up and handed me a ticket about 90 seconds before the show was over. The notice of eviction said WSDOT on it and told us we had to clear our shed in 72 hours, or the government would come clear it out. It turns out that it wasn’t actually from WSDOT – somebody was goofing on me at the end of the show.
However, after the show ended, when I walked out to start taking down the shed, there were two Seattle Police vehicles in our parking lot. One officer walked up to me. I think that they were going to come and tell me to tear it down, but they waited until I got off the air at 3 p.m. because they didn’t want to be part of the show. I have great respect for police, I love the Seattle officers, and these two couldn’t have been nicer. But, they were still there to make sure I took it down, which was one of the points I was trying to make.
The “tent mansion” in front of the Space Needle is still there, but Seattle police told me to take down our shack. That’s the point I’m trying to illustrate – we allow people to scatter heroin needles, yet we ticket a woman whose car is six inches over the sidewalk. We have become a region where the most lawless have no problem with the law, and people who are, for the most part, law-abiding, are the ones getting ticketed and getting hassled. The people who are defecating and urinating and leaving mountains of trash have no problem with the government. Things are upside-down around here.
Our tent office even got national attention yesterday. The John and Ken Show down in LA, the most listened-to talk show in the country, called and had me talk on the air. I got to share our experience with everyone in Southern California. LA has gotten crazy in their public policies, and yet they are amazed at how far wacko we have gotten in Seattle. They get it. We have gotten so wacked-out around here that even far-left Los Angeles hosts can’t believe what we’re doing. That’s why we struck a nerve.
That’s what’s so gratifying. We had dozens and dozens of people parking all around the neighborhood and coming up to us yesterday. I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate and love you, the listeners. All of the people who came by and wrote notes and left comments on Facebook – I know that you feel frustrated. I know that the city you love has spiraled out of control. I swear to you that we’re going to stay on top of this. Based on the reaction we’re getting, we’re going to start winning things back. The pendulum has swung as far as it’s going to go, and we’re going to pull it back now.