Rantz: Seattle homelessness in-fighting pits Sawant vs. Durkan and they’re both wrong

Jan 30, 2019, 5:58 AM | Updated: 6:03 am
(AP / MyNorthwest)...
(AP / MyNorthwest)
(AP / MyNorthwest)

Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office is having problems with Councilmember Kshama Sawant over who will lead the city’s homelessness advocacy efforts and, the truth is, both are in the wrong.

Here’s some quick context: Durkan tapped Jason Johnson to lead the Human Services Department, the city agency tasked with helping get the homelessness crisis under control. Sawant is stalling the nomination process in her committee because she’s unhappy with the way Durkan chose Johnson, claiming it was too secretive and didn’t included community buy-in.

RELATED: “Embarrassment” in former chief turned council candidate
RELATED: Sawant ditches democracy vouchers for outsider money

Here’s a promise for this blog: to be blunt, I won’t present a single solution to this in-fighting; only observations. It’s political for both sides and, as a taxpayer and Seattleite, I’ll always lose out here.

And now, here’s the reality: Durkan is ridiculously secretive, and one of the least transparent Seattle mayors in recent memory. She frequently works behind the scenes where she can push her agenda without (and doesn’t want) community input because, it appears, she’s stubborn and thinks she has all the answers. For all the shaming she does of President Donald Trump, Durkan acts a lot like him. She wants to be the only one in charge and, I’m told, surrounds herself with easily agreeable sycophants that don’t seem to challenge her. Sawant telling her no is not something she’s used to.

Durkan is also as thin skinned as former Mayor Ed Murray, getting visibly annoyed when she’s questioned by the press, while doggedly sticking to political answers instead of answering questions directly and honestly. She also stays away from talk radio where she’ll encounter strong opposition (she won’t come on my show, even when I agree with her, which is fine; but she should consider actually talking to people who disagree with her).

But here’s another reality: Sawant doesn’t get to pick these positions; it’s the job of the mayor, as stubbornly secretive as she is. And Sawant doesn’t want public input. She wants Socialist Alternative (SA) input. They run her office (which has lead to an ethics complaint). She wants these discussions public so she can have her professional activist SA supporters take over the process with disruption, bullying, and shouting. Sawant doesn’t care what Steve in Northgate or Stephanie in Queen Anne has to say unless they’re dues-paying members of SA. She wants this in the hands of a Capital Hill or Central District activist who makes a living pushing Socialist propaganda.

Do not buy Sawant’s call for transparency in any process. Rather ironically, Sawant keeps much of her operations and decision-making a secret, choosing to use personal email accounts for city business, which is subject to public disclosure, but impossible to fully track whether or not she’s turning over documents as legally required.

And one final reality: If we’re judging by results — and we should — HSD is poorly managed and any insider, like Johnson, will deliver more of the same. We waste millions on solutions that somehow create more problems. We ignore common sense recommendations from actual experts and pretend to know more than people on the ground.

We have a City Council that is mostly pushing ideas that let them check off their progressive bona fides on a checklist they keep on their phones. Others on the Council are too lazy to do the hard work — and make hard decisions — required to get people off the streets, so they come up with solutions like harm-reduction (via heroin injection sites) that completely ignore the root causes of the problems. Still, others try to gut the programs that work because they’re just not progressive enough. Then they blame literally anyone else when the problem gets worse.

Political infighting, indeed.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show, at his new time, weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Pramila Jayapal...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: As you struggle to pay bills, Seattle’s Pramila Jayapal says ‘inflation’ is just ‘theoretical’

Democrat spending created the worst inflation crisis we've seen in 40 years. But in the eyes of Rep. Jayapal, inflation is "theoretical."
1 day ago
Reps. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and Don Bacon, R-Neb., right, are seen after a meeting of the House Re...
Frank Sumrall

Newhouse, who voted for Trump’s impeachment, ‘very concerned’ over FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago

"What we heard from Mr. Garland this morning was almost nothing, no information whatsoever. And I think the American people deserve much more."
4 days ago
KTTH staff

Snohomish attempts pivot to mandatory drug treatment in new homeless hotel

Days away from approving the Days Inn tunring into housing for the homeless, Snohomish County might make entry conditional on drug treatment programs.
4 days ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/jasonrantz...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: As crimes surge, King County to further legalize car theft, drug dealing, other felonies

That program will be offered to adult offenders, even as a large group of south Sound mayors are demanding the county stop going so easy on criminals.
5 days ago
joe kent...
KTTH staff

Joe Kent advances to November, stresses energy, inflation as biggest immediate problems

The former Green Beret served 11 combat deployments before retiring from Special Forces to join the CIA before pivoting to politics.
5 days ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/jasonrantz...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man unloads as Seattle Parking Enforcement tickets neighbors, but ignores homeless RVs

Instead of dealing with an RV homeless encampment a block away, an officer is ticketing residents who struggle to find parking in their neighborhood.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
Rantz: Seattle homelessness in-fighting pits Sawant vs. Durkan and they’re both wrong