JASON RANTZ

Rantz: This Seattle Council has never been more dangerous than now

Feb 19, 2019, 5:42 AM
council, seattle...
The full Seattle City Council in 2018. (KIRO Radio file)
(KIRO Radio file)

If you greeted the news of four current Seattle City Council members ditching re-election, it’s time to return to reality: this council is now the most dangerous they’ve ever been because they’re filled with a bunch of fringe activists who have absolutely nothing to lose before they leave office.

Last week, Seattle was offered some great news: Mike O’Brien won’t seek re-election. It’s rumored he had infinitesimal support, according to his internal polling. Rather than face humiliation with a defeat, he decided to call it quits.

Related: Council candidate blames UW death on ‘white masculinity’ then fundraises off it

O’Brien is joined by Bruce Harrell, Rob Johnson, and Sally Bagshaw, giving up their seats, with just Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez, and Kshama Sawant seeking re-election. Citywide seats held by Lorena González and Teresa Mosqueda aren’t up for re-election this time around.

O’Brien, and the others, have vowed to continue “leading” this city until their term expires. That’s bad news.

These four candidates, O’Brien and Johnson being the most fringe, have literally nothing to lose at this point, which means they’ll wield their power with ideological intent: they will try to pass as many fringe policies as possible, knowing it won’t risk them re-election.

O’Brien wanted to codify language permitting homeless people to camp practically wherever they want, including city parks, mere months after Seattle voters agreed to millions of dollars in investments. Johnson, despite fierce opposition, pushed bike lanes to the detriment of business and has overseen the removal of hundreds of parking spots, despite bike commuting seeing consistent declines. These are positions taken when they weren’t worried about their re-election chances. Without consequences, they’ll try to leave their stain on Seattle in a more urgent and long-lasting way.

Their council peers may let them.

O’Brien and Johnson will push for such far-Left policies, it’ll force Herbold, Gonzalez, and Mosqueda with them. They’re already extremists and since they’re running again (and some looking for higher office), they’ll have to go along with it for fear of upsetting their fringe base. Bagshaw and Harrell seem mostly checked out, and Juarez is the only consistently-sane voice on the council (even when I disagree with her, she mostly stays away from fringe language and arguments). So now, these insane voices have power.

The only thing that will stop them is the same fierce opposition we saw with the Amazon, job-killing head tax. You have to stay engaged, you have to show up to meetings and shine such a spotlight on their nonsense; that they’ll think they’ll become pariah if they move forward with fringe legislation. Then, of course, support rational candidates in the next election.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show 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.

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Rantz: This Seattle Council has never been more dangerous than now