Rantz: Seattle councilmembers feigned police support before ‘defund police’

Jul 14, 2020, 6:55 PM | Updated: Jul 15, 2020, 10:26 am
Councilmember Andrew Lewis, loitering, defund police seattle, 911...
Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis. (Facebook)

The Seattle City Council is suddenly attacking the Seattle Police Department by supporting the defund police movement. But previously, when they needed the votes in the last election, some councilmembers pretended to support law enforcement. One even sought preferential treatment from the police.

The council currently holds veto-proof support of a dangerous defund Seattle police movement, which aims to cut the budget by 50% without a concrete plan. All we know is they want community rights groups to take the place of police and move the 911 call center to civilian control.

Not everyone on the council treated police with such venom in the past. Indeed, two newly elected councilmembers campaigned on hiring more cops. Now, they want to cut their budget in half.

Rantz: Time to fight Seattle’s defund police movement before it’s too late

Phony Seattle police support before defund movement?

When Councilmember Dan Strauss was running for office, he knew the concerns of Ballard residents. They were sick of the criminal homelessness crisis worsening. His future Ballard constituents wanted more police to patrol their streets.

When asked by The Seattle Times if he supported more officers on the force, he said yes. Months later, as he courted the police vote, Strauss expanded on that, saying we needed another precinct to serve North Seattle, arguing we must hire more officers.

“We’ve got some of the best trained police officers in our state and it’s oftentimes why other districts try to poach our officers,” he said during a Seattle Police Officer’s Guild candidate forum.

Now, in order to ingratiate himself with the activist class he hopes will keep him in power, Strauss villainizes police.

Then-candidate Andrew Lewis made the same claims of support to The Seattle Times, as he took on former police chief Jim Pugel. At the SPOG forum, Lewis offered his thanks to the police officers in attendance for their service, saying he’s proud of the dignity and courage of police.

“We need to hire more police officers in the city,” Lewis then declared. “I see on a daily basis that there’s parts of our city where we don’t have the staffing numbers to have effective community policing strategies and deter the kinds of crimes of opportunity that are prolific.”

Now, Strauss and Lewis stand to fire as many as 1,100 staff members from the department, handing over positions to untrained, ideologically driven community activist groups that oversaw the death and chaos at the CHOP.

Special treatment

Incumbent Councilmember Lisa Herbold claims to respect the police, backing a plan to grow the SPD by 200 officers, though she has never been outwardly pro-police. Indeed, she tried to gut the Navigation Team — a specialized group of SPD and social workers connecting homeless with resources.

Still, Herbold wasn’t above using her privilege as a councilmember to seek special treatment from the department she now aims to dismantle.

When a derelict RV was parked in front of her home in October 2019, Herbold personally texted Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best for assistance.

City leaders usually get the courtesy of Chief Best’s cell given they’re involved in unique security concerns as public officials. This makes sense. But as I wrote at the time:

This call wasn’t due to a threat, but something everyday citizens deal with on a regular basis, without the luxury of a personal call to the chief. Herbold’s constituents have repeatedly asked for something to be done about derelict RVs in front of their homes and businesses, with little meaningful response thanks to the Council limiting the work police are allowed to do to engage with the homeless. When Herbold was directly impacted, she was afforded the special privilege of contacting the chief directly.

Best didn’t give Herbold special treatment. She told the councilmember to call the non-emergency line, which is what she should have done from the start.


It’s hard to tell if Strauss or Lewis lied to voters when they portrayed themselves as pro-police. Strauss seems imminently untrustworthy. Lewis came off to me as honest and less extreme than he’s become, so maybe I misjudged him. Herbold was never pro-police. She was not shy, however, to try to use her privilege for special treatment.

So, what changed? Nothing locally.

After the murder of George Floyd, departments across the country were under siege, including here in Seattle. The SPD was ordered to protect the East Precinct from a specific threat, according to the FBI. But this created an opportunity for all of these councilmembers to expand their base and stay in power.

So what changed?

Strauss, Lewis, and Herbold — along with five of their colleagues — saw a specific movement to jump on. If handled right, it could propel both their careers and their fringe ideologies forward. Strauss and Lewis are young, fresh faces to the council. Throwing cops under the bus to prove to an activist class that they’re one of them? It’s worth it when it means they stay in office for years to come.

Herbold doesn’t want another uncertain election, so the support from activists will help. Some of the other candidates? It’s easy to see what they’re up to. Socialist Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales are rigid socialists who financially benefit from the young Socialists Alternative cult-like members they exploit. They simply don’t like cops, so this is easy for them. And Councilmembers Lorena Gonzales and Teresa Mosqueda both seek higher offices (King County Executive and Mayor, respectively). This only helps their campaigns.

But what do everyday Seattleites get? Perhaps we grow jaded in how fringe the council has become. But more worrisome, we get a city that will see the CHOP expand from a six block radius to every Seattle neighborhood. And with that, I suppose Seattle gets the government it deserves.

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. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

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

downtown Seattle Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Downtown Seattle Target barely surviving as shoplifting ravages store

The Target department store in downtown Seattle is being absolutely ravaged by shoplifters. I saw two incidents in 12 minutes.
2 days ago
hostages, Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle man live-tweeted ‘hostage taking.’ He keeps getting out of jail

A man who says he suffers from mental illness attempted to take hostages at a Seattle Target. He's pulled this dangerous stunt before.
3 days ago
Seattle police, COVID...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Concern as 20% of fully vaccinated Seattle police hit with COVID this month

A fully vaccinated Seattle Police Department suffered nearly 20% of its staff contracting COVID in just the first 21 days of January.
3 days ago
King County jail, staffing...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: King County fired the unvaccinated, now pays $103 an hour to fix staffing crisis

The staffing situation at King County jails is so dire that some correction officers are now being paid over $100 an hour for overtime.
7 days ago
car prowl...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man allegedly car prowls for an hour in broad daylight, as police couldn’t respond

A man was caught on video as he appears to car prowl in Tacoma. Police officers were nowhere to be seen, but even if they were, he couldn't be detained.
8 days ago
MLK Day assembly...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle-area school uses MLK Jr. Day to bash police and USA

A local school used a Martin Luther King Day assembly to amplify virulently anti-police and anti-American messages. Is this what the holiday is meant for?
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


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 […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Rantz: Seattle councilmembers feigned police support before ‘defund police’