Rantz: Seattle radicals occupy park, yellow house in new ‘autonomous zone’
Radical activists in Seattle have created a second iteration of the infamous and deadly Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), taking over an abandoned yellow house on 11th Avenue and East Denny Way.
Directly across the street, Antifa and other agitators maintain an amateur barricade to keep homeless men and women from receiving shelter from the city. Instead, housing-only activists demand human beings sleep around human waste and trash during cold and winter nights.
Who could have seen this coming? Literally anyone.
Yellow House takeover: Seattle’s CHAZ, part 2
Dozens of homeless people set up camp at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill.
Since then, that portion of the park has become dangerous and unusable. People are living in tents, trash and used needles have collected, and the stench of human waste has, at times, become overpowering. Nearby residents and businesses have complained.
The park has also become violent.
It was the site of a brutal murder. Repeat offender Travis Berge is accused of stabbing his reported girlfriend to death before himself dying at the park, falling (or jumping) into a tank filled with bleach and water. There were fires set at the park, an assault against an officer, medical crisis calls, and threats against park workers. It’s simply not safe.
Finally, the city decided to take action.
Once their intention to sweep the park was revealed, activists from in and out of Seattle organized an occupation. They created a large barricade around the encampment to try to keep police and social workers out. They were ready for a police sweep on Wednesday morning. Unbeknownst to the activists, the move had been postponed early Tuesday afternoon.
Shoddy lawsuit slowed the clean-up
Ada Yeager, a homeless protester living in the park, filed a restraining order with the help of lawyer Braden Pence of Everett-based Mazzone Law Firm in order to stall the sweep. It failed miserably.
The lawsuit called the illegal, unsanctioned homeless occupation a “protest encampment” and claimed that clearing it violated Yeager’s First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
A district judge rejected the shoddy legal arguments — if you can even call them that.
Judge Richard Jones systematically called out the plaintiff: “She has hardly given the Court anything to scrutinize.” And even if her lawyer had cited a policy that they think violate her First Amendment rights, “the evidence she has offered to show that the City’s intended evictions are content-based is slim.”
On the Fourth Amendment claim, Judge Jones notes there’s “hardly any evidence in the record,” and chides Yeager for undermining her own claims. As for the claims under the Fourteenth Amendment, “Yeager cites no evidence.”
The judge also humorously dismissed an Eighth Amendment claim: “Yeager argues that she is likely to succeed on her Eighth Amendment claim. But she does not allege an Eighth Amendment violation in her complaint.”
UPDATE with lawyer
On Friday morning, I caught up with the lawyer behind the failed lawsuit as he tried to supervise the sweep.
Yellow House occupied
As the city and plaintiff waited for the judgement, activists broke into an abandoned yellow house on 11th and Denny. They said they wouldn’t give it up until the city met their demands, which include an end to the sweeps.
“Ultimately, we a demand permanent housing for all,” a pink-haired activist said at a press conference. “Housing is a human right. You cannot sweep away the human beings that our capitalist society deems undesirable. These systemic injustices must be dealt with by top down reform or they will be met with bottom up dismantlement.”
She noted the protest was “in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, in recognition of the stolen Duwamish land upon which we live.”
In other words, the activists are stealing land from property owners that was stolen from the Duwamish people. No word if she plans to give up the stolen land she’s occupying so that it may be reoccupied by American Indians.
This occupation mirrors the Red House Autonomous Zone in Portland. Seattle activists say they won’t leave until their demands are met and it’s unclear what action police will take.
Why is this happening?
This illegal occupation, and the inevitable conflict between police and criminal activists during the imminent sweep, is happening because Seattle lacks bold, serious leadership.
The Seattle City Council kowtows to the every whim of activists because the councilmembers are activists themselves. They’re not listening to the radical protesters because those views represent their constituents — many of the protesters don’t even live in Seattle. They’re just using the protesters for cover to enact policies they already support.
Mayor Jenny Durkan rendered herself useless as a leader. She placated the activists at CHAZ, played it off as a “Summer of Love,” and helped create an environment that caused the murder of two Black teenagers. She’s not why they died, but she is why it was so easy for them to be killed the way they were.
If city leadership would stop giving in, these activists wouldn’t feel so emboldened. But Seattle activists can get away with almost anything. They try to murder cops, and city leadership rewards them by defunding the police they tried to burn alive in a police precinct. They break a law, and councilmember Lisa Herbold tries to change Seattle criminal code so the crime is effectively legalized.
All of this is happening because the city lets it happen. And it’ll keep happening until a leader steps up and course corrects.
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