JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Embarrassing anti-business stunt by Seattle’s Lorena Gonzalez fails spectacularly

Jun 27, 2021, 6:13 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2021, 6:19 am
Seattle council, SPD, defund...
Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez. (Seattle Channel)
(Seattle Channel)

Seattle City Council president and mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez is suffering from a series of missteps. Yet, ironically, they’re all orchestrated. A stunt to virtue signal her contrived support for workers blew up in her face. How embarrassing.

Gonzalez was first called out for supporting an illegal, race-based admissions fee at a gay pride event because she thought it would win her points with the activist community. And she’s a lawyer? All it did was remind the community that she’s one of the city’s least competent lawyers.

In one tweet, Gonzalez exposes her complete and utter ignorance of the city she pretends to represent. To what end? So that she could present her own economic plan. But a small problem: her plan doesn’t offer any details beyond left-wing talking points. Her plan is missing… the plan. It also erases Asians from our diverse city.

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Lorena Gonzalez doesn’t understand the economy (or much else)

The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) asked mayoral candidates to explain their economic recovery plan for the core business neighborhoods of Seattle. Without them, this city cannot survive. They bring in the most revenue for Gonzalez to squander on ideologically-driven policies that are destroying the city.

But the Gonzalez campaign declined to participate.

Framing it as a brave decision, Gonzalez claimed the DSA asked candidates “to present economic recovery plans focused solely on downtown businesses.” She couldn’t do that, she said, because “our city cannot afford a mayor who believes that recovery should be focused exclusively on big corporations.” She has her own, worker-first plan called “Progress for All.”

She sounds offended by the DSA approach. Indignant, even. Gonzalez fights for the workers — though not the tens of thousands who work in downtown Seattle. And she’d never want anything to do with the DSA. She admonished the group because of her “strong differences with DSA’s downtown-only approach to economic recovery.”

However, it won’t stop Gonzalez from appearing in a DSA mayoral debate on June 29. It’s also an about-face from her February 2021 comments where she told Q13 FOX reporter Brandi Kruse that she hopes to reopen the “downtown core… the employment hub not just for the city of Seattle but for the region.”

To believe Gonzalez’s spin, you’d have to be as dumb as she thinks you are.

Gonzalez doesn’t think you’re too bright

Gonzalez doesn’t think much of Seattle voters. She thinks they’re dumb.

First, she takes issue that a business group with “Downtown” in its name takes an interest in learning about recovery plans for downtown businesses. Gonzales wouldn’t dismiss a Black business alliance asking about Black businesses. She’d lean into that and pretend to be a civil rights champion. And despite what Gonzalez thinks, an area with roughly 13,000 small businesses deserves some attention.

Second, despite the “Downtown” in the DSA name, they represent 12 neighborhoods — from Pioneer Square and the International District to South Lake Union and western Capitol Hill.

Third, and most importantly, DSA doesn’t exclusively represent “big corporations,” a catch-all phrase that people use to demonize businesses.

Indeed, the DSA membership includes over 1,700 businesses, arts & culture organizations, and nonprofits. According to the DSA website, member businesses include Bocz Salon, Converge Media, Commute Seattle, Elliott’s Oyster House, Mary’s Place, and Rachel’s Ginger Beer. They’re not “big corporations.”

And no, the DSA questionnaire to candidates didn’t focus on “big corporations.”

The ‘big corporations’ vilification of business

It’s easy to go after “big corporations” in Seattle.

When you’re appealing to socialists and angry 20-somethings stuck in their jobs as baristas, who put more energy into pursuing anti-business activism instead of learning more skills to advance, Gonzalez’s strategy makes sense. Fill out the campaign version of a lazy Mad Libs, and you have yourself a campaign.

Like Gonzalez, they don’t seem to acknowledge that many of the city’s small businesses exist, to begin with, is due to those evil big corporations. Ask any of the many small business owners that struggled to stay afloat when Amazon closed down offices for COVID.

But it’s the same tired anti-business strategy that propelled Socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant into power. The only thing Gonzalez is missing is a cult-like fan base.

While Gonzalez ignores the tens of thousands of downtown workers she claims only work for big corporations, her plan is merely a series of partisan buzz words and talking points. And the closest she gets to offering ideas are either stolen, generic, or actions already being done.

The uninspired economic memo masquerading as a plan

In the “Progress for All” memo, Gonzalez presents a “bold vision” that she stole from bolder, more intelligent, and more partisan politicians that came before her.

The first piece of her “plan” tackles the Green New Deal. Gonzalez just repurposed the national Green New Deal talking points and inserted Seattle into it.

“We must modernize our industrial infrastructure and prepare to build the technology for the green economy,” a staffer wrote in the plan. How detailed!

She then pivots to her plan that tackles neighborhood revitalization. But she doesn’t present a plan. She says what we must do, not how we must do it.

One of her talking points is to “ensure land use, transit, and commercial policies support complete neighborhoods with arts, restaurants, entertainment, healthy food, pharmacies, affordable childcare, parks, and community spaces.” If this is currently a problem, she’d have herself to blame. She leads a council that has no meaningful opposition to progressive policies. But the theme emerges: the only thing that’s missing is the actual plan to do what she says she wants to do.

Gonzalez forgot we have a large Asian population

Gonzalez also pushes her defund police messaging while claiming to support Seattle’s communities of color. Only she forgets Asians.

“Whether we’re Black, white or brown, we want our families to be whole and our communities to be vibrant,” her staff writes in her name. “Politicians who blame those who struggle to pay rent, or demean those who fight for justice, fortifying a divide between haves and have-nots. Let’s stop over-policing poor, immigrant, Black, and Native neighbors and instead invest in resilience and economic security.”

Black, white, or Latino, but not Asian? Or does she consider Asians white like so many other progressives who claim we live in a white supremacist country that keep communities of color in poverty? Asian families do better economically than white people. Still, you can’t push the claim about racism when a minority community outperforms whites, so progressives ignore Asians or lump them in with white people.

And her demand to “stop over-policing” minority communities is worth noting. For starters, the Seattle Police Department doesn’t have enough staff to over-police any neighborhood. They run at or below minimum staffing levels, and Gonzalez tries to make it worse with her frequent demonization of cops.

Further, activists and neighbors living in International District have asked for more police resources to help fight the surge in crime. And in neighborhoods with the highest violent crime, it’s Black residents who are disproportionately victims of violence. Police are not shooting them. Those neighborhoods would benefit from more police, not less.

She supports Seattle workers, except when she hires consultants

Gonzalez works hard to explain she supports the local economy, and that means Seattle workers! But, notably, she chooses to hire consultants from outside Seattle to help run her campaign.

The Gonzalez campaign is spending thousands of dollars with Katherine Bobman Consulting. The focus of the firm is political fundraising. They’re based in Bellevue.

They also spent thousands with Backstory Strategies LLC, a firm focused on media strategy. Gonzalez used them for video production work. They’re based in D.C. The $29,000 spent on polling Seattle voters? Greenberg Quinlan Rosner did it, also based in D.C.

Guess she couldn’t find more political strategy help in Seattle. In fairness, it can be hard to find digital production firms in Seattle. Perhaps she should check the Downtown Seattle Association membership directory. There are nine businesses listed, and none are big corporations.

Gonzalez is a politician for the people… who don’t know any better

You can tell the Gonzalez campaign worked tirelessly to compile the list of her hopes and dreams, some of which are barely connected to the economy.

They at least spent a working lunch on it. Well, not the whole lunch hour, obviously. I imagine some of the lunch was spent complaining about the poll showing Gonzalez trailing mayoral candidate and likely winner Bruce Harrell.

People who think presenting lofty goals without an actual plan to attain them might be impressed by Gonzalez’s fluff. She sure does spend a lot of time telling the working class she has their backs without actually proving it.

“The people of Seattle deserve a mayor who dreams as big and works as hard as they do,” Gonzalez (or more likely a senior staffer) wrote in a campaign ad masquerading as an editorial in the Stranger.

I definitely agree with this statement, though Gonzalez wants you to think she’s the one who dreams big and works hard. But her dreams were co-opted from other people, and she couldn’t be bothered to work through explaining how she’ll achieve her goals.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then 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,  Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: Embarrassing anti-business stunt by Seattle’s Lorena Gonzalez fails spectacularly