Seattle mayor should ‘double down’ on leaked homelessness comments, says analyst

Sep 1, 2022, 1:26 PM

Mayor Harrell...

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Seattle mayor Bruce Harrell should “double down” on his leaked comments about homelessness, a prominent political analyst told KIRO Newsradio.

In leaked comments obtained by KTTH, Harrell said that people have “no right to sleep in public areas.” The mayor said that some agencies meant to help the homeless and even some city council members were part of the problem.

Rantz: Seattle mayor privately blasts homelessness groups, ‘inexperienced’ council

Instead of apologizing, Harrell should take a victory lap, Ron Dotzauer, CEO of Seattle-based Strategies 360, said.

“Sometimes you plan your statements too carefully, but then say them badly,” Dotzauer noted in reference to Harrell’s leaked comments originally made in front of Seattle Police. “But in this case, (Harrell) didn’t plan what he was going to say, but said it well.”

Seattle mayor breaks silence on KTTH exclusive, calls homelessness authority ‘one tool of many’

In a news conference to introduce his City Parks District budget on Wednesday, Harrell was asked about his comments, and he did not walk them back. “I am an authentic person. But I don’t remember everything I say.”

In an interview, Dotzauer elaborated that Harrell’s comments to police align well with voter views on addressing homelessness. “His message is going to be well received (by the public) and he sort of backed into a good situation.” In recent polling, Dotzauer said that the city council is viewed in an extremely poor light, so any struggle in the mayor’s relationship with the council would not be viewed negatively by the public.

Dotzauer added that the political opportunity for Harrell was that voters see homelessness as a significant problem, and they want it dealt with. “I believe that there’s only upside for Harrell on this issue because of the public’s frustration on (homelessness).” He thought that even though Harrell’s comments may not have been meant for public consumption, the mayor was saying things voters will agree with.

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Seattle mayor should ‘double down’ on leaked homelessness comments, says analyst