Rantz: Mayor Harrell offers Seattle a bandage for crime surge — it needs sutures

Oct 11, 2022, 6:25 PM | Updated: 6:37 pm
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell speaking at a press conference announcing Greg Spotts as SDOT's newest director. (SDOT)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell keeps offering the city bandages when it needs sutures. The city is bleeding out.

Harrell announced a program to help small businesses cover the costs of damage committed by the criminals that Democrats enabled. The city ceded the neighborhood to homeless addicts who ran visitors away from businesses that once thrived. And they fought to keep prolific criminals out of jail instead of behind bars where they would stop victimizing innocent Seattleites.

Let’s stop pretending this is even remotely enough.

Literally, the least the city could do is pay for some of the damage they caused. Yet local media outlets, staffed with left-wing reporters, editors, and news directors, have allowed this small gesture to get in the way of what should be relentless pressure for an actual plan to stop the crisis.

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Harrell is all talk, no action

Downtown Seattle has been under siege through COVID thanks to Democrat-passed policies and legislation enabling criminals. At first, Democrats blamed the crime surge on COVID, a claim so stupid sane people rightly laughed it off. Then they pretended there was no crime crisis, despite data that proved otherwise.

Now, they’re finally acknowledging the crisis, but not actually doing much about it.

After a series of shootings in the University District, Harrell again did all he was capable of doing: talking. He said he’ll address the problem, but claims to have no immediate solutions.

“We’ll do an analysis of the immediate problem, see what solutions need to be put in place, again I’ll work with the university to figure it out, but I do not know if there will be immediate changes,” he told KING 5

When a Lyft driver was murdered in Belltown, Harrell told a group of concerned ride-share drivers that they were the only ones who could come up with solutions to make their jobs safer.

One should wonder when the Mayor will actually start doing his job.

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Where’s the media?

Rather than lobby the state legislature to reverse its anti-police, pro-criminal laws responsible for the crime surge, Harrell is lobbying them to allow cities to ban guns.

This is a lazy and uninspired move, of course. Harrell knows banning guns would do nothing to stop the current crisis. But it allows him to tell the media he’s doing something. And like-minded reporters don’t need much to carry a Democrat’s water in Seattle.

In a city with objective and serious media outlets, Harrell would be pressured to offer a plan. But they’re uninterested in pressing him for a solution. Reporters who don’t even live in Seattle pretend there’s no issue. Others inexplicably engage in bad-faith attacks against Republicans who call out the crime crisis. It’s embarrassing.

Unless it gets approval from Black Lives Matter activists, KING 5 won’t put pressure on politicians. KOMO got rid of reporters who held politicians to account, now they do transactional reporting. They tell us what happened, but not why. The Seattle Times reprints Washington Democrat Party or Patty Murray press releases and talking points memos but does little more outside of the occasional Danny Westneat column that offers a sober analysis of the dire situation. 

Harrell’s media strategy

Maybe it’s not all the media’s fault. Perhaps some reporters are trying to get answers but finding themselves on the wrong side of Harrell’s media strategy. 

Harrell runs one of the state’s least transparent and least accessible offices. Under communications director Jamie Housen, they simply do not respond to requests for comment or context. If you’re willing to transcribe their press releases, you might get some access. But if you’re reporting on something they’d prefer you didn’t, you’ll be ghosted.

It’s not just KTTH that gets this treatment, either.

It’s in stark contrast to the communications strategy of King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle city councilmember Andrew Lewis, or even anti-police state representative Jesse Johnson (R-Federal Way). To their credit, their offices at least respond to questions. 

Harrell has remarkably thin skin and a hot temper, frequently yelling at people who question him. Maybe Housen doesn’t want to be yelled at for speaking out of turn? Or maybe he realizes the media here won’t press them too hard, making it much easier to ignore media.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Mayor Harrell offers Seattle a bandage for crime surge — it needs sutures