JASON RANTZ

Rantz: United States Supreme Court could save Seattle from homeless crisis

Apr 21, 2024, 5:45 PM

Photo: Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a major case around homeless camping bans. It could ...

Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a major case around homeless camping bans. It could finally end the progressive policy grip on Seattle. (Photo: Jason Rantz, KTTH)

(Photo: Jason Rantz, KTTH)

Progressive policies allowing the homeless to die on Seattle streets might come to an end thanks to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). City leaders will simply need to find a political backbone.

SCOTUS will hear The City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson on Monday, April 22. The case stems from a broader argument over whether homeless camping bans constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment when no alternative shelter options are available. The Ninth Circuit Court previously upheld lower court decisions that blocked the enforcement of these laws, arguing that without shelter space, homeless people have no choice but to sleep in public spaces. But cities like Grants Pass argue they need to enforce these bans for the safety of the public and the homeless. Encampments, they point out, are often hotbeds of crime and drug abuse. Allowing these encampments to remain is a public safety nightmare.​

Reasonable people are sick of watching our once beautiful cities degrade into dystopian wastelands where homeless addicts roam around like zombies. Seattle is a perfect exhibit of the progressive experiment gone horribly awry.

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Can Supreme Court undo progressive homeless policies in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v Johnson?

Seattle once boasted bustling streets and a thriving downtown; now, it’s a gallery of despair, dominated by drug-addicted homeless who take over street corners. Inevitably, after causing a menace to passersby, including tourists, the homeless addicts die in a preventable death. The commercial heart of Seattle has bled out, resulting in office vacancies that top national charts, with major retailers high-tailing it out of town — just ask Lululemon and Nike. If they’re not closing completely, they’re joining Amazon in ditching the city for the more business and employee-friendly Bellevue.

The travesty that’s become downtown Seattle is the handiwork of Radical Left policies like “harm reduction” and “housing first.” These aren’t innovative solutions; they’re catalysts for chaos and death. “Harm reduction” means taxpayers fund efforts to hand out fentanyl pipes, booty bumping kits and needles like they’re candy on Halloween.

“Housing first” has converted potential recovery spaces into taxpayer-funded drug dens where there are no meaningful conditions for use. If someone is homeless because of addiction, these permanent supportive housing units don’t require the addict to enter recovery. Under these strategies, employed by the Radical Left, the homeless are given the mere option of staying alive, rather than making it a priority with treatment.

SCOTUS to the rescue?

Until there’s permanent free housing for the thousands of local homeless people, Seattle activists and politicians refuse to prioritize sweeps.

When the Ninth Circuit declared sweeps without shelter unconstitutional, it emboldened local activists across the country, not just in Seattle, to argue in favor of spending tens of millions on subsidized housing projects. These housing programs are better at guaranteeing endless funding to ineffective nonprofits than getting homeless self-sufficient. It’s why you never hear the results of these programs. You simply hear more demands for subsidized housing. Would we need as many units if the homeless were actually leaving them and starting to live on their own?

This chaos has culminated in a Supreme Court showdown in The City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson, which could fundamentally change the game.

If the court, bolstered by former President Donald Trump’s conservative appointed justices, rules in favor of allowing cities to enforce public camping bans as locals see fit, we might just see the beginning of the end for the unchecked reign of destructive progressive policies.

Why are encampment sweeps part of the answer to ending homelessness?

This case could set a precedent that empowers cities across the nation to stand up against the disastrous status quo and advocate for a balanced approach that couples compassion with common sense. Who knew a conservative Supreme Court could come to the rescue on the homeless crisis?

Sweeps work because, if approached correctly, they put the right amount of pressure on people to go indoors, into programs that work. The homeless won’t accept help because they know if they say no, they won’t be hassled again for weeks or months. But they need to be hassled; it’s for their own good. Those who suggest otherwise are perfectly content keeping these people living on the streets like animals. That’s their way of showing compassion? Spare me.

Seattle leaders, like Mayor Bruce Harrell, may finally be able to stop letting misguided compassion paralyze the city.

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Will Seattle Mayor Harrell grow a spine on clearing homeless encampments if Supreme Court steps in?

But Harrell will have to grow a spine. He’s still being led by the most Radical Left voices in his administration. Even his communications team orders him around. The mayor is mocked as fragile, weak and thin-skinned for giving into the demands of his communications manager Jamie Housen on whom he should and shouldn’t talk to.

The Radical Left warn the mayor about the political ramifications of upsetting the progressive base of activists. They will march and protest the second sweeps start. So what? Let them — at least it gets them out of their mother-in-law units they’re living in rent-free at their parents’ homes in Kirkland and Edmonds. Harrell could tell the Radical Left voices in his administration that he’s the mayor and he’s more interested in truly helping the homeless and making this city more livable.

Maybe the SCOTUS decision in favor of homeless encampment bans will give him that spine.

Imagine this: Seattle reclaiming public spaces like sidewalks and parks, reducing crime and cutting down the spread of disease, all while creating actual, meaningful pathways out of homelessness. This SCOTUS case isn’t just about public camping. It’s a potentially pivotal moment in our ongoing battle against failed progressive policies.

Listen to The Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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