KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Seattle homeless are about to disappear!

May 8, 2024, 5:55 PM | Updated: May 9, 2024, 7:25 am

Visit Seattle...

A homeless encampment, known informally as "Dope Slope" stands covered in garbage near downtown Seattle on March 11, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo: John Moore, Getty Images)

(Photo: John Moore, Getty Images)

If you’re wondering when the best week to visit the city of Seattle (along certain routes), it’s right now. President Joe Biden will be in town on Friday and Saturday. Does this mean we’ll have crippling traffic (also known as more time to listen to “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)? Yes. But it also means, suddenly, homeless encampments and corners filled with drug addicts the city is allowing to slowly die, will be swept.

The president is in town to raise money for his fledgling re-election campaign. He’ll be flying into SeaTac instead of Boeing Field to ensure maximum gridlock. If we’re lucky, we might get a half dozen gaffes to help fill our radio shows, while television news pretends they didn’t happen. But, better than a gaffe, when either President Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris comes to town, city (county and state) leadership is somehow able to act with urgency to tackle downtown’s blight.

While most every other week of the year the city refuses to tackle homelessness and open-air drug use with gusto, they’re somehow able to muster the energy to do its job when someone they care about impressing is here. Should city leadership aim to impress taxpayers and visitors fueling our economy? Of course. Do they? Nope. We’re the saps who keep paying taxes without a return on our investment while voting the same people into office most of the time.

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Why is Seattle going to be suddenly cleaned up?

It’s always instructive to experience a presidential visit (or Major League Baseball All-Star game and soon the World Cup). It shows all of us what the city is capable of accomplishing when motivated.

The problem is that voters don’t motivate Democrats to clean the city up; voters merely inspire lawmakers to pass more taxes to fuel ineffective pet projects that make them feel good about their policy failures. That’s not their fault. It’s ours. Like children, politicians will act up and misbehave so long as we let them. When voters punish the bad behavior, the lawmaker corrects himself or herself. But without consistency, they turn back to the bad behavior. Seattle and area voters are consistently inconsistent.

The White House, however, demands the ideal visit is free of homelessness in the background of any photo of the president — from the motorcade to his hotel to his campaign stops. He doesn’t actually visit the city. He won’t see 99% of it. But the routes he takes in and out are highly trafficked and highly polluted with litter, graffiti and homeless encampments. Those will be cleaned up.

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At least a weekend of a nice downtown Seattle. You should visit

In fact, we’ll get at least a weekend’s worth of a cleaned-up city.

Not that city leadership will admit what they’re doing. They drafted their media responses when they learned of the visit weeks ago: “(Insert encampment location) was scheduled to be cleaned up months ago!” or “We did not sweep any encampment at (insert location). I’m unfamiliar with what you previously observed.” We even already know the media outlets that will amplify the lie or completely ignore the suddenly cleaned-up city.

While it’ll be nearly impossible to cleanse downtown streets of the smell of urine so substantial you can feel it in the back of your throat, if Biden is planning to stay overnight at the Westin per usual, there will be fewer homeless addicts roaming the streets, scaring tourists and locals. We will, like during the All-Star Weekend, experience a city we deserve (at least a few block’s worth). It’s a great time for a visit (just be ready for traffic all day Friday).

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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Rantz: Seattle homeless are about to disappear!