"After 14 Years, I’ve Had It. I’m Leaving Seattle"

In a scathing op-ed published in the Seattle Times, Alex Berezow, a biomedical science fellow at the American Council on Science and Health, blasted Seattle's City Council for prioritizing virtue signaling over the plight of the city's most vulnerable residents and its increasingly strapped middle class.

When Berezow first moved to Seattle 14 years ago, homelessness didn't exist in the neighborhood of Northgate, where he continues to live.

But as home prices have skyrocketed - to the point where the median home value has reached nearly $900,000, placing homeownership in the city far beyond the reach of most American millennials - Berezow said homeless camps have begun appearing in the neighborhood. Many of these camps have no access to social services and are subjected to disease and abuse and as a result, crime has risen.

Seattle

In short, Seattle has become a city that is hostile to the middle class.

But it wasn't until a meeting with city council woman Debora Juarez that Berezow was inspired to pen an editorial for the Seattle Times. After the council woman blew off his concerns about the homeless and about housing (the city has been accused of artificially restricting supply through overly strict zoning laws), Berezow decided to appeal directly to the city's residents.

Seattle's politicians are so focused on being anti-Trump, they spend more time talking about issues they have no control over - like foreign policy - than ensuring that Seattle's streets are clean and safe, that potholes have been repaired, and that younger residents can at least entertain the hope of home ownership some day.

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Read the full editorial below:

I KNEW Seattle was no longer a place for me when I met with Debora Juarez — the District 5 City Council member I had voted for.

Last September, at what I thought was going to be a friendly one-on-one meeting between an elected official and her constituent, I expressed some concerns that were on my mind. I fretted over the deterioration of a city with which I had fallen in love — a city that, despite my 21 trips to Europe, I still believe to be the most beautiful in the world.

I told my council member that Northgate, my home, had seen a noticeable increase in litter and graffiti. To my dismay, she seemed to suggest these issues were someone else’s job, not hers. So, I moved on to a bigger issue: homelessness.

When I first moved to Seattle 14 years ago, to attend the University of Washington, homelessness essentially didn’t exist at Northgate. Though I have never been a victim of or witness to a crime, some of my neighbors have been, and they believe homeless camps are the reason. Additionally, the conditions in such camps are often atrocious — not only are the homeless more likely to be victims of violent crime, they are susceptible to infectious disease, such as the hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego that sickened nearly 500 people and has killed 20.

I believe strongly that it is not compassionate to leave people who are unable or unwilling to care for themselves to suffer and die on the street. Because many (but certainly not all) homeless people struggle with mental illness or drug addiction, I suggested that Seattle find a way to make it easier to provide treatment to these troubled souls — involuntarily, if need be. It could literally save their lives.

Juarez exclaimed, “What is this? Nazi Germany?”

Appalled — in part because my grandparents survived Nazi Germany — I got up and walked out.

As a professional science writer, I’ve certainly grown accustomed to the crass insults that have become routine in our toxic political environment. I just didn’t expect it from a person for whom I voted. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Slowly but surely, Seattle has become an angry place. Councilmember Kshama Sawant called a police shooting a “brutal murder.” She also tweeted that it was “terrible” for a feminist organization to wish that Barbara Bush, on her death, rest in peace. As a congressional candidate, Pramila Jayapal supporters implied that her respectable opponent, Brady Walkinshaw, was a misogynist and racist. And former Mayor Ed Murray, whose pattern of alleged sexual behavior finally caught up with him, remained defiant until the bitter end.

For a city that prides itself on being “anti-Trump,” it is difficult to see how exactly we’re supposed to possess the moral high ground over “The Other Washington.”

The toxic politics are bad enough, but the city also has become unaffordable for the middle class. Partly, that is due to high demand (which is a good problem for a city to have), but it’s also due to self-inflicted wounds, such as a restrictive housing policy that artificially caps supply. Seattle is well on its way to becoming the next Vancouver, British Columbia, with the median housing price having spiked to an eye-watering $820,000, far outside the reach of the middle class. Unless they are able to save for about 14 years to afford a down payment, millennials can forget about homeownership entirely.

The $15 minimum wage has added gasoline to the fire. Though it hasn’t even been fully implemented yet, the most recent study last summer revealed that when the minimum moved from $11 to $13 an hour, low-wage workers lost about $125 per month. That means that the law raises costs for businesses and customers while actually harming employees it was meant to help.

But stubborn facts and a hurting middle class don’t seem to faze the City Council, which seems far more concerned about issues over which it has zero control — such as climate change and foreign policy — than it does about issues over which it has at least a modicum of control, such as the cost of living, homelessness, crime, traffic and potholes. For our City Council, virtue signaling is more important than governing.

So, my wife and I are heading to the Eastside. We really would prefer to stay in Seattle. But if safe streets, clean sidewalks, an affordable place to live and polite discourse is asking too much, we’ll gladly seek refuge in a city where quality of life and civility still matter.

* * *

Seattle's city council recently announced it would pursue an employment tax on the city's largest companies to create a fund to provide emergency services to the homeless, as well as permanent relocation services.

The only problem? The city's largest taxpayer, Amazon, is threatening to halt construction projects and cut down on employment in the city if the measure goes through.

Opponents of the law say it would penalize employment and ultimately hurt the city's economy, while doing nothing to alleviate the housing crisis.

But at least progressive lawmakers could finally say they're doing something.

Comments

IridiumRebel crosey Tue, 05/08/2018 - 22:26 Permalink

 Beepbop is here EVERY. DAMN. DAY. POSTING. HIS. BLOG. 

 

as to the article, lived in Seattle in 2005/6....I was liberal back then and fit in, but the writing was on the wall. Most beautiful place on earth from April to September....gray as fuck otherwise.  Bridges make a nice place to jump to your death.

In reply to by crosey

vato poco Giant Meteor Wed, 05/09/2018 - 03:44 Permalink

so let's recap. liberal hipster douche moves to Seattle. immediately starts voting for OTHER liberal hipster douches. (LHD's) said douches, once elected, do what LHD's DO: they begin gleefully destroying the city.

now original LHD is all pissy and wants to move. somewhere nice. clean. pleasant. IOW, someplace NOT run by scumbag LHD types. 

and once he gets there, one guess how he's going to vote?

FUCK these stupid sorry assholes. Civil War 2.0 can't get here fast enough!

In reply to by Giant Meteor

ldd bigkahuna Tue, 05/08/2018 - 23:02 Permalink

seattle like any american city always had a edge to it and there were areas you avoided and like typical american cities after work hours when everyone left for the burbs downtown was a ghost town left with only the kinds of people you wanted to avoid or you were a grunge hipster or a druggy or into kinky shit. there was no way of changing or improving this back then without dealing with all the associated issues mostly stemming from classes and races often fueled by a profit motive. what a shame as i always enjoyed spending time there. you do not have these issues in any other country to the extent the US does. having grown up with unlocked doors i would never leave my door unlocked today.

first we had the move to the burbs with the advent of car ownership to greener pastures. then we had the resurgence of the city centers during a surge in social media which did not require immediate proximity. and now we have the complete move out of regions to escape a whole litany of issues in the regions. and then we will have an exodus out of country to escape the calamity right around the corner.

 

In reply to by bigkahuna

Barfetto ldd Wed, 05/09/2018 - 00:48 Permalink

Same here. I was born in Skeedaddle and do remember how it was a beautiful city decades ago. Grew up in the Roosevelt district and then Ballard. Didn't need to lock our doors back in the 50's and early 60's. The city has turned into a open binjo ditch. I moved 300 miles away 2 years ago near Coeur d'Alene beings how I'm not a pro transtesticle liberal.

In reply to by ldd

Global Douche kbohip Wed, 05/09/2018 - 02:51 Permalink

I watched a bum run from a store manager on 7th avenue in CoS two years ago because he stole something small from a car parts place. My friend who witnessed this didn't surprise him much. He knows the city as he graduated high school and lives there, also worked as a cabby years ago. I wound up calling CoS police because the store didn't even want to fool with reporting it and the bum was confronted by passerbys in a nearby parking lot. That part of the city has huge issues because all the social services stuff is nearby, but as this Okie learned, El Paso County has grown out of their britches and hasn't added near enough officers or jail space to offset the scum suckers invading portions of the City. Recreational pot can't be blamed since that's not available in El Paso County and as far as I know, Teller County is the closest without a med card.

Even in the small Okie town where I live, I'm seeing street beggars, sometimes families, where there hadn't been any panhandling for the years I've been here. So much for the easy-peasy employment numbers being touted.

In reply to by kbohip

Redhotfill crosey Wed, 05/09/2018 - 00:18 Permalink

First went there in 1988.  Thought is was a rainy shithole. Kept wondering when the fuq it would stop raining this was June, 1988.  Every time I go back it's more screwed up, now full of Haji's and uncrossed black's - the worst kind.  Yeah American Blacks are actually about 26%  on average white!  Raw off the boat slaves were pretty defective as commercial labor proposition until cross bred, when Irish were more available and more productive. 

In reply to by crosey

Darkman17 beepbop Tue, 05/08/2018 - 21:45 Permalink

This writer sounds naive. 

He sounds like a socialist that is not happy with the socialism as is actually implemented so he is going to move elsewhere to vote for socialist policies to create more socialist failures. 

I think this guy is more of the problem than the city council who are probably doing whatever gets them elected by people like this guy. 

 

 

In reply to by beepbop

glenlloyd City_Of_Champyinz Tue, 05/08/2018 - 22:38 Permalink

Another leftist place in trouble because of their own shithead policies.

Problem is that when the liberals flee due to the high taxes their ideas create they take the nasty ideas with them and infect the new living environment with more liberal ideas and more taxes.

Funny how they don't seem to learn that their own ideas are the cause of the problems they run away from. Then again I get the impression they think that if they just get the utopia thing right it'll be sunshine and lollipops for everyone.

Unfortunately they don't know squat about economics, they just 'think' shit and too often that's the problem.

In reply to by City_Of_Champyinz

techpriest City_Of_Champyinz Tue, 05/08/2018 - 23:33 Permalink

He is a liberal douchebag, who keeps voting for liberal douchebags, and expects a different result. One definition of insanity.

I noticed that also. He voted for this person, and then he's surprised that he chose poorly, and that it is her fault that he chose poorly. Whats worse is, wherever he moves, he's going to vote in the same idiots and wonder why his life sucks.

In reply to by City_Of_Champyinz

legalize City_Of_Champyinz Wed, 05/09/2018 - 13:41 Permalink

While rare, it's possible that this could be his wake-up call and he might reconsider his positions on things.  I see lots of people on the internet recalling stories of how they shifted from leftie to rightie, but I don't see many going the other way.  Just like you don't see people in Florida risking their lives in a shitty rowboat to get to Cuba.

In reply to by City_Of_Champyinz

regular beepbop Tue, 05/08/2018 - 22:49 Permalink

The fem politics here is real bad. If you are a dude, be prepared to have your rights taken away as soon as you enter the city. The women own and operate this town heavily in all levels of gov. ALL OF IT. And they push the crazist politics thinkable, all extreme fem. Not the nice kind, these are bull dike men hating, wicca organized where they roam in the night doing weird witchcraft. They are not friendly to the other half thats for sure. There are groups of women pagan like groups that chant and meetup during certains times of the year, large groups in the thousands in a circle in the forests during moonlight, and they are planning your demise. You here people complain abou democrats are not even aware what I have to deal with on a daily basis. You even have radio/tv programming where they advertise 'we are America first radio' seriously than they chime off about left ideas while saying they are conservatives. Strange place, not even close to conservative, yet they play like they are, but the politics is extreme left, not right. Seriously the radio is like, they are proobama yet they label themselves are right leaning. Not even close.

In reply to by beepbop

Al Gophilia beepbop Wed, 05/09/2018 - 01:55 Permalink

@ weweedup. You can scream all you want about the dopey Dems but then again, it seems that only a small % of the population are stalwart Constitutional Republicans. You still end up with bigly government no matter who you vote for. Good luck Mr President. I hope that you are able to hand back the reigns of government to the people but if truth be told, they don't want the responsibility. You're trying to gift the entitled with liberty and it will be like feeding strawberries to pigs.

In reply to by beepbop