Socialist Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant was furious following Tuesday’s 7-2 vote by the city council to repeal its “head tax” effort to raise money for low-income housing and other programs for the homeless, and she suggested that the “movement” could replace some of her colleagues when they run for re-election.
She did not identify who, or what that “movement” is. The tax she was defending would have charged businesses that make over $20 million annually a tax of $275 per employee. It brought a wave of bad reactions from business, both large and small, within the city.
Sawant, who has become a symbol for everything wrong with Seattle government in the eyes of many people, told reporters, “When you have an entire city council, the highest elected body of this city, that has come to its knees because of the slightest intimidation from big business, where does the movement go from here? We have to build our own strength.”
The council’s about-face on the head tax made national news Wednesday morning.
She was more than merely intimating that he fellow council members rolled over for big business on the head tax question. But weeks ago, when the tax was approved unanimously, it ignited massive backlash. As KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross noted in MyNorthwest.com:
“So why would those seven Democrats flip? Because thousands of voters had signed petitions to put a repeal on the November ballot, and Amazon’s planned repeal campaign would likely draw a lot of non-progressives to the polls in a crucial election year.”
Even “progressive” liberals like getting re-elected to well-paying positions.
Now Mayor Jenny Durkan, who signed the tax into law but ended up supporting its repeal after she apparently saw the writing on the City Hall wall, is already reportedly planning how to deal with the situation.
What nobody on the council seems willing to acknowledge, say critics, is that this “homeless crisis” is largely a result of city policies, from establishing itself as a “sanctuary” for illegal aliens to pushing a “safe injection site” for heroin addicts and tolerating what some people call the “professional homeless.”
As she was speaking to reporters, Sawant issued what sounded like a warning: “Next year, seven council members are up for re-election. This is a chance for the movement to show what kind of politics we actually want.”
The left-leaning SeattleP-I.com seemed to be playing to Sawant with its Wednesday morning headline: “Seattle council, mayor cave to Amazon, other opposition on head tax for homelessness.” That seems to ignore the results of a mid-May survey done by KIRO and Strategies 360 that revealed that 54 percent of Seattle voters opposed the tax, as noted by the Seattle Times.
It would appear, then, that this “movement” touted by, and perhaps led by, Sawant is not representative of the majority of voters. Then, again, what would a self-identified socialist know about democracy?