Veteran Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat can drive conservatives nuts, but this week he took a rare course change and let liberals have it with both barrels; a deliberate “gun language’ description because what left-tilting Jet City politicians exhibit so well is their visceral dislike of the Second Amendment.
Where they excel, it appears, is with lip service to “beleaguered” citizens in the Rainier Valley area, where gunfire happens more frequently these days, two years after the city council hastily adopted a so-called “gun violence tax” to curtail this sort of thing.
Westneat’s narrative takes readers back to June 2016, when Mayor Ed Murray – whose civil rights-challenging “assault weapons ban” legislation was exposed by the columnist to Seattle Times readers in 2013 while Murray served in the State Senate – led a pack of politicians to a Rainier Beach news conference. At the time, Murray “promised to install special technology, a gunshot-detection system, to at least deter some of the violent lawlessness.”
It appears to have been a photo op, more to allow Murray and his council soul mates to hold an event on National Gun Violence Awareness Day. It was symbolic, and Second Amendment activists are quick to accuse anti-gunners of being big on symbolism. Substance, however, is apparently elusive.
Liberals are big on promises, or at least grandiose predictions. When the city adopted the gun tax in 2015, then-Council President Tim Burgess predicted it would bring in between $300,000 to $500,000. That revenue would be used for “gun violence prevention” research and other efforts.
But the revenue figure hasn’t come close, though the city is refusing to reveal just how far off the bull’s eye it was. The city will only acknowledge the figure for 2016 was “less than $200,000,” and based on estimates by one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the gun tax, it may be almost $100,000 less.
This gun tax didn’t just backfire, it appears to have produced less than nothing. One of two gun retailers in the lawsuit has left the city, taking with it jobs, B&O tax revenue and the gun tax revenue. The other store has lost a small fortune in sales, laid off some employees and that also translates to lower B&O tax returns.
TheGunMag.com and the Second Amendment Foundation have an on-going lawsuit against the city for violation of the Public Records Act. There is no small irony in the fact that this is essentially a First Amendment lawsuit, brought by a firearms publication and a gun rights organization, while “mainstream” Seattle news agencies watch from the sidelines.
But Westneat’s column about “promises not kept” by Seattle politicians was line-of-scrimmage stuff. While he attributes some of the problem to “local and national politics” that include threats of funding cuts to Seattle and other “sanctuary cities,” Westneat went bare-knuckles with this:
“What rankles is that city leaders led on the beleaguered South End by holding a dog-and-pony show down there in the first place.
“It’s also practically dereliction of political duty that all the shootings this year aren’t getting more attention — and I mean sustained attention, not the one-off news-conference variety.”
How many shootings? According to the story, “The number of injury shootings is up 36 percent from 2016.” The column also noted that, “Through July 17 this year, there have been 232 reports of shots fired — up an alarming 22 percent over last year. The city’s South Precinct is home to 108 of those, three times more than any other part of Seattle.”
“But,” says Westneat, “you’d never know that listening to, say, the campaigns for Seattle mayor. Mostly the candidates never mention crime on the stump. On their campaign websites, there’s more discussion of climate change. If they cite public safety, it’s to talk about how to better watchdog the cops.”
Of considerable importance is that the Rainier Valley and Central Area is home to many minority residents. They are not happy campers. They may also be unhappy voters, though with the exception of Greg Hamilton, the field of candidates to become the next mayor seems like a herd of left-of-center stereotypes, though Michael Harris described himself on KVI Thursday morning as a tax reduction candidate.
Seattle seems to have had enough of such politicians to last a lifetime.