She presided over a far-left city as anarchists took over the streets, trashing and looting private businesses, setting police vehicles on fire, forcing police to abandon their East Precinct headquarters, while predicting a “summer of love.”
Now liberal Democrat Jenny Durkan has announced she won’t run for re-election, leaving the door open for an even farther-left—perhaps even Socialist—politician to take her place. Since her Monday announcement, speculation has gone from one name on the far left to another; people who want to defund the police, cater to homelessness (rather than eliminate it), establish “safe” injection sites and so forth.
But almost simultaneous to Durkan’s announcement, KOMO was reporting on a privately funded analysis of Seattle Police Department dispatch data showing the most demand for police services comes from the same neighborhoods where one hears the most criticism about police.
Durkan is the latest in a string of increasingly liberal mayors under which the city has gone from being a destination to something less. Five years ago the City Council with former Councilman Tim Burgess leading the charge adopted a gun and ammunition tax to raise funds for programs to reduce so-called “gun violence.”
The ordinance drove one gun store out, relocating to another city in a neighboring county, and the tax has never realized anything remotely close to the projected revenue of $300,000 to $500,000.
And the number of murders has skyrocketed, from 19 during the first full year of the tax (2016) to 55 so far this year. Seattle police officers began quitting for jobs elsewhere and Police Chief Carmen Best retired.
Durkan escaped a recall effort, but tension between her and some members of the City Council remain high. And if she leaves office next year, there is always the possibility she may score a position with the Joe Biden administration, though she told KCPQ News there have been no such conversations.
Seattle, some people have quietly suggested, appears to be begging for self-destruction. That much became evident with KOMO’s groundbreaking March 2019 documentary “Seattle is Dying.” The hour-long program won rave reviews but also scathing criticism because it cast such a pall over the city.
The city is headquarters to a billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying organization responsible for bankrolling two gun control initiatives since 2014. Neither has lived up to expectations, and one is being challenged in federal court on constitutional grounds.
Under Durkan’s reign, the city adopted a “safe storage” requirement for gun owners, and it is also being challenged in court under Washington State’s model firearms preemption law. Under the statute, cities cannot adopt their own gun control laws, and a unanimous opinion by an appeals court panel that remanded the case back to a lower court suggests the city might get slapped. A similar requirement in Edmonds was slapped down by a trial court last year, based on the preemption statute.
Durkan lame-ducked herself after months of turmoil. Has she done the same to the city?