Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has funneled quite a lot of taxpayer dollars into failing to address homelessness in the city. Last year, Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine declared a “state of emergency,” following the lead of two other Democrat-run cities—Los Angeles and Portland—that are failing to deal with the problem in their locales.
In addition to the declaration, Murray presented a $5.3 million package to address both the immediate and long-term problems of homelessness. He also tried to get money from the state to help deal with a street-person problem that Seattle officials have seemingly made worse over the last decade.
Earlier this year, Murray said he needed another nearly $50 million a year to fight homelessness. And, just last month, Murray announced a new position in city government, Director of Homelessness. Rather ironically, the so-called Director of Homelessness will make a whopping $160,000 a year.
Homelessness is a problem in Seattle. Certainly, city leaders should invest in proven, effective ways to improve the lives of those in need.
Unfortunately, liberal politicians in Seattle have decided to make the problem of homelessness an opportunity for them to push their pricey, bizarre, far-Left ideological agenda. Adding insult to injury, the “solutions” pushed by these liberals only threaten to continue making the problem worse.
That’s why it is so frustrating to hear Murray actually say during a press conference in which he backtracked on cleaning up “The Jungle” in Seattle, “We’re actually making this up as we go along.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Seattle’s liberal, so-called leaders have gambled with other peoples’ money without any real plan. In light of his irresponsible leadership, we decided to put together a list of three [recent] times Hizzoner “just made it up as he went along.” Without further ado:
1. Seattle’s “war on cars.”
Seattle is planning an aggressive strategy to get people out of their cars and on to public transportation. That overarching plan could be seen in the conversion of street right of way to non-vehicular use, the obvious disregard for the need for more parking spaces despite city growth, and limiting the accessibility of vehicles in public areas.
Murray also insists on ranking street performance “by how many single-occupant vehicles (SOV) are using them.” In other words, streets with fewer cars using them will be ranked as the best performing. That influences decisions on where to direct certain improvements.
As Shift pointed out, the almost certain congestion increases will threaten economic output and job growth.
So, Murray’s “war on cars” is also a “war on jobs.”
2. Seattle’s Pronto fiasco
Pronto, a bike-share company operating in Seattle, failed. Crazily enough, that fact didn’t keep Murray from proposing a bailout worth a whopping $5 million. In the end, the city council (trying to out-liberal Murray) decided to spend $1.4 million for the initial buyout, and then another $5 million more in 2017. From then on, the city will spend about $2 million each year in operating costs.
Seattle — under the “guidance” of Murray — based the decision to purchase on “obvious eco-progressive credibility reasons” — how can a “green” city like Seattle not have a bike-share scheme? The problem is, it doesn’t work in Seattle. And, it may even harm more than help the environment.
But, purchasing a failed bike share company for all the wrong reasons is just one way the Pronto fiasco reeks of incompetency. SDOT Director Scott Kubly is still under investigation by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission for his close (and thus conflict-of-interest laden) connections to the bike-share company. Ultimately, this disastrous scheme is further proof of how far the Left will go to push their extreme agenda, even at the expense of the public treasury.
3. Seattle’s $15 minimum wage
Seattle liberals don’t know a whole lot about basic economics — and Murray is seemingly one of the most ignorant of them all. With the help of Murray, Seattle launched an unprecedented citywide $15 minimum wage experiment. Supporters like Murray billed it as an opportunity for everyone to earn a “living wage.”
Now, Murray is trying to reverse the problems he helped create with the unprecedented wage increase. As Shift reported, Murray is pushing the “Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative” to encourage private businesses in Seattle to hire 4,000 young workers.
Murray is struggling to find a way to address youth unemployment because, as University of Washington Professor Jacob Vigdor pointed out, Seattle’s $15 minimum wage places young, inexperienced and unskilled workers in “a tough position.” The reasoning makes sense: If businesses are going to pay employees as much as $15 per hour, they aren’t “taking a chance on a teenager, they are looking for a more experienced worker to fill that job.”
It’s just another way Murray is “making it up” (at the expense of taxpayers) as he goes along.