Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis has done it again. During Tuesday’s council meeting, the first-term flip-flopping councilmember again caved into the dangerous demands of Seattle’s liberal extremist wing and sided with radical Councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold, Tammy Morales, and Teresa Mosqueda to make Seattle a less safe place to live, work, and shop.
Councilmember Lewis’ vote was on a measure proposed by Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison to adopt drug possession and public use laws so that law enforcement could threaten prosecution against those who abuse drugs in public. City Attorney Davison stated that by using the threat of possible incarceration, law enforcement could better entice addicts to receive treatment. In recovery language, that means use some “tough love” to inform the addict that he/she has hit “rock bottom”, and that treatment is the better alternative than sitting in jail.)
City Attorney Davison, who won her position in 2021 based in large measure on a tough-on-crime platform, also believed that if the council did not adopt the measure, it “would effectively decriminalize drugs in Seattle.”
Councilmember Lewis, who represents the neighborhoods of Downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, Queen Anne, and the Eastern portion of Magnolia, was expected to vote in favor of the measure. Yet, he changed his mind just before the vote took place and this resulted in the defeat of the measure by a 5-to-4 vote.
Journalist Brandi Kruse stated on Wednesday that Councilmember Lewis’ vote was the act of a “coward.”
Kruse asserted on her [un]Divided podcast, “Don’t be confused, don’t believe that Andrew Lewis suddenly changed his vote out of some impassioned deep belief that what he did was the right thing. No, Andrew Lewis, the coward that he is, changed his vote because a bunch of Kshama Sawant Socialist Alternative supporters showed up to the council chambers and yelled and screamed and whined.”
Drug overdose deaths are on track to again smash records in 2023
Councilmember Lewis took this vote as opioid overdoses and deaths continue to skyrocket in Seattle and King County.
Consider that in 2022 there were a record 1,000 deaths in King County due to drug overdose and alcohol poisoning. As of June 7th, there have already been 576 local deaths. If this trend continues through the end of 2023, the county will break last year’s record by more than 20%.
Also, through May of 2022, King County EMS had responded to 1,863 drug overdoses (12.3 per day). Through May of this year, EMS teams have been called to provide medical assistance to 3,392 overdoses (22.5 incidents per day). This is an incredible 82% increase in overdose responses in just one year.
Councilmember Lewis previously proclaimed that businesses should force their employees to return to their Downtown offices. Yet his vote to keep downtown streets unsafe hampers this effort. Open drug use and open drug markets will continue, and workers will not want to return to these dangerous conditions.
Councilmember Lewis has history of flip-flopping on public safety issues
Flip-flopping and caving into the radical demands of liberal activists is nothing new for Councilmember Andrew Lewis – especially on public safety issues. During his 2019 city council campaign (when he ran against former Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Fugal), then-candidate Lewis repeatedly called for more police funding and more police officers.
Yet after liberal activists violently rioted in the summer of 2020, and illegally took over portions of Capitol Hill, Councilmember Lewis caved into their radical demands and voted to defund the Seattle Police Department. This policy error has caused 500 officers to leave the already short-staffed police force, led to skyrocketing crime rates (especially Downtown and in lower-income neighborhoods), and caused the refusal of many workers to return to their jobs in crime-riddled Downtown Seattle.
One of the Downtown businesses to recently close due to rampant crime (including multiple murders) was Piroshky Piroshky, a popular bakery on 3rd Avenue. Owner Olga Sagan is now among five announced opponents against Councilmember Lewis in this year’s election. Public safety is her top priority.
Sagan stated she would have supported City Attorney Davison’s proposal because “we need to expand our efforts to treat substance abuse as a public health crisis AND we need to prevent the use of drugs in public spaces.”
The first-time candidate was also critical of Councilmember Lewis’ last-minute flip-flop on the issue and asked why he hadn’t expressed his concerns before the vote. Sagan tweeted, “What I want to know is how did he not see that before the (council) meeting?”
Councilmember Lewis is one of three (out of possible seven) city councilmembers running for re-election this year. His record of caving into the demands of radical activists on public safety issues will certainly be a major issue. The District 6 voters will have the opportunity to decide whether Councilmember Lewis’ reckless public safety policies accurately represents their own views.