Yesterday, I trekked down to Seattle to spend the day participating in the greatest political spectacle of the year: the Seattle City Council’s about-face on the head tax. I stood in line like everyone else, waiting 2 hours among the socialists (appropriately with red signs) and the capitalists (with green signs). I was the skunk at the party and that wasn’t just because I was wearing blue.
My testimony was different than everyone else’s. The socialists were furious with councilmembers for betraying them by overturning the tax after unanimously passing it just 4 weeks ago. The referendum folks were mad because councilmembers took no responsibility for the mess they had created and were instead blaming everyone but themselves for the defeat of their tax (but let me quickly add that referendum backers were pretty happy that the tax was being overturned).
When Council President Bruce Harrell choked on my name (“Next up is Tim … uh, … oh, Tim Eyman!), there was pretty loud hissing and booing (which for an activist like me it’s like getting an A+ on a report card).
My 60 seconds of testimony focused on how the council’s vote violated the process and disrespected the voters:
“What about the voters? Why shouldn’t they be heard? Why are their voices being muzzled? The initiative and referendum process exists to give the voters the chance to be heard. Seattle city councilmembers should not cut the voters out of the process.”
A Twitter user commented: “Funniest thing today was watching Socialist Alternative Seattle clap in support for Tim Eyman at the Seattle City Council head tax repeal. I don’t think those kids knew who he was.”
They were clapping because I agree with them that there oughta be a public vote on the head tax in Seattle. We just disagree on the outcome of that vote. Kshama Sawant said “her movement” would eventually change voters’ minds to support the tax. Almost everyone else firmly believes that the voters would overwhelmingly reject the tax because it’s so insanely stupid. The only way to find out who’s right is to have a vote.
Everyone in that room was pissed off, confused, and angry by the Council’s flip flop. It was a complete circus EXACTLY BECAUSE THE COUNCIL INTERFERED WITH THE PROCESS AND DIDN’T ALLOW IT TO PROCEED AS LAYED OUT IN THE STATE CONSTITUTION AND THE CITY CHARTER.
They stole away the people’s right to vote. By doing so, they infuriated everyone. Councilmembers didn’t trust the people. The voters were excised from the discussion. The Council is clearly terrified and certain that the voters would repudiate the tax. That the voters would repudiate the Council. So in an effort to protect themselves and their own careers, they violated the Open Public Meetings Act and illegally repealed the ordinance imposing the tax. Referendum backers had better turn in those 50K signatures by the Thursday deadline or else the City Council could flip back. It’s like Alice in Wonderland down there where up is down and down is up.
Sawant said “Jeff Bezos is the enemy.”
It seems pretty clear that Sawant and the other members of the city council are completely incapable of managing a lemonade stand, let alone city government. It’s a total freak show down there. It seems the only thing everyone can agree on is that the members of the city council are completely dysfunctional and need to be replaced.