My wife and I were walking along the Green Lake Park foot path in Seattle a few months ago when we saw something odd. At various intervals along the 2.8-mile path, there were black and white logos stenciled onto the pavement with the words, “Visualize Recall” and the image of a man’s face. I was curious, but, being Seattle, I wrote it off as more lefty nonsense about Donald Trump. Apparently, I was wrong.
I tried to find out what the logo meant and had no success. As the biodegradable paint faded over the following weeks, so did my memory. A cop buddy of mine inadvertently solved the mystery. On Facebook, he posted a YouTube video of a community meeting between Ballard neighborhood residents, besieged by a “homeless” crime crisis, and their city council representative Mike O’Brien (Dist. 6).
I don’t know Mike O’Brien. Who knows, he might be fine to sit and chat with over a pint or cup. Then again, he might not be. I’m using him because he seems an apt representation of the frustrating liberal politicians across the nation who behave civilly and appear grounded in reality, whereas in truth their socialistic solutions are to the detriment of their constituents.
A YouTube poster called “Visualize Recall” posted the video. The poster’s avatar is the above-mentioned painted image. Anyway, the message is related to O’Brien’s ineffective stance on the “homeless” problem, according to some Ballard residents. There is a recall effort underway to, as Visualize Recall says, “GET RID OF MIKE O’BRIEN… NOW.” (Sorry for yelling, but that’s the direct quote and format.)
Visualize Recall gave its thumbnail view of the meeting:
“At a community meeting on April 11, several frustrated Ballard residents confronted District 6 Councilmember Mike O’Brien and asked him why he allows drug addicts and squatters to ignore the law. O’Brien didn’t have good answers. Worse: he flatly contradicted the lived experiences of several residents, telling them they didn’t see what they saw and didn’t hear what they heard.”
In other words, as if dangling a shiny pendant and swinging it before the gathering, the politician prestidigitator tried to trick the neighbors’ subconscious, convincing them that their solutions, such as enforcing the law, were not valid. At the same time, he suggested his ideas were the ones they should support. “You are getting sleepy… When I snap my fingers, you will believe everything I believe is right. Oh… I almost forgot, and everything you believe is wrong.”
But this hypnotist would have had to be Houdini to fool this crowd. They knew their suggestions were valid and simple: follow and enforce the law. Guess you have to be a real magician for that trick to work. He’s been trying to hypnotize and trick voters for years. Yes, O’Brien is the complete leftist package. Here’s an example from five years ago.
In 2013, O’Brien held a press conference to virtue-signal his climate concerns by embracing the false claim 2012 was the “hottest year on record.” A claim the left was drawn to like a street drunk late for his next 40-ouncer. The analyses, based on skewed “science,” were herded and corralled by leftist climatologists and a complicit media to a predetermined, fake conclusion.
Fortunately, always in the mood to bust up any alleged scientific “consensus,” Professor Richard Lindzen, once again, suffused some much-needed sanity in response to the leftist’s climate delusions. Lindzen is a professor of Meteorology at MIT. As Robin Williams called the Massachusetts University in his Academy Award-winning performance in Goodwill Hunting, “…the most prestigious technical college in the whole f***in’ world?”
About the wacko climate claim, such as O’Brien had glommed onto, Lindzen said something decidedly non-intellectual and infinitely commonsensical (which is why, I’m sure, the left dismissed it). He said, “Frankly, I feel it is proof of dishonesty to argue about things like small fluctuations in temperature as the sign of a trend. Why lend credibility to this dishonesty?”
Five years later, O’Brien hasn’t changed a whit—except, perhaps, he’s gotten worse. This meeting in Ballard showed his constituents that the alleged climate crisis is only one kind of crazy he’s pedaling.
He seemed to be there to convince the residents that their evidence (their own eyes) is wrong, his view is right, and he sincerely wants to find workable solutions to end the crime problems in their neighborhoods. But only if it doesn’t involve enforcing the law. The very thing that will work. Some people call it the solution.
He continued to push his deeply rooted tax and spend vision. This time hawking the city council’s most recent prosperity-killing effort to institute a “head tax” of 25 cents per hour per employee for “large” companies to pay to end the city’s never-ending, so-called homeless problem.
I wasn’t even at the meeting, and I was frustrated just watching the video. I can only imagine the people’s frustration as this leftist politician vomited liberal talking points, smarmy bromides, and whined about his inability to get accurate data. He was looking at and speaking with those folks as if they were the ones with the problem. Well, they are. He’s their problem.
The following is just a bitter sampling of the meeting:
One single mother told O’Brien about crazy people high on drugs, roaming around the neighborhood, committing crimes, and she can’t let her children play in the nearby park or go to the corner store. She said, “At what point in time do you stop taking our money? Because I can’t afford to live here anymore as a single mom raising my kids.”
O’Brien asks her, “What do you propose?”
The mom replies, “I’ve spoken to five different police officers, including my community police officer, and they say, ‘my hands are tied, this [city] council won’t let us do shit!’” I know this is true because it’s exactly what I would have said when I was a community police officer.
O’Brien replied, “It’s not true,” which was greeted by an aggravated group grumble from the gathering.
“How is it not true?” She asked, and then explained that in one breath he’s [O’Brien] saying call the police, and in the next that people shouldn’t go to jail for simply using drugs or possessing paraphernalia.
Then, pull out the old lefty handbook, perhaps Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Open to the part that includes tactical deflection. O’Brien says, “Do you believe the war on drugs was a failure or do you think it was a success?” Incidentally, he also deflected another time when he mentioned that a high percentage of the world’s “incarcerated people” are in America.
The young mom shot back, “I don’t even want to get into your politics. That isn’t working; this isn’t working. So, let’s not keep talking about things that haven’t worked, and stop doing things that don’t work, under whatever guise, whatever political umbrella you want. That’s not the point.”
She mentioned a city-sponsored $200,000 study about the homeless issue and possible solutions. She said the researchers told the city to stop what they were doing, it wasn’t working, and the city didn’t listen.
O’Brien acknowledged the study and tried to explain how that researcher had changed her mind, and then it was just more, blah, blah, blah into the ether.
A middle-aged woman spoke up, “My daughter lives two blocks from me, and I can’t walk there at night without a man with me. It’s like the third world.” She added that her daughter caught a man rummaging through her garage, recently. A 2nd-degree burglary in my world—a felony, not a “low-level” offense. Perhaps, only a 1st-degree trespass. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes would likely dismiss either charge. After all, it’s not the suspect’s fault; it’s society’s. Social justice.
“You’re [O’Brien] saying something so flippant as [we want] to throw people in jail for possessing paraphernalia,” she said. “We report real, literal, property crimes…the prosecuting attorneys throw away ‘low-level’ property crime. So, even if the cops do a ton of work, and we know who did it, it doesn’t matter.” She said she pointed out the suspect (who was in daughter’s garage) who was, “standing four feet away from me,” to officers. “The cases get thrown out.”
A man spoke up, “To shoot up dope on a park bench, they have to go in somebody’s garage to steal stuff. Because, basically, if they’re shooting up on a park bench, they’re unemployable.”
Next, in an odd, virtue signaling non sequitur, O’Brien deflected again, saying, “A big chunk of homeless are youth, and about half of them are gay or lesbian.” Okay, and…? Thus, he conscripts another leftist-authorized victim group (or two) to elicit sympathy from another group, not leftist approved: the frustrated neighbors.
Then, in a nod to both the “homeless” issue and the city council’s general Monopoly board-view of the city and its taxpayers, a woman said, “We’re being told how we can rent our property. If we
decide to leave because we can’t afford to live here anymore, do we sell? Do we rent our house? But then we might have the city telling us how we can rent our house. It almost feels like, is it worth staying here anymore? And I wonder how many other people are feeling the way we are.” This is tyranny folks.
Another man added, “It feels like special interests have hijacked the city council. It’s always homeless, homeless, homeless… What about the working taxpayers who foot the bill for all these programs that are being forced out of this city?”
O’Brien, again, brought up raising even more money for the homeless “problem” but, this time, by taxing big Seattle companies (Amazon, Starbucks, Boeing, Alaska Airlines, etc.), not middle-class residents like them (good ‘ol divide and conquer). Hey, Mike. Who do you think those companies pass those taxes along to? Yeah, those people you were talking to—and you know it.
Our single mom piped back in, “It’s not a money problem, Mike. It’s a misuse… [of money].”
Someone asked, “What happens when all the taxpayers leave the city?”
Another person answered, “The homeless will be hurt.”
The group said, “yes,” with vehement nods.
Despite their concerns mirroring a more conservative view, these Seattleites haven’t abandoned their liberal leanings, generally, but they are also practical. They’re not brain-dead, mindless political robots welded to an ideology like their far-left leaders are. They think, and they can see the reality before them: Seattle’s leftist policies are not working.
As O’Brien spoke about data, and stats, and how hard it is to solve the homeless problem, I could almost see the thought bubbles forming above his constituents’ heads:
“This guy is a moron.”
“No, it’s worse: he’s a politician.”
“No, it’s even worse: he’s a far-left politician.”
“Again, same thing!”
“I left my couch, my beer, and the Mariner’s game for this?”
At this point, even O’Brien got in on it and popped his own bubble: “I know you don’t think I’m listening to you .” The most accurate thing he said in the meeting.
It’s fitting that, off camera, you can hear people saying, “No, you don’t.”
To augment these folks’ points with a firsthand anecdote of what they are talking about, my wife and I were back at Green Lake, a few miles from Ballard, a couple days ago. It’s pretty much the only place we still go to in the city. But who knows how much longer that will last?
While walking, we saw a trashcan along the path near the park’s large kiddie pool. Somebody had attached something to it. Although it’s still a bit cool out to fill with water, many kids still ride their bicycles and play on its concrete surface. You’d think that might be risky, but not as risky as what a child might stumble upon in the grass or in the bushes. Transients (homeless) camp in and around the park. We’ve seen one “camp” that’s been set up near a tennis court for at least six months.
On that trashcan, we saw a handwritten note taped to the lid warning people that inside the receptacle were syringes with uncapped needles. I took a photograph of the note, which read, “Caution! There are dirty uncapped needles here! (Watch out! Keep kids & dogs away-We notified Parks & Rec.)”
At one point, O’Brien said, “You just can’t outlaw ‘homelessness.’ People have to go somewhere.” Well, at the other extreme, Mike, you just can’t enable drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and not to force those afflicted with serious mental health issues to get help. We know that doesn’t work. How do we know? Because it’s, umm…not working.
The city council’s abundant care for the so-called homeless and its obvious disdain for productive, taxpaying residents of the city’s neighborhoods is staggering. It seems they are incapable of entertaining an actual good idea. I mean, one that works.
They are so opposed to listening to anyone outside the leftist echo chamber, they have become physically unable to collaborate with anyone who doesn’t agree 100 percent with their view of a problem. While this is sad for the city council, it is even more so for the “homeless,” and most of all for the good, tax-paying, law-abiding residents of Seattle’s neighborhoods.