Opinion

Are Local Governments Paying Taxpayer Money to Slumlords to House the Homeless?

Ordinarily, and with tongue tucked tightly in cheek, I’d say the only positive for law enforcement regarding the “homeless” crime issues in some of America’s biggest cities is that at least the increased crime might amount to job security for cops. However, these cities are experiencing a dis-harmonic convergence: increased crime colliding with decreased law enforcement.

Neighborhoods, exasperated by Seattle’s socialist city council, are beseeching their city government for respite from the blight and crime caused by the illegal encampments surrounding their houses. But city council members, particularly Kshama Sawant, Mike O’Brien, and Lorena Gonzalez, continue to push their destructive social justice agendas while they ignore their constituents’ frustrations. Just shut up; we’re doing it for you!

Criminal investigations and politics have at least one thing in common: when you’re looking for the truth, follow the money. Seattle’s commitment to social justice includes agencies and programs ostensibly helping homeless folks find and pay for housing.

However, these programs and agencies, as with many progressive efforts, are wrought with incompetence and corruption. They amount to socialist wealth distribution schemes. But instead of specifically redistributing wealth (taxpayer money) directly to the people the city deems needy, it would seem the city’s taxpayers are transferring their money to slumlords.

(Credit: Pixabay/ RyanMcGuire)

Now, I didn’t print the name of the one slumlord identified in news reporting because I really wanted to use the word slumlord when describing the type of people some cities are doing business with.

The city subsidizes people to get them into housing. However, due to lax oversight, they’re moving the people they’re trying to “help” into bed bug-infested hovels only arguably better than the cars or tents they’d been living in. And not even better than the prisons from where some beneficiaries had previously lived.

The city moved one 72-year-old woman into an apartment. Formerly, she’d been living in her VW Beetle. The apartment was in such a poor state, a city inspector found 75 code violations—in a small apartment. In this woman’s case, she was eventually evicted and went back to living in her car. Then, after the city, ironically, impounded her car, she moved into a temporary emergency shelter.

And the Homeless Industrial Complex (HIC) cycle continues. I don’t know who coined this paraphrase, but it fits. Many other people have had similar experiences. More than a wealth redistribution to the poor, which on its face some might argue has merit, the wealth is being redistributed to the HIC.

Who stands to benefit most from redistribution programs? Those who do the redistributing. Politicians get to act like Santa Claus at election time, and public and private agencies benefit from the local, state, and federal tax money they receive to dole out and to pay themselves.

Millions of dollars are coming from taxpayers and going into the coffers of these organizations set up presumably to help the “homeless.” The HIC folks stay employed as long as some people stay unemployed and un-housed. Sometimes I think, if a leftist government is going to take my money and flush it, I’d rather they gave it directly to the people the money is supposed to help. At least it would skip all those middlemen bleeding-hearts, social justice warriors, and slumlords.

(Credit: Pixabay/geralt)

For example, never one to allow a crisis to go to waste, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, with whom I corresponded by email occasionally when he was my representative, just spent 1.2 million taxpayer dollars to assist “immigrants.”

For the sake of accuracy, let’s distill the ambiguity for preciseness. Governor Inslee means illegal immigrants (using language to communicate truthfully is so old-school). He took the action because he was supposedly distraught over how illegal immigrant families were being treated at the border.

You know, separating kids from parents, then ICE “Nazis” tossing kids into “concentration camps,” and “evil” CBP agents interring the kids’ parents at “black sites.” Mainstream lefties are actually saying these ridiculous things and their comrades in the mainstream media are actually reporting it—with straight faces.

When President Obama did the exact same thing, I don’t remember hearing a word about it from Governor Inslee or from his radical attorney general, Bob Ferguson. You know, the AG that never saw a lawsuit against President Trump he didn’t drool over. Weird, huh?

So, let’s continue with this example and explore Inslee’s motivations for this wealth redistribution. News reports mentioned six to nine children affected by the turmoil at the border are in Washington State.

Now, I’m no math whiz, but this problem is easy to solve: Let’s take the larger number, nine, and divide it into $1,200,000.00. That translates to $133,333.33 per child ($200K each if using six kids). If my tax money is going to be used politically, like I said above, I’d rather the government give it directly to each of those children than it go to perpetuating a progressive government fraud.

Of course, the governor will argue that the money is not going to nine children but to an organization, such as the sanctuary movement-supporting Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, that helps “illegal” aliens with legal expenses. The money probably is going to this group. But Inslee used these children created by this “border crisis” as an excuse to move taxpayer money from state coffers to a private, progressive organization.

Governor Jay Inslee endorsing a litany of government business legislations. (Credit: Facebook/TVW – Washington Public Affairs Network)

Still, Inslee exploited those kids, using them and the pseudo-event at the border as an excuse to turn Washington into a de facto sanctuary state. But doing things underhandedly and unilaterally is not untrodden territory for Governor Inslee. Several years ago, without a vote of the people, Inslee used an executive order to suspend the state’s death penalty. In fact, because it’s only suspended, and the death penalty is still a part of Washington law, the governor personally needs to grant a reprieve to any current death row inmate he chooses.

Inslee granted a reprieve, virtually in secret, for a man convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter. Now, there’s a guy who deserves the governor’s compassion, right? The governor’s office neglected to issue a press release about the reprieve and strongly insisted they weren’t trying to hide anything. Right!

Now, think what you want about the death penalty. But shouldn’t the people of a state have the final say about whether their state has one? Government of the people, by the people,  for the people, and all that, right?

If the states are supposed to function as little laboratories of republican-democracy and liberty, shouldn’t the people decide the bigger issues directly? We have a representative democracy to protect minority viewpoints and because we elect people to represent us as the people couldn’t keep up with every little legislative action under consideration. We’d be going to the polls daily. But the people need to decide the larger criminal justice and social issues. For one uber-leftist president, governor, mayor, or court to inflict on the people his/her or their political bias is the height of audacity and corruption.

So, whether it’s for the “children,” for the “homeless,” or for convicted rapist-murderers of little girls, Washington has a leader who never misses a chance to bolster his progressive bona fides. I wonder if he’s already dreaming about redecorating the White House. And Washingtonians continue to suffer under such feckless, predictably leftist governance.

Well, this is what Americans can expect from socialists when they run our local, state, or federal governments. Not only fake news but also fake charity and fake compassion. Wealth redistribution, where the government decides who’s entitled to your money and how much of your money you get to keep. This forced exchange is not charity, and the HIC is most certainly not compassionate.

We’ve got a great example of what happens if we continue along a socialist, Marxist, Leninist path: State by state, we become Venezuela!

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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