Most American cities are poorly governed, but some–Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis–are so badly governed that one wonders whether they can survive. Christopher Rufo documents the latest madness in Seattle:
In October, the Seattle City Council floated legislation to provide an exemption from prosecution for misdemeanor crimes for any citizen who suffers from poverty, homelessness, addiction, or mental illness.
Obviously, a large percentage of crimes are committed by people who fall into one or more of those categories. In fact:
Under the proposed ordinance, courts would have to dismiss all so-called “crimes of poverty” — which, according to the city’s former public-safety advisor, would cover more than 90 percent of all misdemeanor cases citywide. In effect, the legislation would create a new class of “untouchables,” protected from consequences by the city’s powerbrokers.
This initiative, if adopted, would make Seattle unlivable:
On a practical level, if this ordinance becomes law, it will effectively legalize an entire spectrum of misdemeanor crimes, including theft, assault, harassment, drug possession, property destruction, and indecent exposure. Criminals must simply establish that they have an addiction, mental-health disorder, or low income in order to evade justice. The impact of this measure would be enormous.
In 2019, the Seattle Police Department reported 25,993 thefts, 8,442 assaults, 6,430 property offenses, 4,194 frauds, 3,910 trespasses, and 1,640 narcotics violations — representing 72 percent of all reported crimes. If the ordinance passes, nearly all these crimes would be permitted under law.
This is not unintentional. The “crimes of poverty” initiative has been tabled for the moment, but some members of Seattle’s City Council, at least, are pro-crime, viewing it, as Rufo writes, as “an expression of social justice.” The leftists who run some of America’s major cities seemingly have no idea how fragile a city can be.