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Political Revenge in Seattle
https://www.wsj.com/articles/political-revenge-in-seattle-11577404431By The Editorial Board
Dec. 26, 2019 6:53 pm ET
Local businesses including Amazon exercised their constitutional right to challenge socialists on the Seattle City Council in November, but they came up short. Now the victors are aiming to take political revenge, and they’re not shy about it.
The progressives at Amazon decided to support moderate candidates after the City Council passed an annual $275-per-employee tax in 2018 on business. Voters recognized the head tax as a penalty on job creation and forced a repeal. But Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party, who won re-election last month, has never given up on the idea and on Jan. 13 will launch a “Tax Amazon 2020” campaign. The left always responds with such grace to political competition.
Councilwoman Lorena González wants to ban contributions to Super PACs from any company in which a foreigner holds 1% or more of shares. Her ordinance, up for a vote next year, ostensibly seeks to prevent “foreign intervention” in Seattle elections. But Ms. González admitted in a November radio interview that “the fact that Amazon cut a $1 million check in one day is an example of the problem we’re trying to fix.”
The ordinance would also cap individual contributions to candidates and committees at no more than $5,000 an election cycle. Ms. González would impose no such caps on labor spending, though unions and union-affiliated political committees spent more than $1.2 million on the 2019 Seattle elections.
The Councilors also want to remake Seattle’s housing market. Ms. Sawant has proposed an ordinance that would prohibit landlords from evicting residential tenants between Nov. 1 and March 31, even if they’ve failed to pay rent, turned the property into a drug den, or otherwise posed a nuisance.
Ms. Sawant says her moratorium will prevent families from losing their homes during the coldest months. But in the real world the ordinance will make it harder for low-income renters, recovering addicts and others on the margin to find a landlord willing to risk renting to them. Ms. Sawant expects a vote before March, and she says she has “no doubt that most progressives will support" her proposal. She also wants to impose city-wide rent control and build more public housing in Seattle.
We recently ran an op-ed from a Seattle worker who is losing her job because the city’s minimum wage, set to rise to $16.39 an hour, is driving local restaurants out of business. Seattle citizens are getting what they voted for.