Ballard town hall turns into an angry shoutfest

Seattle homelessness, housing, taxes and growth are controversial enough on their own, but when you combine them all in a town hall meeting led by Seattle councilmembers, get ready for fireworks. Or worse.

That’s what happened Wednesday night at the “North Seattle Town Hall: Progressive Tax on Business” event at Ballard’s Trinity United Methodist Church. Led by Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Teresa Mosqueda, Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold, the gathering devolved into a bizarre shoutfest that some reporters say they’ve never experienced in a Seattle meeting before.

KUOW even went as far as to say, “Let May 2, 2018 be known as the day that Seattle Nice died.” There was even a fake homeless encampment set up outside.

Adding fuel to the fire, a few hours earlier Amazon announced it was pausing construction over the proposed head tax. At first, O’Brien suggested that people text their questions to the panel, but many in the audience were prepared to speak their mind out loud — loudly.

Not much was accomplished over those 90 minutes, which KOMO News recorded in full, other than underlining how contentious these issues are in Ballard — the Old Ballard vs. New Ballard arguments are more intense than ever — and the rest of the city.

Here’s a sampling of coverage and perspectives:

KIRO 7 News: “O’Brien appeared to be surprised by the anger. ‘The tenor frankly in this country right now of whoever yells the loudest or says the most horrific thing, and that gets covered in the press, it’s really awful,’ he said. ‘I hope that attitude is not about to be here in Seattle.'”

The C is for Crank (Erica Barnett): “What I witnessed in Ballard tonight, at what was supposed to be a panel discussion, with a moderated Q&A, on a proposed business tax to pay for homeless services, was not just a crowd of angry neighbors wanting to be heard by their elected representatives. It was an organized mob that showed up with a single goal: To shut down dialogue, create chaos, and prevent people with opposing views from having a voice.”

770 Radio’s (Jason Rantz): “When you’re out of excuses for why you keep failing, and your only talking points are flat out lies, it’s no wonder O’Brien tried to shut up Seattleites from speaking at the town hall event. Thankfully, he’s fighting a losing battle.”

74 comments on “Ballard town hall turns into an angry shoutfest”

  1. > See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

  2. @Truth

    “The extremely vocal minority that do not in any way represent the view of the vast majority of Ballardites and Seattleites?”

    Preach it brother/sister!

  3. @Andrew Daisuke
    >mocks neighbors
    >defends drug addicts and felons
    >tries to shame victims of assault and property for being “uncivil”

    Real nice bunch of people.

    I invite you to send a message to the corrupt O’Brien Clique that this city is exists by and for its taxpaying citizens, and that the decline in public safety and health is unacceptable. Do the right thing, Andrew.

  4. The council just want more money and want to tax the rich companies who profit the most from the boom. In itself, the argument might hold. That is their spin. But the devil is in the detail. What solution is that money funding and what is the reasoning behind it. Is that solution going to solve the homelesness problem or not? That is what the people from Ballard are really asking and they are not getting any answers. What options for the homelesness problem were at the council’s table? Probably and hopefully not only one. What made them accept the chosen one?

    How do you plan to keep law and order in the city, your basic reason for being, council? Stop everything you are doing right now and work on fixing this crisis while you still can!

  5. I think the people are frustrated. We keep hearing about our city and county governments overbudget on every project. Not just double or triple but 6 times more than average, 10 times more – and there is no accountability. 12million per mile for bikelanes when they should be $850,000? 500million overrun on Sound Transit partly due to building parks and plazas and moving into expensive downtown office space? 100’s of millions thrown at the homeless problem and the number of homeless only increase? Our RV lots cost 6 times more than those in San Diego and SF but have almost no homeless leaving to enter housing. And the initiative against Safe Injection Sites not allowed to get on the ballot even though all the signatures were turned in on time?

    Our government is showing disrespect by not caring that our money is being wasted. Our government is not listening to the voice of the people who want to vote on the Safe Consumption Site Issue. Our government is not holding all the homeless service providers accountable with metrics. And our government makes it very difficult to see how all our homeless dollars and transportation dollars are being spent – and where the waste is happening.

    Our government holds sham meetings where nobody is allowed to state a concern or get a question honestly answered about where the money is going. And the people showed they are tired of nobody listening.

  6. @Sockpuppet:

    The problem with the junkies is worse here than most other American cities by several orders of magnitude.

    Either you haven’t traveled much from the 10 block radius you call home or you (most likely) are spewing horribly false observations in an attempt to make some point that you can never quite seem to make.

    Oh and congrats on your 2,000 signatures! Assuming those signatures are all real voters of District 6 (haha, right?), you’re 1/6 of the way to Weatbrook’s 12,000 votes when O’Brien won in a landslide!

  7. I will never vote for Mike O’Brien again. There is never an acknowledgement of an email and I have been singularly unimpressed with him in person. He sure doesn’t care about my neighborhood. I’ve had it with the garbage heaps, the theft, the trespassing, the needles, and on and on.
    He’s a little too slick and without any real substance.

  8. This Bezos guy makes SOOO much money……WAY more than you or I will EVER see in our lives. The head tax is a GOOD idea.

  9. One more thing……Don’t fall for Amazons pausing massive project bullshit. its just a bluff – and a lame ass one at that. The truth is you couldn’t pry Amazon out of Seattle with a frikking crowbar.

  10. The so called head tax is a bad idea because the city has wasted millions already. You see increased problems with garbage, syringes, tent campers on the freeway right of ways. The city really looks bad and wasted millions creating a demographic of addicts and bums. They don’t work and stand on their own two feet.

  11. @Clyde: How do you propose we solve your sensationalist claim of a problem?

    Let me guess: arrest them or force them to leave?

  12. @Truth
    Urban camping = open heroin and meth use, human waste and toxic dumping in parks and green spaces
    Meth Rvs = organized theft rings, prostitution (human trafficking), and sometimes murder

    So, I guess all the hippie nonsense about recycling and conservation is just talk? How about the leftie outrage about human trafficking? No biggie, huh?

    Please tell me what great plan the city has for this head tax? These morons have already allowed this situation to fester to this point. I don’t hear any solutions from Durkan or O’Brien other than “gimme more of your money”.

    Permitting a once fine city to degenerate into a place where 89 assaults have been committed OUTSIDE THE COURT HOUSE IN A SINGLE YEAR is an absolutely unforgivable crime. That anyone would defend this insanity out of some purely defensive ideological devotion is just pathetic. The city needs to restore order immediately and take ownership of this mess and stop robbing taxpayers.

  13. Tired of the unsanitary campers along the Burke Gilman trail, tired of the garbage piled next to the freeway, tired of the junker RVs in the SoDo area, tired of the crime around the Licton Springs shanty town, tired of the harassment around the King Co. court house and tired of supporting do nothing bums that get high all day. Quit making excuses.

  14. @Sockpuppet: Turn the question to you:

    How do you propose we solve your sensationalist claim of a problem? Let me guess: arrest them or force them to leave?

    Yeah, I knew you have no solutions, only griping…same ol’ suckpuppet ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  15. Yes, yes, yes! Solution #1: Arrest them all for littering, environmental damage, drug use, car prowling, bicycle theft, arson and check them outstanding warrants. That’s what we’ve been saying for 5-10 years now. Vagrants are illegally camping on state, county and city property. Arrest them. Didn’t they clean up 1,000 syringes at 58th and 5th NE last week? The bums are not good citizens.

  16. The Seattle City Council is destroying Ballard. They can’t throw enough money at the bums they have attracted by the hundreds, maybe the thousands now, into our neighborhood. I am sick of their labeling people who are largely criminals and bums by choice, as “homeless” alongside the minority who actually are willing to do the work required to become law abiding, self sufficient, productive members of society. They can’t get enough money for the bums, but there’s no money to improve our abysmal public schools.
    And enough of our neighbors agree with their agenda, that they haven’t been thrown out. It’s not just the Council, its our neighbors that enable them, and not just a few. To them, I am just a free wallet, undeserving of everything I worked for. If you don’t like what’s going on here, you better be thinking about somewhere else to live, because there’s no reason to expect it to do anything but continue getting worse.

  17. @Clyde: Ok, let’s play your wacky game. We arrest them. How do we pay for the police sweeps, warrant checks and arrests? Who foots the bill to jail people for camping? How do we then pay for constant enforcement? Who foots the legal bill when Seattle inevitably gets sued and loses quickly due to Habeas Corpus, the 14th Amendment and those other pesky constitutional protections?

    You pearl-clutchers seems so bent out of shape on spending millions for housing, mental treatment and addiction services, but have no qualms spending millions on continual and indefinite arrests and jailing, which solve exactly nothing.

    So please, I’m willing to hear how you think your solution will work!


    I am sick of their labeling people who are largely criminals and bums by choice…

    I’d like to see you spend one night out on the streets. ONE! Then come back here and let us know how the homeless are all there by choice. You wouldn’t last two minutes after dark before you make boom-boom in your pantaloons and come crying back to your safe, warm house. Real tough guy here!

    PS, as a bonus, get addicted to fentanyl and then quit cold turkey, because addicts clearly choose to stay addicted and can quit at any time!

  18. @Truth

    Deputize the National Guard and bring all the campers to unused govt facilities. The felons get sorted from the rest, the junkies forced into rehab, the rest are given beds. This isn’t rocket science, unfortunately Seattle has alienated the Fed because of our sanctuary city (hmmm seeing a pattern here…) recalcitrance so getting funding might be difficult.

    And if the junkie campers are SO MUCH TOUGHER than the rest of us, hey, then they should kick cold turkey. Addicts are weak. And it’s pathetic their CHOICES are something you hold up as some sort of virtue in an attempt to mock those of us who have, or still do, work dangerous jobs instead of sponging or stealing from neighbors.

  19. Remember when Rush Limbaugh would go on every day about rounding up all the addicts and putting them in concentration camps, and we found out he was popping pills the whole time? Good times. These clowns never stop putting on the same bits.

  20. Komo tv reported 53 million dollars was spent on Seattle’s homeless crisis last year and the mess is getting worse. The city seems to have lots of money, but isn’t getting the garbage cleaned up or the bums evacuated.

  21. @Clyde: Maybe it’s because we are mitigating a problem, rather than trying to solve it? Of course, the real solutions can never happen because when they are proposed (housing, addiction services, mental services, etc), the Next Door people figuratively and almost literally crap themselves in anger. And life goes on…

    …unfortunately Seattle has alienated the Fed because of our sanctuary city

    You really have no idea how a sanctuary city works, do you? I’m guessing that other than the anti-American drivel you hear from Dori Monson or pill poppin’ Rush Limbaugh, you’ve never actually researched it, so I’ll help you out:

    The feds are free to come in any time and round up and deport people at any time. Seattle can’t stop them, King County can’t stop them, Washington State can’t stop them. Seattle has just said that we are not going to spend a dime of our taxpayer money to help them out and I and many other people support that. To use your delusional logic, if you want to help the feds out, they’ll happily take donations. Just look up “Gifts to the United States”.


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