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.”


79
Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Bhagwan Shree Sawant
Guest
Bhagwan Shree Sawant

Expressions is healthy. Town halls where lives are made and broken carry high stakes, and shouting is not nearly as the same galaxy as the sins against sanity committed by our “leaders”.

The tone policing “usual suspects” like Barnett better get used to it.

Tugboat
Guest
Tugboat

When you feed the stray, they will stay. And they tell thier fellow stray cats how good it is here.

Granted, there are those who are homeless due to a city that grew to fast. My heart goes out to them. I know a few of them.

But, let’s talk about the ones that moved here becuase it’s a free ride. Because the police don’t respond to a call about theft. Because it’s ok to camp where ever you want and trash the area you live in. Those aren’t the our fellow Seattlelites that fell on hard times, they wouldn’t do this to our community, their community.

These strays are giving the folks of our city that need help a bad rap. How do we curve this?

Yes, I expect to get trolled, but troll me with a convincing argument.

Mike O’Brien, YOU FEED THE STRAYS, THEY WILL STAY.

guesty
Guest
guesty

town hall meetings involve Q and A, face to face.

cowardly smirking oB changed the format to avoid difficult questions. he is a smirking smarmy POS. feed him to the bums…

guesty
Guest
guesty

also, stop quoting c is for c$%^ as a reliable source for crying out loud.

Bhagwan Shree Sawant
Guest
Bhagwan Shree Sawant

For some inexplicable reason, some people desperately want to turn Ballard into Crapitol Hill.

They then raise taxes (!), mock locals for wanting a safe/clean neighborhood, and SHAME people for shouting at these corny town hall meetings.

The “leadership” in Seattle is a lush panoply of personality disorders on full display. Each one really thinks they are saving the world while they ruin Ballard and the rest of Seattle.

Uff da
Guest
Uff da

I hope this just the beginning of civil unrest in Ballard and elsewhere in Seattle. O’Brien deserved every negative word he heard, It certainly has been a long time simmering. This guy does not represent the interests of taxpayers of District 6 very well and never will.

Eljefe Pantoja
Guest
Eljefe Pantoja

Seattleites are finally starting to realize how liberal the council really is. I just hope the council doesn’t totally destroy this city before the next elections. The city needs some conservative voices on the council.

Serena
Guest
Serena

Erica Barnett may not edit some fancy sailing newsletter, but she says it like it is.

The meeting was embarrassing as a long-time Ballardite. It seemed less like a sophisticated Scandanavian crowd asking critical questions and more like a bunch of chimpanzees jumping up and down squawking and slinging poo– all proud of themselves.

Like a city councilman could solve homelessness! I’d be laughing my ass off, too as he clearly was

elenchos
Guest
elenchos

More! More! You guys keep doing you. Magnificent performance.

The thing Seattle MAGA had most going for it is that most voters don’t know you exist. Now they’ve seen you in action, and this is only the beginning. Next time you all are really going to let that white nationalist loon flag fly, and the city will recoil in horror. But you feed on the negative. Good. Good. I can feel your anger! You guys will be so encouraged you’ll be twice as loud the next time, with twice the crazy. Who doesn’t love a good trainwreck? I’d feel sorry for you but you’re so mean, so callus. What’s not to like?

All together now: Get Off My Lawn!™

Taffy
Guest
Taffy

Honestly every place I go now, from a walk along the ship canal to the Woodlawn off leash area and Greenlake there are homeless camps. I was going to sit in a private spot and meditate on the ship canal but I guess someone lives there now. This city is out of control and homelessness isn’t the only issue. My rent just went up $225 a month and the property owner said I was lucky he didn’t increase it $425! Wtf Seattle!? 🤤😣😓😐

McManus
Guest
McManus

Most of the people I knew at that meeting last night did not vote for Trump, but they are pissed off at what their neighborhood has become. Simple as that. Do NOT try to paint this MAGA. More like MBNA (Make Ballard Normal Again). We are ALL sick of this.

Spartacus
Guest
Spartacus

I’m surprised if took homeowners this long to pushback. Most of us, though, are focused on job, families, etc. The council has marginalized our valid concerns about property crime, their mismanagement of the homeless issue, and their creative budgeting using our homes as ATMs.

Sometimes the only time to be heard is to push back loudly.

Glad Ballard pushed back. Sometimes it the only way to deal with bullies.

Bhagwan Shree Sawant
Guest
Bhagwan Shree Sawant

@Serena

Yes, as if raising property taxes, and therefore rents, could solve homelessness. You enjoy the meth Rvs and junkie filth everywhere? Do you own a run a business? Your “muh Scandi sophistication” vanished when the parks turned into zoos for felons.

Even SF, far left as it may be, is now trying to curb the homeless junkie invasion there. Wake up. Your “leaders” are scamming us all while you snark at your neighbors for going off the “Stranger approved” script.

No more Mr nice guy
Guest
No more Mr nice guy

I will no longer feel like I shouldn’t speak up! Oh no I’m just getting started. It is time for a revolution! Lets kick ass!

hayduke
Guest
hayduke

Goddam that felt good last night. MOB has it coming. He earned every bit of it.

CONCERNED CITIZEN
Guest
CONCERNED CITIZEN

$170+ Million was spent on the “homelessness crisis” in 2017. Over a $170 Million. How in the hell? That is such a large amount of money, and yet there are as many signs of a homeless problem all over the city that we all have seen. I refuse to believe that with $170Mil spent EFFICIENTLY, there wouldn’t have been dramatic improvements. Collecting $70 Million more from the the greatest contributors to our local economy is not the answer. Especially when there isn’t already a detailed, published budget that would show how each dollar would be spent and how it’s justified. Enough is enough. We do not need to throw a quarter of a billion dollars annually at what makes up less than a percent of the population of our county.

paul
Guest

The meeting was a good start. I’m still concerned about the framing around “homelessness” versus the real problem which is enabling heroin and meth use. Let’s be honest, this is an addiction problem as much as its a homeless problem.

Today walking across E Howell Street a meth-head came up behind me and was threatening everybody around, so I stepped off the sidewalk to let him pass – but not before discretely pulling a flip-knife just in case. The meth addict proceeded down the sidewalk toward a young woman and little girl – luckily he veered off into the alley before passing the woman and girl.

Seattle’s devolving into a haven for meth and heroin users because the police arn’t enforcing basic laws. The drug use leads to spikes in property crime and even occasional violence.

sid vandyke
Guest
sid vandyke

The police only do what our government allows them to do ! We have a great police force but they have strict rules they have to follow or get fired trying to clean up the trash from our city !

Joe
Guest
Joe

Knew this was about to happen , then after that citizens will fight against this plague on their own . Forget SPD and city officials , it’s been long enough and the cancer is growing !

CONCERNED CITIZEN
Guest
CONCERNED CITIZEN

“The thing Seattle MAGA had most going for it is that most voters don’t know you exist. Now they’ve seen you in action, and this is only the beginning. Next time you all are really going to let that white nationalist loon flag fly”

What a lazy cop-out way to address people that don’t agree with you. Anyone speaking loudly and is upset about their local representatives? Let’s subtly call them racist and assume their a hardcore member of Trump’s base.

Kip
Guest
Kip

You are so right IMO CC. I am liberal and I despise the right wing, Trump-base methods and “dialogue”. But I have lived in Ballard 20 years. The homeless drug problem exploded almost precisely when the police began the experimental reduction in arrest for opiate use and switched to mediation for services. This approach may save lives although I haven’t seen and data supporting that coming from the city council. In contrast, this program has had a really severe effect on the neighborhood. Word has gotten around that Ballard is a safe place to shoot up. I believe that this experiment has failed and I would like some serious information from the council at how they are going to reverse this mess. It certainly serves the city council and mayor to shrug their shoulders and say “its the economy”. But that isn’t entirely true. This problem in Ballard stems directly from the new drug enforcement policies. I would like to hear from the council – are these policies working? What is your metric for what is working and what is not? How did the downtown “sweep” of the jungle affect the numbers of homeless in Ballard. And why aren’t these… Read more »

matt
Guest
matt

I was there and found it both entertaining and therapeutic for a community outraged by the city’s incompetence. O’Brien is a rich kid who is trying to fix serious problems with ineffective feel-good tactics. He needs to get the people off the streets or he’ll be tossed out of office. I sense that he is accustomed to hearing from the pro-homeless industry downtown because no one from his district will venture downtown to attend council meetings at city hall. He should hold more meetings locally in order to really gauge the needs of the people he represents.

That the meeting was intended as a “presentation” (i.e. more of their pro-tax propaganda) shows how tone-deaf his entire team is to the needs of his district. Does anyone on his staff even live in Ballard?

Pope Francis
Guest
Pope Francis

When does the carravan from Central America arrive?

Scott
Guest
Scott

Seems O’Brien and Sawant ARE the bullies we’ve all heard so much about. Using our tax $$ to foist whatever down our collective throats is NOT policy. Wetting a finger and thrusting it into the air is NOT policy. This IS what an “ideologue” looks like. As in a cartoon character. “We are a nation of laws, not men/women”. @ Kip; according to you I’m a “right winger”. I despise your votes PERIOD. We want you to own your vote and this mess. It’s not “drug enforcement policies” creating this issue. It’s the idiots in office PERIOD. When you leave for work today, please leave all your doors unlocked. Leave a “free basket” of your hard earned stuff on your front porch. Does a business pay taxes, or does it’s customers? Take your pride and swallow very hard. Part of the problem or part of the solution? You figure this out. I did.

SImple Jack
Guest
SImple Jack

Oh lordy , when has Erica “Arrested for stealing wine” Barnett ever cared about all the Trotskyites Social Alternative buses in to scream in the actual city chambers.

elenchos
Guest
elenchos

“What a lazy cop-out way to address people that don’t agree with you.” Darling, when you’ve all agreed that shouting everyone else down is your golden ticket, how do you expect to be addressed? You’ve all gone and decided that you won’t be reasoned with. You’ve decided that nobody else gets to speak. Crazy person voice: “That Kshama Sawant brings all those yellers to meetings, now that Mike O’Brien is going to get a taste of HER medicine. That’ll teach her! Er, him. That’ll teach him to, uh, not be Kshama Sawant! Charge!” You’re outraged at gentrification, yet you say the streets are a dump. You say there’s eyesores everywhere, and also, property values are soaring out of reach. Tack on the racist, white nationalist dog whistles and you’re pretty much ripe for a demagogue grifter to promise you sparkling clean streets and lower property values and everyone you see will be white. I’m not subtly calling you racist. It’s classic racist scapegoating: your life isn’t what you think you were promised, and you falsely blame anybody who doesn’t look like you. Your only response to anybody who tries to reason with you is a stream of personal attacks. Neo-nazis… Read more »