OP-ED: Herbold’s latest move is reflective of an alarming trend
By Brendan Kolding
Last week, Councilmember Lisa Herbold introduced a proposal that would effectively de-criminalize most misdemeanor crimes committed by people who claim to be indigent or to have a behavioral health disorder. Scott Lindsay offers a thorough analysis of this proposal in “Analysis of Seattle City Council Proposal to Excuse and Dismiss Most Misdemeanor Crimes.” Mr. Lindsay correctly notes that this proposal would reduce the City’s ability to protect people, businesses, and property from most misdemeanor crimes.
Councilmember Herbold chairs the Public Safety Committee, and this proposal has a clear nexus to public safety. However, she has not introduced this proposal through the Public Safety Committee. Instead, she slipped it into the Budget Committee’s agenda. One of her staff members tried to convince me that this was more transparent than putting the proposal before the Public Safety Committee, because the Budget Committee has more members. I responded that transparency within the Council is a given because all members eventually see legislation before it becomes law. Transparency to the public is what matters most, and the public does not monitor the Budget Committee’s agenda packet for proposals that will impact the safety of their families. He had no response for this. I asked him twice if the proposal would ever go before the Public Safety Committee, and he never gave me a direct answer. I told him that I would assume the answer was “no.” He still would not respond. I was truly insulted.
Why is Councilmember Herbold trying to get this proposal through so opaquely? What motivation does she have for avoiding public scrutiny of a proposal with significant ramifications for public safety and the criminal justice system by passing it off as another mundane budget matter? Obviously, she does not want to hear what the public has to say because she knows that the overwhelming sentiment will oppose this drastic policy shift. Remember, she campaigned on a platform of increasing staffing for the SPD because the pro-law enforcement candidates breathing down her neck were rallying support for the police. Once the ballots were counted, she voted to defund the SPD. Councilmembers Dan Strauss and Andrew Lewis did the same thing.
This problem goes beyond Herbold, Strauss, and Lewis. It goes beyond Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, the Budget Committee Chair who allowed Herbold to surreptitiously toss her proposal into the Budget agenda. Local legislative bodies are engaging in a very disturbing trend of shielding themselves from their constituents – the people they are supposed to represent – while working to achieve an activist agenda that is not supported by the majority of the population. I have written before about the City Council’s approval of funding for Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s legal defense against the citizen-led movement to recall her from office. I have also written about King County Council’s attempt to take control of the Sheriff’s Office and prevent the citizens from having their say in local law enforcement. Both entities realize that the general will of the public is not supportive of their agenda, so they are coming up with creative ways to avoid letting the public have a role in the policymaking process. If they could justify their actions to the majority of the population, they would be much more transparent.
This is all part of a country-wide movement to defund law enforcement against the popular will. Although Herbold’s proposal would not prohibit the police from making arrests in any circumstances, it would certainly call into question the matter of why the SPD would even respond to misdemeanor crimes if the odds of prosecution are so thin. From there would stem the argument for further reductions in SPD staffing and budget. Our leaders are designing a self-fulfilling prophecy that they will point to in the next election to make their platforms appear tautological to the natural evolution of the civil society. It is up to us as constituents to remain vigilant, think critically, and insist on having our voices heard.
Brendan Kolding is a former Seattle Police Lieutenant.
Here is a simple idea no one seems to think of when people with vested interests in furthering the obviously broken-beyond-repair and not worth saving in the first place model of law enforcement is brought up.... What has happened in other countries if you do the research on this subject. It has been shown time and time again, country after country, that pure policing makes things worse, day after day, generation after generation, and that only a social services leading model changes daily life for the citizens and the very problems this spokesperson for the broken system brings up. Line after line, study after study. Check it out yourself... but please, don't take this guy seriously if you haven't seen how other places with human beings made it work as part of your research. This guy has to rationalize it, it is in his interests and his family and co-workers interests... to pretend he is thinking beyond that is ludicrous for the rest of us.
What does average citizen do to address this and have our voice heard?
Excellent article and to the point...
1..Go to leohohmann.com.."Undercover agent warns of post election plans to ignite violent revolution that will shock the nation"...
2..On Tues nite, a Vietnamese Baptist Church in Philly was burned to the ground by BLM/Antifa rioters/anarchists..and NO, they were not "peaceful protestors"...
3....For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant..its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business..James 1:11..There are a lot of "rich" men who support these rioters with money and/or media support..they are not on YOUR side and won't be irregardless of how the election turns out and yes, some of them are politicians if you can believe it..