And that's Capitalism for you: Spend $5 to save $3, so long as none of it goes to anyone in the 99%...


The Hundreds of Thousands of Taxpayer Dollars Spent by the City Defending Sawant's Slanders Sure Could Help a Lot of Homeless People


In fact;
The Tens of Thousands of Taxpayer Dollars Spent by the City Printing Propaganda Posters Promoting Sawant's Personal Political Agenda Also Sure Could Help a Lot of Homeless People


@2, @3 - Those thousands are translating into millions of dollars in homeless funding (something called a “head tax”) - seems like a pretty decent rate of return, I will definitely be voting for Sawant again.


So if they're taking money already earmarked for homeless services and spending it on lawyers, how about you provide us with some proof?


Probably the worst salad of false equivalencies and conflations you've ever written, Natalie.


Let us guess, you work for the Homeless Industrial Complex?
Making the Big Bucks "helping" the homeless?

Greedily counting your chicks before they are hatched, aren't you?
Sorry, those eggs are only going to yield the putrid sulfuric stench all rotten eggs do.
Sawant Supporters should be getting pretty used to the aroma by now...


“I asked the people doing the work of serving people experiencing homelessness what they could do with that money instead.”

Instead of asking for their speculative opinions about what they could do with money they’ll never get, why don’t you ask them for a factual account of what they actually did with all the money we gave them during our ten-year plan to end homelessness?

Or did they already tell you to go get a subpoena for that?



How about you invest in Reading Comprehension Lessons?


@3 I see you've found yet another sock puppet account!

And no. It wasn't "tens of thousands of posters," dipshit. It was 4,000.

Which, if you're current on the math in this universe, is 16,000 iterations shy of multiples of ten thousand. Which you clearly are not. You're not even current on what Sentence Case grammar is.

Well. Anyway, I guess if your stupid enough to think homeless people have some magical gene that let's them digest paper, then those posters could've helped. Or are you thinking that they could make houses from the flyers?

Oh. I get it. You think there is some magical way using an office copier will translate directly into paying for housing for homeless people! Like it's all some zero-sum economic universe. Or there is some Scrooge McDuck vault in city hall filled with gold coins that they roll down the halls by the wheelbarrow every time they need to make a copy or buy coffee creamer for the break room.

Let's add up your outrage. Let's see. 4,000 x about a nickel each. MY GOD! That's a windfall of almost $200!

That's EXACTLY like $350,000! If I had no sense of proportion or sense I might also be in a pants shitting rage about this anthill of an issue!

You stupid shit snorting infected pustule.


Yeah, democracy is a huge waste of money, it would be easier if fiats were issued and quickly obeyed. Address the housing issue by taxing the bad actors who win big in the unfair housing market, not by rewarding them with money from people trying to succeed in spite of it. Seriously, ask any amzn exec if they think their business benefits from high real estate prices: the answer is no they don't. Who does? Those collecting rent, and tbh the state of WA via increased tax assessments.


@12: Do you know that Amazon is not the only company this head tax affects?


Great article, excellent point. The first thing I thought when I heard about this repeal initiative was that money spent lobbying for less tax would be better spent helping people.


@5: You missed the point: tax money which could go for proper city business has been repeatedly squandered because of CM Sawant’s endless craving for undeserved publicity. (If she wants attention that badly, she could get it by maybe, oh, say, DOING HER JOB really well, but that would be work...)


If we can do so much with $350,000, why haven’t the billions we’ve spent over the past decade made any difference?


@15: Rather than answer that, our City Council would rather slap your employer with a tax on your job. (Really, they would. It’s a lot easier than asking questions when they don’t want the answers anyway.)



It's called reading between the lines. Look that one up, if you have to.

But here, I'll save you the trouble of investing in some Government Comprehension Lessons:

101: They can't just shuffle money around from one department to another.

You're welcome.



Wow, you're pretty grumpy, Little Man.
Have you met Mata Amritanandamayi, world renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader?
Perhaps she could help you find a spark of humanity in your cold bitter dark dank soul.

There's a lot to unpack in your tantrum so let's get to work!

Your knowledge of how quotation marks work is a little rusty.
you said >>> no. It wasn't "tens of thousands of posters,"
You are right, it wasn't;
it was "tens of thousands of TAXPAYER DOLLARS".

As for how many tens of thousands (of TAXPAYER DOLLARS) we are dealing with, Wiki can help you out with understanding plural.
take it away, Wiki.....
The plural (sometimes abbreviated pl), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical category of number. Plural of nouns typically denote a quantity other than the default quantity represented by a noun, which is generally one (the form that represents this default quantity is said to be of singular number). Plurals may denote more than fractional, zero or negative amounts.

Any amount over 10,000 (or other than exactly 10,000) would be a plural of ten thousand;
10,001 would be 1.0001 tens of thousands,
500 would be .05 tens of thousands

Feeling better yet?

We're current on Sentence Case, thanks;
we used Title Case because we were mocking Heidi's headline.

Now, as for just how many tens of thousands (of TAXPAYER DOLLARS) Sawant pilfered from the taxpayers, first let us say your 5 cent figure for copies is so precious.
You've never owned and operated a copy machine, have you darling. It shows.

Now, the 4000 documents was just for a period of about 24 hours and records for only a few days were available; we have no idea how many BILLIONS of documents Sawant's greasy minions pump out over a longer period of time.
And the records do not indicate how many of the 4000 were 11x17 color posters, which cost a little more than a nickel (even plain black ink copies on standard copy paper cost more than a nickel...)
Office Depot prints posters; their web site quotes $51 for a hundred color ledger size sheets, we'll let you chew on the math for a 4000 document order.

You are right in one regard;
the taxpayer money Sawant wasted is not like the $350,000-
the $350,000 is private money that it's owners can spend anyway they choose without having to get Heidi's or Sawant's or your permission.
Greed, Envy and Thievery may be the colours all the Leftists are wearing this spring (like every spring...) but beware, they make you look fat-
the city money Sawant wasted, on the other hand, belonged to all of us and all of us have a stake and say in how it is spent.

There is a lot of really useful stuff here, you should screenshot it so you can go back and study it later because after you whine to the webmaster this comment and account will be deleted; you sniveling pathetic cowardly pussy.


You mean “Paternalistic,” dumbfuck.


Many years ago, I talked to a person in a reindeer costume selling chestnuts for a homeless charity at xmas time, telling them I was one of the ones they're helping. What would happen if a homeless guy who's always sitting in front of Whole Foods SLU went up and talked to the Anti head tax person sitting at a table in front of Whole Foods SLU??? If this homeless guy got help from more people in different ways, wouldn't he want to thank those people helping him?


@11: “Like it's all some zero-sum economic universe.”

Uh, that’s the entire point of this article: to berate and guilt-trip anyone who dares spend a dollar in any way not explicitly approved in advance by The Stranger, by pointing out that money is fungible.

Next article: The Stranger describes how time spent by volunteers gathering signatures could instead be spent on removing garbage, including human waste and used needles, from the sidewalk outside The Stranger’s office.


Its not a democracy its rule by the rich which is called a plutocracy. Its noticed that you weren’t much interested in spending for the homeless until this proposal for the head tax came up.

Lets be real, your bullshit campaign about the head tax is another hissy fit by rich, pampered people that are used getting their way 100% of the time. People weren’t servile enough were they? You haven’t been waiting in line at the food bank have you?


@19: Can't you ever discuss anything without getting hostile?



I’m surprised you guys haven’t gone with blaming sports-ball teams for paying players $10 million a year for not solving homelessness. Or how about the $650 million the new Seattle hockey team is going to cost? I mean, homelessness is more important than hockey so why doesn’t OVG just give all that money to fund homeless services?

If you think those comparisons are lazy, Heidi, you should re-read your piece.


@22: Seattle spent plenty of our tax money on our ten-year plan to end homelessness, without any attempt by us citizens to file a Referendum on those expenditures, so I’m not sure how you “noticed” the exact polar opposite. Perhaps you just don’t know what you’re talking about?

(Come to think of it, that would indeed explain why you’re now constantly yelling at your fellow citizens, telling people who have filed a Referendum and are now volunteering their personal time to collect signatures that they are running a “plutocracy”.)


Rule by the rich. That makes it a plutocracy.


@26: Thanks for confirming my point @25.


27 Wow. We are so impressed. The point is to help eliminate the pain and suffering of the homeless not to confirm egos.


@22: how exactly was it “noticed” that Seattle’s taxpaying citizens “weren’t much interested in spending for the homeless until this proposal for the head tax came up.”? We spent plenty on our city’s ten-year plan to end homelessness — how did that go? Care to recall?

We’re spending money now to end homelessness; just check any of the reports on Seattle’s public expenditures. Even if we sovereign citizens vote to repeal the head tax, as it is our inviolable right to so do, we will continue spending money to end homelessness. All of this is a matter of public record; again, how was it you “noticed” the diametrical opposite?


haha - "homeless industrial complex". I can just imagine all the homeless advocates sitting around in overstuffed chairs lighting their cigars with hundred dollar bills. They're going to have the filthy rich teacher's union over for a grand ball this weekend!


The best irony here is these corporations thinking they are so much better than managing money than the government could ever be. And to prove it they’re pissing away $350,000 and counting on a liking doomed signature gathering operation, the only result of which will be an even more expensive loss at the ballot box.

After they’ve set a match to those hundreds of thousands of dollars, they will then pay the damn tax. AND commence bitching that the city can’t handle money.


@32: So, if we repeal the head tax, you’ll be back here to admit you were wrong?


Speaking of money that could’ve went to homelessness, can seattle stop building parklets? Its a huge cost for what we get and they turn into homeless camps, surely the money would be better spent just going directly to help homelessness


In Seattle and King County the so called homeless make up a mere 0.5% of the population, yet they drive the agenda and receive millions of dollars.
Repealing this absurd tax is taking care of the 99.5% who are not crazy junkies.


Geee... I wonder what they could have done with the $12,000,000 the city spent on a mile of bike lane...


@32. Yeah, better to just give up and let the government make all our decisions for us without so much as a peep.

Fascist much?


No ones hands are clean when it comes to the homeless. Not the companies who have helped drive up the cost of housing, not the government which has been content to throw money at the problem, not the social services who tend to build empires and throw the homeless out when/if they aren't sufficiently mentally stable or Bible-addled. And not the public, who have largely been quite indifferent, if not hostile, to the people trapped in the situation.

Republicans are horrible people for sure, but people on the left - at least here on Our Dear Slog - have the tendency to reduce this issue to some sort of Amazon Resentment Disorder based on the fact that there's no affordable one bedroom apartments in the Pike-Pine corridor anymore, and they tore down the original Cha-Cha Lounge.

And of course, the people who perpetuate the status quo - the service agencies - are going to want to tell us about what dandy things they could do with that money. They've been singing that song for thirty years, and where has that gotten us?

As I have said, this is not a Seattle-only problem. This is a regional problem, and it needs a regional solution that includes a comprehensive mental health care program for all citizens, and decentralization of service providers All keeping things in downtown Seattle does is make it easier for the people who prey on the addicted to sell their products. If this really is an "emergency", treat it like an emergency, which means not only "housing" but the infrastructure needed to really help people with addiction and mental health problems.

But that doesn't fit with the agenda of the Union Gospel Mission, or the DESC or the council members who want to be bureaucratic heroes by perpetuating a system that has been broken since the 1980's. This should not about creating opportunities for people to go to conferences and symposia about how they "created a new vision for ending homelessness" by adding yet another dubious tax in a state full of dubious taxes.

Come up with a plan. A plan that has actions and benchmarks and goals. A regional plan that shakes up the status quo and addresses housing, healthcare, mobility, and jobs. Then bring that to the people. Don't just declare it to be sufficient, because no one believes that anymore.


The point is any progressive tax that could start undoing the most regressive tax scheme in the nation has to meet the dust according to those who want to keep it that way.


yeah, the millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars already allocated to the "crisis", the great camper "emergency" is just not enough.

free room with a view for everyone!



You running for office any time soon? I'd like to vote for you.


"Executive Director Sharon Lee says $350,000 could pay for a new tiny house village with 50 heated tiny houses plus a kitchen and showers."

Conversely, it would nearly pay for Sharon lee's annual salary. Or, it would pay for some certified drug and alcohol counselors at those low barrier tiny villages she says are necessary to provide stability to get sober. You DO have on-site counselors, right Sharon? Sharon?


Not a surprise. Whenever businesses get hit with unions wanting to organize they never internalize and ask "What are we doing to make our employees want to unionize and what could we change to make them not want to unionize?" or "Why do some businesses ever have to worry about their employees unionizing? What are they doing differently?". They hire a consulting firm to provide mandatory "training" to their employees about how unions just want to control them. Maybe I'm completely off base and those consultants are volunteers and provide the service free of charge.



I'm sure they will. Right after all you dumb fucks admit you were wrong about IL DOUCHE following through on that Nobel-Peace-Prize-Winning summit with North Korea, for starters...


I dunno, we kept on dumping money into the Noble, Righteous, fully successful and accountable invasion of Iraq, so it's not surprising that localities want to follow suit with that strategy.

I mean, it worked, right?


"Executive Director Sharon Lee says $350,000 could pay for a new tiny house village with 50 heated tiny houses plus a kitchen and showers."

Conversely, it would nearly pay for Sharon lee's annual salary. Or, it would pay for some certified drug and alcohol counselors at those low barrier tiny villages she says are necessary to provide stability to get sober. You DO have on-site counselors, right Sharon? Sharon?


$350k would serve only 3,500 people?! So providing a bathroom and/or laundry to a homeless person costs $100 a pop?! Wow. I need to start renting out my bathroom and laundry room.


Heidi, I think your solution to most of Seattle's problems is a one-party dictatorship, which is what Seattle was becoming until head tax opponents finally said that enough is enough. There is only one point of view that's OK with you: the government should spend money on any project that helps people, and just make businesses and homeowners finance the spending, no matter how inefficient and irresponsible the spending is. Anybody who is against you is a NIMBY. Most NIMBYs are are already dealing with problems in their backyards. They just don't want a whole new set of them. Every political system needs a government and an opposition, or else it isn't democratic. Just deal with the opposition, don't demonize it. You'll still get most of what you want.


Man, the head tax has the cons and trump cultist snowflakes triggered hard. Just look at this thread. I'm surprised tensor hasn't had a heart attack yet.

And I agree with Lastlight - Catalina for Mayor!


Nice provocative and predictable headline. Yes, that $350,000 would help some homeless people. But what about the $60,000,000 we taxpayers invested in helping the homeless last year? Shouldn't that have done more? I think that we need to hold our City Council and the organizations we are funding more accountable for the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent, while the situation has gotten worse. What do you think?


@51: It’s opposition to the head tax which has most folks here in a rage. The very idea that we citizens might actually use our power to overturn a City Council action has you yelling “Trumpists”. No, it’s just democracy in Seattle. That is all.

Of course, no mattter what happens to the head tax, Seattle will still spend millions upon millions of dollars attempting to house a population which numbers in the thousands. This makes your childish outbursts of “Trumpy!” even more pathetic: you’re objecting to not being given every last thing you demand. Grow up.

Here’s a hint for why the head tax has sparked a call for repeal: you didn’t even attempt to describe why revenues from the head tax will be spent any more wisely than was money spent on our ten-year plan to end homelessness. No supporter of the head tax has yet attempted to do so. Why then should we risk wasting more money?


@tensor - but you hate Seattle, why do you care so much? Just do a gloating "SEATTLE IS DOOMED" comment and be done with it. Clearly all you really speak for is hypotension.

Didn't you do this same stupid thing during the minimum wage battle too? Sad.


So DESC would use it to house people on the street, and everyone else would use it for other stuff. Got it.

This is problem in a nutshell.


@54: Why should we continue paying money into a system which had a ten-year plan to end homelessness? Why do supporters of this head tax never answer that question? Why do you always go right to personal attacks against anyone who dares question our City Council's action?

You might want to try answering those questions before you embarrass yourself further with more contrafactual nonsense, such as:

"@tensor - but you hate Seattle, why do you care so much?"

I've lived here for about as long as has Dan Savage. I've volunteered for local causes (environment, gay rights, education) for most of that time. What have you done, except provide stellar end-of-thread comments here?

"Didn't you do this same stupid thing during the minimum wage battle too?"

I supported the minimum wage when we voted to raise it statewide in 1998. I supported the minimum wage when we raised it citywide. You can read my comments supporting the latter by checking my profile, which you obviously didn't before your ran your mouth.



Friends of Youth is not a church affiliated program. I worked there for years and have worked with them as a partner for even more years. Not a religiously affiliated organization.


Everyone here wondering what we've spent our money on should read the McKinsey study on homelessness in Seattle. It's an easy read debunking a lot of theories about government misusing homeless funding and the real causes (and solutions) of homelessness. And it was commissioned by the Chambet of Commerce so not exactly a biased source.


Why don't you do a breakdown of Kshama's $300,000 in lawyer fees Seattleites have to pay for her reckless mouth? Eating for you to break it down.


@58: The original, longer PowerPoint, or the heavily-censored, "official" version, in which all of the data in the original which does not support the conclusion has been surgically removed?

Said conclusion was, of course, that Seattle's taxpayers need spend hundreds of millions of dollars on "affordable" housing. Such housing would, of course, be supplied by private-sector contractors who are part of the Chamber of Commerce -- not exactly an unbiased source.

If you read the City-commissioned Poppe Report and the United Way Report, you'll see there is no need for "affordable" housing to house all of our current homeless population. In fact,

"... expanded affordable housing is not a precondition for reducing homelessness. The community has to commit to making an impact on the problem with the existing housing inventory or there may never be a significant reduction. Waiting for enough housing to be produced means continuing to tolerate the current situation in which thousands of people, including some families with children, are living on the streets and in tents."


Of the 350k spent, probably at least 25% went back to fed,state and local sales and income taxes. So they are helping fund homeless services.


I hope other readers noticed the obvious commonality amongst all of the suggestions for spending $350K of someone else’s money: few of them have anything to do with moving homeless persons into permanent housing. Maybe this helps to explain our severe doubt the revenues from the head tax would actually provide a permanent solution for homelessness?

(My second favorite is the idea that $350,000 could buy a decent house anywhere in King County, much less pay for upkeep — and if it did work, it would help just a handful of children! Best, though, is the ongoing scam known as the Low Income Housing Institue offering to put vulnerable persons in unheated, insecure shacks without plumbing — all for a high price per unit. Private property owners would face immediate and severe legal consequences for offering such rentals to paying customers, and for very, very good reason.)


You know what this reminds me of? Besides the failed effort to stop the $15 per hour minimum wage? The plastic bag ban.

First Seattle passed a 20 cent plastic bag fee. The chemical companies and other business spent $1.4 million to put it on the ballot and get it repealed. A mighty blow against big government! Except they just passed a new fee of 5 cents. Either way the same result: we don't waste all those plastic bags any more. Those plastic profits are gone. Along with $1,400,000.

Business thinks that was money well spent. They live in a reality where they get to call the tune because business knows best. They refuse do read the writing on the wall. The fact is, plastic bags were doomed. Instead of adapting, they poured gasoline on $1.4 million of their own money and set a match to it. Corporations act out their anger by destroying their own money. Money is speech to them. Insane.

Here, read:

They pissed away money on the delusion that anything like the real wages of 1970 were never, never, never coming back. They fantasized workers would make half that, forever. It's absurd when you say it out loud, but it was their fantasy and they threw truckloads of money on a tantrum trying to cling to that fantasy.

Now they pretend Seattle's absurdly regressive taxation can go on forever. It's obviously an aberration that can't last. Instead of counting their blessings and adapting to a reasonable tax structure, they're throwing another tantrum.

Business is filled with mediocrities who can't face reality. Watch. They're going to do it all over again.


It's interesting how many time members of the City Council use the word "contribution" to describe taxes such the Head Tax on Jobs. A tax is a tax. It is required. A contribution is a gift. It is a choice. I'd like each council member to have a a little metal box with teeny tiny soaps the size of mini-Altoids, and suggest they pop one in their mouth every time they incorrectly substitute the word "contribution" for "tax." Water? Yes, please.


@65 - sounds like a great speech to give to the "taxation is theft" crowd.

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