Dear Dick's Drive-In: Charitable Spending Doesn't Replace Taxes



Blah, blah, blah.

No, we can't rely on the rich to fund social services but we also can't rely on the current Seattle City Council and City Hall in general to spend this tax effectively. Until our civic leaders demonstrate that they can do something other than squander the MILLLIONS of money already spent to solve the homeless crisis they shouldn't ask individuals or businesses to pay more.


This tax doesn't demand rich people pay into Seattle. It demands that companies pay a payroll tax. A by-definition regressive form of taxation (cooked up by your "progessive" think group) that will lower wages at Amazon and Dick's. An income tax is what demands rich people pay into Seattle.

So again, how many times have you all shut Olympia down to demand real change to your state tax code? How many windows have you broken in the state capitol? How many campouts have been staged in front of the State House?



Any system which relies on the benevolence of the wealthy to better the lives of the poor is gonna end badly


Katie, are freaking serious with this garbage? Do you not recognize your own hypocrisy?

You penned a column ripping on Bezos cause he doesn’t give his money away -or spend it to your liking - and now you criticize business owners which suggest there’s ways to create incentives to make the kinds of donations/contributions you deemed acceptable.

You are a raging hypocrite or an idiot. I can’t figure out which.


So now the Stranger's attitude is; Yes the City Council is irresponsible, will waste the money and the problems will not get any better. Rich people suck and business just pisses us off. Anyway, recession is way more chill. That, my friends is our current city elect's and their advocates. Had enough of activist city government yet?


"some donated generously, which may be partly why we remember their names today (they're stamped on buildings: Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Center, Vanderbilt University, etc.)."

And there's the rub.

The wealthy prefer charity over taxation because they want... no, they NEED everyone to see how generous they are, see? Then when they rape their employees or destroy the environment they can point to charity and say "but look at how generous I am!!!" Plus, they only want the people that they personally deem "worthy" to receive their drippings. They don't want just any old poor to get their "charity." They only want certain select poors (the ones who will kiss their asses as return payment) to be eligible.


@6 is it still rape when they lay your ass off and move their business elsewhere?


What a weird and illogical comparison.

“I don’t get to choose where my tax dollars are spent”


“Businesses don’t get to choose whether or not they pay more in taxes”.

It’s not even close to the same thing.


Katie - Bet you didn't know (or chose to overlook) that we can thank St. JFK for lowering the tax rates from the stratosphere.


9: even with that(he didn't cut the tax THAT much), there was no good reason to lower taxes for the rich even MORE in 1981 and under "W" and again this year. We never needed a massive upward transfer of wealth from the working class to the already-rich.

We never needed a new plutocracy-especially THIS type of plutocracy, whose megawealth has nothing to do with their own efforts of "merit".


7: Yes...when there was no reason for them to do so. When capitalism becomes extortionism, it becomes economic rape.

BTW, I have yet to see you post anything that the actual Franklin Delano Roosevelt would have agreed with. Do you ever plan to do so?


Homelessness is not a Seattle problem.

Read some newspapers from around the country, it's an anywhere you can survive the winter in a tent problem. Which means it cannot be solved at the city level.
The best use of this money is sanitation services. Piles of garbage and sewage create a crisis for the rest of the community. People in tents are just people who need somewhere to sleep. They're working out the shelter problem, what we all have here is a GARBAGE PROBLEM.
The very best we can do is harm reduction, and that starts with hiring someone to pick up the trash.


We would need less money for housing if we instituted rent-stabilization measures. At this point it seems we are basically creating a scheme to transfer an increasing amount of money from Dick's Drive-In to landlords like Carl Haglund. Homelessness will not be solved without more public rent-stabilized housing.


Katie, this is too far. You might as well have accused Edgar Martinez of killing JFK.


I think i'd like to see some accountability before we give Seattle that much more tax money.

Don't know how your roads are but they are utter crap in North Seattle (and no i'm not talking Shoreline)

Sad; the old line is coming back.

No Taxation without Representation


@13 landlords are business too so lets price control all consumer goods. While we are at it we should set all wage and salary rates. And, if we tested children's aptitudes we could decide what they will do to best benefit society. Maybe begin DNA testing for new born's, no need wasting precious resources best saved for the healthy collective.




Katie, did it ever occur to you that Carnegie, Buffet and Gates and all the others who signed the Giving Pledge don't give All their wealth blindly to the City, County and State? They scrutinise where that money goes and get a biggest bang for their buck. Do you think maybe they might know something?

"If the City Council approves the head tax and squanders the funds, they can actually lose their jobs."
Well, for one they already blew it and taxpayers don't want to wait another decade to vote them out.


Taxing job creation makes no sense. Instead, the city should place an extra property tax on single family homes worth more than $2M to pay for homeless services. The city’s zoning policy benefits the rich homeowners and prevents higher density development of affordable housing, thus making apartments unaffordable.


@19, The real problem is how the the money is spent not whether we are taxed enough.


Here's what I don't get. Why do all these right wing business bots think their straight-out-of-the-GOP-plaform arguments are going to fly in Seattle? Why do they think people here will be all ready to jump on board with their "government is always the problem, run it like a business!" sloganeering? That shit would definitely fly out in bumfuck. Definitely. They'd eat it up.

This is not bumfuck.

They know that, right? Do they? They wail about the city council, but where do they think those council members came from? Seattle elected them. You could totally come at this with all kinds of arguments that might get the voters calling up city hall and nixing the big business head tax, but it's not going to happen with rhetoric that comes straight from a Trump rally, don't even smooth out the xenophobic warts or anything. Serve it up fresh, I guess.

Maybe the words they use to sweet talk the kids in bumfuck are all they know. Only know how to play one note, and so they play it.


@20 Sadly you are probably right. I would guess the millions Amazon contributes to Mary’s Place and FareStart directly help more than whatever the city would do with new taxes.


News writers are for the most part smart, hardworking and creative types who get relatively little pay for their efforts. Techies/Amazonians are the same, but are well renumerated. (Some of us too well.) I've worked on both sides and I sense a frustration from Katie here that pollutes this piece. Amazon's tactics are anything but a "hissy fit" rather a cold calculated business move with the long view in mind.


"The city has proved that spending money in an effort to improve the homeless crisis in Seattle is not its core competency. We think a jobs tax is a bad idea and will hurt job creation in Seattle."


Actually, it has proved that spending our money is its core competency. The city has also proved that solving the homelessness problem is not its core competency. In fact, the city has demonstrated epic incompetence in solving our homeless problem.

Unless the City Council tells us why homelessness has become dramatically worse over the past decade of spending our tax money to address it, they have zero business asking for more money. Full stop.


@24, the lack of accountability on the part of the City is a huge problem and one that you will not see The Stranger address. As you will find they are going off on various other tangents to deflect the story away from the failure of the City Council and go after Amazon's lower wage workers.

But can you expect The Stranger to hold to account the very City Council they endorsed?


This is one of the few immensely complicated social problems which can be boiled down to pithy aphorisms.
For all their caterwauling about 'accountability' and 'effectiveness', what opponents really want is less carrot, more stick.
Correspondingly, proponents say tastier carrots.


We'll file this "hissy fit article" under: it "always easy to be generous with other people's money"

The author is just as blind as the "silly council"....nobody objects to helping the homeless, but there needs to be:

a) accountability and performance measures for the money already spent.
b) if you raise taxes, then why not do it equitably across the board and share the burden
c) if you decide it will be assessed strictly on business owners then why not invite them to the table to be part of the solution and work on ways to end homelessness.

This is where the entire issue should be directed.


Heaven forbid we hold people accountable for their actions and try to get the heroin off the streets. So much better to blame the rich business people that are providing livable wages for thousands of locals. High rents have nothing to do with heroin addicts not being able to get housing. They cant get housing because they are crippled by addiction. Sweep the camps, come down HARD on the dealers, arrest the bike thieves, and focus on getting the employable families off the streets first. All this tax is going to do is freeze big investments in the city and move them to Bellevue or out of the state completely.


I like Dicks.


Why does high cost Seattle need to build housing for the homeless who come from Tacoma, Spokane, Kent, etc?


Those going on about "more accountability before more funds"-what do you propose as a MEANS to achieve greater accountability? I notice none of you are holding Mr. Bezos accountable for've essentially freed him from any obligations...including any obligation to NOT use intimidation tactics to get whatever it is he may want.

Also, are the homeless simply supposed to keep quietly dying until your precious "accountability" is achieved? This is where they live. They can't go anywhere else, Trying to force them to go somewhere else simply means sending them off to die. have you so totally erased their basic humanity from your minds that the fact that more of them will die if nothing is done simply doesn't matter to you?


And yes, homelessness is it a national problem-but that isn't an excuse to do nothing until a national approach is offered. In case you've somehow missed it, we have a president who see the homeless as subhuman and a Congress controlled by majorities who feel the same.

This isn't a problem private charity can ever solve. Nor one that conventional social services can completely address. We need an entirely different way of running this country...a set of values that recognize that all human beings deserve some basic level of respect or dignity, that none should be disgarded, or discarded, labeled worthless. When we get to that, we will have no homelessness.

Until that happens, cities like this have to do SOMETHING.


So Katie if these companies refuse to expand or do business here how do you expect to collect taxes from them, well I guess we'll just have to raise those property taxes even higher until Katie gets the results she wants out of these housing projects.