A casual reader of Ari Hoffman's Facebook page could be forgiven for thinking that the District 2 city council candidate and bouncy house tycoon was a climate change denier.
Way back in 2018, Hoffman posted some pretty anti-environmental stuff on Facebook. On January 2, 2018, he bragged about driving his V8 Dodge Charger from his home in Seward Park all the way to Renton so that he could buy soda unburdened by Seattle's sweetened beverage tax. "They can get my money instead," Hoffman wrote, "and at the same time, I can contribute to global warming."
A little over two weeks later, the soda coffers were running dry again and Hoffman hopped back into the "V-8 Hemi 5.7 liter Charger R/T" to go buy Renton's untaxed wares. He also used the catchy hashtag #Iamcontributingtoglobalwarmingtoavoidtaxes. Truly the American way.
In February, Hoffman hit some traffic on his way to visit his Renton soda supplier. "Every time I was stopped, I made sure to shift my V8 Hemi Charger into park and rev the engine a bunch of times to put as much carbon dioxide in the air that I could," he wrote. He also made sure to tag all nine of the city council members, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for good measure. Hoffman included a picture of his soda spread. He was not expecting too many root beer fans at the BBQ, it seems.
Hoffman has every right to be skeptical of the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change. And he has every right to drive his masculinity-mobile all the way to Renton if he wants. But he can't do all of that and then describe himself as "environmentally conscious" to the Stranger Election Control Board in a questionnaire we sent out to candidates earlier this week.
On Wednesday he shared his answers to that questionnaire publicly on his Facebook page so everyone would know that he doesn't want the Stranger's endorsement because he doesn't "want to be controlled." He also emailed it back to us declining an endorsement and inviting us to a bouncy house summit.
Here's the Facebook post:
Please skip to the part where he answers the question about his preferred mode of transportation. Here, you'll notice something interesting:
Typically, every day I drive either my car or my truck. It depends if I am hauling bounce houses or not that day. I bought the truck that I did because it has an eco friendly feature that shuts down the engine when stopped so I can be environmentally conscious.
Wait, roll that back.
"I bought the truck that I did because it has an eco friendly feature that shuts down the engine when stopped so I can be environmentally conscious."
He goes on to say that he does his part by driving his "sedan" as often as he can, since, as a small business owner, he's on the road a lot.
The "sedan," Hoffman clarified today over the phone, is that same Dodge Charger he was revving up in neutral last year. The car is all black, and he features it in all of his campaign photos, and I should've looked at his website instead of asking him whether the car he mentioned on Facebook was the same car he mentioned in our questionnaire, Hoffman said.
And one more thing: In the questionnaire, Hoffman says he makes up for all his sky-clogging driving by practicing his faith. "I offset my carbon emissions because I keep the Jewish Sabbath and for 25 hours each week from Friday sundown to nightfall on Saturday Night as well as Jewish holidays throughout the year," he wrote.
When reached for comment about all of this, Hoffman did little to make us believe that he really is as eco-conscious as he says he is.
"What do you mean?" Hoffman said when I asked if he believed in climate change. "There's science behind it. Of course I believe it."
I then asked him if he thought humans were contributing to climate change. "What’s causing it? I didn’t say I believed it was human-caused. I said there was a number of things that are causing it. I see how much volcanoes put out, I see how much humans put out," he said.
Hoffman was clear that he needed to do more studying on the issue, and that he was by no means no expert. However, he does have strongly held beliefs about climate change, and—shocker—they're a doozy.
"I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible," Hoffman said. "What I find hypocritical is how many people are talking about the Green New Deal, and they’re not taking care of what’s happening on the streets on Seattle. I’m kinda wondering where they get off talking about climate change and they don’t want to talk about what’s happening in the city."
Hoffman laughed when asked about his old Facebook posts, claimed the posts were a joke, and said that The Stranger "obviously doesn't speak sarcasm as a second language." Lol.
The purpose of the joke posts, Hoffman claimed, "was to get a rise out of people like you," and, presumably, all of you readers who believe that human-caused climate change is an existential crisis.
"I think it’s important that you encapsulate what I've been talking about with the pollution on the streets," Hoffman added. "It’s a factor of pollution just like carbon emissions are a factor in pollution. I don’t understand why all these people who claim to care about pollution are not addressing the trash everywhere, the needles in our parks, the sewage run-off, the garbage on our streets, and I don’t understand why any environmental group that’s interested in our environment is not talking about these contributing factors."
Ari Hoffman, who admits he needs to study up on the causes of climate change, is pretty damn certain that homeless people are just as bad for the environment as his Dodge Charger. His Dodge Charger.