Progressivism is Not Caring. It is Authoritarianism

The city of Seatac (a small area of land around the Seattle-Tacoma Airport) gained national attention a while back for passing a $15 minimum wage.  Many other groups, including the city of Seattle itself, as well as this year's Democratic platform committee, cited the Seatac example as an impetus for higher minimum wages everywhere.

In today's politics, there is no better way for a Leftish politician to virtue-signal than to advocate for a $15 minimum wage.  It is a classic case of a government law that helps a few easy to identify people and hurts a whole bunch of people in ways that are hard to attribute to the law, such as reduced employment for low-skill workers and higher prices for consumers.

So the City of Seatac has been taking a victory lap over the last year, patting itself on its back for how caring it is of its citizens.  Oh, and it has also been doing this:

A three-month-long civil trial revealed the shadowy subterfuge behind a secret land grab that was orchestrated by the city of SeaTac, replete with backroom deals, baldfaced deceptions, and a mayor intent on driving Somali refugees from the neighborhood.

The aim of it all: to wrestle 4.23 acres of prime real estate from entrepreneurs Gerry and Kathy Kingen, according to the judge and jury who heard the case.

The West Seattle couple sued the city and won, proving in court that SeaTac officials intentionally sabotaged their development plans, strong-armed them into giving up their property and then violated the state’s Public Records Act by withholding city emails and documents proving the deception.

The trial judge also concluded the former SeaTac mayor wanted condos built on the site, believing they would price out Somalis who had moved into “his neighborhood.”...

In March 2004, K&S Developments [the Kingen's investment vehicle] began working with SeaTac’s planning department to get approval for [a] park-and-fly, and city officials “voiced support and encouragement” for the proposal. The judge noted there “was never any public opposition” to the plan.

But unbeknown to the Kingens, SeaTac’s planning director, city manager and other staff decided in late 2005 they didn’t want K&S to build the park-and-fly because it would create competition for a park-and-fly the city wanted to build about a mile south at South 176th Street.

So in February 2006, city staff “devised a secret plan” to get the City Council to pass a moratorium designed to kill the Kingens’ park-and-fly project, the judge wrote. After learning of the permanent ban, Gerry Kingen met with members of the City Council and then-Mayor Gene Fisher, who “promised to make things right.”



  1. Not Sure:

    Progressivism is Not Caring. It is Authoritarianism.

    In other news...

    The Sun Rises in the East.
    Rain is Wet.
    Shit Rolls Downhill.

  2. Clive Orangeblossom:

    So the Seatac government was corrupt and authoritarian and racist in 2006. And the voters of Seatac passed an initiative in 2013 raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. And because these happened in the same municipality, this demonstrates that progressives are bad?
    Warren, I appreciate your blog and how you usually apply intellectual rigor and consistency, and highlight others' failure to do so. But this entry is definitely not even close to your usual standard.

  3. Hal_10000:

    The $15 minimum wage is worse than that. It's gambling the livelihoods of marginalized workers -- high school dropouts, minorities, criminals trying to straighten up and fly right -- on a crackpot economic theory. It's cruel.

  4. TruthisaPeskyThing:

    Clive, you do not see the point being made???

  5. irandom419:

    Just ate in the Seattle area at a place that had no tipping and $$$$$ prices. The waiter didn't write down the order and came back asking us to repeat one item. He then forgot another completely along with the bread. But he gets paid the same as someone who didn't forget anything.

  6. ano333:

    Not good, but this kind of thing happens in every city everywhere. Nothing especially "progressive" about corruption...

  7. ErikTheRed:

    Very well put.

  8. MJ:

    Isn't "equity" great?

  9. morganovich:

    progressives do not have a word for "authoritarian" for the same reason fish do not have a word for "wet".

  10. morganovich:

    welcome to france.

  11. sch:

    Of interest there are ~11000 registered voters in Seatac, and less than 6000 voted in the minimum wage election. Proponents of the MW increase spent $1.7M and opponents spent ~$800K. This works out to ~$360/vote.

  12. mlhouse:

    THe way the Democrats see minimum wage it is a win, win, win political issue.

    First, if they increase the minimum wage the people who keep their jobs and get more pay are happy.
    Second, if the increase minimum wage puts people out of a job, they certainly are not going to vote for a Republican who might reduce their unemployment and welfare benefits.
    Third, the union members with contracts indexed to the minimum wage are the real winners.

    ALl of them vote for the Democrats. The people really hurt by the laws, consumers, investors, etc wouldnt vote for the Democrats to begin with. The economics are not even part of the equation. It is a vote driving policy issue.