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Seattle City Council Fails to Pass Drug Bill

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Heading into last week’s Seattle City Council meeting, everyone in attendance knew the vote on proposed drug legislation would be close.

As a result, the council chamber was packed with people waiting to give public comment.

In the room and online, public comment was overwhelmingly against the proposed drug bill. The legislation would give city Attorney Ann Davison authority to prosecute for illegal possession and drug use in public spaces.

Critics of the ordinance said it would create a new “war on drugs” and disproportionately impact minority communities.

Councilmembers Sara Nelson and Alex Pedersen sponsored the bill and brought Deborah Juarez and Dan Strauss onto their side.

As expected, the far-left socialist progressive wing of the council voted no on the bill.

But in a major surprise, district 7 councilmember Andrew Lewis flipped and voted against the ordinance to effectively kill the bill 5-4.

It appears that he may have caved to the pressure, personal call-outs, and intimidating presence of far-left activists in the room like Tye Reed.

Activist Tye Reed disrupted speakers all afternoon if they disagreed with her opinions, and she threatened to mobilize if the council did not vote against the bill.

Councilmember Lewis represents downtown, where urban decay and open-air drug use remain rampant.

He is running for reelection in the fall and is backed by several business coalitions including the Downtown Seattle Association. Several individuals have removed their endorsements following his vote.

Even councilmember Lewis admits that his vote undermined the wishes of many of his supporters and may have jeopardized his chance for reelection.

The proposed ordinance would have fallen in line with state law recently passed in a special legislative session, but now drug-related prosecution falls to King County Prosecutor Leesa Manion. Manion has already said she will not pursue gross misdemeanors as her offices focuses on felonies.

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.