Yes, You Can Be A Psychic, Too!

I always knew I could be a psychic.

See, there I go again.

In fact, the future is really easy to predict if you simply observe reality.

To be honest, it didn’t really take a psychic to predict that cases of coronavirus would skyrocket if we just went outside and continued doing what we did before the pandemic, since it was “all a hoax”. Or, “It’s not that bad.” Or, “It’s the disease that kills old people.”

Do you have the right to not wear a mask in public?  Absolutely. I believe our Founding Fathers included that in the fine print of the Bill of Rights.

You have the right to not wear a seatbelt and odds are, you’ll be fine. Well, unless you get into an accident. Then you’ll hear the words, ‘Told you so’ as you fly through the windshield past the person who buckled up.

Does your freedom include being able to walk out into a hurricane or tornado?  You bet. A sound-minded person probably wouldn’t do that, but you’re all about personal freedoms, aren’t you, pal?  You need to be able to prove that you’re in control of your life and that people who have dedicated their entire lives studying diseases and epidemics–well, they’re just plain wrong and don’t know what they’re talking about. And, better yet, you’ve got the president on your side.

Several weeks ago, I predicted the cases of coronavirus would skyrocket and I was right. I take no pleasure in that and actually, wish I had been wrong. I also seriously hope the University of Washington scientists are wrong when they say 200,000 Americans will have died from coronavirus by November. However, with the current explosion of cases, it’s entirely possibly we will go beyond that.

But let’s get off “Virus Talk” and make some bold, psychic predictions. Right now, you have a fairly empty downtown Seattle, as thousands of workers have been instructed to work from home. Companies are now realizing that can be done, without hurting their efficiency, and it’s becoming obvious that you no longer need to occupy a bunch of expensive real estate downtown. Now, the easy prediction would be that there will be a crash in the commercial real estate market. And what makes that prediction a sure bet is that our incredibly wise Seattle city council decided to pass what they call a “Jumpstart Tax”, which they insist only affects the really wealthy businesses downtown. (hint–it rhymes with Schmazon) The council claims this will generate $200-million, which they say they need to fix the city’s problems, mostly homelessness.

Now, I know the council members are all busy people and maybe they just forgot about how much is already being spent on homelessness in the area. As in $54 million by the city, $195 million in King County and some estimates say as much as $1 billion in the region. We’re talking EVERY YEAR! And with every passing year and all that spending, it continues to get worse.  Dare to go downtown and you’ll find a non-stop collection of people living on the sidewalks, the freeway off-ramps or any other place they choose, not because of need, but because of choice. Resources are available, but most turn them down to continue living their lives battling drug addiction or mental health issues.

So, back to the Jumpstart Tax. My prediction is that the tax will live up to its name and Jumpstart businesses to seriously think about relocating. If I owned a company and had to choose between staying in Seattle with empty offices and a $7-million tax hit or relocating to another one of the many wonderful and welcoming cities in the area, I get out of Dodge using that $7-million I would have spent in taxes to pay for moving expenses. Most likely, I’d be able to negotiate a better lease (probably with free parking) in another city, and I can put that $7-million annual hit to my bottom line. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.

If your logic is that “Oh, Amazon can afford that”, they already donate to charity without involving our extremely inefficient government. They estimate that Amazon contributed $2-billion from 2009-2017 and just this year, Mr. Bezos has pledged $2-billion a year towards the fight on homelessness in multiple cities. They even opened a homeless shelter in one of their newer buildings downtown. Amazon is actually doing something about the problem and so to reward them, you hit them with a tax? Sound thinking.

So when the last major business leaves Seattle and it becomes the biggest ghost town in the U.S., maybe, just maybe, Seattle voters will finally get fed up enough to make a change at city hall, and get the Emerald City back on track.

In all honesty, that’s more of a hope than a prediction. Frankly, I’ve had some serious doubts lately about the future of my once-favorite big city.

But you knew that. See how easy it is to be a psychic?

Tim Hunter

Just How Insane Does Seattle Have To Get?

To paraphrase a politician’s once-famous statement, “I know Seattle. I’ve lived in Seattle and played in Seattle and right now, you’re no Seattle.”

The place that branded itself “The Emerald City” years ago is a far cry from that right now. Unless there’s an Oz book out there where the Cowardly Lion is passed out from smoking some of the Scarercrow’s stash while Dorothy is free-basing something with the Tin Woodsman’s left arm.

That sounds insane, but apparently that’s the new normal in Seattle.

You know how people would come up to you and say, “My, how your kids have grown!” and you know they have, but you hadn’t really noticed because you see them every day. I realized yesterday just how crazy Seattle has gotten when a guy with obvious mental issues and 22 arrests to his credit decided to start stabbing people out in front of the downtown Nordstrom.

Hey, Nordstrom, you can’t buy publicity like that!

But not to worry. Our mayor says that Seattle is safe. She insists on it. Well, she didn’t say it after this incident, but she did last year after another unbalanced person decided to just start shooting at passing vehicles, people, whatever, killing two.

Yesterday was the equivalent of someone saying “My, how your kids have grown!”  But instead of those words, I found myself getting text messages from people and talking on the phone with my mom in California, who were all shocked at what had happened at Nordstrom. My immediate response was, “What happened?”

You see, I had a busy day, with lots of work followed by meeting a friend for happy hour, then dashing home to catch baseball’s All-Star game. I had missed the evening news on television, really hadn’t checked Facebook, so all was well in the World of Tim. Meanwhile, the rest of the country had its eyes on the terrible tragedy that had occurred in Seattle.

Living here, it’s just not surprising. Nor are car break-ins, needles on the ground, and camping tents put up on any vacant spot in the city. The other day, I parked my car in downtown Seattle and while walking my usual route, passed two new tents that had been set up next to the sidewalk. The irony was that the spot they had set up was marked as a “No Parking” zone, so that if you had parked a car there, you would have gotten a ticket or have been towed away. But put up a tent, urinate or defecate on the street, or shoot up drugs–in Seattle, that’s fine! Oh, none of that is legal, but doing whatever you want as a homeless person is perfectly fine here in Crazy Town.

I should point out, that allowing your city to be taken over like this isn’t cheap. The Seattle area somehow spends over a billion dollars EVERY YEAR on homelessness with highly publicized, minimal results.

At the afore-mentioned happy hour, my friend told me about another guy who cashed out here in the Northwest and headed back to his native Vermont, where he bought a 4,000 square foot home on 20 acres with a barn and territorial view for around $700,000. The guy and his wife are enjoying life, have honeybees, and make their own maple syrup and sell it to neighbors. Hearing him describe the place where the guy now lives and the lifestyle he enjoys made me take a deep breath and realize that the possibility of living that way still exists.

That’s going to be a few more years down the road for me. In the meantime, we have some elections coming up next year where the city should be able to clean house and replace the crazies in office who have allowed this gem of a city to deteriorate to a free-range mental institution and drug den. Ideally, I’d like to get Seattle back to some normalcy, helping those who accept help and locking the rest up. I know at least three people from yesterday’s incident that would probably agree with me.

I pretty much consider next year’s elections a referendum on the future of Seattle. I fell in love with this place over 40 years ago and it still has so much going for it, but frankly, Seattle is having its own mental breakdown. My hope is that we’ve hit bottom and eventually will begin climbing back up. Or maybe we’re not there yet.

Just how insane does Seattle have to get?

Tim Hunter