‘Seattle is Dying’; is Anchorage?

Watching a Seattle television station’s take on homelessness in the Emerald City is shocking and makes us wonder about Anchorage’s future.

The latest in KOMO-TV’s raw, gritty trilogy on homelessness and addiction in the city – “Seattle is Dying” – is sometimes stunning, sometimes sad, sometimes infuriating.

The city is losing its battle with homelessness despite more than a billion dollars being spent on the problem in the Puget Sound area. The more Seattle spends, the worse its problem becomes.

We wonder how Anchorage would fare if a local television station – and we are not holding our breath – invested the time and money to honestly detail and document our city’s homeless problem. That report likely would be stunning, sad and infuriating, too.

From where we sit, in Seattle and Anchorage – and other cities, as well – the old adage certainly is true: If you want more of something, subsidize it.

In Anchorage, the Assembly and Mayor Ethan Berkowitz are hawking Proposition 9, a 5 percent retail alcohol tax they managed to place on the April 2 ballot, along with a charter change to allow its adoption with less than the normally required 60 percent supermajority vote.

They have even resorted to bribing Anchorage bars by promiing they would be allowed to open earlier if they did not oppose the tax and it passed. While perhaps not illegal, such antics certainly raise ethical questions.

To see the likely outcome if the tax were approved by voters, consider what happened at the state level in 2002. The cover story for a proposed liquor tax increase then was that the increased cost would dissuade Alaskans from drinking and help pay for alcohol’s added costs to the state.

The tax had the opposite effect. Drinking actually increased – but the state struck revenue gold, the money ended up in the General Fund and Alaska ended up with among the nation’s highest liquor taxes.

The proposed city tax, ostensibly, would rake in $15 million and fund homeless services and substance abuse treatment, but the ordinance creating it has plenty of wiggle room.

Proposition 9 says tax receipts would be “dedicated” to fund “alcohol and substance misuse prevention and treatment, community behavioral health programs, public safety, and homelessness prevention and response, including abatement of prohibited campsites.”

That covers a lot of ground. What exactly, for instance, is “public safety” A new police station? More cops? Better roads? Will we end up with an entire new bureaucracy?

An important question unanswered in all this: If the city already is paying for such services, what will it do with the budget money that would be freed up by the $15 million in new tax money?

From where we sit, Anchorage should be looking hard at Seattle, where our friends on the left repeatedly have tried to solve the problem with same, tired, feel-good solutions.Tax and spend. The problem: There more the city spends, the more homeless it has.

It is difficult to believe Anchorage would end up differently.

9 Responses to ‘Seattle is Dying’; is Anchorage?

  1. R-Dubya March 20, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Given the amount of dollars spent on homelessness in the past ten years, have those dollars and that investment paid off in reducing homelessness? IF NOT, what makes anyone think that spending more dollars on this endeavor is going to produce any better results as we venture forward?

    If we continue to invest in this failed venture where taxes continue to increase with no benefits to the taxpayers, what could potentially occur, is the ‘producers’ eventually exiting Alaska to a lower tax climate. Then, the City and State can contend with an entirely new population of taxpayers that may or may not be ‘Tax – Exempt’ at which time you’ll see taxes skyrocket so as to maintain the entities and programs that were created by our esteemed elected leaders and civil servants.

    Keep your eyes open, informed about the issues, and demand our elected leaders are making responsible decisions based on logic, reason, and common sense.

  2. Marge March 21, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Exactly. Since the 70’s all the powers at be did besides Tax and Spend is pay outside firms to do studies . Example: The Alaska Psychiatric Institute. I felt it would implode long before this. After millions spent on studies there are not enough beds for people in Anchorage, let alone the State. Now we pay millions to a firm to change it and not a Psychiatrist wants to work there.
    We now have Homeless sleeping in our entryway. The community is divided. The police are called, they come , wake the person up and let them go on their way. Police tell us lock your front doors. However, to some it is too expensive.(They say the Homeless are harmless) My comment is: The Homeless are Harmless until they harm you. Never solve a problem, just toss more money at it and hope it goes away. The left wing way.

  3. Susan H. March 21, 2019 at 10:05 am

    We don’t have a ‘homeless’ problem, we have an addiction problem.

  4. John London March 21, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Unless and Until the Lib progressive Socialist are forced to own the addict problem, society is at peril.

    Instead of always wanting more funds and trying to force the citizens to accept the lie that it is a mental health problem, (new honest studies show that POT causes mental health problems), nothing will get done only more bogus government spending and more death, OD’s and destruction.

    The gun issue is also closely related like a Siamese twin.

    And the left wanting to ban guns? Why not ban the drug culture?
    Not on your life or lack of one.

    Gun deaths would then drop by 70% or more.

    Sordid popular culture with the pied pipers of pop music (the real educators) populated by high school drop out druggie losers writing songs that lead the stupid to do stupid things because the songsters are stupid leads the way for the carnage as always.

    Notice how the local leftie rag always promotes music and now pot. Any way and everyway they can. (The proven gateway drug of choice). But yet constantly tell us they are for “education”, Oh, yes, they are, just not the kind of education you think.

    And because of all the above and below we are staggered by the failure of the schools. Who always want more money.

    This is the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock where constant Music, Drugs and Sex became the new normal.

    You’ve come a long way baby, right into hell on earth.

    And you are less free than you ever were.

  5. DONN LISTON March 21, 2019 at 10:49 am

    “The city is losing its battle with homelessness despite more than a billion dollars being spent on the problem in the Puget Sound area. The more Seattle spends, the worse its problem becomes.”

    Much the same could be said for Alaska Public Education. Is the Big Guy going to be our Education Governor or will he play the role played by Sean Connery in the 1950s movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People?”


  6. Morrigan March 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    We butcher our babies, but baby our bums.
    Is this a great city or what?

    • Garnet March 26, 2019 at 9:00 pm

      Kill a baby bear at the zoo and see what happens….

  7. Garnet March 26, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    I hear the Mayor say “we are nothing like Seattle. We know the names of our homeless people”. I nearly fell over. Since when does knowing the name of the people suffering in the streets from mental illness and addiction change anything? If Bill or Susan are still on the streets, still panhandling, still living in a tent, still stealing from others, still defacating in our creeks, still getting arrested and churned out the same day to the same circumstances, does it matter that we know their names? My God Berkowitz, enough already. Stop it!!! Take action – serious action – extreme action, and perhaps you will get somewhere with this city. People don’t even want to come here. I for one, don’t even go downtown anymore. It is disgusting. I avoid Seattle like the plague as well. I wonder if Alaska Airlines said, “hey, Seattle, you look like sh*t so we are moving our headquarters to (INSERT ANOTHER CITY HERE). Maybe Seattle would start doing something about their problem? What if the military did that here? Would Ethan listen then? Would he care?

  8. Rick Ryan April 2, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    If you keep putting out sugar, you will get lots of ants. If the do-gooders satisfy all their needs, drug addicts will be free to focus 100% of their energy and resources on acquiring and using drugs. In the process, they have all but legalized shoplifting, burglary, and car break-ins.

    It isn’t homeless problem. It is a drug and crime problem!


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