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caption: A barricade is shown at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, CHAZ, or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, CHOP, on Saturday, June 13, 2020, in Seattle. 
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A barricade is shown at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, CHAZ, or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, CHOP, on Saturday, June 13, 2020, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The 'Seattle Process' in 2020. Are we becoming ungovernable?

Five years ago, Knute Berger wrote a piece for Crosscut titled “Seattle process: Does working together make us dumber?

The headline this year might be “Broken process: Is Seattle becoming ungovernable?" In fact, that was the subject of a recent discussion with Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez and former Council President Bruce Harrell.

Seattle had been fairly bulldozing along economically when a spring and summer marked by a pandemic and a civil rights movement hit. Protestors demanded drastic change to the institution of policing, as others advised caution; city government became more factious than usual.

The effects of the lockdown and calls to defund the police exposed disunity between Mayor Durkan and the City Council. As an aside to the local political infighting, in September Attorney General William Barr declared Seattle, Portland, and New York City “anarchist jurisdictions.”

The path forward for Seattle is unclear. An exodus of highly paid tech workers may change the tax base; the downtown corridor will have to reinvent itself; homelessness is on the rise, and our process is indeed an issue. These were some of the topics taken on in this frank conversation.

The Seattle University Institute of Public Service and Town Hall Seattle presented this event on October 29. Multi-media journalist Joni Balter and Seattle U professor Larry Hubbell served as moderators.

Please note: This recording contains one unedited word of an adult nature.