Seattle’s CHOP/CHAZ is no more. The hive of lawlessness and left-wing performativity was finally shut down by the city of Seattle on July 1; the “summer of love” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan hoped it would engender never materialized.
Its legacy will end up being two dead African-Americans, a few shootings, a bunch of tourists and a lot of empty rhetoric.
There’ve been a few attempts to establish similar power vacuums in other cities since then with varying degrees of success, although nothing on the level of what happened in Seattle. The most recent example, New York’s City’s Occupy City Hall, was shut down late last week, having failed to push the administration of Bill de Blasio further to the left.
In most of these cases, the cities involved were willing to countenance these occupied autonomous zones far longer than they should have. If Sen. Joni Ernst has her way about it, that might not be the case in the future.
According to The Daily Caller, the Iowa Republican sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget — signed by 29 of her colleagues in the House and Senate, urging the OMB “to ensure taxpayer dollars are not used to promote anarchy.”
The move came after Ernst introduced a bill last month that would defund cities and locales that allowed lawless zones to persist.
“In Seattle, where an ‘autonomous zone’ persisted for weeks and was only stopped after a string of shootings and murders, local officials’ abysmal judgment has a budgetary effect, as the city wrestles with a $300 million revenue shortfall. Law-abiding citizens should not have to pay for their abdication of responsibility. We ask that you scrutinize any future federal funding that flows to such lawless jurisdictions,” Ernst wrote in the letter.
“The federal government must ensure judicious and lawful use of taxpayer funds. With this responsibility in mind, we ask you to investigate and report the amount of taxpayer dollars local officials used to, encourage, sustain, bolster, supply or repair the damage in these anarchist ‘autonomous zones.’
“In FY2019, the federal government provided the top 20 most populous U.S. cities over $88 billion in taxpayer dollars. That money comes from the people, and should have been spent to protect them, not put them in harm’s way. The most fundamental duty of these cities is to provide security for law-abiding citizens. Instead, we have seen businesses destroyed and lives senselessly taken. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to your leadership in ensuring transparency for tax-payer dollars used to enable anarchy.”
Ernst had previously introduced the “Ending Taxpayer Funding of Anarchy Act,” a bill that would have defunded cities that allowed “anarchist jurisdictions,” in the midst of the CHOP/CHAZ controversy.
“Mayors and city leaders are letting this chaos and anarchy continue in their streets, and in some cases preventing law enforcement from doing their job,” Ernst said during a June conference call with reporters, according to The Des Moines Register.
“That’s not the America I know or fought for,” added Ernst, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard who was stationed in Kuwait in 2003 after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
CHOP/CHAZ may be no more, but Ernst is continuing to push the bill.
“It has gone on for too long and it’s too much,” Ernst told The Daily Caller. “So, we want to make sure that there is peace across the United States and that law and order is restored. You know, enough is enough, so what I’ve decided is that a way to be effective is just to deny taxpayer – federal taxpayer dollars – for these areas that are continuing to allow anarchy.”
“And, we want, of course, peaceful protests, we encourage dialogue, that’s what we want, that’s what I support. But we don’t want anarchy. What I see is not an effort to talk about racial injustice, I see this as just an expression of hatred towards the United States.”
The bill, if it were to pass, would apply to cities that have an “anarchist jurisdiction” beginning on Oct. 1.
Ernst noted to The Daily Caller that the bill would need Democrat help to pass — something it’s unlikely to get.
“Well, I do have a lot of support from my Republican counterparts,” Ernst said. “So, that’s the issue is that we really need our Democratic friends to step up and say, ‘This is not right. These mayors are putting those citizens in jeopardy.’”
“The mayors are allowing this to happen by appeasing these anarchists.”
National Democrats are unlikely to take that step, however, particularly given the pitched battle between the Trump administration and Democrat-controlled city governments.
However, even though Ernst conceded “it’s an uphill battle,” she said it’s one “that needs to be fought.”
“We need peace across the United States, not, you know, miniaturized war zones where it’s a free-for-all,” she said. “That should not happen … if they understood that federal funds are in jeopardy, they would be less inclined to allow those anarchists zones.”
Using the OMB to defund cities that allow autonomous zones might be a tricky strategy, given the legal challenges. This said, it’d certainly be one way to throw down the gauntlet at cities that refuse to enforce the law — and just the threat might be enough to stop one of the most disturbing trends of 2020.
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