The Seattle metropolitan area ranks just 15th in size in the United States but competes on a world-class level.
The University of Washington is rated as one of the top universities on the planet. Boeing, founded in Seattle, has been the premiere American aircraft manufacturer for decades. Microsoft revolutionized global computer technology. Amazon is a behemoth that bestrides several economic sectors. Nordstrom set the standard for quality and customer service in the clothing industry. Starbucks is the ubiquitous coffee vendor in the U.S. and abroad.
That is a lot of competence, intelligence and innovation at work, and it all came from local brains. It is too bad the same cannot be said of local politics – in particular, the Seattle City Council.
Faced with mounting concerns about crime, cops, homelessness and infrastructure, most council members seem more concerned with preserving ideological purity than implementing pragmatic, effective solutions. But it is not just the rigidly leftward lean of the council that may be the problem. A smart socialist like Bernie Sanders, after all, did a pretty good job when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. No, the problem may be simple competence – or the lack thereof. The current batch of council members, with an exception or two, do not seem up to the job.
In November, citizens of Seattle will get the chance to pick two new council members. Let’s hope the voters are smart in their choices, because we could use a lot more excellence at City Hall.
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