Corey Sanders of Microsoft leads a cloud-computing team working with Boeing. The headquarters of both companies are located in Seattle, Wa.

I don’t often become parochial in these columns, but in his Aug. 25 column (“Curbing overregulation aids communities”) Jon Russell asserted that America cities are dying because of their public policy choices. His list of dying cities included my hometown, Seattle.

I just returned from visiting family and friends in Seattle and marveled again at nearby, majestic Mount Rainer. If Seattle is dying, Mr. Russell better not tell Microsoft or Amazon, or the people who just built the new monorail into town from the airport, or those who tore down the unsightly viaduct along the waterfront.

Neither the educators associated with Seattle’s great academic institutions, such as the University of Washington, nor the doctors, nurses and technicians of its cutting-edge hospitals would see themselves in Mr. Russell’s characterization. Perhaps Boeing is having a spot of trouble, but one can’t blame that on local governments.

There is no evidence that local or state governments are passing unwieldy regulations that will bring the city to its knees or bring rats out of the gutters. Pike Place Market is as attractive as always.

Mr. Russell’s basic argument is that U.S. cities are dying because of homelessness, which he says is a consequence of local overregulation.

But in the wake of considerable scientific evidence, everyone else understands that homelessness is connected with mental illness, loss of income leading to loss of homes, PTSD, weaknesses in the Veterans Administration’s assistance to veterans, and corporations’ spread of opioids.

Mr. Russell completely garbles the facts concerning homelessness in Los Angeles, a city with a population of 4 million. The city has a homeless population of 60,000; it didn’t increase by 60,000. And that’s 1.5 percent of LA’s total population.

You can read the facts about this incredibly complicated situation right here:

Predictably, Mr. Russell’s views on major urban areas echoes the president’s sentiments. To attack a member of Congress, Rep. Elijah Cummings, President Trump characterized Maryland’s 7th Congressional District as a place where “no human being would want to live” and claimed it ranked last in “almost every major category.” Not surprisingly, the fact-checkers had great fun demonstrating that Cummings’ district did not fit the president’s destructive Twitter rantings.

Howard County, Md., is the third-wealthiest county in America, with a median household income of $115,576, far above the national median of $57,652. The district, overall, has a median household income of $60,929, still above the national average. It has the second-highest median income of any U.S. predominantly black district, according to the Baltimore Sun. And as American statistician Nate Silver points out, the district has above-average college education rates.

Oddly enough, the bulk of Mr. Russell’s column was spent singing his own praises as the chair of the American City County Exchange, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Legislative Exchange Council, both of which are notoriously conservative lobbying organizations funded by corporate giants attempting to impose their views and objectives on state and local governments for their own profits. Want a closer, alternate look? Right here:

So, we ask, is homelessness due to a lack of programs or to overregulation?

We started with the thought that American cities are dying, and one data point was homelessness. But wait, by Mr. Russell’s measure, Culpeper is dying, too. Just ask the stalwart volunteers at our community’s Food Closet. They see homelessness.

Mr. Russell has been elected to take care of our community. Would he please tell us which specific local regulations the Town Council or the Board of Supervisors passed that caused homelessness in Culpeper? We ask in the name of problem-solving, not dogma, especially with elections for local offices coming this November.

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David Reuther, a retired foreign service officer, chairs the Culpeper Democratic Committee. These are his personal observations.

(1) comment


Oh yeah! Seattle is beautiful. From a distance. From a Long distance. If you venture in to that city now, you must be careful to step around poison heroine needles and feces laying around everywhere. Watch your back for all the dangerous knife wielding drug zombies who now own the streets. You're taking your life in your hands go to near Pioneer Square after dark. The monorail is massively over budget and a huge money loser, for which working taxpayers must compensate. Also a haven for those same drug zombies. The Seattle City Council is made up of extreme left wingers who are unabashed in their hatred for capitalism but have an insatiable greed for every tax scheme they can dream up to burden those very companies that supply jobs and revenue. Amazon is under constant attack from them. For a real look at what's happened to Seattle, google up "Seattle is dying", a documentary by one of the local TV affiliates. Not exactly a "right wing" source. OF COURSE a county in Maryland is among the highest income counties in America. It is populated by hoards of government "workers" who draw down huge paychecks and benefits, most of whom do absolutely nothing of any use to anyone but must be supported in their lavish lifestyles by working tax paying people all over the nation. It's Animal Farm, and the pigs are king.

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