Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who previously compared the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” in Seattle to a block party during a press conference, doubled down when speaking with Chris Cuomo of CNN on Thursday.
She compared the area—occupying six city blocks—to a “block party atmosphere” and when asked how long she thought the area could look the way it does she responded saying, “We could have a summer of love.”
Durkan’s comment was most likely referring to the year 1967, when about 100,000 people made their way to San Francisco’s neighbourhood of Haight-Asbury. The people gathering were mostly hippies and young people and the scene stretched across the West Coast and throughout the country. The gatherings were largely fuelled by drugs.
The current state of Seattle’s “autonomous zone” reportedly involves extortion and armed criminals rather than free-loving hippies.
During the CNN interview, Cuomo asked Durkan about the current situation in Seattle.
Cuomo: "So, I don’t have to tell you about the situation on the ground in your City. But, in terms of how it looks, to the rest of the country, and the President, teeing it up as basically ineptitude, the ability – inability to control your own streets, is that fair criticism?"
Durkan: "So, I know it will shock you that the President is perhaps not giving an accurate or truthful picture. We’ve got four blocks in Seattle that you just saw pictures of that are more like a block party atmosphere. It’s not an armed takeover. It’s not a military junta. We will – we will make sure that we can restore this. But we have block parties and the like in this part of Seattle all the time. It’s known for that."
"So, I think the President — number one, there is no threat right now to the public. And we’re looking — we’re taking that very seriously. We’re meeting with businesses and residents. But what the President threatened is illegal and unconstitutional. And the fact that he can think he can just tweet that, and not have ramifications is just wrong."
Cuomo: "The counter will be block parties don’t take over a municipal building, let alone a police station, and destroy it, basically thumbing their nose at any sense of civic control. Do you believe that you have control of your City and that you would be able to clear those streets because you haven’t?"
Durkan: "We do. And the Chief of Police was in that precinct today with her Command Staff looking and assessing on operational plans. But we saw that it was a point of conflict night after night between the Police Department and protesters, and we wanted to de-escalate that. And what we decided was the best way to do that was reopen the streets, and that itself ended up with some ramifications for the precinct, to remove anything that was valuable from out of that building.
"But we will make sure that all of Seattle is safe where we take Public Safety seriously. But the description the President has given is not only wrong. But if it were right, his remedy is wrong. You don’t dominate."