On the heels of a longtime Seattle business owner predicting a "mass exodus," an investment-advisory company has announced it's leaving the political and cultural unrest in Seattle and moving its headquarters to Phoenix.
"The unrest that has taken place in the city of Seattle ... there really is not a downtown business community today," said Smead Capital Management President and CEO Cole Smead told KTAR news radio in Phoenix.
"My biggest concern for Seattle was what the business community is going to come back to, and what kind of businesses are going to come back for customers," said Smead, whose firm as of May 31 managed approximately $1.58 billion.
The Phoenix area offers a better quality of life, the CEO contended.
"My colleagues can pick the socio-economic rung of life that they want ... live their lives, build their households and have a family if they'd like," Smead said.
"Where we're coming from just wasn’t like that."
Last Thursday, Seattle business owner Joey Rodolfo was asked in an interview with "Tucker Carlson Tonight" if he was going to stay in that city after having lived there for 38 years.
"Speaking for myself and for other friends that have either restaurants or other businesses," Rodolfo replied, "I can tell you that Seattle is going to experience a mass exodus."
He said he's planning to move to Arizona.
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Rodolfo said Seattle's troubles began long before demonstrators took over six city blocks and established the "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest," or CHOP.
"Tucker, I've lived in Seattle for 38 years, for 38 years," said Rodolfo, an apparel designer and co-founder of the Buki clothing brand. "And [over] the last three years, I've seen the crime rate surge. I've seen homeless, drugs and gangs take over our downtown. Not to mention the destruction of property.
He said all of that is happening with no consequences.
"We have a judicial system here that is a revolving door. So if you're a store owner or a restaurant in Seattle, these are very, very difficult times," he said.
The CHOP began with six city blocks near the police department's East Precinct following protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. After negotiation with the city, the area was reduced to three blocks to allow greater traffic flow.
"We have reached a point here in Seattle where I call it, we are now a utopian socialist city, honestly, on the backs of all of us, of all outside taxpaying citizens," Rodolfo said.
"Downtown has been decimated," he told Carlson. "All you see is plywood, particle board. Stores opened up and there is no chance that this town will soon come alive again. Although if you talk to the mayor, she'll tell you that's our goal here. But I'll tell you, this is, you know, things couldn't get crazier."
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