Radical housing activists from Tacoma Housing Now are holding this Travelodge in Fife hostage. (Photo: KIRO 7 TV)
Update 12/30/2020 at 11:16am: Radicals with Tacoma Housing Now say police have arrived and are “breaking doors open” to remove the occupiers from the motel.
Police were seen, via a livestream, in “full protective gear” ahead of their action.
Update 12/30/2020 at 11:24am:
One homeless man, talking to Behind Enemy Lines live streamer, says he came to the motel for a few nights but wasn’t part of the original action by Tacoma Housing Now.
Not everyone occupying the motel have agreed to leave. One woman refuses to leave the parking lot, though it’s unclear if she’s homeless or an activist.
This is a developing story and will be updated in real time. Check back frequently for updates.
Update 12/30/2020 at 11:32am:
Activists are asking for reinforcements to come by and help them document police action. Right now, the “army” of protesters showing their support disappeared.
Update 12/30/2020 at 11:58am:
One man, who appears to be homeless, starts berating officers for their work clearing out the motel. Other than that, it’s been mostly peaceful as officers clear out the occupied motel.
Update 12/30/2020 at 12:03pm:
A Fife Corrections van is on site to help homeless people load their belongings and transport them to an undetermined location.
There also seems to be more resistance from some activists and at least one person who appears homeless. Others are packing up a lot of garbage bags filled with personal belongings.
Update 12/30/2020 at 12:14pm
Activists claim they brought people to help the homeless, though they’ve clearly abandoned them. Now, activists claim “Nazis” are on site posing some kind of unknown danger. No Nazis are on site as far as this Jew can tell.
Update 12/30/2020 at 12:24pm: Police Chief speaks
Police Chief Pete Fisher is speaking now to explain why they’re acting today to remove the radicals. He confirms he was working with the radicals but implies the business owner (who he does call a victim) might have made matters worse when he complained about the situation to the press. But Fisher also says he had an agreement with the business owner that wasn’t kept.
The chief also says they didn’t act because of a lack of staffing and if they made arrests, it’s not like the jails would take the suspects anyway. He noted that there’s concern that this becomes a super spreader event since two people on site are reportedly COVID-positive.
Fisher says no arrests today (none planned) but is investigating the people who initiated the occupation and may face charges. He says this is felony-level theft “at minimum” possibly.
Fisher promises a “zero tolerance” policy moving forward on this kind of illegal action.
Update 12/30/2020 at 12:42pm: Concern
There’s concern from some on the ground that when the police leave, Antifa agitators and other radicals will take the business again — or attempt to destroy it. On Twitter, Tacoma Housing Now claims the business owner allows his motel to be used for sex trafficking, though didn’t provide any evidence.
Update 12/30/2020 at 12:45pm: Antifa has arrived
Things appear to be getting a bit tense as Antifa agitators are on one side and conservative activists on the other. At least one conservative activist says he’s legally armed to protected himself against the often-violent Antifa. Both sides appear have a dozen or so activists a piece but it seems to be growing.
This could putter out, or turn nasty very quickly.
Update 12/30/2020 at 12:55pm: Reset
Here’s where things stand: police are still conducting their sweep of the occupied motel. Outside the building, around the fence on the sidewalk, two groups have gathered: Antifa and other housing activists and conservatives.
There’s some civil dialogue between some. For the most, however, both sides are standing on their side without the need for police intervention. There is, however, one man on the Antifa side keeps swinging a pole or walking stick at the fence. He previously indicated he’s suffering from mental illness. Some media are present but they’re not embedded with the groups as far as I can tell.
Update 12/30/2020 at 1:15pm: Tensions ease?
Tensions have eased from both sides, for the most part though the activists are partially blocking traffic in front of the motel (one lane). Unsure why.
Online, Tacoma Housing Now continues their unhinged tweets online. They say the Fife City Manager promised hotel vouchers but broke his word. They might be upset since some of them may end up in jail for planning and enacting their occupation.
Update 12/30/2020 at 1:32pm: Read the script
Tacoma Housing Now are asking people to call the Fife City Manager and read an unhinged script. The number given is public and listed on the City of Fife’s website.
Update 12/30/2020 at 1:33pm
The Fife Police Department released a statement covering much of what I outlined above from the press conference.
Radical activists with Tacoma Housing Now (THN) are holding a Travelodge motel hostage in Fife while activists are assembling their version of an army to defend the takeover.
It’s an escalating and dangerous situation. Law enforcement and local politicians are not doing much to stop it. Of course, COVID is also now spreading within the motel as one of the organizers and one homeless occupier apparently tested positive for the virus.
This should be called out for what it is: the intersection of deranged activism and domestic terrorism.
Tacoma Housing Now holds a motel hostage
The fringe progressives behind THN paid for 16 rooms for one night on Christmas Eve at the Fife Travelodge. They housed approximately 40 homeless people.
But they refuse to leave and they’re not paying. They’ve since taken two more motel rooms, and KIRO 7 TV reports the group’s intent is to force the county or city to turn the motel into housing for the homeless.
Now they’re holding the motel hostage and demanding the city or county pay for the nights that they’re staying in the rooms.
“We paid for the first night and now we’re demanding that the city and county pay for the other nights we’ve been here,” THN spokesperson and local Socialist leader Rebecca Parson defiantly told KING 5.
She belongs in jail along with the other occupiers.
Parson bizarrely claims she’s “bringing business to the hotel” because she’s demanding government officials pay them for their theft. This is a remarkably insane and unstable position to hold. It’s also unclear how many homeless people Parson is allowing to crash at her place for the night.
An army forms
THN has called on its army of supporters (think: vegan Avengers but in homemade defensive gear, lame nicknames, and superpowers that mostly involve playing victim on Twitter) to show up en masse to help keep them safe from law enforcement. On Twitter, they ask for activists to show up for “eviction defense! … we need at least 70 people there to prevent eviction.”
Progressive and socialist activists have rallied behind the movement on social media.
Antifa activists with It’s Going Down, which promotes “anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements,” promise they have “50-70 people ready to defend if needed.” This is a hardcore group of true believers. They’re so anti-capitalist, for example, they have their own Instagram and Twitter accounts!
They report that “housing activists from Tacoma Housing Now, Seattle (the Yellow House), and Olympia have coalesced into a broad Puget Sound coalition that will support housing actions in each other’s cities.”
According to reports, about 60 protesters have rallied outside the motel as backup.
‘They are keeping me hostage’
Meanwhile, the activists are terrorizing a minority business manager. How woke of them.
“I’m just devastated,” motel manager Shawn Randhawa told the Tacoma News Tribune. “Because of the protest, I have nothing else. I was barely getting through this pandemic, and now this. This Christmas, the Grinch came.”
THN activists justify their hostage takeover by pointing to the Paycheck Protection Program loan that went to Randhawa, which was used to keep his employees paid.
“They are keeping me hostage. No one is out to help me,” Randhawa told the Tribune. “It’s complete lawlessness in the city of Fife.”
But to the activists, they’re just fighting a just cause (while not actually housing homeless people where they live, choosing instead to steal from others).
“A lot of these folks here have chronic illnesses,” activist “Arrow” claimed to KIRO 7 TV. “They have everything from cancer to severe infections, seizures, all sorts of chronic illnesses.”
Sounds like these people should be in hospitals beds and not Fife motel rooms. But no one will ever accuse Arrow of being as sharp as the weapon he named himself after. He also should be in a jail cell (that counts as housing).
Fife leadership missing in action
Missing in action as this motel occupation escalates? City leadership and law enforcement. Both are taking the same approach: feckless cowardice.
Fife’s city manager Hyun Kim told the Tribune he wants an open dialogue.
“I would like to bring together partners to provide wrap-around services to these people. I understand that some are sick and just a hotel room is not an end-all-be-all,” he said. “Occupying a private motel and potentially put them out of business is untenable. I fear for those who might lose their job.”
Is it untenable? Perhaps Kim should, I don’t know, do something about it, like enforce the law? Perhaps offer to the business owner the same anger and urgency he’d expect if his home was taken over by radical lunatics.
Fife Police Chief Pete Fisher even acknowledges the lawlessness, but won’t do much about it.
“We’re trying to see if we can work out a resolution without having to take law enforcement action,” Fisher told the Tribune.
So apparently we do negotiate with terrorists?
Randhawa says when he calls 911, police ignore his requests and claim they’re understaffed. Shame on the Fife Police Department if that’s the excuse they gave. The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH is proudly and unapologetically pro-police. But this is a shameful response to a serious emergency. This does, however, scream of politicians ordering police to stand down.
UPDATE 12/30/20 5:55 a.m.
City officials have apparently made an offer of Tiny Homes for some of the homeless that THN is using as props to forward its radical agenda. But those offers have been rejected by the hostage takers. Now, they’re adding even more demands.
Meanwhile, Q13 FOX reporter Steve Kiggins put on his activist hat in a tweet seems to show his support for the movement.
Someone tweeted, “You can literally just take over someone’s business and get away with it now. Unbelievable.” Kiggins responded with a link explaining colonial America. It’s a mind-numbingly stupid comparison.
It’s tweets like his that lead to people questioning the objectivity of reporters in this city (which especially disappointing because Q13 is an outlet filled with objective reporters). THN liked the tweet, of course.
This isn’t going to end well… or at all
In my newest column for Newsweek, I tackle the strategy of protest occupations.
This dangerous strategy won’t just continue in 2021. It will likely spread beyond the Pacific Northwest because cities have shown there are no meaningful consequences to this behavior—one that’s driven by adherence to a dangerous ideology.
THN holds dangerous beliefs. They think that rules don’t apply; that they can take over property that doesn’t belong to them (it’s not the first time they pulled this kind of stunt). They simply don’t care about consequences because there aren’t any. And they’ve convinced themselves they’re heroes. That makes them especially dangerous. That kind of delusion can make someone do very risky things, including turning to violence. We’ve already seen Antifa terrorists do that in the PNW.
And since few city leaders seem willing to say this kind of nonsense is wrong and will not be accepted, by negotiating (or even, G-d forbid, giving in and paying for the nights at the hotel in this instance), they’re just ensuring the tactic continues.
Seattle lunacy spreads
Did anyone realistically think Seattle-style insanity would spread to Fife? Yet here we are.
You shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve already seen it spread across Washington and Oregon and into California. It’s not going to stop because we don’t do enough to force it to.
And the politicians who think they’re de-escalating by talking it out don’t realize they’re likely inspiring citizens from taking matters into their own hands to police their own neighborhoods and businesses. We know that doesn’t end well.
Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook.