From Ranting Scold to Council Candidate, Alex Zimerman Continues to Fight
March 25, 2015 - accent chair
When we initial accommodate Alex Zimerman, he’s all laughs and good hearten and gives meagre idea as to a inlet of his fury—this firmly wound Lake City male with a weird gusto for job Seattle City Council members, mostly during strident volume, “gangsters,” “Nazis,” “crooks,” “criminals,” and his default fulmination: “You’re all a garland of fucking idiots.” Once, addressing Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, he roared, “Heil Fuhrer Bagshaw!” while brandishing his arm in a Nazi salute.
Zimerman looks as if he were plucked from a pages of a John le Carré novel, a undoubted tip agent. He’s tall, with a frail stand of thinning dulcet hair, and cloaks his bearish support in a weathered black peacoat. His Russian accent is thick, his brown-eyed gawk attentive. At 68, he looks fit as a fiddle. After a initial assembly final week in front of Barnes Noble during Northgate, Zimerman, entering a bookstore, offers a far-reaching grin and cracks loudly, “So, we wish to destroy me more?” Heads turn.
As maybe you’ve heard, Zimerman has finished tiny to attraction himself during open meetings. He’s a veteran rabble-rouser, a boisterous badger, a self-evident yellow coupler during a family picnic. His steady disruptive behavior, that has enclosed him cheering “dirty motherfuckers,” has deeply alienated a City Council, a members of which, understandably, have grown sap of Zimerman’s high-decibel dyspeptic disposition. The male needs a time out, they say. Over a past dual years, Zimerman has been systematic to drive transparent of legislature chambers on 3 apart occasions, for durations trimming from 14 to 28 days.
It was Zimerman and his foul-mouthed comrade in barbs, Sam Bellomio, both members of a border romantic organisation Stand Up America—Zimerman serves as president—who stirred a legislature in Nov 2013 (not prolonged after Bellomio, a 33-year-old polite engineer, referred to Councilmember Tim Burgess as “a dick”) to “forbid outbursts and other unfinished conduct” from addressing a legislature and concede a chair of a assembly to eject anyone for violation a rules.
“I’ve left 600 times to legislature meetings given 2010, though we did not start a oppressive denunciation until a final year or dual since no one listened before,” explains Zimerman. “We motionless we indispensable to be some-more of a pain in a ass.”
Are they listening now, Alex?
He offers no reply.
At a assembly in Feb 2013, Zimerman foreshadowed his extensive energy of forward tongue during a legislature cabinet contention deliberation an bidding that would oversee a Seattle Police Department’s use of drones. Bellowed Zimerman: “You’re some-more dangerous than Nazi. You’re some-more dangerous than Communist; some-more dangerous than Gestapo; some-more dangerous that KGB.”
Even one of a council’s many magnanimous members, Nick Licata, while endangered that a ostracism sequence might have disregarded Zimerman’s free-speech rights, believes he’s left approach over a line by ceaselessly “disrupting other speakers” outward a central open criticism period.
Zimerman (born Avrum Tsimerman) is a son of a German Jew, whose father, he says, was killed fighting Hitler’s Army on a Russian front during World War II. He was lifted in Russia, attended a college in Moscow, and emigrated to a U.S. in a 1980s, during a epoch of Gorbachev and glasnost.
“My whole life, we have fought opposite total regimes. Every day, we quarrel opposite fascism,” he says. “My dream was to come to this nation since it is a giveaway country.”
In 1989, Zimerman arrived in Seattle with his aged and chronically ill mom Leya Rekhter, whom he cared for until she died in 2008. Today he lives in a two-bedroom unit in Lake City—“a tiny and unwashed place,” he calls it—for that he pays $1,000 per month. In a beginning, Zimerman knew nary a word of English, stepping off a craft with a small $200 in his pocket. He attempted to fist out a vital as a business consultant and after an eccentric caregiver. “I was not too successful during possibly one, to be honest with you,” he confides. His categorical source of income now is a monthly $134 Social Security check.
In 2013, Zimerman, never married and childless, ran afoul of a law and was convicted on 4 depends of first-degree burglary following a jury hearing and condemned to 960 hours of village use for hidden state Medicaid advantages meant to support a elderly. For 6 months after his mother’s death, Zimerman perceived $9,000 for caring he claimed to have supposing her. It is not something he cares to discuss, and he steers a review to try to explain his unruliness and why, late final year, he filed candidacy papers to run opposite Tim Burgess for a at-large Position 8 seat.
“Burgess, for me, is a number-one nazi in this organisation [the full council]. He represents this organisation tranquil by a energy elite,” Zimerman says.
Zimerman knows he can't win, and has no goal of spending a dime (even if he had one) on a campaign. His diversion is to benefit entrance to claimant forums and teach on what he call his “philosophy of life.”
It is, of course, easy to boot Zimerman as a crazy aged coot, though amid all his belittling (and bewildering) bluster, he is means to pattern a awake motive for returning America (and Seattle) to a pristine town-hall democracy. Hear him out for a moment:
“Elections were a novella in a Soviet Union and they are a novella here. It is a chosen that stake these elections. This is what we try and tell a council. we try and tell them they are being controlled. They are collaborating with a absolute who tell them what to do.”
Zimerman goes on. “We need to revive leisure of speech. What we wish is an open Bertha [Landes] room in City Hall each Sunday for adults and open officials to come and pronounce their mind. We contingency speak and speak together. This will vacate a money. It will move us behind to a genuine America.”
I ask him either his Jeffersonian summary is removing by to anyone, masked as it is by his visit rage pyrotechnics. “Probably not,” he replies with a gale of laughter. “People know we am an asshole. we can't assistance that.”