Legislative body of the city of Seattle, Washington
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss a reversal for Bruce Harrell regarding pay for human resource workers, a new investment in community court, finding a new (old) home for Seattle's parking enforcement officers, former Mayor Durkan's missing texts, and a major issue with sidewalk accessibility around our state. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
3pm - Spike O'Neill in for John // Harrell's first Seattle budget proposes increased police funding // ‘50% was a mistake': Seattle City Council abandoned the idea of defunding police // Vet goes viral as he reveals the five dog breeds he would never own // Families Get Matching Tattoos: ‘My Grandma Was Like, Sure!'See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss Mayor Harrell's budget presentation this week, a look at the Seattle Police Department's risk management demand analysis and its impact on 911 alternatives, a pushback for a homeless shelter expansion in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood, a newly proposed ballot measure for mental health services, and more. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
On this Hacks & Wonks week-in-review, Crystal is joined by Hacks & Wonks' very own Production Coordinator, Bryce Cannatelli! The show starts with some new polling from Crosscut/Elway looking at November's upcoming general election. Current Senator Patty Murray is maintaining a fair lead against challenger Tiffany Smiley, who released a new ad this week that sees her pushing a “Seattle is Dying” narrative, filmed in front of the closed Starbucks along E Olive Way. In police news, mayor Bruce Harrell has chosen his SPD Chief, and it's the same interim chief we've had for a while: Adrian Diaz. Diaz represents a status-quo pick from Harrell, and the decision seems to promise more of the same emphasis on police hiring and department budgets that we've been seeing from the administration. The upcoming Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) contract negotiation is a real test for Harrell and Diaz's commitments to police reform and accountability. People Power Washington put out recommendations for what they would like to see in the contract, including numerous oversight and discipline requirements already present in the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA) contract. We'll be paying close attention to the final contract to see which reform measures the Harrell administration will push for. Next Tuesday, September 27th, Mayor Harrell will announce his budget proposal for the city, and we all have a chance to have our voices heard! From September 28 to November 22nd, the public can provide feedback on the budget. You can submit your comments on the budget to the City Council via their email, Council@Seattle.gov, and public comment will be accepted at all meetings of the Council's Budget Committee. In other interesting police-related decisions from Mayor Harrell, Notes from the Emerald City reports that, during an August 17th Community Police Commission meeting, the mayor spoke of working to get officers back into schools, without mentioning the potential to worsen the school to prison pipeline or risk the health and safety of students. The Mayor is also vouching for a parks budget that would pay for 26 additional rangers in the city's parks. Seattle's Solidarity Budget coalition is criticizing this move as paying for “soft-cops” to enforce harmful policies on homeless and marginalized people using the parks. In some positive news this week, we look at the Green New Deal Proposals from Mayor Harrell, which promise to take some necessary steps to both lessen emissions from city buildings and prepare for the consequences of climate change through the creation of resilience hubs. We also have some exciting, and much needed, financial relief programs for immigrants in the county. The Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) announced the launch of two new programs: one that will help immigrants pay fees associated with applying for legal status, and another that will provide financial assistance to immigrants disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but are ineligible for federal assistance because of their immigration status. Please look at the links below for more information, and share this information as much as you can to get the word out. Finally, a reminder that Crystal will be moderating a debate between 37th LD State Representative Pos. 2 candidates Emijah Smith and Chipalo Street on October 4th at the Rainier Arts Center at 7:00pm. See the links below for information on how to RSVP and how to ask questions ahead of the show. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. Follow us on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today's co-host, Bryce Cannatelli, at @inascenttweets. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com. Resources “Poll Watch: Elway finds solid lead for Murray; Steve Hobbs barely ahead of Julie Anderson” by Andrew Villeneuve from The Cascadia Advocate: https://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2022/09/poll-watch-elway-finds-solid-lead-for-murray-steve-hobbs-barely-ahead-of-julie-anderson.html “‘So much crime that you can't even get a cup of coffee from the hometown shop on Capitol Hill' — Republican Senate candidate takes on Murray over E Olive Way Starbucks closure” by jseattle from Capital Hill Seattle Blog: https://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2022/09/so-much-crime-that-you-cant-even-get-a-cup-of-coffee-from-the-hometown-shop-on-capitol-hill-republican-senate-candidate-takes-on-murray-over-e-olive-way-starbucks-closure/ “New SPD Chief, Same as the Old Chief” by Will Casey from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/cops/2022/09/20/78504249/new-spd-chief-same-as-the-old-chief “Harrell Picks Diaz for Police Chief” by Erica C. Barnett from Publicola: https://publicola.com/2022/09/21/harrell-picks-diaz-for-police-chief-as-expected-council-park-district-alternative-would-keep-park-rangers-raise-tax/ People Power Washington's 2022 Seattle Police Officers Guild Contract Recommendations: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RIpYL98qo2mEeB5yAZN9Y53sbm3i2Jomv0sVrj10tWY/view “City of Seattle's Fall Budget Cycle Is Nearly Upon Us: Your Participation Is Needed!” by Vee Hua from the South Seattle Emerald: https://southseattleemerald.com/2022/09/19/news-gleams-det-cookie-chess-park-reopening-council-passes-6-5m-for-seattle-green-new-deal/#City-of-Seattles-Fall-Budget-Cycle-Is-Nearly-Upon-Us “Mayor Asks for CPC's Assistance in Bringing Cops Back into Seattle Schools” by Amy Sundberg from Notes from The Emerald City”: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/amysundberg/issues/mayor-asks-for-cpc-s-assistance-in-bringing-cops-back-into-seattle-schools-1359958 Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) August 17, 2022 Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D-JtHPKuQQ “Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition opposes funds for what it calls 'soft cops'” by Amy Radil from KUOW: https://kuow.org/stories/seattle-solidarity-budget-coalition-opposes-funds-for-what-it-calls-soft-cops “Det. Cookie Chess Park Reopening, Council Passes $6.5M for Seattle Green New Deal” by Vee Hua from The South Seattle Emerald: https://southseattleemerald.com/2022/09/19/news-gleams-det-cookie-chess-park-reopening-council-passes-6-5m-for-seattle-green-new-deal/ “King County launches new programs to support immigrants” from Northwest Asian Weekly: http://nwasianweekly.com/2022/09/king-county-launches-new-programs-to-support-immigrants/ Call for support: 1-844-724-3737 (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m.) Contact Aimee Zhu at 206-393-2110 or email@example.com “$340M WA immigrant relief fund plagued by monthslong delays” by Melissa Santos from Crosscut: https://crosscut.com/politics/2022/03/340m-wa-immigrant-relief-fund-plagued-monthslong-delays “Delayed immigrant relief fund now accepting applications” by Melissa Santos from Axios: https://www.axios.com/local/seattle/2022/09/20/delayed-immigrant-relief-applications-washington Apply through: immigrantreliefwa.org. The application portal went live Monday and will remain open through Nov. 14. People will be notified as soon as December whether their application was accepted. Checks or pre-paid cards are expected to be mailed by January 2023. 37th LD State Rep. Pos. 2 Debate - Tuesday, October 4th at the Rainier Arts Center: officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/37th-ld-debate-state-representative-october-4-2022 RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/south-seattle-emerald-2022-electoral-debate-tickets-412293840977 Submit audience questions before the show here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdQlF7kRixWh_GnFInZ7UxDdKXK59LONGKAsQ1WBXgm3lysRA/viewform Transcript [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Today, we are continuing our Friday almost-live shows where we review the news of the week with a cohost. Talk about talking to people who do the work - today, we are welcoming for the first time our co-host: my colleague, Bryce Cannatelli, who is the Production Coordinator for the show also. Welcome Bryce. [00:01:00] Bryce Cannatelli: Hey, Crystal - thanks for having me. [00:01:02] Crystal Fincher: Excited for you to be on - you are in the trenches with me every day in the work that we do - our day jobs - this podcast is like the side hustle. But you are brilliant and intelligent and always helpful and insightful and savvy and wise, so I'm excited to have you on the show today. [00:01:27] Bryce Cannatelli: Oh, thank you so much. That's very kind of you. [00:01:31] Crystal Fincher: Okay, so we should start off talking about - hey, some new polling dropped. We are in the midst of a general election with a lot of races on the ballot, including a senatorial race at the top of the ballot. And so what did these poll findings conclude? [00:01:52] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, so this new Crosscut/Elway poll, that was published yesterday, was a statewide poll and confirmed one of the things that we took away from the primary election earlier this year, which is that the red wave that was much talked about is not happening the way that a lot of people anticipated. Looking at the statewide races from this poll, we see that US Senator Patty Murray is still leading against Tiffany Smiley 50% to 37% with 12% undecided, which is a comfortable lead for Murray. And maybe more interesting from the polling - looking at the Secretary of State's race between Steve Hobbs, who was appointed to the position last year, and independent challenger Julie Anderson, where Hobbs received 31% in the poll, Anderson got 29%, and 40% of the voters were Undecided. And maybe even more surprising than that was Hobbs only getting 42% in his home county of Snohomish County, which shows that there is definitely a pathway for Julie Anderson here to become an independent Secretary of State, which would be a first for Washington in a very long time. [00:03:04] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it would be. And the Cascadia Advocate, which is a publication of the Northwest Progressive Institute, had a nice analysis and breakdown of this. I think this is consistent with what we have seen with prior polling for Patty Murray and Tiffany Smiley - it looks like Murray has a comfortable lead. Smiley is definitely trying to throw out all the stops - we've seen Smiley go hard about her being pro-life in the primary, try and scrub reference to that and revise her messaging in the general - that doesn't quite seem to be landing. Recently shot a "Seattle Is Dying" style - and that's a reference to previous hyperbolic documentary-style programs that have largely mischaracterized the state of homelessness and public safety in Seattle, conflated different reasons and root causes. And is really just viewed comically by people in Seattle, but unfortunately often taken seriously by people outside of Seattle - both in our suburbs here in the state and nationally. And so it's a narrative that doesn't land inside the City, but we'll see if maybe they think they can make some inroads using that kind of tactic. Capitol Hill Seattle had some coverage of that earlier this week, but I was not surprised to see anything about that. It looks like the Secretary of State's race is a race. It does look like it is a competitive race. I know that there are some people who - Hey, this thing is done. We will see. And, it may turn out not being as close as current polling reflects. Obviously we are sitting here in late September - most of the communication that campaigns are going to do is yet to come. And so there's still some defining of the candidates - their name IDs aren't very high statewide for either of them. So that may change some minds. There's a chunk of undecided people who still have to get familiar with them and get to know who they are. So it's an interesting dynamic because this is a position that has been held by Republicans for a long time. With Steve Hobbs' appointment, he's the first Democrat to be in that position in several years, but being challenged by an independent. And so - in campaigns, who you are aligned with can also influence how much money and resources you have access to. Steve Hobbs, you would think, is going to be supported by some Democratic organizations and independent expenditures by Democrats. It remains to be seen whether Julie Anderson gets that kind of independent support and other organizations communicating on her behalf to see what that race is gonna be like. So stay tuned, but that certainly looks to be a competitive race. Certainly more competitive than what currently looks to be the case for Patty Murray or Tiffany Smiley. But that is not to say that that should be taken for granted certainly. Voting is important, getting involved is important. And so we will continue to follow what the polls continue to say and what the campaigns continue to do. Also this week, we had a big announcement from Mayor Bruce Harrell, mayor of Seattle. Bruce Harrell naming that he selected his interim police chief as his permanent police chief. So basically person's doing the same job and their title changed, but it looks like we are going to be in for more of what we have gotten - very much a status quo pick. How did you see this, Bryce? [00:07:04] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, I definitely see it as a status quo pick as well. It seemed like there was a preference for Diaz early in Harrell's administration, but Harrell was required to do a national search for a new police chief. The three finalists that were highlighted were Adrian Diaz, SPD Assistant Chief Eric Greening - two people who have been working with and in the SPD for a long time. And the third pick was the assistant police chief out of Tucson, Kevin Hall. And the pick for Diaz really does highlight this commitment to the status quo, to the same strategies that we've been having when it comes to public safety and the role of police in public safety. Now, all three finalists did at least speak to some elements of reform, to some elements of alternative response, or evaluating the role of police in public safety and how to improve the relationships between police and communities. But it was really Kevin Hall out of Tucson who spoke the most in that regard, who talked about programs that he had been a part of in Tucson to try to circumvent people going directly to jail, who pointed out issues with the intense hiring focus strategy that the Harrell administration has been leading - pointing out that there is a nationwide shortage, or at least a long time, hiring troubles for police. And that in Seattle, specifically, we have bottlenecks within our police training system that make it such that hiring a police officer today means they won't be on the street for about a year. It is not a quick fix. And the Harrell administration ultimately choosing Diaz runs a little counter to Harrell's own talks about really rolling up his sleeves and figuring out how to change the culture of the SPD, how to add a little accountability - seems like we're really just strapping in for more years of the same approaches we've been seeing, which as you pointed out, the "Seattle is Dying" narratives that people like Tiffany Smiley like to use to try to rile people up outside of the City are overblown, but public safety is still an issue here. And our police-focused, or police hiring focus, strategies just have not been helping that. [00:09:40] Crystal Fincher: This is an interesting choice. As you just said, public safety is a concern. Rising violence is a concern. Any violence is a concern. And there is a problem within the City. I don't think anyone is disputing that some types and categories of crime have decreased, others have increased. But I think we all have an interest in making sure that fewer people are victimized, that we reduce violence. And there's just about no one who is satisfied with the direction things have been going in support of that effort. People may have different reasons for being dissatisfied, but pretty much there's universal agreement that the status quo has not been working. So this being a status quo pick is a curious choice in that regard. And to your point, it does seem to run counter to some things that Bruce Harrell has said, and even just lip service to how he views accountability. They talked about - Hey, they're gonna prioritize addressing violent crimes, the staffing shortage, and improving the culture within the department. Well really - they're gonna focus on addressing violent crimes? This is the same person who decided to stop investigating sexual assaults of adults - without telling many people evidently - but what is worth investigating if that isn't worth investigating? That actually often comes with more evidence unfortunately than a lot of other types of crimes. And to just wholesale make a decision that you're stopping doing that - seemingly just to deploy more people on patrol - doesn't seem in line with this. Bruce is this police chief's boss and if he is holding people accountable for their decisions, what was the outcome of that? Was it just - oh, please don't do that again. Why didn't I know about this? It seems like there is an endorsement of the things that have happened with this decision, and I question a number of the things that have happened and whether they are consistent with this goal of reducing violent crime and how we're measuring that. And so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out, but just - I don't know that - it seemed like there was a big effort in the press conference to sell this as - Hey, we're turning a corner, this is a new day. We're gonna start focusing on these things. And really it's the same people focusing on the same things, making the same kinds of decisions. And I just - in terms of reactions, whether someone is progressive or conservative, it just seemed to have fallen flat. Whether that squarely lands on the head of Diaz or Harrell is - can be questioned, but certainly from an outside perspective and just at a glance, it's - okay, we're continuing to do the same thing, and it seems like there's universal agreement - same thing isn't working. So would be very eager to see some differences in approach and in decision making to give people confidence that there is going to be something done to address violence. And also to your point, something done to address it today, this year - because hiring isn't that. Even with the money that has already been approved, and additional money that has been approved, to hire, to retain people, to search across the country - despite officers continuing to say that they don't think that's the most effective use of money and won't be effective in keeping people on the force. That can't result in any additional officers until next year at the earliest, because it does take a long time for someone to go through the hiring pipeline, then to go through the training pipeline, then to land on the street. So if that's what you're counting on, that won't start to make a difference until next year. And we have a public safety problem right now. We have people getting victimized right now. And so would love to see the plan for what are you going to do right now. With that - influential in that, and also talking about - just still in the realm of public safety, especially accountability. A lot of that goes beyond the chief or the mayor, and is largely dictated by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, or SPOG, contract. And what did we see happen this week? [00:14:26] Bryce Cannatelli: This week we saw an open letter of contract negotiations from People Power Washington, talking about what they would like to see happen with this year's SPOG contract. And this SPOG contract really represents a major test for what we've been talking about for how serious Harrell and Diaz are about adjusting the culture, introducing accountability, improving relationships between police officers and the City. What People Power Washington are asking for here is establishing greater methods of accountability, of making sure that the disciplinary review process mirrors what happens in the Seattle Police Management Association contract, making sure that there are methods of actually holding police officers accountable for problematic and illegal behavior. They want to see restrictions so that SPOG doesn't allow in-uniform off-duty work for police officers, which is definitely a problematic occurrence. They want to see that any contract with SPOG provides alternatives for, or provides alternative community-based emergency response programs. And a lot of other requests that are, quite honestly, things that we've seen in other cities in other areas really make a difference in community public safety. And especially programs like alternative community response - when City leaders are really hounding us again and again on the lack of police - you brought up sexual assault cases not being investigated. It is a very reasonable request. And it seems like in everybody's best interest to try to figure out some of these alternative community response programs. [00:16:26] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, definitely that. And these are - I think it's worth going through these things, 'cause a lot of times people are just like - okay, we need reforms, but what are those reforms? And yes, this contract is important but what are the things that we need to make sure that are in here? Sometimes it's not the most accessible information. And so I do think it's important to talk about - and not just things that have made a difference in other jurisdictions, but with the baseline set by the Seattle Police Management Association contract from earlier this year, making sure those types of provisions are included in here. So I'm gonna go through some of these things, especially what was in the Seattle Police Management Association contract - at minimum, the things that were included in there that should be included in the Seattle Police Officers Guild contract - providing subpoena power to both the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of the Inspector General so that they can get all information relevant to their investigations and to complaints to make their findings. Establishing the standard of proof as a preponderance of evidence for all disciplinary action, requiring OPA records to be retained for the length of employment plus six years regardless about whether the findings are sustained or unsustained - because we've had problems with records disappearing, officers unfortunately repeating that conduct, but no paper trail to be able to better root out who is creating problems. Defining dishonesty as providing false information which the officer knows to be false or providing incomplete responses to specific questions regarding material facts. Right now that definition is not that robust - pretty common sense, but it's not. Including layoff language in the management rights section of the CBA - allowing the city to decide the necessity for layoff without having to bargain. Requiring public disciplinary review meetings, phase out additional pay for the use of body worn cameras, establish a disciplinary review process mirroring the one defined in the recent 2022 SPMA contract. Allow for the 180-day clock to be stopped whenever a criminal investigation is conducted, regardless of where the alleged criminal activity occurred or what agency is conducting the investigation. And place the burden to establish any reason to deny an extension of the clock based on a good use, a good cause on the union. Empower the OPA to make assignments based on the skills and abilities of the investigator, rather than whether they are a civilian or a uniformed sergeant. And allow the OPA to communicate with the criminal investigators and prosecutors from any agency about the status and progress of a criminal investigation. These are really common sense things, things that are not out of bounds. These are already in a Seattle Police Management Association contract. They should absolutely at minimum be included in the SPOG contract. Also, wanting to remove barriers to civilianize certain public safety functions and provide alternative community-based response as you talked about - it shouldn't include any guaranteed minimum of staffing that might impede efforts to civilianize or limit the possibilities for reenvisioning public safety in Seattle. The mayor, the police chief, the council - all of our leaders in Seattle - have made commitments in this direction and tying their hands preemptively limits what they're able to do and what voters voted for and expect. Requiring SPOG - the contract should not allow in-uniform off-duty work for police officers, nor should it require the City to pay any part of the Seattle Police Officer Guild President's salary. It's pretty unprecedented. And in a time where we're heading into budget shortfalls, where other departments in the City are also dealing with this, that's not an arrangement that we see with other unions within the City. So let's bring that in line with other unions. And broader changes to the accountability system that'll close loopholes and remove barriers to accountability. Specifically, discipline should not be required to be foreclosed within a certain timeline - in other words, 180 days. The OPA should have the ability to refer criminal investigations to the agency of their choice and be able to oversee those criminal investigations. Requirements should be instituted for the OPA to retain records permanently for investigations related to excessive force, dishonesty, criminal conduct, or where underlying allegations were concealed. Limitations should be removed as to how many of OPA investigators must be sworn versus civilian, so we can progress towards civilianizing OPA and stop the practice of officers investigating other officers which is an inherent conflict of interest. There shouldn't be any language barring the ability of complainants to appeal disciplinary decisions, a process that should be developed by the CPC as a top priority. And there should also be no language preventing the transparency of and ability to adapt standards of discipline so the public can evaluate these standards and participate in changing them as expectations around public safety change. I wanted to go through those just because it is important for us all to know what we should be looking for in this contract, what is at stake, and what desperately needs to change. And so I appreciate People Power Washington engaging in this, so many community organizations engaging in this, and look forward to seeing what comes of this and what the mayor is comfortable with in this contract, as well as the city council. Other big upcoming element - and this is all wonky stuff, but it's wonky stuff that material impacts the day-to-day lives of people in these cities. So the budget process for the City of Seattle is coming up and that is going to determine a lot of what is - everything in the City - every service that the City provides, every function that the City has - is addressed in the upcoming budget. I just want to review the timeline real quick, so people know what to be on the lookout for. Coming up next week, the mayor's going to deliver the proposed budget on September 27th. The mayor's gonna outline his priorities, what anticipated spending levels on different things are. The council is going to review the mayor's proposal starting on September 28th throughout October. The public will be able to provide feedback on the budget between September 28th and November 22nd. Councilmembers will propose changes in October, the Budget Chair presents a balancing package - basically a response to the mayor's proposed budget on November 8th. Councilmembers may propose further revisions up to November 21st, and the council will vote to adopt the budget on November 22nd. So the months of October, really in the month of October, there's going to be a lot of work being done, and that's the time to engage with your councilmembers, to engage with the mayor, make your voice heard on what this budget is going to bring. And there are a couple elements that kind of preview a couple things that are on deck. One being - looks like the mayor is going to ask for the Community Police Commission, or CPC's, assistance in bringing cops back into Seattle schools. What is happening here? [00:24:26] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, so this was pretty interesting. During an August 17th meeting between Mayor Harrell and the Community Police Commission, Community Police commissioner and Officer Mark Mullens pointed to defunding as overstepping. And removing resource officers from schools - people don't have the visual, but I put quotes over defunding - and Mayor Harrell did respond, saying that resource officers and police officers needed to earn the trust and right to get back into schools. But also said that he's working with Superintendent Dr. Jones and Chairman Brandon Hersey to rebuild these relationships and is working to get officers back into school - suggesting that the Community Police Commission could be an invaluable asset in this space. It's interesting because in all of this, no mention was made about how this would affect - or could affect - students detrimentally, how it could contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, how it would affect students' health and safety, which again just calls into question or at least runs counter to these spoken commitments to trying to find a more up-to-date view of police's role in public safety. In the same meeting, he also suggested that the CPC help recruit new officers for the Seattle Police Department. [00:25:57] Crystal Fincher: I don't think that's in their given roles, is it? [00:25:59] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, no, not at all. It's definitely not. So it was a really interesting meeting and it seems to go against what a lot of communities are concerned about when it comes to the role of police officers in school, especially how it affects students of color and other marginalized students. [00:26:19] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I'm curious to see what the Seattle Public School Superintendent has to say about this, what Seattle Public School's board members have to say about this. And what their intentions would be and what they find acceptable in this area - is this something that they are looking to incorporate, or is this something that the mayor is suggesting that does not align with what they want? I'm very curious to hear what their takes would be on that. Also, another thing that was - that will be - that Bruce Harrell previously announced will be something that he's looking to include in the budget is a new park ranger, basically expanded park ranger hiring, and maybe some expanded duties. What are the details there? [00:27:04] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah. Harrell proposed to pay for 26 additional rangers in Seattle's parks. And during the announcement did stipulate some - tried to preemptively defend this by defining the differences between these park rangers and police - they're not supposed to be involved in sweeps. But this decision has still gotten a lot of pushback. The Solidarity Budget - the Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition is leading the effort here in criticizing this - calling the park rangers "soft cops" because park rangers can still issue trespass citations and can still end up funneling people into jail and into other areas of the criminal justice system, even if they're not armed, even if they don't fulfill the same exact roles as police officers. [00:28:16] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and so this is gonna be interesting to follow. Bruce Harrell is rolling this out, seemingly, as a public safety initiative, which immediately invited questions. Okay - what public safety role do these play and which talks, basically brings it into the "soft cop" conversation - they can issue citations, they can introduce people into the criminal legal system or reintroduce them into it. And so that being a concern - the council is looking at taking this up and potentially narrowing the scope of what they can do. The council looking at, as you said, preventing them from engaging with sweeps or anything like that. It'll be interesting to see where this lands, but again, make sure you make your voice heard. There was an article in KUOW this week that we will link discussing the Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition and what they have talked about and what they're also proposing. And they certainly are talking about - it would be more effective, according to evidence and data, to invest more in addressing core needs, things that are more closely tied to the root causes of crime to prevent it - instead of operating around the edges perhaps. So we will see where that lands and continue to follow that. We talk about Seattle a lot. We talk about Mayor Harrell a lot and certainly have some bones to pick with a number of things that are happening within the City. But one positive thing, I think, that was just announced by Mayor Harrell was the City unanimously passing a $6.5 million Green New Deal. Last week, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation requested by Bruce Harrell, I believe, for setting up a Seattle Green New Deal Opportunity Fund. And this is something that Bruce Harrell talked about on the campaign trail, this is something that is desperately needed in Seattle and beyond. We have to address greenhouse gas emissions, we have to address pollution in all of its forms, and mitigating the effects on all of our communities, particularly those hit worst and the hardest, which are usually BIPOC, low-income communities that are dealing with the brunt of this. So what are the specifics of what's going to be happening, Bryce? [00:30:47] Bryce Cannatelli: Like you said, this is exciting and definitely points towards the City, both looking at how can we reduce emissions, but also how can we battle the impacts that climate change has on people who are really vulnerable. So looking at the breakdown, which we'll link in the show notes - the South Seattle Emerald did a really great breakdown of it. These funds are going to new resilience hubs to help during climate emergencies like extreme heat or other weather-related events like wildfire smoke and flooding. We're gonna see $1.78 million go to upgrading community facilities to foster resilience. Another, a little over a million dollars, for centers in the Duwamish valley to provide cooling, air filtration, other programming. And almost half a million for a citywide resilience hub strategy, focusing on communities that are impacted, as they say, first and worst by climate injustice. We're also going to see some upgrades to municipal buildings for electrification, cooling, heating, and air quality upgrades to Seattle's 650 owned buildings, including its 27 public libraries. We're gonna see over $2 million going to accelerating Seattle's transition of City-owned buildings off of fossil fuels by 2035. Providing heating, cooling, clean air to some library branches and over half a million for building electrification. We're also going to see, and this is pretty exciting as well, investments in fossil fuel free affordable housing - affordable housing for low income residents, which will give about $2 million to supporting affordable housing projects that are underway to be free of fossil fuels and avoid really inefficient and costly upgrades that we would have to do later just to make them more climate friendly and energy efficient. They're also funding a climate and community health indicator project, which hopes to get accurate local and reliable data for addressing climate change. Developing a carbon pollution and community health indicators to inform how we plan around climate change. Money to go to supporting community and public health partnerships to look at cumulative health impacts of climate change. Trying to acquire new transportation energy data to figure out where electrification needs to happen first. And there's also a hundred thousand dollars going to supporting community engagement to inform the climate element of the One Seattle Comprehensive Plan, which is hoping to develop Seattle's climate resilience and environmental justice goals over the next 20 years. This money is going in a lot of different directions - some of it proactive, some of it reactive - but it is really encouraging to see the City really taking this seriously and putting funds that came from the JumpStart program actually into making the City a place where people are safer and healthier. Especially if they're already in a part of a town or in a community that's especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. [00:34:25] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. So good work. Keep it up. Also wanted to make mention this week - King County is launching new programs to support immigrants, which is a big deal. There is now, which was just announced, this launch of two new programs that started earlier this month to provide financial support, including a King County immigration fee support program to help immigrants pay eligible fees associated with applying for legal status - including fees with US Citizenship and Immigration Services and Executive Office for immigrant review. And also immigrant applications costs vary from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars per applicant. So if you are living, working, going to school in King County, or currently detained in ICE facilities, but previously living, working, or going to school in King County - you are eligible for support. And that's up to $3,000 per individual and $6,000 per household, depending on the fees incurred or expected in 2022. So we will link that - in the system, oftentimes people are listening who may not be in that situation, but maybe you know folks who are. It's also common to know folks who are, but not know that they're in that situation - 'cause there is, often people are not excited to disclose that they may not have all of their papers in perfect order. So just the more people can do to spread this word throughout all of our communities in every area, in person and online - the more we can make sure people are connected to resources that are going to be helpful. So I was very encouraged to see that as well as there's another related piece of welcome news this week - in that some long overdue relief looks like it is finally going to get out. What is happening here? [00:36:23] Bryce Cannatelli: Washington's Legislature approved of $340 million in aid for undocumented immigrants last April and there have been a lot of delays on this program, this money not reaching its intended recipients. But this week we did get some good news. Applications are now open for a fund that are gonna provide financial aid to undocumented immigrants in the state. People who need the support can apply to receive a check or a prepaid debit card through the website immigrantreliefwa.org - we'll put that link in the show notes and it'll be on our Twitter as well. This application portal went live on Monday. It's gonna be open until November 14th. So just like the other story that we just talked about, this is gonna be really good to share as much as you can. The Department of Social and Health Services says that each eligible person will get a minimum - a minimum - of $1,000 with the total award to each person depending on the size of the applicant pool and other factors. If you qualify - you have to be over 18 years of age and you must be ineligible for unemployment benefits or federal stimulus payments due to immigration status. [00:37:44] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and this if we recall, back then was necessary because although there was a wide variety of relief made available to the majority of residents living here, there were some very notable carveouts for immigrants. And that - immigrants are part of our communities, they're working in jobs just along with the rest of us and in need of support. And so this was meant to fill the gap. Obviously would've been great to get the money out earlier as intended, but it is now available, so please spread the word. The online application is available currently in Spanish, English, Chinese, Korean, and Tagalog. Make sure you spread the word - support and help is available. And we are fairly sure that there are definitely a lot of people who need it, so making those connections is a very helpful thing. And as a reminder, I'm going to be moderating a 37th Legislative District candidate debate on Tuesday, October 4th, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Doors are gonna open at 6:30. This is an in-person event that will also be streamed online. It's gonna be at the Rainier Arts Center. So the programming starts at 7, doors open at 6:30. They are going to be checking vaccination cards, masking is required, they will also offer rapid testing for those who are not vaccinated. Again, all will be required to wear masks, but hope that you come down, make your voice heard. You can also submit questions. We'll put a link in the show notes that you can use to ask questions. You can also @ me on Twitter if you wanna do that, shoot me what you're thinking, we'll try and incorporate that in there. This is being put on by media partners, including Hacks & Wonks, KNKX, KVRU, and Real Change with support from King County Elections, the Seattle Foundation and League of Women Voters. So excited about that. Excited about hearing from both of those candidates. It's gonna be an important choice that residents of that district are going to make. So look forward to seeing you there. And with that, I think that is our show for today. Thank you so much for listening to Hacks & Wonks on this Friday, September 23rd, 2022. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler, assistant producer is Shannon Cheng, and our Production Coordinator is my co-host today - Bryce Cannatelli. [00:40:21] Bryce Cannatelli: Thank you so much again, Crystal. It's a lot of fun. [00:40:24] Crystal Fincher: And so thanks to Bryce for being our insightful cohost today. You can find Bryce on Twitter @inascenttweets, spelled I-N-A-S-C-E-N-T-T-W-E-E-T-S. You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter @HacksWonks, and you can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, as you do. You can catch Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere you can get podcasts - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get the full versions of our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, please leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full text transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the podcast episode notes. Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you next time.
This week, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to create a long sought-after Seattle film commission to support local film projects. The measure has the potential to make a major impact on filmmaking in Seattle.
Ford's promoting a new approach to driver and pedestrian safety//The Seattle City Council voted to form a Seattle Film Commission. What are some of the best movies and shows filmed in Seattle?//Texts.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This special interview features attorney Quinn Posner of Northwest Landlord Solutions. Quinn is an attorney licensed to practice in Washington and Oregon. In this interview specifically relevant to multifamily owners in Washington, Posner states: He is currently spending most of his time on a backlog of unlawful detainers. Seattle City Council's codifying of measures more extremely in favor of tenants The likely push for statewide pre-emption of jurisdictional tenant protections Tenant protections often result in higher rents across the board for everyone
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss the flurry of activity happening before the Mayor's budget proposal, changes coming to the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise levy, concerns about the Parks District "rangers," new costs for the city's employer transit program, and the impact of opening the West Seattle Bridge. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss a decision ahead for the City Council on the I-135 social housing measure, a new land use consideration for townhouses, the finalists for the permanent SPD chief job, a new plan for 9-1-1 alternatives, and the impacts of the Bolt Creek wildfire as well. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Today Trae gets another Seattle News, Views, & Brews update from Brian Callanan. Now that Seattle City Council is back in session, there may be some movement on some of the issues we've been discussing. Tune in to learn all about it!
Seattle teacher strike delaying first day of school // Seattle's banning gas powered leaf blowers // Seattle City Council passes legislation to deal with "deceptive" crisis pregnancy centers // Tiffany Smiley // Tyler LockettSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss the intricacies of working a city-based cannabis equity plan, a proposal to reshape Third Avenue, some damage control for Mayor Bruce Harrell after some comments about the City Council and Regional Homelessness Authority went public, the confirmation of soon-to-be SDOT Director Greg Spotts, and a look at a free statewide transit program for people under age 19. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss some changes in the public health response to the COVID pandemic, new details from a public survey related to Seattle's search for a new police chief, a social housing measure that made the ballot after at first falling short, Sound Transit delays, and more! If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Hour 1 -- Carlson's Legendary Lyrics contest today and you could win Blake Shelton concert tickets (for Sept. 3rd in Puyallup), a 12 year old boy armed with a gun is arrested in Pierce County stolen car investigation, this 12-year-old's arrest is another example of WA Democrats relaxing laws to make it easier on criminals, happy 103rd born day to Sister Jean Schmidt, a local story involving a dating app meet-up in Parkland WA is now gaining national attention, an emotional story of young love and a tragic death involving a University of Oregon football player, new information about the arrest of a repeat felon for the murder of a beloved Olalla WA couple this week, Dodge's simulated exhaust sound for new EV Charger/Challenger muscle cars leaves a lot to be desired, KVI's Lars Larson makes the case that Biden's student loan cancellation announcement today isn't legal and apparently even Speaker Nancy Pelosi agrees. Hour 2 -- POTUS Joe Biden is set to announce today a cancellation of student debt of $10,000 but the legal basis for doing so is in dispute, Biden could delay student loan payments temporarily but only Congress can appropriate money (for debt relief) that way, is US Rep. AOC still on track to have her student loan canceled?, is it too much to ask people getting student debt canceled to give back to the community like being a substitute teacher or join Army National Guard?, KVI caller says Biden's student loan cancellation plan will further divide Americans, the student debt issue shows half of Americans think government is there to protect their freedom and the other half think government is there to give them stuff for free, controversy for Google who wants to limit how many white and Asian applicants can apply for a prestigious fellowship the company offers at elite universities. Hour 3 -- KVI caller Jane Jin is a Seattle/Beacon Hill resident and she recently approached her Seattle City Council representative Tammy Morales about her concerns for the CID, says Morales brushed her off and wouldn't talk with her, she's with a group called "Chinese American Patriotic Alliance", what NY and FL voters are telling us about last night's primary election results, one Congressional race pitted two veteran US Congressional Democrats against each other after their districts were re-drawn, a NY special election is being used by Democrats as a bellwether about abortion laws, flashback to 2020 when a man challenged US Sen. and then Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren about the moral hazard of canceling student college debt.
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss a budget crisis that's not going away during the Council's summer recess, an investigation into missing text messages from former Mayor Durkan and other top city officials, a proposed ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, a question about regional rail from a podcast patron, and a look a plan to remove a section of Highway 99 in Seattle's South Park neighborhood. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Hour 1 -- Kirby Wilbur in for John Carlson -- good news for Seattle thanks to its new City Attorney Anne Davidson, why Davidson's changes in the City Attorney's office are "impressive", at the same time Seattle City Council is about to ban gas powered leaf blowers, the gas powered leaf blower ban will require a racial equity analysis of the proposed law, a Pierce County Sheriff's sergeant returns to the line of duty after being shot and nearly killed on March 15th serving an arrest warrant with the county SWAT team in Spanaway, solving the mystery of a Lake Washington after-dark boating crash where one "large boat" hit a ski/tow boat and fled the scene in the darkness, some reasons for Republicans to be nervous about US Senate elections in November, Kirby and Lars Larson confront the concern that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is a bad "coach", for example the PA U.S. Senate race, Hour 2 -- Kirby Wilbur in for John Carlson -- news about the powerful James Webb space telescope capturing images of the galaxy we'd never see, the powerful images are casting some doubts on the Big Bang theory of creating the galaxy, testing the 21st Century political phrase "the science is settled", some context the 2022 summer heat wave stats that hit the US, concert fans are buzzing after arrest of an armed man at The Gorge concert venue in central Washington, did the Grant Co. Sheriff's department arrest a would-be mass shooter or a possible post-concert drug dealer?, a history/learning suggestion to check out several books written by the recently deceased David McCullough, why Kirby is concerned about Republican candidate recruitment in PA and GA. Hour 3 -- Kirby Wilbur in for John Carlson -- which aging NBA star can win the release of WNBA's Brittney Griner before Pres. Biden wins her release from Russian authorities?, Gov. Jay Inslee exposed for his bogus vaxx mandate plan still hasn't explained publicly why he's backing off his requirement after getting new pushback from labor unions, the continuing economic dilemma of worker shortages, JUST IN: Dr. Anthony Fauci says he'll retire by year's end and one KVI host points out it might be to avoid U.S. House GOP-controlled hearings should Republicans win control in Nov. general election, the Biden tax credits for EVs show why a push of hybrid vehicles would have been a smarter move rather than putting all the 'climate change eggs' into a singular EV basket, $5 trillion in COVID inside the US and the reports of multi-billion-dollar fraud investigations keep growing.
The boys follow-up the discussion from last week's episode and talk nuclear secrets and the new restaurant wars before talking about the Seattle City Council's vote to give police hiring bonuses and the exciting new future of professional work.
On this week-in-review, Crystal is joined by Axios reporter Melissa Santos. They start off looking at the larger trends from this last week's primary, including why the predicted ‘red wave' didn't materialize. Next, they talk about Olgy Diaz's appointment to the Tacoma City council, discussing her impressive credentials and watershed status as the first Latina to serve on the Council. In Seattle City Council news, Crystal and Melissa look at the two recent abortion- and trans-related protections the council passed this week. For updates on public health, our hosts look at how Washington state is lifting most of its COVID emergency orders, where the state is at with its COVID response, and what our outlook is for MPV and its vaccine. After that, the two discuss the redistricting plans for the Seattle City Council, and different neighborhoods' responses to the proposed new district lines and close the show by looking at the state of behavioral health crisis response in our neighborhoods, discussing the county's plans for an emergency walk-in centers, the county's plans to improve its behavioral health response, and our lack of crisis response staff. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today's co-host, Melissa Santos, at @MelissaSantos1. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com. Resources “Our blue legislature bucks GOP trend” by Melissa Santos from Axios: https://www.axios.com/local/seattle/2022/08/12/washington-state-blue-legislature-gop-trend “Tacoma City Council selects its newest member. She's the first Latina to serve” by Liz Moomey from The News Tribune: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article264330356.html?taid=62f470bf1a1c2c0001b63754&utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter “Seattle passes protections for abortion and gender affirming care” by KUOW Staff from KUOW: https://kuow.org/stories/seattle-passes-protections-for-abortion-and-gender-affirming-care “MPV cases doubling nearly every week in WA, as U.S. declares public health emergency” by Elise Takahama from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/monkeypox-cases-doubling-nearly-every-week-in-wa-as-us-set-to-declare-public-health-emergency/ "US will stretch monkeypox vaccine supply with smaller doses" by Matthew Perrone from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/us-will-stretch-monkeypox-vaccine-supply-with-smaller-doses/ Washington state says goodbye to most COVID emergency orders” by Melissa Santos from Axios: https://www.axios.com/local/seattle/2022/08/09/washington-end-most-covid-emergency-orders "New map would redraw Seattle's City Council districts, with changes for Georgetown, Magnolia" by Daniel Beekman from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/new-map-would-redraw-seattles-city-council-districts-with-changes-for-georgetown-magnolia/ “Racial Equity Advocates Like Seattle's Newly Proposed Political Boundaries. Magnolia Residents Do Not.” by Hannah Krieg from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/08/04/77339585/racial-equity-advocates-like-seattles-newly-proposed-political-boundaries-magnolia-residents-do-not “County Plans Emergency Walk-In Centers for Behavioral Health Crises” by Erica C. Barnett from Publicola: https://publicola.com/2022/08/11/county-plans-emergency-walk-in-centers-for-behavioral-health-crises/ "Local Leaders Announce New Coalition to Address Behavioral Health Crisis" by Will Casey from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/08/11/77680008/local-leaders-announce-new-coalition-to-address-behavioral-health-crisis “Designated crisis responders, a ‘last resort' in mental health care, face overwhelming demand” by Esmy Jimenez from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/designated-crisis-responders-a-last-resort-in-mental-health-care-face-overwhelming-demand/ Transcript [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave us a review because it helps a lot. Today, we are continuing our Friday almost-live shows where we review the news of the week with a cohost. Welcome back to the program today's cohost: Seattle Axios reporter, Melissa Santos. [00:01:00] Melissa Santos: Hello, thanks for having me. [00:01:01] Crystal Fincher: Hey, thanks for being back. We always enjoy having you. So there were a number of things that happened this week. I think we'll start off just talking about the elections real quick. We got more results this week. Things are looking more conclusive - a couple of late-straggling races have been decided, including one of the congressional - two, really of the congressional district races. It looks like in the 47th Legislative District race that Republican Bill Boyce will be facing Democratic candidate Senator - former Senator - Claudia Kauffman. And that in the 47th House seat, that Democrat Shukri Olow and Democrat Chris Stearns will both be getting through and Republicans will actually not be making it in that seat, despite that race including three different Republicans - one the pick of the GOP that raised over $200,000, Carmen Goers, who actually finished in last place. So a number of things got settled, but overall, as you look at these elections, what are your takeaways, Melissa? [00:02:16] Melissa Santos: On the legislative side, really things look mostly similar to what they looked like on primary night, in the sense that a lot of the races that Republicans had hoped to pick up, I think Democrats still look really strong in. And that's in a lot of those swing districts in the suburbs - in Island County, the Democrats have pretty strong performances in some House races that I think Republicans have been eyeing for a pickup in the 10th District. The 28th Legislative District looks pretty much like the incumbent Democrats are in really good shape there - that's around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Lakewood, University Place. And I think that the Republicans not having someone in that 47th District open seat is maybe not what people would've predicted when talking about a red wave coming this year, and that Democrats have been saying - we're just trying to defend what we have, we're not really planning to add seats here. But they look like they're in a pretty good position to defend the seats. The only place where things look like it'll be rough for Democrats are seats up in the 47th - sorry, the 42nd Legislative District in Whatcom County, I think, have some disappointing results for Democrats when it comes to trying to get the former - the State Senate seat formerly held by Republican Doug Ericksen. That's gonna be a tough race where it looks like the State House Democratic Rep who's running for it might have a really tough race to fight in November. She wants to pick up that seat for the Democrats. But again, Democrats were trying to just defend mostly this year. So I think they look like they're in a pretty good position to do that. One thing that's a little bit interesting is a lot of the fringier types in the Republican legislative caucus in the House are actually not going to be returning to the legislature next year. And some of that's just because they ran for Congress in some cases, like Brad Klippert. [00:04:15] Crystal Fincher: And Vicki Kraft. [00:04:16] Melissa Santos: Yes, and Vicki Kraft. So I'm interested to see how that plays out. There are some races where legislative candidates who are being accused of being RINOs [Republicans In Name Only] actually have advanced through the primary. And I am wondering if some Republicans - are they more moderate or just hoping that they beat the more Trumpy Republicans essentially. So that's something I'm watching actually going forward is - while we certainly have situations across the nation where Trump-endorsed Republicans are getting through - we see this in the 3rd Congressional District race, here in our state, where Jaime Herrera Beutler who voted to impeach Trump will not be getting through to the general - that was finalized this week. But locally in legislative races, I'm not sure that the more far-right candidates will win out in all these races in November. So I'm watching that - how does our state picture, when it comes to the Republican party, compare to what we're seeing nationally. And it's always interesting to see how Washington does 'cause we're a little bit different sometimes as a state in how we vote versus the rest of the country. [00:05:25] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. And that sets up an interesting dynamic for Republicans, I think, in that it is really helpful when - just from a campaign perspective - when everyone is consistent with the message that's being delivered for the party, what priorities are in terms of values. And so there have been - legislatively - some more moderate Republicans making it through. There are certainly some real extremists. And again, "moderate" is an interesting word for Republicans 'cause - when it is gonna come to some of these caucus votes, I think moderation is gonna effectively fly out of the window. Or being afraid to speak out on certain things that challenge some of the more extreme elements in the party, which essentially in my opinion, enables that element of the party. But with Joe Kent higher on the ticket and being so visible, being a frequent guest on Hannity, Trump-endorsed, and really vocal about a number of things like opposing aid to Ukraine, about wanting Jim Jordan - who is extremely problematic and has been accused of ignoring sexual assault allegations on his watch under his responsibility - wanting him to replace Kevin McCarthy as the leader of the party, certainly moving in a much more extreme direction. A number of those things are gonna be inconsistent, I think, with what some of the other Republicans, I think legislatively under JT Wilcox certainly, Republicans are gonna wanna be talking about. So there may be just a bit of a mismatched message there and it will be interesting to see how the party navigates that, but especially coming from a place where the extremism - you look at the primaries - certainly did not land. And some of, even the criticisms just legislatively, of Republicans who were on the message that they wanted to be on, did not turn out to be very effective at all - that presents a challenge for them in the general. [00:07:40] Melissa Santos: I think that was interesting in the Federal Way area. I think everyone, including Democrats, were saying - yeah, there's a lot of voters concerned about public safety there. I think everyone thought maybe the Democrats might be a little bit more vulnerable from attacks from Republicans in that area in South King County around Federal Way, with Republicans say - Hey, Democrats passed all these bills that hamstring police, so they can't keep you safe. I think everyone thought that line of argument might work better in some of those areas in South King County than it did. And so I'm wondering if Republicans will change their approach or not, or if they're just gonna stick with hammering Democrats on public safety. I think that maybe we'll see just more talk about economy and inflation and maybe a little less of the public safety attacks - possibly - based on those results. [00:08:29] Crystal Fincher: And they certainly hit hard on both of those. It is interesting to see - particularly - so you have Jamila Taylor, who is the incumbent representative there, there's another open House seat, and then Claire Wilson in the Senate seat. Jamila Taylor, who's the head of the Legislative Black Caucus, did play a leading role in passing a lot of, number of the police accountability reforms that police, a number of police unions, and people who are saying "Back the Blue" and these were problematic. She actually has a police officer running against her in that district. And also, the mayor of Federal Way, Jim Ferrell, is running for King County Prosecutor on a hard line, lock 'em up kind of message. They've been working overtime to blame legislators, primarily Jamila Taylor, for some of the crime that they've seen. And holding community meetings - really trying to ratchet up sentiment against Jamila Taylor - helping out both her challenger and Jim Ferrell was the plan. And again, that seemed to fall flat. Jamila Taylor finished with 54% in that race and the most votes out of any Democrat. You saw Democrats across the board, both Claire Wilson and Jamila Taylor, get 54% and 55% of the vote. In a primary, that is certainly where you would want to be and that's really a hard number to beat in the general. And then in the other open seat, you had two Democratic candidates combine for, I think, 55% of the vote. So it is - where they attempted to make that argument the hardest, it seemed to fall almost the flattest. And it goes to - we talked about this on the Post-Primary Recap a little bit - I think it goes to show that the conversation publicly - certainly the political conversation about public safety - I think is too flat and does not account for where the public actually is. I think people are absolutely concerned about crime and rightfully so - we have to attack gun violence, we have to attack property crime and violent crime. We have to do better than we're doing now. But I think people are recognizing that the things that we have been doing have not been successful. And we have been trying to lock people up and people see that there's a need for behavioral health interventions, for housing, for substance use treatment and that those things are absent. And that you can send a policeman to do that, but they don't have the tools to address that even if they were the appropriate responder. And there's a lot of people saying they aren't even the appropriate response for a number of these things. So I just think regular voters - regular people - just have a more nuanced and realistic view of what needs to happen. [00:11:42] Melissa Santos: I also think that message - we could talk about those races forever, probably - but I think that message might land especially flat in communities like South King County that are predominantly people of color in many of these communities. They want to address - well, okay, I should not group everyone together, let me back up here - but I think a lot of people see the effects of crime on their communities and their family members and want support, not just a crackdown. And I don't know if that - I don't know - I'm generalizing here and I shouldn't, but I think that maybe that - [00:12:09] Crystal Fincher: I think it's across the board. I feel like - we saw polling in Seattle where, even if you break it down by Seattle City Council district, whether it's North Seattle or West Seattle which are predominantly white areas, in addition to other areas with higher percentage of people of color - they're saying near universally - when given, asked the question - where would you allocate more of your tax dollars in the realm of public safety to make a difference? They start off by saying behavioral health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, treating root causes. And then "more officers" trails those things. So it's - and even before more officers, they're saying better training for officers so they do a better job of responding when they are called. So I just think that across the board, there's - Republicans have gotten far and have done a lot by talking about the problem. And I think what the primary showed is that you're gonna have to do a better job of articulating a logical and reasonable solution to the problem. 'Cause people have heard talk about the problem for a long time, this isn't new. They're ready for someone to do something about it and they want to hear something that sounds credible, with some evidence behind it, that'll make a difference. And I don't think Republicans articulated that at all. And I think Democrats are talking about things more in line with where voters are at. But certainly, we could talk about those election results forever, but we will move on to other news. Speaking of newly elected people, we have a new appointment of a person on the Tacoma City Council - Olgy Diaz was just unanimously appointed as the first Latina member of the Tacoma City Council last Tuesday night. She was one of 43 applicants to apply, ended up making the shortlist, and then was officially appointed on Tuesday night. What did you take away from this? You previously covered - based in Tacoma, covered Tacoma previously, worked at The News Tribune. What does Olgy bring to the Council? [00:14:41] Melissa Santos: Olgy is really experienced in politics, I want to say. For way back when - I think I started talking to Olgy years and years ago - she was, definitely in her role with leading One America, she's done a lot of policy work at the state level for a long time. She worked in the Legislature, so I talked to her in that capacity. And she brings a lot of experience to the table - I think more than a lot of people who apply for vacancies on city councils, for sure. But I honestly was also just - I was blown away to read - I didn't realize the Tacoma City Council has never had a Latina member before and that really blew my mind, given the diversity of Tacoma and given that that's a community where you have people who just weren't represented for such a long time. I worked in Tacoma for eight years at the paper and I didn't - I guess I didn't realize that was the case. So Olgy - separately - brings just a ton of experience. She leads the National Women's Political Caucus of Washington now as president and I talked to her for stories in that capacity, and she's always very knowledgeable and really thoughtful. But yeah, that's just - in terms of representation, she brings a lot to the Council that apparently it hasn't had - in terms of experience and lived experience as well. I didn't watch the whole appointment process every step of the way, but it seems like that is a very solid choice, given that you have someone coming in possibly that has way more, broader political knowledge than a lot of the sitting councilmembers in some cases. And that's not a knock on the sitting councilmembers, but you just have someone really, really versed in politics and policy in Washington State coming onto that city council. [00:16:26] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and an unusual amount of experience. I think, to your point, not a knock on anyone else. Olgy just has an unusual amount of experience on both the policy and political side. She's the Government Affairs Director for Forterra, she's president of the National Women's Political Caucus as you said, on the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition and Institute for a Democratic Future board. She's previously been on the city's Human Rights Commission. She just has so many, so much experience from within, working within the legislature and elsewhere. And if - full disclosure - Olgy Diaz is not just a friend, but also worked for Olgy as her consultant and love the woman. But just completely dynamic and if you know Olgy, you know she reps South Tacoma harder than anyone else just about that you've ever met. She deeply, deeply loves the city, particularly South Tacoma, and has been an advocate for the city in every role that she's had. So just really excited to see her appointed. In other local news - this week, Seattle, the Seattle City Council stood up and passed protections for abortion and gender affirming care. What did they do? [00:17:52] Melissa Santos: They passed something that makes it a misdemeanor for someone to interfere, intimidate, or try and threaten someone who is seeking an abortion and they also have some civil rights protections that they passed. Those are especially - you might not think that's necessarily an issue in Seattle all the time, but I think that - certainly the misdemeanors for trying to interfere for someone getting treatment or getting abortion care, I think that is something that could actually be used and called upon sometime in Seattle with certain individual cases. And I do think it's - not necessarily in a bad way - but a messaging bill on both of them - in a way saying - care is protected here. Even though in Washington State we do have some state law protections for abortion - better than in most states - I think it's partly about sending a message to people that your care will not be interfered with here. And maybe even a message to people in other states - that they can come - actually that is part of it - is that you can come to Seattle and get care and you will not, we will support you. And so that's part of why they're doing it - both on a practical level, but also sending a message that we will not tolerate people trying to dissuade, to discourage people who decided to get an abortion from getting the care that they are seeking. [00:19:18] Crystal Fincher: And I know Councilmember Tammy Morales has also said that she plans to introduce further legislation to prevent crisis pregnancy centers from misrepresenting the facts, misleading people - which has happened in other situations with pregnancy crisis centers, which sometimes bill themselves as abortion care providers. A person seeking an abortion finds them, goes, and unexpectedly is - in some situations - heavily pressured not to have an abortion. And there's been situations where they have been found to have been coerced into not having an abortion. And so that would just seek to make sure that everybody correctly represents themselves, and who they are, and what they are attempting to do. Lots of people do, to your point, look at Seattle and say - okay, but this - things were safe here anyway. I do think the first one - we see a lot of counter-protestors - of people making points in Seattle, going to Seattle to protest different things, because it has a reputation for being progressive, where progressive policy is. So it attacks people who really dislike those policies and moving in that direction. I think this is helpful for that. And it serves as model legislation. There are some very red areas here in the state. There are other localities - we may have neighboring states that - the right to abortion is coming to an end. And so having legislation like this that has passed in the region, that has passed nearby, that is in place, that survives legal challenges against them makes it easier for other localities to pass the same. And so I think that it is a very positive thing for Seattle to take the lead passing model legislation. Certainly aren't the first to pass, but having it in the region is very, very helpful. So glad to see that. Also this week - some challenging news. One - monkeypox, now referred to as MPV, cases have been doubling nearly every week in Washington and has been declared a public health emergency. Where do we stand here? [00:21:37] Melissa Santos: I think that right now, we have about 220 cases - and that's what I think I saw on the CDC website just earlier today. And last week, it was 70 fewer than that, at least - we have been seeing, especially early on, every week or so the cases were doubling in our state. And we remember how COVID started in a way - it was small at first and things just can really expand quickly. This isn't spread the same way COVID is - and I'm not saying it is - but we do definitely have a vaccine shortage here for this and that's a huge concern. I asked the State Department of Health - actually, I have not put this in the story yet, but I was like - how many people do you feel like you need to treat that are at high risk? And they said it's almost 80,000. And took me a long time to get that number, but I think we only have - we only are gonna have something like 20-something thousand vaccines doses coming in, maybe 25,000, through at least early September. So there's a lot of potential for this to spread before we get vaccines to treat the people who are most at risk. That's a big concern. And so I haven't checked in our state yet - this sort of decision that we can stretch these doses further by divvying them up and doing, making each dose into maybe five doses - that could really help here. So I need to check whether in our state we're going forward with that and if that meets the need or not. But we still need a second dose for everybody, even beyond that. So it looks like the math just doesn't work and we're still gonna be short. And in that time, how far will it spread? Because it's not just - it's not a sexually transmitted disease that only is going to spread among LGBT individuals - other people are getting it and will get it. So that is - and also that community needs as much support as they can get anyway, regardless. But this is not something that just affects someone else, for instance, if you're not a member of that community. It's something that can affect everybody, and it's - everyone's afraid of another situation like we had with COVID - could it spread before we get a handle on it? And I think it's still an unknown question right now. [00:23:57] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, big unknown question. And to your point, it was - the CDC just announced that the vaccine supply can be stretched by giving one-fifth of the normal dose, so stretched five times what we thought we previously had. But that was just announced, so our local plans for that are probably in progress and process and hopefully we'll hear more about that soon. But haven't yet as that information was just announced - I want to say yesterday, if not day before. With that, to your point, it is - some people are under the mistaken impression that this is a sexually transmitted infection. It is not. It can spread by just skin-to-skin contact. If two people are wearing shorts and at a concert, or have short-sleeve shirts and are rubbing against each other, it can be spread just by touching especially infected lesions, by surfaces if there's a high enough amount on a surface. It is pretty hardy - lasts a long time on a number of surfaces or clothes or different things like that. Certainly a lot of concern with kids going back into school, kids in daycare that we may see an increase particularly among children - just because they are around each other and touching each other and playing as they do and that is how this virus can spread. So certainly getting as many people, starting with the highest risk people, vaccinated is important. We are short - there are just no two ways about that and running behind. Testing capacity has also been a challenge. So hopefully with these emergency declarations that we've seen locally and nationally that we fast forward the response to that and get prepared pretty quickly, but we will say that. Also this week, most COVID emergency orders have been ended. What happened here? [00:26:08] Melissa Santos: Some of them are still getting phased out, but the governor just very recently announced in our state that he's going to be - he's ending 12 COVID emergency orders. And so I went - wait, how many are left then, 'cause I don't think we have that many. And the governor's office - there's only 10 - once these mostly healthcare, procedure-related orders are phased out, will only be 10 COVID emergency orders left. And honestly, some of those have even been scaled back from what they were. They're - one of the orders relates to practicing some safe distancing measures or certain precautions in schools - that's really a step back from having schools be completely closed, like we had at one point. So even those 10 aren't necessarily as stringent as the orders we were seeing earlier in the pandemic. What does that really signify? I think that the governor has said - because we have good treatment options available, it doesn't mean that COVID is no longer a threat, but we have better ways of dealing with it essentially. It's not like early in the pandemic when nobody was vaccinated. We have a fairly high vaccination rate in our state compared to some others. And we have some treatment options that are better. And at least right now - well, I say this - our hospitals aren't pushed completely beyond capacity. Although, however - this week Harborview actually is over capacity, so that's still a potential problem going forward. But we just have better ways of dealing with the virus than we did. It doesn't mean it's not a threat, it doesn't mean that people aren't still getting hospitalized and even dying - because they are. But we're moving to a different stage of this pandemic where we're just not going to have as many restrictions and we're going to approach the virus in a different way. [00:27:51] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. Yeah, that pretty much covers it there. [00:27:56] Melissa Santos: The thing - I do think for public - I've asked the governor a couple times - what is your standard for lifting the underlying emergency order? 'Cause we still are in a state of emergency over COVID and that does give the governor, if something comes up, quick power to ban some activity or something. And if there's a public health risk, he could order, for instance, indoor mask wearing again if he wanted. He has not indicated he plans to, but it gives him a little more power. Republicans are still mad about that, but in effect, there aren't that many orders actually in place anymore. We're just not living under as many restrictions as we once were. [00:28:34] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. So the protections are going away - there are lots of people who are very concerned about this. This does not seem tethered to - earlier in the pandemic - in some situations when cases were spreading at a lower amount than they were in some areas then than they are today - they tied it to certain metrics and to hospital capacity and different things. So there seemed like there was an underlying data-based justification that would dictate what the appropriate health response was. This seems untethered from all of that. And I think a lot of people's criticisms of this are - the actions that are taken, or realistically the actions that are no longer being taken, the justification behind that seems to be driven by convenience or by a desire just to get back to normal or fatigue. And instead of what health precautions dictate would be wise. I think at the very minimum we would be a lot better off if - we were very late in, from the CDCs perspective, in acknowledging that this is an airborne virus. And so air quality, air purification, air turnover in indoor spaces is extremely important, especially given how helpful that is for wildfire air mitigation. We're having a higher, more low-quality air days than we have before. Focusing on indoor air purification - I wish there were more of a push for that, more awareness for that, more assistance for that. Because it just seems like - given this and monkeypox, which has evidence that it is spread also via airborne - [00:30:37] Melissa Santos: Or at least droplets in close - yeah, at least like close breathy, breathing-ey stuff. [00:30:44] Crystal Fincher: Yes - that air purification is important. And so I wish we would make a greater push because still - that's not really aggressively talked about by most of our public health entities. And there's just not an awareness because of that, by a lot of people who are not necessarily being, saying - no, I don't want to do that - but just don't understand the importance of that. And many businesses that could take steps, but just don't know that that's what they should be doing. Sometimes it's still here - well, we're sanitizing all of these surfaces, which is going to come in handy for monkeypox certainly, but is not really an effective mitigation for COVID when - hey, let's talk about air purification instead of you wiping down surfaces. Just interesting and this may ramp up again, depending on what happens with MPV infections and spread. So we'll see how that continues. [00:31:47] Melissa Santos: But this time we have a vaccine at least - there is a vaccine that exists. Remember the beginning of COVID - of course, everyone remembers - there was no vaccine. So this feels like - theoretically, we should be able to address it faster because we have a vaccine, but there's just a shortage nationwide of the vaccine. So that's, I think, an extra frustrating layer of the monkeypox problem - is that we have a tool, but we just don't have enough of it. In COVID, we just were all completely in the dark for months and months and months and months - and anyway. [00:32:17] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and unfortunately the effect on the ground of not having enough is the same as not having any. [00:32:23] Melissa Santos: Right. Yeah. [00:32:24] Crystal Fincher: And so people are left with greater exposure to the virus and to spreading the virus than there would be otherwise, because we don't have the adequate supply of it. Which they say they're working on, but of course those things - unless you are prepared beforehand and making an effort to be prepared beforehand, it takes a while to get that ramped up. I think they're saying the earliest we could anticipate additional supply would be in the September timeframe, and oftentimes that's when it starts to trickle. And so it could be October before we see a meaningful amount of additional supply or longer. Just stay on top of information, be aware out there, and we will see. Very important thing happening within the City of Seattle - is Seattle City Council district redistricting, and what's happening. There have been some good articles written recently - both in The Seattle Times, especially in The Stranger by Hannah Krieg - about racial equity advocates actually being happy about the newly proposed political boundaries for council districts. But some residents of Magnolia, the expensive and exclusive Magnolia community, who have been known to advocate against any type of growth, or development, or any change to their community, other people getting greater access to their community and the political power that comes with who they've been and their ability to have an outsized voice, realistically, in local politics. They're not that happy. What's happening here? [00:34:16] Melissa Santos: The proposal that at least is moving forward at this point would split Magnolia, right? So this is something that communities of color have argued as being - Hey, in other areas, our communities are split and that dilutes our voice. And now it's interesting that Magnolia, which is not historically an area where - that has been predominantly people of color - every district in Seattle is changing - safe to say that it's been a whiter area. They're saying - Hey, wait, whoa, whoa, whoa - wait, we're gonna get split, that's gonna dilute our voice. So it's an interesting dynamic there. And what's also interesting - and it makes sense because the same organizations have been working on city redistricting and state redistricting, to some degree - we're seeing this movement to really unite and ensure communities in South Seattle are not divided. So in this - this was something that they really were trying to do with congressional districts - is make sure that South Seattle communities of color have a coalition and aren't split. And especially having the - well, let's see, and at least in state redistricting - making sure the International District is connected in some way to other parts of South Seattle and Beacon Hill. That was a priority in one of the congressional district redistricting for some of these groups that are now working on Seattle redistricting. One of the things that it would do is put South Park and Georgetown in the same district, which is interesting because I think those two communities work together on a lot of issues that affect the Duwamish and affect - again, a lot of people of color that live in those districts - there are issues that really would affect both of them. And so putting them in the same district, I could see why that would make sense. And you also have - I want to make sure I have this right, but I think - making sure Beacon Hill and it is connected to South Seattle as well. I'm gonna check here - is it also the International District here we're talking as well? Oh, Yesler Terrace - that's right. [00:36:12] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, so CID and Yesler Terrace will be in District 2 - kept them both in District 2 - that those were some really, really important considerations. And large percentages of those communities have talked about how important that is. You just talked about Georgetown and South Park being in that district. Looking at Lake City, Northgate, and Broadview in District 5. Also keeping growing renter populations together in South Lake Union and Downtown together there has been making a difference. Both communities of color and, as we talk in the larger redistricting conversation, communities of interest - and now with more than half of the City being renters - renters have been largely overlooked in terms of redistricting and City policy until now. And really what a number of these organizations are saying is - we've been overlooked, we have not been absent, but we've been ignored in this and communities and voices from places like Magnolia have been overrepresented and have been catered to this time. And there's a saying - when you're used to privilege, equity looks like oppression. And so Magnolia is saying - we're losing our voice - and kind of collectively, interests from the rest of the City are saying - no, what you're doing is losing the ability to speak over our voices. But now that we're all at the table and all have a voice, it's time for us to also be recognized as valid and important and worthy of preservation and continuity and representation and not have it broken up in favor of predominantly wealthy homeowners who are saying - well, we're a historically important community. Well, are you historically important and the change that the rest of the City has seen hasn't come to your district because you have fought so vehemently against it. And then turn around and say - and that's why you should cater to us and keep us together because we continue to fight against any kind of change. And realistically saying - hey, other districts have changed and boundaries need to change in those other areas to accommodate that. And so this does - certainly not all that advocates have asked for, but some meaningful progress and some promising boundaries, I think, for a lot of people in the City, for a lot of people who are not wealthy, for people who are renters no matter what the income is - because of the challenges that just the rental population is facing. And to your point, neighborhoods who have worked together and who share interests, who now have the opportunity to have that represented politically within the City? I think that's very helpful and I definitely hope people stay engaged. In this redistricting process. And as the voices from some of those communities who have had greater access to an ability to participate in these redistricting and City processes, and who've had the inside track and who have been listened to to a greater degree than others, that you add your voice to the conversation to make sure that it isn't drowned out by anyone else. Looking at a recent announcement - and kind of announcement is a better word than a new policy or a plan - because it is just announced and announced the intention to take action, but we have yet to see. There was a press conference yesterday about emergency walk-in centers for behavioral health cases, addressing our regional behavioral health crisis here. What was announced and what is the deal? [00:40:32] Melissa Santos: What exactly is going to happen remains a little bit unclear to me exactly, but basically King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a plan to just expand services for people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. And it's going to be part of his 2023 budget proposal, which isn't coming out 'til next month. So the idea is having more short- and long-term treatment - so more walk-in treatment that's available and more places to send people who have acute mental health needs. He was talking about how the County's lost a third of its residential behavioral healthcare beds - Erica Barnett at PubliCola reported on this pretty extensively - and there's just a concern there just won't be enough. I was surprised by the stat that there's only one crisis stabilization unit in the County that's 16 beds - that's not very much, especially when we know people suffer mental health crises more frequently than that small number of beds might indicate. So what's interesting is we want to put more money in somewhere so people aren't getting treated in jails, that they have a better place to go, but we're not quite - we don't know exactly the scope of this, or how much money exactly we're talking about to put toward more beds. I guess there's some plans to do so - is what I got from the executive. [00:42:06] Crystal Fincher: Certainly from a regional perspective, we saw representation from the mayor's office for the City of Seattle, county executive certainly, county council, regional leaders in behavioral health treatment and homelessness - all saying that - Hey, we intend to take action to address this. Like you said, Dow said that he will be speaking more substantively to this in terms of details with his budget announcement and what he plans to do with that. Universal acknowledgement that this is a crisis, that they lack funding and resources in this area, and say that they intend to do better with a focus, like you said, on walk-in treatment and the ability to provide that. But we just don't know the details yet. We'll be excited to see that. And you covered this week, just the tall task ahead of them, because we've spoken about before and lots of people have talked about even in this press conference, a problem that we almost require that people - the only access that people can get to treatment sometimes is if they've been arrested, which is just a wildly inefficient way to address this, especially when it plays a role in creating some of the problems with crime and other things. But even with the newly rolled-out intervention system with an attempt to - if someone who previously would've called 911 now can call a dedicated kind of other crisis line to try and get an alternative response - but even that is severely underfunded. What's happening with that? [00:44:00] Melissa Santos: So with 988 - this is the three-digit number people can call when they have a mental health crisis and they'll be connected to a counselor who can help talk them through it. The idea is ultimately for that system to also be able to send trained crisis responders - largely instead of police in many, many cases - meet people in-person, not just talk to them on the phone. But we just don't have enough of these mobile crisis response teams. There's money in the state budget to add more over the next couple of years, especially in rural areas that just don't have the coverage right now. They just don't have enough teams to be able to get to people when they need it. That's something they want to expand so there's more of a response than - that isn't a police officer showing up at your door. So that's the ultimate vision for this new line you call - 988 - but it's not fully implemented right now. You still will get some support. And if you call, I'm not trying to say people should not call the line, but they don't necessarily have all the resources they want to be able to efficiently deploy people - I shouldn't say deploy, it sounds very military - but deploy civilian trained helpers to people who are experiencing a crisis. So that's where they want it to go and The Seattle Times had an article just about how some of those designated crisis responders right now are just stretched so thin and that's just not gonna change immediately, even with some new state money coming in to add more people to do those sorts of things. And designated crisis responders have other duties - they deal with actually to getting people to treatment - some involuntarily in certain cases. Again, it's different than a police response and right now there's just not enough of those folks. [00:45:55] Crystal Fincher: Which jeopardizes the willingness of people to continue to call. Certainly the possibility that a police response can ultimately happen from someone who was requesting a behavioral health or another type of intervention response. And that is still a possibility which some people find challenging or - hey, they expected to avoid that or have something different if they call this and that might not always be the case. But it's certainly a challenge and I think one of the things that was talked about yesterday, which kind of wraps this under a whole umbrella, is there needs to be a lot more done in terms of infrastructure and capacity from - with there being someone to call, someone appropriate to call for whatever the challenge is, an appropriate response. If that is a behavioral health trained person, a crisis intervener, someone like that - and places to take people. Someone does respond and then can connect that person to services that exist. We have problems in a number of areas saying - yeah, we offered services or services are available and they aren't, or they aren't appropriate for the crisis that's there. They don't meet the needs of the person and their situation. So certainly a lot to build out. I think it is a positive step that we're hearing acknowledgement of this and a unified plan to take action, but still need to see what actually results 'cause sometimes we hear big fanfare to start and don't get much substantive on the back end. Certainly I hope with a number of the people involved in this that we do get some substantive progress and I hope to see that, I would expect to see that - but I'm looking forward to it. With that, I think that wraps up this show today. Thank you so much for listening to Hacks & Wonks on this Friday, August 12th, 2022. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler, assistant producer is Shannon Cheng with assistance from Bryce Cannatelli - we have an incredible team here at Hacks & Wonks - just want to continue to say that it is not just me, it is completely our team and not possible without this full team. Our wonderful co-host today is Seattle Axios reporter Melissa Santos. You can find Melissa on Twitter @MelissaSantos1. You can follow Hacks & Wonks on the new Twitter account @HacksWonks, you can find me on Twitter @finchfrii (spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I). Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show deliver to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show and Election 2022 resources at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the podcast episode notes. Thanks for tuning in - talk to you next time.
Feliks Banel on the restoration of Nettie Asberry's Tacoma home // Mike Salk in the Mariners' 13-inning win over the Yankees // Hanna Scott on US House hearing at Seattle City Council // Dose of Kindness -- compassion and sportsmanship at the Little League playoffs // Gee Scott on expectations that students are treated fairly // Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation of America // Rachel Belle on the virtues of occasionally doing nothingSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Hour 1 -- Carlson's Legendary Lyrics contest today, Dr. Anthony Fauci surfaces in Seattle to receive a medical award and throw out the first pitch at M's game, crowd reaction to Fauci is mixed (at best), the M's win the ball game in highly dramatic fashion, a heart-warming story of sportsmanship from two teams playing for a slot in the boy LLWS, not the conclusion most people were thinking of regarding a New Mexico investigation into suspected serial murders of Muslim men, Republican Congresswoman concedes primary contest to challenger Joe Kent in WA-3rd District, how Kent's campaign shapes up against the Democratic nominee in Republicans bid to take US House control from Speaker Pelosi, Hour 2 -- Burien car fire reveals a Seattle-area homeless/drug/crime trifecta when police arrest the driver, the Burien car fire arrest serves as another example of the dire problems caused by police reform laws passed by Legislative Democrats in Olympia, large gardening planter boxes are the new eco-blocks to prevent homeless tents from repopulating Seattle sidewalks, Ford Motor Co. announces big price hikes for EV F-150 Lightning truck right after Democrats pass new law requiring American companies to stop relying on EV batteries from China, legal insight into FBI search warrant/raid at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate, the loopholes and gray area that can exist when investigators obtain search warrants for a home/property, Hour 3 -- TX Gov and NYC Mayor are tangling over detained illegal aliens from US/Mexico border, a suggestion for TX Governor to crystalize the political differences on handling illegal aliens crossing into the US, Republican Congressional candidate (WA-3) Joe Kent tells KVI why mail-in ballot voting is flawed, Kent also tells KVI how he'll reach out to supporters of vanquished incumbent Jaime Herrera-Buetler as he advances to the Nov. general election, a nurse in Los Angeles will face murder charges for allegedly killing six people in a fiery car crash while speeding, the critical care nurse has a history of "profound mental illness" and 13 prior driving crashes, its official: the LA City Council is now more conservative than the Seattle City Council, a California judge strikes down a SF city ordinance that allowed illegal aliens to vote in municipal elections.
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss local efforts to deal with a spike in monkeypox cases, lessons learned from last week's primary elections, a new council district map, a new Seattle Film Commission, and a series of troubles surrounding the Washington State Ferry system. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
This week Seattle Nice takes a closer look at BIG PRIMARY RESULTS and the Seattle city council decision to end a $4 boost to grocery worker pay. Plus, Sandeep and Erica reminisce about the days when they helped made political endorsements at the Stranger. Support the show
Seattle grocery store workers will soon see less money in their paychecks after the Seattle City Council voted to no longer require hazard pay. The move is part of a broader trend in Seattle; even as COVID continues to spread in the community, the city is moving away from some pandemic era policies that have helped people get by.
What's Trending: Recapping the primary, and cost projections for fuel in the future. Seattle City Council votes to end grocery store employee hazard pay. Deshaun Watson's suspension will be appealed by the NFL. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss a land swap between Seattle and King County for the troubled City Hall Park location, a move by Mayor Harrell to revivify business in Seattle emerging from the pandemic, a suprising new SDOT Director candidate, a demand for the SPD to prioritize sex assault cases, and a new challenge arising from peer-to-peer car sharing. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss Seattle's search for a permanent police chief, a possible doubling of taxes for Seattle parks, the challenges ahead for the Jumpstart tax on big businesses, abortion legislation at the city level, and a transportation makeover in progress in the SODO neighborhood. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss the Seattle City Council's plan to change how complaints against the SPD Chief are handled, new considerations for sidewalk cafes, Mayor Bruce Harrell's new police hiring plan, the reluctance of city workers to return to the job, and a deep dive on why the City had to cancel 200,000 parking tickets. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
On this Hacks & Wonks week-in-review, Crystal is joined by former Seattle mayor and current Executive Director of America Walks, Mike McGinn. Mike starts off discussing what he looks for in candidates. Then Mike and Crystal spend time talking about the Seattle City Council putting ranked choice voting on the ballot, how that impacts the conflicting approval voting initiative, and the differences between both systems. Next, they break down reporting on how the lack of housing is actually the leading cause of homelessness, and what it will take to properly make an impact on our state's homelessness crisis. Finally, Crystal and Mike ask why elected leaders continue to politicize, ignore and defund public safety programs that have proven to be effective. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. Find the host, Crystal Fincher, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today's co-host, Mike McGinn, at @mayormcginn. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com. Resources Vote by August 2nd! Need to register to vote or update your registration? Go here: https://vote.wa.gov “People Power Washington's 2022 Policing and Public Safety Voter Guide” https://www.wethepeoplepower.org/wa-state-legislature-2022 Available now for State Legislature primary races! https://www.wethepeoplepower.org/washington-state-legislature-candidates-2022 -------------------------- “Seattle City Council puts ranked-choice voting on the ballot” by Melissa Santos from Axios: https://www.axios.com/local/seattle/2022/07/15/seattle-city-council-ranked-choice-voting-ballot “Cause of homelessness? It's not drugs or mental illness, researchers say” by Gary Warth from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/cause-of-homelessness-its-not-drugs-or-mental-illness-researchers-say/ “Homelessness is a Housing Problem,” by Gregg Colburn & Clayton Page Aldern “Mayor Harrell Wants to Give Cops an Extra $30,000 to Work in Seattle” by Hanna Krieg from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/07/13/76404101/mayor-harrell-wants-to-give-cops-an-extra-30000-to-work-in-seattle “King County Expands Public Health Approach In Response to Rising Gun Violence” by Natalie Bicknell Argerious from The Urbanist: https://www.theurbanist.org/2022/07/14/king-county-expands-public-health-approach-in-response-to-rising-gun-violence/ “Seattle Might Soon Defund a Promising Police Alternative” by Will Casey from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/06/23/75477450/seattle-might-soon-defund-a-promising-police-alternative Transcript [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Today we are continuing our Friday almost-live shows where we review the news of the week with a cohost. Welcome back to the program, friend of the show - one of our favorites - activist, community leader, former Mayor of Seattle and Executive Director of America Walks: the popular Mike McGinn. [00:00:57] Mike McGinn: I think we need to add a little more to that intro - I think we need more, I think we need more. Glad to be here, thank you so much. [00:01:05] Crystal Fincher: Glad to have you here. This past week, we actually hosted a couple of candidate forums - one in the 37th legislative district, another in the 36th legislative district - because ballots are arriving, you should probably have your ballot, or get it tomorrow if you don't have it yet because the election on August 2nd is upon us. In one of those forums, one candidate that you had endorsed got emotional talking about your endorsement meaning a lot to them, so certainly popular with a number of people - largely, just because of the work that you have done. So appropriate that we're here talking to someone who has gone through many campaigns himself, right as we have so many people going through that same process, and everyone is receiving their ballots so they can vote. What's your take on ballots dropping? What are you looking out for? What are your thoughts? [00:02:08] Mike McGinn: Yeah, it's so I - number one, I'm appreciative and maybe I shouldn't advertise this, but when people call me and ask me about running for office, I almost always speak with them. I guess - call me before you announce is my one thing - as I tell people, there's only two times when you're pretty much guaranteed coverage in a race - when you announce you're in it and when they announce the election results. So you really wanna get out the gate well, and I think a lot of people tend to think - well, I just need to get in the race, I need to start telling my friends, and I need to start raising my money - they haven't really thought through what it is they're doing and why they're running. And that's the thing I look for the most in a candidate - is there values - and I think we have a tendency, and sometimes Democrats in particular have this tendency, to look for the policy positions and someone's depth of knowledge on policy issues. And I think that's important, but to me, the policy positions are usually important because they're gonna reveal something about the underlying values of the person - what really matters to them, what do they choose to highlight, and how do they choose to approach it? So I don't expect, particularly first-time candidates for office, to have depth of knowledge on a wide variety of issues. I think that's unrealistic, and I think you're just rewarding the facile mind or the person who reads the - the policy wonk type who reads everything all the time. I'd be looking for who's the person who really has been engaged and has put their values into action, shown where their heart lies by what they've chosen to work on and how they've chosen to work on it. And you might be able to forgive a little policy difference here or there if you feel like their heart's really in the right place, 'cause people can tell you the right thing when they're running 'cause they know what'll ring the bell, but what will happen when it gets hard? What will happen when the pressure hits? Will they stick with that, or will they move somewhere else? And so that also leads to one of my favorite questions for a candidate - tell me a time you did something hard, even if it might have been unpopular. Tell me, and what was, it? And that's another thing I look for. So it matters to me what people have chosen to work on over the years and where they come from, and that's what I tend to base my endorsements on. Are they gonna be able to do something hard when the pressure of office gets in there? 'Cause if you don't do something hard before you get elected, you're probably not gonna do it after you get elected - the pressure's too much. [00:04:48] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, you will not do it after you get elected. And we've talked about this a bit before, but absolutely that, and a lot of times people look at running as - oh, this is really hard, once I just win this election, then I can to the work of governing and - but no, it gets harder, it gets much harder. The work begins once you finish your campaign, which is a scary thought for people going through all of the ups and downs and work of - it's certainly a lot - but it does not get easier, the scrutiny and the accountability only grows from there. And so I'm similar - after all of the time that I've spent just paying attention and watching candidates up close and seeing how they operate before they run, during the campaign - translates to how they govern. 'Cause a lot of the things that you do when you're actually running for office don't translate to the job of governing and meeting the needs of your constituents. And it really is this issue that I think we're facing all over the place - how can we have Democratic majorities, Democratic governor, leadership House and Senate, Congressional majorities, yet be stuck on what we need to pass, even on things just like - hey, we need to act to codify women's right to abortion services, people's right to privacy in law - and we don't have the votes to do that in Congress. And even calling a special session here, within a Democratic majority, and so a big question is not just - Hey, are you progressive? Are you a Democrat? Do you know what the right policy is? - 'cause every single one of those people running and people we see running in the state do know the right answers, right? The answers that will make people nod their heads and agree with them and - okay, they like it. But when Congressional leadership and House leadership is saying - Hey, we're close to passing this bill, we just need - this isn't gonna fly - so-and-so member over here doesn't want this provision that is key to serving people in your community who you know need it, we just need you on the Yes vote, don't hold this up, don't be difficult, don't do that, you're not playing that kind of stuff. Are you going to say - No, this is important and I'm a No without that, or I'm going to need this in, or how do we work this in, we can continue to talk but this needs to be in and we need to figure out how to get there - where those things are not going to be compromised away. Because we've done a lot of the easy stuff - a lot of the problems that continue to get worse, like housing affordability, we're seeing rights recede, we're seeing income inequality continue to get worse. And the action needed to solve those problems, the action needed to solve homelessness, the action needed to solve to make our streets safer - that's the hard stuff. That's the stuff where there is not uniform agreement among Democrats or progressives. That's the stuff where there is not agreement from leadership in these bodies to say - okay, let's do that. That's the controversial stuff. And we need people who will stand up and say - We have compromised that away before - we've taken action on all that other stuff, it's time to move on this stuff that we know is critical to making our future better and not just perpetuating these same things. That's my feeling. [00:08:38] Mike McGinn: Well, we've got this - you're previewing an issue that we're gonna talk about - housing and homelessness - I almost wanted to jump right in there with that, but I'm also really intrigued by what has happened with, as folks may know, there was signatures collected to put approval voting on the ballot this year. Meaning a change in the system by which candidates are elected in Seattle would be put into the City Charter and apply in future elections. And the basic concept of approval voting was that in the primary you could select every candidate that you approved of. And that has a certain appeal when you have, as we do here in legislative races or City Council races coming up next year, you'll have seven or eight candidates and you don't wanna waste your vote on someone that doesn't stand a chance of winning. And so that was the appeal. And as background, there's a sizable contingent of folks who've been proponents of ranked-choice voting and who've opposed approval voting. But they have spoken to the City Council, and the City Council is now - City Council has a choice when something collects enough signatures to go on the ballot - the City Council can either just put it into law, they can send it to the ballot, or they can send it to the ballot with an alternative. And the City Council has approved an alternative, which is to use ranked-choice voting, to select your top two. So you get to select, I don't know how many ranks they're gonna put in, but you'll be able to rank the candidates in the race. And the lowest-ranked candidate - they count multiple times - so everybody goes like 1-5 for their candidates, or whatever the number is here. And once they tally the first round of votes, the lowest-ranked candidate gets knocked out and everybody who voted first for that person, you look to their second-choice votes and add them in. And you keep doing that until somebody - until in this case - until you reach top two for the primary. So in one case you just - everybody I like. In the other case, you go - here are the people I like in the order I like 'em, and that will end up picking our top two. And it's just - I'm sorry, I know I'm doing a lot of explaining here - but the other part of it that's fascinating is the way the ballot is is - Do you think we should do something different? is the first question. Should we consider an alternative? And if you say yes, then they will ask - Which one do you like? Do you like the approval voting or do you like the ranked-choice voting? So we're gonna have a great discussion here about - 'cause let me tell you something - ranked-choice voting advocates and approval voting advocates both really, really care about why their system is better than the other. So we're gonna hear a ton of that, but I think there's a fundamental question, which is - Why change what we have? Because that's the first vote. And so - [00:11:44] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, that is the first vote. [00:11:45] Mike McGinn: That's the first vote. And I don't know - I'll put my cards on the table - I'm definitely voting Yes, that let's change what we have. We can talk about why. And I don't know - I wanna hear all the arguments about which is better than the other as this debate progresses, because I do think - I personally think both would be better - that's my take. [00:12:07] Crystal Fincher: I have a different take. We talked about this a little bit before in the program - I do have a different take. We have been discussing ranked-choice voting, there's been a movement for ranked-choice voting for quite some time in our state from a lot of community advocates in a lot of areas across the state. This is something that has had support on the ground from within different communities and different counties across the state. I will tell you that I do like ranked-choice voting and if the vote were up to me, I would choose to do that. But I will also say that we've tried ranked-choice voting in Pierce County before and it didn't go very well. And not because there was a flaw with ranked-choice voting, but because we need to invest in the voter education that it takes to do that. It's one thing for very online people - people who live and breathe politics and policy who are going through and know what the ballot question is gonna look like from the Council, and we got the update on the Council decision. Most people do not have the time, or even know where to begin to look, or have the inclination to figure all that out, right? And they're dealing with elections pretty much when they see their ballot arrive in their mailbox. And there are lots of people in different situations - there are lots of people who do not have home internet access - the majority of my neighbors do not have home internet access where I live. They're looking at stuff on their phones, they're doing different things, but it's not like they're getting a lot of information online. And for people who are not plugged in online and getting all of the alerts from government - there actually isn't great outreach person-to-person, through the mailbox, people - hey, this is gonna change. And if someone gets a ballot and they don't know what to do with it, the decision that they most often make is not to vote. And that confusion is just a bad feeling for people who do want to vote. And that causes a - hey, what what do I even do with this, I don't know. And so I think ranked-choice voting is excellent. And I think that we have to make sure that there is a planned investment and strategy to make it work, to outreach to every community, to reach out to people in language, to work through community centers, to work through churches, to work through everywhere - to make sure that the community understands that this change is coming and this is how to work through it. And not just a - hey, we're gonna have some news coverage as ballots drop and that kind of thing. But months and months beforehand to do that - that is what it takes to really enfranchise people. Or else we're gonna see really low-turnout elections and a lot of frustration and a lot of pushback that reflects on the system, when really it's a reflection on the implementation. And that would be the case for either one of these initiatives, really - that's not just tied to ranked-choice voting. I think that was a lesson that we learned that would apply to any kind of change. So I personally would just implore anyone working on this to have a plan that isn't reliant on the news getting the word out, that isn't reliant on people learning online what to do - that you are going out and educating the people about the change because in order to empower the people and to enfranchise the people who are most frequently left out, that step is critical. [00:15:45] Mike McGinn: I think that's absolutely right. And a few different thoughts - one is that there is that threshold question of why change. And one of my fears in this process is that the proponents of either approach will focus on the - why is my - what's the difference? And it's natural in campaigns for - just campaigns don't like gray, they like black and white. And so the opportunity here for the proponents of one to say that the other one would in fact be an unmitigated disaster, if approved, is gonna be really strong. But that leads to a really interesting point because - what is the goal of the proponents of each? Is it to get a change, or is it to actually - or would they prefer that the voters not approve the threshold question? And I don't know, I'm not trying to - I'm not, this isn't coming from any place of knowledge, of motivations of anybody - on my part. But that could be a concern - is that the voters could say - we're just gonna vote No to the change at all. And that would put the idea of change further in the rear-view mirror, or further off in the horizon to actually get a different system in the future. I do think the advantage of both - just to go to the threshold question - is just in fields where you have five or six candidates who feel like there are gradations of difference, or maybe there's a couple in that camp and a few in that camp - the ability to say these are the people in my camp that I would be happy with. And again, under the system, you can just bullet vote approval voting - I'm just gonna vote for one, I'm not gonna vote for anyone else 'cause I don't wanna - this is the one I really want and I don't wanna help anyone else. Or you could say three or four are acceptable - I suppose in ranked-choice voting you could do the same - I'm just gonna vote for 1, 2, 3. [00:17:50] Crystal Fincher: You can choose to not rank. [00:17:50] Mike McGinn: Yeah. Or you can choose - I'm just gonna vote for one, I'm just gonna bullet vote for one 'cause I really don't wanna help anyone else. But that's less likely 'cause you probably wanna show who you're saying your choices are - yeah. And so I think that gives - I think that puts more power in the hands of the voters. It is a little discouraging that it's in August of an odd-year - so it's a small number of voters expressing their preference, as opposed to a general election or at least an even-year election where you've got a big turnout for Governor or President or Senator or Congress and the like, compared to the odd-year. [00:18:31] Crystal Fincher: Well, I think the approval voting forced that hand because I do think that, and I think lots of people and the Council made the case when they approved this yesterday - that the people, especially for the length of time that people have been advocating for ranked-choice voting here in this area, that people do deserve a choice. And we were at the point with approval voting that they may not have had a choice about the kind of change that they wanted. So hey, if we're gonna vote on a change, let's actually have a conversation about the change. And I do think that the approval voting making it on the ballot helped that. You talk about, you mentioned - what is the motivation, do people actually want the change, do people not? I think that's a multi-layered and very interesting question. And I think, as we've talked about with candidates lots of times, and I think applies here is - well, who supports it? Where is the support coming from? Who is launching these initiatives? Do they have a history in this community? Is it external? Are these big-money interests who have a history of donating to causes and you can see their alignment with you or not? I think a lot of people are questioning, I know a lot of people are questioning that with the approval voting initiative. And the question about - do we want change? I think a lot of people are questioning, given some of the really big-money interests involved, is that - are they enacting change now to prevent further change? Is really one of the big questions, saying - Hey, we see the polling about where age groups are, where the increase of renters, where increasing number of people are not just getting more progressive, they're like, okay we gotta flip this system, and we need to fundamentally transform a lot of these systems that we're seeing. That is not a negligible percentage in Seattle and it's on the precipice - they can win City Council seats. We have a Socialist winning City Council seats, we have other very strong progressives winning City Council seats, and they're getting closer and closer to being able to win Mayor once again. And so I think that everyone sees that coming, and we're seeing a national movement in the same way that they see demographic shifts happening that makes it less likely that the Republican Party would maintain control without enacting legislation that limits things that expand the numbers of people who are enfranchised to vote. I think this is similar in that we see this change coming and it's unnatural - Let's make a change and make it sound progressive and do that - that's certainly what a lot of people are talking about. [00:21:25] Mike McGinn: I hear that, I hear that - but sometimes what people think they're doing and what they're actually doing aren't the same thing. And I would think about district elections in the City of Seattle. Do you remember who brought us district elections - turned out to be, it was Faye Garneau and it was Eugene Wasserman and - [00:21:46] Crystal Fincher: Wasserman - that's right. And another Ballard - [00:21:50] Mike McGinn: Yeah, and these were - they were business-aligned people who - I knew all of them, of course, 'cause they were really active in their communities and in ways that were positive, even if I didn't agree with - [00:22:10] Crystal Fincher: Positive and negative - I agreed with them on some stuff, disagreed on others. [00:22:12] Mike McGinn: Disagreed on others, but yeah - Eugene Wasserman didn't didn't like the bike lane on Nickerson - he represented the North Seattle Industrial Association. But he did appreciate - he was trying to, he was working to protect businesses in Ballard and that was his motivation and it was a fine motivation. But I think that - the reason I bring this up and I really do appreciate that those individuals - is that they were in some degree responding to the fact that the downtown business community had so much influences compared to the local, the business districts and business people outside of downtown. And it had that effect, but it also had the effect then of reducing the influence of the Chamber of Commerce, even though they're spending tons of money still - in fact, the reason they're spending more is 'cause they have to spend more to deal with the fact that somebody can get elected in a City Council race by knocking on a lot of doors and having a better grassroots effort and it costs less money. So I think that while they were hopeful it would lead in one direction, it actually led in a somewhat different direction. So I tend to look more closely at what would happen under approval voting than what might be the motivation. And I almost regret bringing up motivation because I think it puts people in a hard spot - I think what I was trying to get at earlier was, if you're campaigning for ranked-choice voting, are you okay with nothing getting through and we'll come back with ranked-choice voting later, or do you really want to get a Yes on the first vote and get it through. And I think the same thing is true of the approval voting advocates - are you okay with getting the Yes vote on the threshold question of, Should we change?, even if it means that ranked-choice voting comes in as opposed to what you prefer. And I think that that might change how either side approaches that threshold question in the case they make. Will they be more interested in saying what's wrong with the other guy's approach or the other person's approach, as opposed to really laying the groundwork for why we need a better system and why we should be looking at the two of them? [00:24:27] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's interesting. I also think - and I don't know how that's gonna turn out, I think it's gonna be fascinating to see what the goal is. I do think it's telling, looking at the strategy, that certainly approval voting felt more comfortable on the primary ballot than in the general just to get it over the finish line in a lower turnout election. I do, even on that one, I do think there's - I don't think the business community is a monolith. I absolutely think there's value in not letting our mega-corporations that happen to reside here dictate policy, because that does contradict what a lot of neighborhood business associations, local business associations, what small business wants, which - there are lots of small business organizations and Seattle Chamber organizations that support the JumpStart Tax - it has a ton of help in there for small businesses. However, Amazon has a different take on it. And so those interests are not often aligned. And while looking at the amount of businesses that are facing lease increases and citing that as a reason that they're going outta business, there is an income inequality conversation in the business community that is very similar to the one in the personal community. And I do think we should talk a lot more about that, just in general, 'cause those interests are not - they're not aligned and small businesses are increasingly saying we're being harmed by the practices and impacts of big corporations and what they're doing and the effects that their practices are having within the community. That said, we'll continue to follow this - I think it is gonna be a lively conversation and I do appreciate the points that you raise about it. And it is true - sometimes people think they're doing something and it turns out a little bit differently. So it'll be interesting to see. And I think - [00:26:35] Mike McGinn: I think it's a worthwhile debate too. I think this is a good debate to be had really between the two systems and I've heard points from both sides that are worthy - everybody's worthy of taking consideration of. I have to just say - I guess I'm just, as a pure primary voter in Seattle myself, I like the idea of being able to pick more than one person in a race or rank them in a race. I just like having a little more agency in this selection process than picking one outta seven or eight candidates and hoping that I made a good, hoping I made a strategic vote as opposed to being able to vote a little more with my heart. [00:27:16] Crystal Fincher: I also like the idea of having more agency. If I could choose between nothing, approval voting, or ranked-choice voting, I would choose ranked-choice voting. You mentioned politics likes black and white, but reality is in shades of gray. And to me that's another difference between approval voting and ranked-choice voting. And it allows you to know everybody - generally people don't like everyone equally, and you might have - oh, there's a couple who I really like and a number of others that aren't there, or a situation where the person who I like does not look viable and I do actually want progressive policy to pass. And that can be a different situation. But in just a binary approval - binary voting - like, Hey one Yes - you're only voting for one person and that's it. You do have to make additional considerations to say - my vote - I may be able to get maybe not my first choice, but my second choice across the finish line - they, I think, can win. But if I vote for this other person I'm really taking away a vote from the person who can win. With ranked-choice voting, you could say - I know my first choice may not be the person who is on top of the polls right now, but this is who I prefer, this is who my heart says to vote for, they're my number one. And my number two, if they don't make it, I can at least know that my vote wasn't wasted and not going towards a candidate who could take down the moderate-industrial complex. And my interests and where that would be, it would be - I can still have a number two and I know that my vote will still count and not go towards not getting a more aligned interest across the finish line. So I like - I have a ranking, I wanna reflect that ranking. It's my thing. [00:29:23] Mike McGinn: Okay. Where to next? [00:29:25] Crystal Fincher: Well, let's talk about this article that was written this week in The Seattle Times by Gary Warth - the cause of homelessness - it's not drugs, it's not mental illnesses. Researchers say it's the lack of homes, which probably if you're listening to this podcast, probably if you've been involved in this kind of policy for a while, you're going - okay, we knew this. But if you look at the general conversation of the public and what we see on the evening news and what we see in headlines in our local papers and the recall elections for progressive district attorneys going on, there certainly is a strong narrative countering that - oh, it's addiction. It's people who are just lawless and who can't follow the norms of society. It's people who are beyond help. It's a choice that people are making. And no, not everybody who is homeless is in that situation. The one thing that everyone who is homeless lacks is a home - that's the biggest issue. It seems obvious, but there are so many things that seem obvious that unfortunately are not believed by some powerful and big-money interests who can control a lot of narratives and characterizations. And so I think the more we talk about this, the better. [00:30:52] Mike McGinn: It's a - first of all, the authors of the book just deserve a lot of credit because they really dug into the data and what the data showed them. And it's one of those things that you really dig into the data and then you get to the finish line and it then sounds obvious. But the work matters when you do this, which is that - it turns out that there's not dramatic differences in mental illness or substance abuse rates amongst different cities. So the single most explanatory factor was housing prices. Detroit has extremely low housing prices because it's lost jobs and it's been a - people have been leaving town. Now this is a place where you'd think that addiction and mental health issues would be serious, right? People are struggling, people are dealing with hard things - but they don't have the homelessness issue because whatever means of support are out there for people are sufficient for them to afford housing in a way that's not true in Seattle. We have people in Seattle who are working and can't - and are living in their car, they can't cobble something together to get shelter. And I think we also forget the way in which it works in the opposite direction. That if you don't have housing, if you don't have stability in your life - to escape for a little while into alcohol or drugs - geez, those of us with housing and with an income don't mind having a glass of wine in the evening and forgetting everything and just enjoying the moment. What must it be like for somebody who's struggling on a day-to-day basis? And so it's - I think it's just this - we do this thing as humans where when we see misfortune fall upon another, we wanna try to figure out why it's occurring to them and not to us and so we look to some type of personal behavior factor. Well, that's happening to them because of something they did. And I'll - I won't do those things and it won't happen to me. And it blinds us, I think, to the larger systemic factors that - so I grew up in the New York area, I'm a little older, and I just remember people in New York explaining why they didn't get mugged. Because they had a unique set of walking in the city skills, in terms of being alert and looking around and exuding confidence and fearlessness. It's just, they're just making stuff up, right? They're just making stuff up - it is something that could happen to them if - in certain circumstances. I think we tend to do that - attribute our good fortune to our behavior and other people's bad fortune to their behavior, and in so doing blind ourselves to the systemic factors at play. So again, real kudos to the researchers here for saying - look, we've looked at the data, multiple cities - looked at all the potential causes. And the one thing that really has a high degree of correlation is housing prices between - correlation between homelessness rates and housing prices. And it also then becomes an excuse for us to not allow more housing, right? [00:34:11] Crystal Fincher: Yeah - to not act, to do anything to fix it. [00:34:14] Mike McGinn: Right. It also enables us to say - well, we don't have to fix this, we don't have to allow an apartment building or backyard cottages or mother-in-laws. We don't have to allow, we don't really - for some people, in this case, this would be more the well-off corporations in town - we don't have to pay more for affordable housing for people who live in a nice neighborhood. There'd be like - well, this is just a problem of individual behavior and my opposition to new housing in my neighborhood has nothing to do with this. And so it's just a way to blame the victims and avoid accountability and responsibility for the systems we've built. And again, real kudos to these researchers for laying it out and I hope more people can be moved by that and have the logic of that overcome, I think, what is just our human nature. I just hope we can rise above that. [00:35:13] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and we will link this book in the show notes - it's "Homelessness is a Housing Problem" with co-authors Clayton Page Aldern and Gregg Colburn, who've done a great job. And your point about - we love making excuses for why the things that we see with our eyes that are horrible problems that should not happen are things that we don't have a responsibility to help to fix, because someone did something wrong to wind up in that position. And it really reminds me, as we talk about COVID, as we're still in this pandemic - well, you didn't do this and you didn't do that. And someone's choosing to do this and either - well, this person can just choose to do something different. I don't need to take a precaution because I'm gonna be fine and if you don't feel like you're gonna be fine, you can choose to stay home. So that's a choice that you have and we don't have to take any other action in order to fix that. Or even with sexual assault - so frequently focuses on the actions of the woman. Well, what were you wearing? Why were you even in his hotel room or around him at that time? Did you lead him on? Well, you were out on the - why did you start to do anything with them? And it has nothing to do with the person who has been sexually assaulted - so the cause of rape is rapists. It's not anything that the woman is doing. It's the person who is perpetrating that sexual assault and our focus is so often in the wrong direction. Or victims of domestic violence - well, did you make him mad? Did you - what did you do? We're always looking for what someone did to wind up in that situation to basically justify why they deserve to be there, why they are not worthy as a person of anything better. And often that then goes to tying it - so since you are an unworthy person, since we have deemed you somehow immoral or undeserving, then you need to do these menial works and jump through all these hoops to prove to us - to basically purify and cleanse yourself back into worthiness again. And then - which is how we get means testing, it's how we get all of these programs that - well, you can't be in the condition that you are now, you're gonna have to clean up and take these classes and go to church service if you are going to be worthy of a spot in housing for us. Otherwise you're just kinda stuck out on the street. So it's - we have to get beyond blaming individuals for what research repeatedly shows are systemic problems. And this is a problem with homelessness, this is a problem with public safety, this is a problem with our public safety net, and issues like that. So I just - I'm happy this came out, I'm happy this is being exposed to more people. Lots of people when they encounter this are just immediately - obviously, this is the case. Or no, it's not - these people are choosing to be blah, blah, blah, blah, all the stuff. But there are people who are just like - okay well, I see that it's wrong. And if there is something that we can do to fix it, why wouldn't we do that? It's to all of our benefits. [00:38:37] Mike McGinn: And I think one of the things that deserves to be mentioned in here too is that stable housing turns out to be an extraordinarily great treatment for people with mental health or substance addiction issues. 'Cause I think another piece of just the throwing up of the hands - what can you do with somebody who has mental health issues who doesn't want housing? What can you do with somebody who's fallen into addictive patterns? We all know how hard it can be to change that behavior for an individual, whether it's a personal experience with people closer to us. Well, stable housing does a hell of a lot to help with that and that's - the data shows that as well - that that alone, without any other supportive services, can be extremely helpful to changing somebody's trajectory and how they deal with the world. [00:39:30] Crystal Fincher: You're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. [00:39:32] Mike McGinn: And lot more cost effective than the systems we have. [00:39:35] Crystal Fincher: Well, absolutely. The city of Houston in Texas - we know that Texas is dealing with a lot and their leadership has a lot of challenges. But Houston, Texas housed 25,000 unhomed people with a Housing First policy with exactly that - they know that housing is a stabilizer, they know that if we can get people into housing, it actually increases the likelihood that they can successfully address any other co-occurring complicating issue. Getting 25,000 people off the street in Houston, Texas - you're telling me Texas can do this and Seattle can't? Washington can't? We see these examples of success all around us and we're really willing to throw up our hands and say - Ugh, it is happening elsewhere but not here, but let's enact this sweep and invest all of this money into doing that when we know these people just wind up at another park, in another encampment, and further destabilized from this. It just doesn't make any sense and these things do need solutions, but we need to stop doing things that we know don't work and start moving towards where the mountains of evidence point to success. It is possible to do this. It is possible. [00:40:57] Mike McGinn: Well, it seems to me, you've segued into our third topic here. [00:41:00] Crystal Fincher: We have definitely segued into our third topic and it is - in the realm of public safety, as we were just talking about, this week news came out that Mayor Harrell wants to give cops an extra $30,000 to work in Seattle - an article in The Stranger written by Hannah Krieg talking about further investments in trying to address the shortage of police that Seattle is saying it has and trying to do this. And in this - one, there's lots of conversation about - is this even an effective intervention for the police hiring problem? Even if it was, this is - we can't hire cops and have them on the street for at least a year. This is a solution - even if this were to work to make people safer, even if - hey, this is what we need to do - this isn't a solution until late 2023, 2024. And we have gun violence escalating, we have all sorts of crimes and people being victimized, and people rightly justifiably saying - We need action taken now to make our streets safer, to make - to keep people's property from being broken into, to keep people from being victimized. And we keep talking about things like hiring police that have nothing to do with improving public safety today. And on top of that, this is coming on the heels of news that gun violence is extremely high - there was an article this week by Natalie Bicknell Argerious in The Urbanist. And also on news that Seattle is actually defunding an alternative response to public safety that actually was working and making people safer. The JustCare We Deliver Care program resulted in a 39% reduction in 911 calls - people on the ground are seeing things improve, there's less things happening that need intervention. This - if the police department was achieving these numbers, we would get that touted in every news release in the world, right? If any program was doing this. There was something that was working and it's being defunded. Why are we defunding public safety that works? I do not understand that - to then invest more in things that don't even have a chance to work for a year at best. It just is - I don't understand why we continue to invest in this. And the people in Seattle - we've seen that poll where when asked where - public safety is on the top of people's minds. And they're saying - what do you want done about it? If you could invest your money, where would it be? They're saying in behavioral health and addiction treatment services - treating the root cause of these issues. The people understand what is really needed and they understand the deficits, but it seems like we have this administration and several of them, frankly, that are just refusing to acknowledge or respond to that. [00:44:21] Mike McGinn: I would love to see the City Council hold hearings on and bring in experts on what are the most effective ways to reduce shootings and look at this from multiple perspectives. 'Cause what you see is when shootings go up or when crime goes up, it's just the pounding the fist on the table of we need more police. And we spend so much on police and we see where we're at. Let's try, let's really try the spending on the other things. I was looking at the statistics on this - the number of young people that are showing up in emergency rooms with gunshot wounds has just skyrocketed in King County. And what happened to the youth violence prevention initiatives that were started under Greg Nickels, expanded under - during my administration. We've had a lot of reporting on the number of police officers, or 911 response times, or why the police are unhappy and disgruntled, and whose fault it is that the police feel underappreciated? Is that the fault of the public for protesting or the fault of the City Council for suggesting that things should be defunded? Just 10% of that ink was spilled on what works to reduce shootings - okay, I'll ask for 50% of the ink be spilled on that. What really works? What are the proven programs? What's not working? And putting some of that pressure on the elected officials to show progress on this. And I think that the debate of number of police officers, and again, I believe personally that you do want an officer to respond in a timely way to a crisis, but that's not the only function of policing and it's certainly not the only thing of public safety. We also see - not surprising during a pandemic where people's lives were turned upside down, where people were stuck at home - we've seen a rise in domestic violence. So what are the strategies here? What would effective interventions look like? And I don't have an answer to that off the top of my head, but I tell you - if I were in this position, whether City Council or Mayor, that's what I'd be calling people in. Not debating the size of the bonus, right? And the amount of time we've spent in hearings on this question - 'cause it plays, I get it, it plays. But really calling folks in. And I think I'm repeating myself here, but this is a great place for Mayor Harrell to call a summit across the spectrum. What will it take to do this and call in the people in the City who are on the frontlines of working with youth, working with those in distress, working with domestic violence victims - and really just let's get all of the strategies on the table and let's start putting price tags to those. Tell me the programs that you think are working, tell me the programs that you think we don't have, tell me the programs you think that are not as effective as they could be, right? Or just tell me your needs and we'll invent a program for that need. This is the time really and it's - when there's a crisis like this and it is a crisis - the number of shootings in the City is a crisis. When you have this many gunshots, when you have this many people being wounded, there's a lot of pressure on elected officials to have the answer, to come forward - I've got something for you. But the danger of that is, is if you come forward and you say - I have an answer and we're gonna do this thing - it may work in the moment with the media or with the voters - Oh okay, well he's acting on it or she's acting on it. But if it doesn't actually change the trajectory of the issue, then it's just gonna come back around and get you as an elected official a couple of years later. And that's - and will also the effect the issues of trust in government and right track/wrong track. And we already have a lack of trust in institutions - the right track/wrong track numbers nationwide are horrible, last mayoral election they were terrible in this City. I don't see anything that's turned that around. And so this is a place where if you're gonna build trust and start moving those, start moving more people - those right track/wrong track numbers to a better place - this is really - this is not the time for - I've got the answer that plays well today in the media. This is the time for - I've got an answer that's gonna work over a longer term. So, public safety summit - pull everybody in and make it real, not for the cameras, make it real, make it multiple sessions and really come out with a series of initiatives around that - would be my recommendation to the mayor. And the City Council can jumpstart that by holding in-depth hearings on these topics - topic at a time, bring in the experts, really start building the pressure for looking at this. [00:49:49] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's really important. And I think your point about - look, this is not for the cameras. This is not the time to score political points. You can take it completely out of the political realm. It doesn't have to be where the mayor's at versus where the council is at. We happen to have a wonderful university smack dab in the middle of Seattle - more than one. And the University of Washington is a tremendous research university with criminologists who study this, whose job it is to look at the data. And as we talk, and as Mayor Harrell talks about how important it is to examine the data about what works - public safety is broader than just policing, it's broader than just community response. It involves a lot and to have people and to always include the voice of people who are truly experts on public safety and everything that encompasses - that's not an interview with the police actually, in the same way it's not the interview with a councilmember or an interview with the mayor. That's an interview with experts in crime and what reduces crime. And experts in safety and what increases that. So why do we not see criminologists quoted more frequently in The Times or interviewed by our evening news? Why are we not seeing that happen more frequently - that to your point - we have hearings and interviews and advisory groups and summits with people who are truly experts who understand and can share what is working across the country. What is working globally? What has worked locally and what is not working? What kinds of results, what kind of investment, what kind of return are we getting financially and in terms of safety and benefit to the community? I get frustrated that we keep this conversation so small and so limited and just this tiny focus in and repeated focus, unfortunately, right now on - well hiring, just hiring and there's so much more to it than that. Even if that is an ingredient, there's so much more to it that we just are ignoring while people are dying, while people are being victimized, while there's problems getting worse. And it's time someone actually steps up - just take this out of the political realm, talk to the experts and act. [00:52:21] Mike McGinn: I would include - when I say experts, I would include the community members who are - I think this is really important. [00:52:29] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. [00:52:29] Mike McGinn: I think this is something we have to remember - that police are not the only guardians of the community. There are lots of people in communities who are acting as guardians - not in the sense of walking around with a gun and the opportunity and the monopoly on the use of force. No, in the sense of we care about the people here, we're trying to figure out how to help young people mature and get good jobs, in terms of we're trying to make sure that our neighbors are fed, that we're welcoming new immigrants into the community and helping set them on their feet and move forward. There are all of these people who really dedicated themselves to the idea that their community should be a better and stronger place. And they are - they have a lot of knowledge. They have a lot of knowledge and are experts as well in this regard. And bringing them in - and I think that's something we forget - is that public safety is a partnership between all of the guardians of the community. And when we're in this situation right now where - and this is one of the reasons why excessive use of force by police, or biased policing, or let's be really clear - or the public calling for biased policing, right? There are elements of the public that are calling for - we need to move the homeless out of downtown. Or I see somebody in my neighborhood who doesn't look like he belongs, which often means that they might be a Black person walking through a white neighborhood. All of these things where the public calls upon the police to do these things - that breaks down trust between community and police. And I think that's another piece of that - of restoring the partnership - it's why the police department needs to be different than how it is. And it's critical to success. And I think this reliance on policing as the guardians of the community is just destined to failure because it's just not how the world works. We don't - policing alone does not keep community safe. It cannot keep community safe by itself, yet that's the discussion we have when public safety comes up and we don't have a meaningful discussion about all the other elements. [00:54:55] Crystal Fincher: I completely agree. So we will continue to keep an eye on what's happening at the City. I hope the conversation does expand. I do completely agree with your call for a summit - bring in experts from within communities in Seattle, make use of the experts at the University of Washington, and get down to what actually does make people more safe. And goodness, don't defund things that we have wonderful evidence are doing the exact kinds of things that people are calling for to happen that make people more safe. And that frankly reduce the workload for SPD. We talk about a 39% reduction in 911 calls at a time when 911 calls are being cited for a reason that police, that Seattle police, are not investigating sexual assaults, they're not processing rape kits. This is a crisis. Why in the world would we defund something that is helping and making that more possible? It just seems like we are determined to run in the wrong direction to placate people's sense of retribution through punitive solutions that really are just backfiring in a way that won't be good politically. This is not the kind of record you wanna run on - what's going right now - you wanna have something that you can say - we did invest in the things that were working and it's paying off. And so it'll just be interesting to see how this conversation evolves. [00:56:35] Mike McGinn: And one of the articles you referenced at the beginning here, which is the police alternative program called We Deliver Care - that's exactly what we're talking about. These are people acting as guardians of the community, who aren't police officers but through their relationship with people who are experiencing homelessness or that are in distress - yeah, they've reduced 911 calls because they are able to deal with it through the services they directly provide. Yeah, this is - let's just put aside whether you're compassionate or not compassionate, whether you think one approach, where your ideology starts about what you think is the right thing or not. If this is delivering better results for less money, let's - maybe that'll move you, right? If this is delivering results, then let's do this. And that's I think what the We Deliver Care folks have been showing 'cause it's expensive to respond to 911 calls. It's expensive and if we can free up those officers for other work - solving crimes, getting through the backlog of cases that they need to investigate, breaking up burglary rings, breaking up theft rings - there's work that police can do that they're better suited for. And for people who are dealing with folks that are homeless - that are in distress and need help - let's get the right people for the job for that too. [00:58:08] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. And with that, we thank you for listening to Hacks & Wonks on this Friday, July 15th, 2022. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistant producers Shannon Cheng and Bryce Cannatelli. Today, we are thankful that our cohost Mike McGinn, who is an activist community leader, former mayor of Seattle and current Director of America Walks - you should totally follow America Walks, great work happening - he's here. We're thankful that he was here with us today. You can find Mike on Twitter @mayormcginn. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, and now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever podcasts are - we are there. Just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar, be sure to subscribe to get the full versions of our midweek show and our Friday almost-live shows delivered to your podcast feed. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes. Thanks for tuning in - talk to you next time.
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss a new push for solutions to gun violence, a plan to make a cap on food app delivery service prices permanent, concerns after the Charleena Lyles police inquest, a decision over ranked choice voting that faces the Council, plus a look at how high gas prices are changing the way we get around. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Inside dopester Sandeep dishes up some breaking news about a city council plan to put ranked-choice voting on the ballot this fall alongside approval voting. Plus, the jury in the Charleena Lyles inquest "says police followed policy in shooting black woman in crisis," reports Publicola. We discuss the verdict and the larger political context. If you like Seattle Nice, where respectful and heated debate is still encouraged, please help support the pod on Patreon. https://patreon.com/seattlenice?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=creatorshareSupport the show
On this Hacks & Wonks week-in-review, Crystal is joined by the former Director of Progressive Majority who has now transitioned into public service but remains involved in numerous political efforts across Washington, EJ Juarez. It's another week of upsetting news, which starts off with a discussion about the jury's decision in the inquest into the police killing of Charleena Lyles, and how this ruling is yet another example of how we need major changes to the way we handle police misconduct and violent force. In related news, Crystal and EJ discuss why the city's upcoming agency to investigate police use of deadly force was delayed. In housing, they look at the Seattle City Council's vote to not override Mayor Harrell's veto of a bill that would have required landlords to report their rents, and how landlords have been successfully fighting off efforts to oversee their choices for years. Next, EJ explains the origins of Seattle's approval voting initiative, and how it's not the local effort it's been made out to be. Crystal and EJ then look at King County's plans to handle the anticipated increased need for abortion services in Washington, and talk about what's needed to curb Seattle's rising traffic deaths rates. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today's co-host, EJ Juarez, at @EliseoJJuarez. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com. Resources “Charleena Lyles' family reels after inquest jury finds Seattle cops justified in her shooting death” by Kate Walters & Catharine Smith from KUOW: https://kuow.org/stories/charleena-lyles-family-reels-after-inquest-jury-finds-seattle-officers-justified-in-her-shooting-death “New agency to investigate police use of deadly force delayed” by The AP from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/law-justice/new-wa-agency-to-investigate-police-use-of-deadly-force-delayed/ “Seattle Won't Make Landlords Disclose Rent Gouging” by Hannah Kreig from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/07/06/76070585/seattle-wont-make-landlords-disclose-rent-gouging “Seattle's approval voting initiative, I-134, explained” by Melissa Santos from Axios: https://www.axios.com/local/seattle/2022/07/07/seattles-approval-voting-initiative-explained “King County takes steps to prepare for anticipated spike in abortion services” by Ruby de Luna from KUOW: https://kuow.org/stories/king-county-takes-steps-to-prepare-for-anticipated-spike-in-abortion-services “Solving Seattle's Traffic Death Crisis Demands Citywide Infrastructure Investment” by Jason Rock from The Urbanist: https://www.theurbanist.org/2022/07/06/solving-seattles-traffic-death-crisis-demands-citywide-infrastructure-investment/ Transcript Transcript will be uploaded as soon as possible
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss the Seattle City Council's upcoming announcement about Sound Transit light rail alignment, a reconsideration of Mayor Harrell's first veto of his administration, a look at the impact of the Supreme Court's EPA decision on our state, the future of City Hall Park, and questions about a new director for SDOT. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss what the City of Seattle is doing in response to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the rollout of a new 988 crisis hotline, concerns about revamping the 911 system, a looming budget deficit, a request for input on Seattle's growth, and a gas tax holiday that isn't causing too much celebration. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
Learn about the latest in local public affairs in about the time it takes for a coffee break! Brian Callanan of Seattle Channel and David Kroman of the Seattle Times discuss how the City's goal of zero fatalities by the year 2030 is heading in the opposite direction, what new rate increases mean for City Light ratepayers, a response to Mayor Harrell's first veto, an approval voting measure, and a three-plus-year stalemate over a repair on 4th Avenue South. If you like this podcast, please support it on Patreon!
On this midweek show, Crystal chats with Tyler Crone about her campaign for State Representative in the 36th Legislative District - why she decided to run, how the last legislative session went and her thoughts on addressing issues such as COVID response and recovery, public safety, drug decriminalization, housing affordability and zoning, homelessness and climate change. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find Tyler at @electtylercrone. Resources Campaign Website - Tyler Crone: https://www.electtylercrone.com/ Transcript [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Today, I'm very happy to welcome Tyler Crone to the podcast, who is a candidate for the State Representative seat in the 36th legislative district. Thank you for joining us today. [00:00:48] Tyler Crone: Thank you so much, Crystal, for having me. I'm really delighted to be in conversation with you. [00:00:53] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. I'm very excited to have this conversation. And starting off, I'm wondering - what made you run? [00:01:00] Tyler Crone: That is the question - I never expected to run for office, I never expected to be a candidate. And yet having been part of the HIV movement and having been part of the HIV response, partnering with governments and the UN and the WHO to rise to the other health and social justice crisis of our time, I felt we could be doing better on COVID-19. And I was concerned and invested - as a parent, as a public health professional - that we needed a spotlight on COVID-19, that we were not through yet, and that that was something unique and extraordinary I had to offer at this moment - and that made me take a second look when my husband asked me if I was gonna run for the open seat. And the piece that really pushed me over the edge into saying - okay, I'm gonna do this, is that my middle daughter is trans, and the campaigns of hate and criminalization against kids like mine and families like my own across this country made it clear to me that the stakes were really high for states like Washington to lead. And I am proud and excited to be in it. And every day that I'm in it, the stakes become more clear. And I just thank you for the chance to be in conversation, to share a little bit more about what I'm hearing, what I'm learning, and what I'm thinking. Thank you. [00:02:22] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. And so you talked about your background in global health, referencing the HIV movement. What is it that you feel from your background uniquely helps you be prepared to lead today? [00:02:40] Tyler Crone: So there are a couple of elements - one, of that pandemic response and recovery piece from HIV - if there's any roadmap for where we are and what happens next, it is HIV and AIDS. The other piece that that experience has provided me has been the opportunity to see what it looks like, and what leadership and durable solutions are when you partner with the most impacted communities. And it is that being on the front lines of the HIV movement, of seeing how activists - those who are living with HIV, impacted communities - came together with decision makers, policymakers, researchers, funders to transform the reality, right? To advance new medications, to take a whole-of-government approach - where we were thinking about the impacts and legacy of HIV on education, on gender equity, the impacts in association and connection to gender-based violence. There are so many ways in which HIV provides us a roadmap to understand how we have to innovate, how we have to reinforce our public health systems, and how we have to take a whole-of-society, whole-of-community approach to partnership so that we are building back with strength, we are reinforcing our public schools, we are reinforcing our public health infrastructure, and we're thinking holistically about what getting back to healthy means. [00:04:18] Crystal Fincher: There are still a lot of people frustrated at some commonalities with the HIV epidemic, and that right now, it seems like there's a lot of people largely ignoring it, that policy is no longer addressing it, that people have decided to be done and the pandemic is still going on. We just saw headlines today saying that hospitals are saying, "Mask Up," because hospitalizations are increasing, that this is still happening. Should we be doing more right now to be addressing COVID-19, to be protecting people from it. And in the role of a legislator, what would you work to have - what would you work to do to solve this? [00:05:02] Tyler Crone: So I've been thinking a lot about this this morning. Like you, Crystal, I am concerned that the United States of America is the outlier of wealthy nations in the amount of deaths and cases of COVID-19. I remember, over two years ago, when two mentors that I've worked with - Debbie Birx and Tony Fauci - estimated that the worst-case scenario is that we would have 200,000 people lost to COVID. The worst case scenario. And we have now reached a point in time where we have lost over a million people to COVID. Research coming out of the University of California San Francisco is suggesting that those whose jobs were deemed essential, who could not stay at home - died at twice the rate as their peers. We have not even begun to dress or prepare for what's happening in our long-term care facilities and our nursing homes. As we rev up, modelers are suggesting that we will see another surge with cold and flu season this winter, and that is deeply concerning to me. So what are we gonna do? And what could we do better? And what does this moment of opportunity present us? One, it is about reinforcing our public health infrastructure and leadership so that we have coherent messaging. It is about keeping and ensuring that we are surveilling what happens, we're tracking. Right now, we've closed down a lot of our mass testing sites. It's easier to access an at-home test, which is fantastic, a rapid at-home test, but when we test at home, that data doesn't go anywhere. So we don't know what we don't know. And I think that we need to be investing in and looking at those systems of surveillance as one strategy that's proactive. We need to do a very basic learning from what we did well, where we fell short, and how we get ready for what comes next. There are some simple strategies that this moment provides a really unique opportunity for, that would have a much greater impact around air quality. If we were investing in improving indoor air quality, we could be impacting cold and flu season, we could be helping those who have allergies, we could be taking toxins out of the air, as well as mitigating COVID-19. And the thing that's great about improving indoor air quality is that it doesn't require individual masking, it doesn't require each of us to take responsibility for our own health. It provides us a context of health and protection. So that indoor air quality piece is something that I would really be paying attention to, and that there was investment made available from the federal government for. Another piece that I would really pay attention to and a conversation we've not yet started is Long COVID, and how are we recovering from that and what is gonna be the impact of that on our healthcare system and on our communities? The estimates now, even if they're very small of one third to one fifth of the people who have had COVID will have long-term health impacts from that, that's a big problem. And we're not yet getting there of what we're going to do about. And I think that the last piece that I want to underscore here is that there are some really common-sense ways that we can be depoliticizing public health, that we can be ensuring we're up-to-date on access and availability and using the treatments that are available and the preventative tools such as vaccines and boosters, and that we should not be afraid to bring back layered mitigation measures, if and as necessary, to keep our economy open and to ensure our kids don't have any more disruption of school closures. So for example, I still wear my mask when I go grocery shopping, and my kids still wear their masks at school. And we are able to go about, still go out to dinner, still meet up with people, still be part of community. And I just hope that that conversation around COVID-19 is one in the public sphere, because the impacts of who gets disproportionately burdened are those who don't have insurance, are those who are working on the frontlines, are those who are vulnerable with cancer or who are elderly - let alone even talking about how overstretched our healthcare system is already, and how overstretched our nurses are and we're facing a major nursing shortage. [00:09:58] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, we are facing major shortages, so certainly addressing healthcare infrastructure needs, staffing needs are very important. Now we recently came out of a legislative session that - there were some great things that happened in that session. There were also some things that disappointed some folks. What was your evaluation of this past session? [00:10:21] Tyler Crone: I am so proud, as a Washingtonian and as a parent and as someone committed to public health, to see Washington State's leadership on gun safety. Gun violence is a public health emergency - just as we were talking about COVID-19 as a public health emergency, I think that gun safety is top of mind for families and for everyone in our state, as we look at the headlines and as we come through to the end of an intense school year. So I am pleased to see Washington State lead. I would like to see even more leadership and I will be excited to be a partner in that when I am elected and/or as a community advocate and a parent on the outside. I was really excited to see the investment and attention around mental health and school nurses. I know when I'm talking to teachers and principals, that it has been extraordinarily difficult for them to be frontline responders in school settings, it has been extraordinarily difficult for them to navigate the pandemic without school counselors. And now all of that isolation has exacerbated a crisis that we already knew existed - the mental health crisis facing our young people, our kids - and that is top of mind for parents. So that's a piece of the work that happened this past session that I'm excited to see and carry forward into the next. [00:11:53] Crystal Fincher: In that session, there were some rollbacks of some of the highly touted steps taken to increase accountability and transparency and public safety when it comes to law enforcement. Do you agree with the action that was taken this past session? [00:12:15] Tyler Crone: I'm deeply troubled by it. I have been in conversation with the elected officials in my district to better understand how public safety is upheld. I believe that we should all feel - we all deserve to feel safe and we all deserve to be safe. And I feel like I am ill-equipped to understand the nuances of why those decisions were taken. Because as an outside individual, it seems deeply troubling to roll back efforts to address police accountability, to address use of force. And what I see from families who have been impacted by police violence is that they don't see those actions addressing the kind of transparency and safety that they look for. So, I have been told by elected representatives in my district that those were important steps to ensure that local communities could make decisions that would make sense for them, that they were important steps to ensure that someone would come when you call 911. I feel ill-equipped to answer because I am - I want everybody to be safe, I want someone to call when I need help. And I know that communities who are Black and Brown are over-policed. I know that my transgender daughter feels afraid when she sees police, and I think that there has got to be a way that we can advance and uphold public safety, which is top of mind for my district, with accountability and with the deep structural systemic reforms that are needed. [00:14:09] Crystal Fincher: So would you have voted against rolling back those reforms? [00:14:14] Tyler Crone: I'm pretty sure I would have - yeah. I don't - I, again, I wasn't in it, I am not fully informed, but I would, I'm pretty sure I would've voted against rolling back those reforms. Yeah. [00:14:32] Crystal Fincher: We're also sitting here near another anniversary of the War on Drugs, which is largely - has been proven not to be effective. We have spent so much money and have invested so much in that approach, and have not received a return on it. Should possessing drugs be a crime, and should we be treating drug possession and use as a public health problem or a criminal problem? [00:15:06] Tyler Crone: So I wanna agree with you that the War on Drugs has been a failure. It has had incredible harmful impacts. I have worked - in my public health work in HIV sphere - utilizing a harm reduction framework and approach, and looking at issues from a human rights vantage point. I also am a parent and I see that my teen and her peers are inundated with substances that I am concerned about, that they are accessing things that - yeah, I'm alarmed by the substance use amongst my teens' peers. So how do we hold all of this all together? I am keen to learn more about the work that the ACLU - and the initiative and the coalition that they are leading. I have begun preliminary conversations with my friend, Michele Storms, to understand what this initiative is. My husband's organization, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, I understand, is also part of the coalition to advance this work. And I'm eager to understand more - how we are not incentivizing substance use, we're not advancing the addiction crisis we face, but that we are addressing this as a human rights and public health concern, rather than an issue of criminalization - because criminalization lands us not with safe, healthy communities. [00:16:48] Crystal Fincher: So, is it fair to say that you are not in favor of criminalization and are exploring other avenues for intervention, or do you think that criminal intervention should be on the table? [00:17:07] Tyler Crone: I think it has to be a nuanced discussion, right? I think my first focus is on using a public health and human rights framework and using a harm reduction approach. I guess I would like to better understand - and this is where I'm on my learning journey as a person running for office - of what are we specifically talking about when we're criminalizing possession? 'Cause I do - it is not helping the person who is using substances and maybe struggling with addiction to criminalize them. It is an extremely costly approach that does not bring us back together and make us healthy and whole, and so I am very keen to learn more and understand those nuances because I - yes I don't think criminalization is an approach that works. [00:18:02] Crystal Fincher: Makes sense. Another thing that's top of mind for a lot of people is housing affordability and addressing people who are living out on the streets and getting them into housing. In specifically, in your role as a state legislator, what would you do to help both housing affordability and to get people off of the street? [00:18:30] Tyler Crone: This is a great question and I thank you for asking it. I was able to be in a conversation yesterday where I was learning more about the middle housing movement as a way to grow density, to strengthen livable, walkable, connected communities that have treelined streets and the amenities that we all love, and as a way to increase the housing stock across price points. So there are a number of different elements here to pull apart. And let me try to start, and maybe you can ask me some follow up questions if I go off-the-rails one way or the other. I believe housing is a human right. We currently do not have enough places for all of our unsheltered neighbors. We do not have enough staff to get people who are on the street into the places that we do have, and we don't fix a problem by moving people from place to place. We need to get people into housing. People need a roof over their head and a door so that they can sleep well at night, and so that they can get back on their feet. Part of addressing our crisis of unsheltered neighbors is also about incorporating and addressing the health, mental health, and addiction needs those communities might have - the behavioral health crisis they face. So that is a key priority of mine as a person who comes at this from a public health perspective. This loops back to not only do we need more housing for people at all price points, and particularly a place for everybody who is on the street to go to call home - we need to be making Seattle more livable, more accessible for everyone. And I think that we can do that with a lot of smarts, and a lot of planning, and more conversation. Because when I listen to my neighbors and I listen to the voters in this district, there is a shared understanding that families and people are getting priced out, that our housing stock shortage is a real problem for our businesses, that families want to live here and benefit from the ability to walk their kid to school, to have playgrounds, to walk their dogs, whatever it is. That seniors want to be able to retire and size down in the neighborhoods that they love, but they can't get out of their big homes 'cause they can't find someplace else to go. So there's a lot of need and a lot of consensus. The elements that I hear and that aligns with what I'm seeing that's been introduced before in the legislature - and what I was getting a more nuanced understanding around yesterday in the session I was part of, with an architect from Berkeley - is that this idea of smart density, of building up arterials, which is already underway is a shared value and source of consensus. The other idea that we need to be building on and building with is building up, in a thoughtful way, our secondary arterials. For example, in the neighborhood I live in - Queen Anne - Third Avenue West has bus connection all the way through it. We could be smartly changing the - building those areas up where we have bus connections, where we could be creating more housing across the price points that make our neighborhoods more inclusive - that enables us to have more great small businesses, more live and work options. And we can be doing so with planning and - yeah, I think that the missing middle piece is a really smart approach. I have heard a few concerns raised around some of the ways in which your land would be, the value of your house would be assessed of your property - based on its fullest potential use - that may make it hard for people who have larger lots to continue to stay in their lots. So we have to look at that and figure it out. But I see that middle housing piece as a thing that we can do with intention and with planning that creates vibrant, walkable, connected communities, where like I do - you walk to your grocery store, you walk your kid to school, you can walk to your providers, you can go pick up your dog food, you can drop your cat at the vet. And if we do that, we can start to tackle the housing crisis we face across the board, where we just don't have enough housing stock for everyone. I also think that as a state legislator, we have to be looking at this outside of Seattle too, right? We have to be taking a kind of regional approach to housing. [00:23:41] Crystal Fincher: So would you have voted for the missing middle bill that was not successful this past session? [00:23:48] Tyler Crone: So this is a piece that - I would like to understand why it failed, I would like to understand why the Seattle City Council has not worked to change zoning in some areas already. I think that the piece that before I'd say - yeah, hooray, I'll go for that - that I'd want to double check and dig in around more is this assessed value of my, of people's property and what that impact would be for our seniors being able to stay in their homes and what it would - for example, I finally, after renting for 15 years, my landlord died in a pandemic and I was finally able to secure my home that I had rented, which is a little fixer upper, off-market. Otherwise I would not have been able - my husband and I have had social justice careers - we would not be able to live in the part of Queen Anne that we do. But we have a nice lot, we have a nice front yard and a nice backyard, and it would be great to be able to put more units on it, but that takes resources, and complex regulation - navigating complex regulations that we can't, we're not in the position to do right now. But I would wanna know what the impact would be on our taxes, on our property taxes. Because I wouldn't wanna drive unintended consequences that would upend the fabric of our strong neighborhoods. [00:25:12] Crystal Fincher: Well, I guess one of the questions there - there are two things that were consistently brought up in opposition to that. On one hand, I think you probably heard a lot of reasons in the session that you were just in, about middle housing - how it is a necessary component of ensuring places stay affordable, preventing them from being more expensive, that supply needs to keep up with demand - when it doesn't do that, prices increase. And an area of tension is - well, should single-family, current single-family areas, be zoned more inclusively? Should we be looking at upzoning single-family areas? A lot of the people who live in those - well, I should not characterize that as a lot, 'cause polling actually tells an interesting story. There are some vocal people - a significant percentage, a significant number, even if the percentage is smaller - of people who are saying - no, I don't want to absorb any density, I don't want any change to my neighborhood, I don't want duplexes and triplexes coming in that fundamentally alters my neighborhood, and I don't like it. On the other side, we have a growing homelessness crisis that is being contributed to by people not being able to afford to stay in their housing, people feeling insecure in the housing that they are currently in. And if we want to keep our neighborhoods livable, there is going to have to be livable and affordable. There's going to have to be action taken soon. And if we're - we can talk about rent control, we can talk about a lot of other things - but one component that seems to be universally acknowledged is that we need to have housing to accommodate the people who are moving into these communities. So I guess starting from that point, would you - do you think we should be more inclusively zoning areas that to date have been, that are single-family areas? [00:27:26] Tyler Crone: So I live in a single-family neighborhood and I see that there are very smart ways that we could be doing more inclusive zoning - that doesn't need - I don't think these have to be necessarily opposed strategies. And this is - what it was so interesting about being part of this session yesterday - learning from other cities across the country, where they have done graduated zoning to create more inclusive zoning, to enable more density, but to do it in a smart way so that we keep - I think people are getting these ideas that more density necessarily means these gigantic buildings or really ripping apart their neighborhoods. What I saw yesterday were models from other cities across the country, where on arterials and secondary arterials that are connected to transportation, we could be inclusively zoning, to be creating more housing options that fit within the character of the neighborhood, but that enable us to have our grandma live next door, or have our teacher be able to live not a 45-minute commute from their public, from the school where they teach, that would enable the young couple to move in or a single professional, or would also - I was talking to a neighbor who is an architect, who lives in a single-family home in Queen Anne, and was saying - I really love the example of Europe, where they have built up that kind of density that doesn't disrupt a neighborhood, but where you can downsize into a smaller flat, and I could still be walkable in my community. So I do think we need to be looking at and changing some of our zoning, at the very minimum. That the housing piece is one that runs through so many issues that are top of mind right now. Climate, right? If we keep making it such that everybody has to have longer and longer commutes or that we're sprawling, we're not taking the climate action we need. We need smart density as a key component of our climate strategy. It is a piece of, as you were saying, addressing the crisis we have where we are not serving those who are on the street, who don't have a place to call home. And it is not enabling if we don't have housing stock for anyone - we're not able to get ahead of or address the homelessness crisis we face. And we've been saying we've been in crisis now for a very long time, nearly a decade. And we need to take that action. The piece that I wanna also bring in here, and this is where I'm interested to dig in with more community councils and be in conversations with neighbors, because I think that there are fears for what will happen that don't have to happen. We could be having these community conversations around what communities want, what they don't want, what the buildings could look like, how we could fit this in that would strengthen the fabric of our neighborhoods, not tear it apart. And one of the things I'm mindful of - I grew up in a city, Charleston, in South Carolina, where we had a lot of fear of change. And so what we ended up creating was a city that had such expensive housing that nobody could - no families could live there anymore, no older people could live there anymore. And we ended up with a city of beautiful homes that people came - wealthy people had as second homes to come visit - but we didn't have those thriving, healthy, safe, vibrant neighborhoods. And I think all of us in Seattle, pretty much, probably love our neighborhood. We love our corner coffee shop, we love getting to know who lives next door - and I am convinced that there has to be a way with conversation, planning, thought, care, and community engagement to get this done. I do have to flag up one of the pieces that came up in this discussion yesterday and that I'm seeing all around me in my neighborhood - is when a small house is bought, it's knocked down and there is a gigantic mansion put up, or really, really expensive town homes. And that's not solving our housing issues and that is not creating more attainable housing. [00:32:07] Crystal Fincher: Well, and it seems like part of that is - there aren't options to build anything in some areas but single-family homes - and true, that is not solving that. And so if more density was an option, that seems like it would be something there. And that at the end of the day, I mean that middle housing bill was stakeholdered, worked on and developed in consultation with developers, business leaders, community members, people from A to Z - unusually so - just to make sure that all of those viewpoints were heard and accepted. But at the end of the day, as with some issues, not everybody is going to agree. And yes, there are impacts that different groups feel - some positive, some negative. And so at the end of the day, you're left with some groups saying - this is key to us being able to remain in our neighborhoods, to age in place, to afford to live near where we work. We have other groups saying I'm afraid of what this may do to my property value, I'm afraid of the type of people who may be moving in the neighborhood, I'm afraid of what this could do in terms of taxation. And you are then in the position to weigh the pros and cons and to decide what brings a bigger benefit to the community. And so in that, I guess looking at the people who are centered in the conversation, or the ultimate or most pressing problem that you're looking to solve, is it appears that what's held this up is that people, usually on the more privileged end of the spectrum, do have concerns. Now, are those concerns wholly unfounded? No. And are those impacts made up? No. In some cases - in other cases - they have been, but there are different impacts. But I guess if the choice is between - hey, let's enable the possibility and have local governments do what they do and make sure that development happens in a way they feel is appropriate for their own city - and allow that possibility rather than not enable more development. How do you process that? [00:34:43] Tyler Crone: I think that there are examples from other cities and examples from inside Seattle that we could be drawing from to make a very compelling case to be growing our density, doing it with smart planning, holding - I love the trees in my neighborhood - holding the green and the gray infrastructure together. And enabling a lot more people to call my beloved neighborhood home. And I actually think, and call me an optimist, but when I start to dig into these details and I triangulate that with the conversations I'm having with real estate agents, with people who have lived here forever, with young people, all sorts of folks - I think we all really love the same things, we recognize the need, and there could be - there's some interesting examples. For example, in Magnolia, there's going to be a grocery - the Albertsons is going to be torn down - it's an older grocery store across from the community center and the pool. And the neighbors of that site worked together with developers - they're going to create a really innovative green building, which is going to be on the cutting edge of good environmental practice, it is going to have units across all the price points, it is going to vastly expand who can live in Magnolia and who can walk to the coffee shops and who can walk to their groceries and whatever, walk to school. And the community's really excited about it. So I think that if we were to do this, I'm still hopeful that with planning and community engagement and thought and care, we can get this done. I think that there has been anxiety perhaps, without necessarily understanding on all sides of what connected, livable, vibrant, more dense communities could look like. And I'm excited to be part of those conversations and figure out - do the hard work of making it work. [00:37:04] Crystal Fincher: Got it. That makes sense. And I guess you brought up a little bit before, but oftentimes we're in similar situations when we talk about addressing our climate crisis - both in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to mitigate climate change, and in reducing the amount of pollutants that are in our communities. And in this state, as with a lot of other places, transportation is responsible for the majority of our emissions. And so when we talk about transportation packages, investments in more transit - and there was record investment in transit and mobility, which was great - something that was not so great is that there was also an increase in highway expansion, which a lot of people find challenges with and obviously creates more emissions and pollution. And so starting off, would you support further transportation packages that did include highway expansion? [00:38:13] Tyler Crone: So, what I am trying to do my research around is to understand what is the alternative to highway expansion. I'm terrified of driving in the Bay Area, I drove my kid from - who graduated Ballard High School - to UCLA, and it was terrifying with all those lanes. And then I do not like driving in LA - again, it gives me heart palpitations - so many lanes and it's like a game of Frogger. So I don't love the idea of expanding our highway lanes. I also love road trips. My family and I - we love going to national parks, we love going to small town America - we love a road trip and I know that there are parts of Washington State that are just terrible in terms of traffic. So I wanna better understand what are the alternatives that we are propping up to get people from place to place and to get goods from place to place that can take the pressure off our highways so that we don't expand them. I love the idea of high-speed rail - I'm not sure where that is today and that's something again - digging into. I love the train, but right now we can't take the train to Vancouver, correct? Isn't that rail line off? But anyway, that's another topic. I do not love the idea of paving over more, but I also see the traffic - yeah - [00:39:48] Crystal Fincher: Well, and giving that expanding highways doesn't actually improve traffic, it makes it worse. And there's been that misconception out there for a long time and planners, and especially recently, there've been a ton of articles and talks and discussions about that. And that, unfortunately adding lanes does not help traffic. But getting cars off of the road does help traffic. So with that, do you think that highway expansion is the right intervention for traffic? And I guess if it's not for traffic, is there a reason that you would have to vote for further highway expansion? [00:40:33] Tyler Crone: So I will say upfront that the ins and outs of the intricacies of this is something that I need to learn more about and be in more conversations, so I can be an informed legislator in this area. My instinct on what I have read to date and being a person who loves transit and loves being in cities, where you can get from place to place without ever getting in a car, a person who loves to walk everywhere and would prefer not to drive. I would love us to be looking at what are those ways we're getting people from place to place that don't require a car, what are the ways that we're getting goods from place to place that don't require our highways. And I remember when I first moved out here nearly 20 years ago, and that every car just had one person in it was shocking. Right? When you come from the East Coast where there is - you can take buses and you can take trains and everything is so connected. And I didn't really learn how to drive until I was almost 30. I think that there are a lot of models to look to where we could be better connected. I also, though - I wanna put in there one point that my kiddo, who takes the bus everywhere - it takes her an hour and a half to visit friends in another part of the city. We don't - our buses, our transit system - I think maybe for folks who don't, who haven't traveled as much in other cities or perhaps as much on the East Coast or in Europe, where you get on your trolley or your tram or your subway and you're getting places and you're going great big distances - I don't think, I don't know if folks necessarily understand that we don't yet have a transit system that is as efficient and as connected as it could be. I also am hearing from older folks - and this goes to a question that you've posed a bit before and a concern that is top of mind - that neighbors are feeling unsafe riding the bus. So that kind of public safety lens of what are we doing to care for people in crisis, care for people who need a place to call home, care for people who need services that we're failing to provide them - that is part of this as well. That's a kind of way off trajectory, but if we're getting more, if we want more people to be taking transit, it needs to be efficient. It needs to be connected and people need to be safe, to feel safe - I should say - riding it. [00:43:15] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. Do you - are you a bus rider? Do you take the bus to, as part of your commutes and travels? [00:43:22] Tyler Crone: I do a little bit. I do a little bit. I have not - I find it sometimes difficult, if I'm trying to get kids or groceries or dogs or what have you, to use public transit in this city as I would wish. I loved - I lived in New York City on the Upper West Side, in the 1990s, and I loved it. And I loved the subway - I would love for Seattle to be - it to be easier to get around our city, because I would love to use transit more regularly when I'm trying to get to - oftentimes, I'm trying to get to doctor's appointments that would just have an hour and a half bus commute to get to. So I end up driving the 20 minutes instead. [00:44:09] Crystal Fincher: That makes sense. And I think - [00:44:12] Tyler Crone: I prefer to take transit. I don't like parking, either - I hate to park. [00:44:14] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, especially with that experience, does that color how you would invest or what you would prioritize given - you're in that situation, I've certainly experienced that situation - I think a lot of people think I would use the bus, I would like to use the bus, driving isn't exactly fun, it's a necessity, and parking can be downright miserable. If you could get from Point A to B without driving, that would be great - but that's directly related to the investments that we're making in transit, the money that's available out of the transportation budget - highway dollars competing with transit dollars. So I guess that kind of begins - [00:44:59] Tyler Crone: Oh yeah - I see your point. [00:45:01] Crystal Fincher: Does that translate into how we need to be looking at funding transit, what we need to be prioritizing, and providing an infrastructure that does make transit an appealing choice for people, an appealing way to get people out of their cars and address the transportation crisis, a way that doesn't force the expense of car ownership, and gas that's sky high right now, on people, and actually have an infrastructure that makes that a doable decision and an attractive decision rather than one that feels burdensome. [00:45:41] Tyler Crone: Absolutely. I absolutely would love better transit. I would love to be able to get around our city without ever having to park or get into my car. Also, speaking of our cars - our cars are like 17 years old and they're both about to die and this is not a time - when you have college tuition, running for office, and a used car is impossible to find and purchase, that you have to replace either of them. So I'm all - I love being able to get from place to place. It solves a lot of the challenges we face, and I think that I do think we need to keep a Yes, and... approach because people are gonna need their - until we're there, people are gonna need their cars to get around occasionally. But I do think we could do a much better job - and that's something that would work for families, it would work for - I keep meeting a lot of seniors who would love to never, they don't feel safe driving, they don't ever wanna be in a car driving, but they don't, they can't get all the places they need or they don't feel comfortable on the bus at this time. So I think part of how we also get - when you go to other cities and everybody takes the, like in New York, everybody takes the subway. The mayor takes the subway, the person who is selling things at a small bodega takes the subway, your kid, your 12 year old kid who's commuting to school takes the subway. Everybody takes the subway and it's a great unifier. It's a great way of having a very dense city function. And it's a - yeah, it's a smart choice. So I, yeah - I love, I would love to be more connected across the City. [00:47:26] Crystal Fincher: I guess as our time is coming to a close today, and as you're speaking to people who are trying to make up their minds about who they want to vote for in this 36th district race, for this open seat with no incumbent and a number of people running for this seat, what would you say about you and what differentiates you from your opponents? And how, what a voter would see that is different, what result would happen that is different that they would be able to see and feel in their lives with you elected as opposed to your opponents? [00:48:05] Tyler Crone: Absolutely. Thank you, Crystal, for this time to be in conversation and for this thoughtful question. There are a few different ways I would look at this question and answer it - of one that my style of leadership is from leading from behind, of creating space for others, and of centering those who are most impacted. I, the piece I have learned from my work in HIV and sexual reproductive health and rights is that when you ask those who are most impacted first, what their solutions, what their priorities are, what they want - when you listen and learn and ask questions first, you get to a much better result at the end. You get to a durable, structural solution. You come up with something that's transformative. And so I think that there is one piece of this that is about my leadership style, which is again from behind, of partnering, of building diverse, inclusive coalitions, of being - a colleague of mine called it a transparent collaborator - and being a convener of someone who brings - I'm not gonna have the answers for everything. And I shouldn't, that's not my job. My job is to bring people together, to bring, to build a big table, to bring diverse expertise around that table, to ensure that those who are most impacted or who have been most harmed or who have been most marginalized, whatever the issue is, are there hand-in-hand working toward the solution. I think that the other piece that I would really say differentiates me, or that I'm maybe I'll just say - instead of differentiating me, I'll just say that I'm super proud of. I'm super proud of having been on the frontlines of addressing some of the biggest and most complex challenges of our time. And I think that that experience from HIV where we had to build a new roadmap, we had to move the pharmaceutical industry to develop the drugs, we had to save lives, and we did - is something I'm super proud of and it's that sense of possibility, and I don't - no matter how big the challenge is, no matter how complex it is, I'm excited to dig in. And I think that the other piece that I would say is that human rights are my heart. And I see myself as a person who lives my values. And so particularly in this moment where we see the rollback of Roe v Wade, and we are gonna need more than ever to be thinking about reproductive choice and agency. When we see these campaigns of criminalization of kids like my own and those impacts on broad, more broadly on LGBTQI youth, my husband is an immigrant. These are the, some of the big fights of our day, where we need Washington State to continue to lead and be a shining beacon. And so that piece of what I've learned from the frontlines of rising to complex challenges, that piece of living my values and rising as a human rights advocate, and that piece of being a mom of three kids and having gotten the great joy and privilege of raising those kids across the neighborhoods of this district - are what set me apart. And I'm excited to partner with the constituents of the 36th to bring positive structural change and for a very, very bright future. And I thank you for this chance to be in dialogue, and I'm eager to continue the dialogue I am having with everyone who calls the 36th home. [00:51:58] Crystal Fincher: I thank you all for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistance from Shannon Cheng. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes. Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you next time.
None of this is a surprise to anyone. Nearly a year ago, former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said, “We're on path to losing 300 officers.” She also explained why it was happening, “Not unexpected, losing these number of officers, when city leaders talk about cutting the department by 50 percent. You will lose employees. Families need security. Workers, even police officers, need working conditions that support them.”Two years ago protesters and members of the Seattle City Council were demanding the city defund its police force. And two years later it's clear officers haven't forgotten. In April KUOW published this chart of deployable SPD officers over time. At the end of 2019, before the death of George Floyd and the push to defund the police, the city had 1,281 such officers. By the end of last year that number was down to 958 officers.LIKE & SUBSCRIBE for new videos everyday. https://bit.ly/3KBUDSKVeterans In Politics by CampaignForceVeterans In Politics is a set of interviews with politicians who've served in the militaryListen on: Apple Podcasts Spotify
None of this is a surprise to anyone. Nearly a year ago, former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said, “We're on path to losing 300 officers.” She also explained why it was happening, “Not unexpected, losing these number of officers, when city leaders talk about cutting the department by 50 percent. You will lose employees. Families need security. Workers, even police officers, need working conditions that support them.”Two years ago protesters and members of the Seattle City Council were demanding the city defund its police force. And two years later it's clear officers haven't forgotten. In April KUOW published this chart of deployable SPD officers over time. At the end of 2019, before the death of George Floyd and the push to defund the police, the city had 1,281 such officers. By the end of last year that number was down to 958 officers.LIKE & SUBSCRIBE for new videos everyday. https://bit.ly/3KBUDSKGlobal Dispatches -- World News That Matters"A podcast to make you smarter," says The Guardian. Listen on: Apple Podcasts Spotify
On today's week-in-review, Crystal is joined by staff writer covering Law and Justice at The Stranger, Will Casey. After another difficult news week across the nation and locally, Crystal and Will wade through the latest controversies facing Washington's police departments. They break down the revelation that SPD has not been investigating adult sexual assault cases, and why this is more of an issue of priorities rather than staffing. They also question Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell's accountability for the actions of the department, which he leads. Next they look into Pierce County Council candidate Josh Harris's shooting of a man Harris alleges stole from him and ask why Auburn's police department put the image of an officer accused of multiple murders on their recruitment banner. For housing news, Crystal and Will question the usefulness of Bruce Harrell's new