Highest court in the state judiciary of a U.S. state
Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridgette McCormack announced this week that she will be stepping down from the bench by the end of the year. Cheyna Roth is joined by Bridge Michigan's Stella Yu to talk about why Democrats might benefit from McCormack's move. Plus, more homophobic attacks from Michigan GOP, this time from Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock.
Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridgette McCormack announced this week that she will be stepping down from the bench by the end of the year. Cheyna Roth is joined by Bridge Michigan's Stella Yu to talk about why Democrats might benefit from McCormack's move. Plus, more homophobic attacks from Michigan GOP, this time from Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock.
The State Supreme Court takes up a bond issue for a Norman turnpike expansion. Amtrak is halting service amid a railroad labor dispute. Kansas is fighting back against a federal crackdown on a popular herbicide. You can find the KOSU Daily wherever you get your podcasts, you can also subscribe, rate us and leave a comment. You can keep up to date on all the latest news throughout the day at KOSU.org and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at KOSU Radio. This is The KOSU Daily, Oklahoma news, every weekday.
It's Tuesday, September 13th, A.D. 2022. This is The Worldview in 5 Minutes heard at www.TheWorldview.com. I'm Adam McManus. (Adam@TheWorldview.com) By Kevin Swanson Egyptian Muslims kill Christian father and son A Christian father and son have been shot dead by Muslim jihadists in Egypt, reports The Barnabas Fund. Salama Moussa Waheeb and his son, Hany, were working on their family farm on August 30th near the town of al-Qantara Sharq in mid-west Sinai when they were killed. Pray for the family of Salama and Hany Waheeb that they will receive the Lord's comfort and strength as they come to terms with their loss. Psalm 5:4-7 declares, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. … You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.” Iranian pastor sentenced to 10 years in jail An Iranian pastor, named Jospeh Shahbazian, has been sentenced to ten years in jail, while two other congregants were ordered to serve six years for their involvement in a house church in Iran, reports ArticleEighteen.com. Two others were saddled with fines. All five lost their appeal recently before the 26th Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Iran is the ninth worst country in the world for the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors. Lifemark, the Christian pro-life movie, came in seventh Lifemark, the film with a pro-life message which stars Kirk Cameron, came in seventh place in America's weekend box office with $2.2 million in ticket sales, reports Box Office Mojo. Averaging $1,444 per theater, the film, produced by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, beat out all but the top two box office releases for the week. Still, it's a far cry from the Kendrick Brothers' recent releases of Overcomer and War Room, which earned $8 million and $11 million respectively on their opening weekends. Lifemark will only be in the theaters through this Thursday, September 15th. So, you have 3 nights left to show your support and watch an inspirational Christian movie about adoption. Watch the trailer and get your tickets at a theater near you through special links in our transcript today at www.TheWorldview.com. Heritage awards worst states on regulation and spending The survey is in for the Heritage Foundation's first Education Freedom Report Card. And the worst state in America is New York. The District of Columbia was an equal disaster. Surveying states for regulatory freedom, school choice, transparency, and spending, the best state is Florida, followed by Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota. The worst states for spending are Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont. The District of Columbia did equally poorly. And the worst states for regulation on parental freedoms are Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, and Illinois. The study included an assessment of the percentage of homeschooled children, and the ranking of regulative controls issued by Home School Legal Defense Association. Michigan judge strikes down ban on abortion as unconstitutional Michigan's 90-year-old law banning abortion has been ruled to violate the state constitution, reports CBS News. Judge Elizabeth Gleicher of the Michigan Court of Claims ruled last week that prosecutors may not enforce the law in accordance with the reversal of Roe v. Wade in June. The decision was followed Thursday by the State Supreme Court approving a ballot measure for November which would open up sweeping abortion rights for the state. Recent polls indicate that 55% of Michigan voters want abortion “mostly legal.” Similar state-wide ballot measures are scheduled for November in California, Vermont, Kentucky and Montana. The contentious Brazilian presidential election Elections are approaching for the fifth largest country in the world. Brazil will have its nationwide election for president on October 1st. The incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, is a pro-family values conservative, facing off against former Brazilian President Luiz da Silva. Bolsonaro is trailing in what is expected to be a runoff election, by 51%-39%, reports Reuters. The Economist is predicting Bolsonaro's loss. Brazil's skyrocketing debt and lack of financial freedom Following in the pattern of the US, Brazil's debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio increased from 60% to 105% since 2014. Brazil remains one of the least free nations in South America, ranked as the 133rd least free nation in the world, by the Heritage Foundation's annual survey. Plus, their conservative president has met with stiff resistance from the nation's Congress and Supreme Court to enact tax reforms. Brazil's blossoming homeschool movement Homeschoolers in Brazil are hoping for favorable legislation that has made it through the Lower House, and heads to the Senate for a final vote. The national legislation would allow families to homeschool, as long as the children are enrolled in public or private school, and provide the school with records on a periodic basis. There are an estimated 75,000 homeschooled children in Brazil at present. In fact, their first-ever national homeschooling conference was held in Brasilia, the capital, just last week and attended by 1,000 people. In a gracious nod to the movement, the nation's president invited the homeschoolers to participate in the bicentennial parade in the capital city on Wednesday. Psalm 144:11-12 presents the vision for our sons and daughters in Christian families around the world. “Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks lying words, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood— That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style.” Only one-third of pastors believe the tithe is binding And finally, new Barna research finds that only one-third of pastors believe the tithe is binding on Christians today. And 40% of practicing Christians do give a tithe. In 1924, total church charitable offerings exceeded 2.8% of the Gross Domestic Product. This ratio declined to about 0.6% of the GDP in 2020. A recently released Lily Foundation report also found that 29 percent of American households donated to religious causes in 2018. By 2000, 46.5 percent gave. Also, in 2018, the average total donation to religious causes was $771. By 2000, it increased to $1,107. Close And that's The Worldview in 5 Minutes on this Tuesday, September 13th, in the year of our Lord 2022. Subscribe by iTunes or email to our unique Christian newscast at www.TheWorldview.com. Or get the Generations app through Google Play or The App Store. I'm Adam McManus (Adam@TheWorldview.com). Seize the day for Jesus Christ. Print story North Korea will not abandon nuclear weapons North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stressed his country will never abandon the nuclear weapons it needs to counter the United States, which he accused of pushing to weaken the North's defenses and eventually collapse his government, reports NPR. As reported in Yon Hap News, Kim Jong Un issued a statement Friday, vowing that the hermit state would “never give up nuclear weapons and there is absolutely no denuclearization, and no negotiation and no bargaining chip to trade in the process.”
JR Ross, editor of WisPolitics.com, explains how the Wisconsin governor's race is similar, yet different to 2018, talks Barnes-Johnson and unpacks several Wisconsin voting law cases.
Learn more about the North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe and Secure Elections. To register for an event in your area click here. To attend a virtual statewide event on September 19th, register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EhV2LqJiQeubJ6G5K4PNyA The post Former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr about their new bipartisan effort to debunk conspiracy theories and assure North Carolinians about the security and honesty of state elections appeared first on NC Policy Watch.
Susie Newsom Lynch was a gorgeous and intelligent young woman born into one of the most respected families in North Carolina, the Sharp family. Her aunt, Judge Susan M. Sharp, was one of the most respected women in America at the time holding the seat of Head of the State Supreme Court, and partially due to her aunt's status, Susie felt like she was a princess and should be treated like royalty. She would meet her prince charming while she was in college, Tom Lynch, and they would soon marry and have two sons together, John and Jim. The family would move to Albuquerque, New Mexico and Susie quickly decided that it was not where she wanted to stay and raise her family. She felt like the town they were living in was culture-less and the locals refused to feed into her princess mentality, so Susie knew she had to get out. She whisked her children away back to North Carolina and decided a quick phone call to Tom to let him know that she would not be coming back, and neither would the boys. Then ensued a nasty custody battle that would end in bloodshed from both sides of the family. Susie would reconnect with her first-cousin, Fritz Klenner Jr, and they would become lovers with a vendetta to keep their families out of their personal lives. Tensions would rise, and result in a gruesome finale that no one was expecting, including Susie herself. More than 30 years later, residents and Tom Lynch, Susie's ex-husband, still wonder why everything had to end in a fiery blaze like it did, and their heart still aches for those that had to suffer with their lives. Listen to Tiffany and Sam discuss the twisted tale of a mother who made decisions that seemed to have benefit only herself, and not the children she birthed, and you decide: Were Fritz and Susie living in a fantasy world, or were they another Bonnie and Clyde?Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/755467142466635/Instagram: @ColacitycrimeEmail your listener stories and case suggestions: email@example.comPatreon: https://www.patreon.com/ColacitycrimeECC&MPI Non-Profit: www.eccmpi.orgCheck out our collab with Crime Labs YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOZ1FRAOGm1VnzI8ow_XGcw/videosPlease subscribe, rate, and review our show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!SourcesMurderpedia.org www.theknightshift.comwww.ncdcr.govwww.greensboro.com
Redistricting Stalemate in Ohio Continues; Questions Raised About State Supreme Court JusticeToday's LinksArticles:Ohio Capital Journal - Public awaits more redistricting work, but new law gives court little leeway to force itState of Ohio - Redistricting Commission MembersThe American Independent - Ohio Justice Pat DeWine won't recuse himself from gerrymandering cases involving his dadPrinceton Gerrymandering Project - Ohio's Redistricting ProcessGroups Taking Action: League of Women Voters OH, Fair Districts Ohio, Equal Districts CoalitionYou're listening to the American Democracy Minute, keeping YOUR government by and for the people.We have two stories today from Ohio. We're updating our series of stories about Ohio's ongoing redistricting fiasco, and in a related story, the refusal of a justice on Ohio's Supreme Court to recuse himself.You'll remember from our earlier reports that Ohio had a referendum to ban gerrymandering and established a seven-member redistricting commission, which includes Governor Mike DeWine, the Secretary of State, the State Auditor and legislators as members. But the commission's maps were rejected as gerrymandered by the Ohio Supreme Court. Responsibility then bounced to the Ohio General Assembly, which drew its own heavily gerrymandered maps for the state legislature and Congress. Multiple versions of those maps were also rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court as against Ohio's constitution. Court appeals continue, but the Ohio Capital Journal reports that the Ohio high court issued a 30-day timeline to the Commission to redraw the maps, and if they don't, it goes back to the legislature. The Commission has taken no action, and the legislature's leadership says it intends to do nothing, forcing a stalemate. It's not clear who will blink first, or what body will have the final say. As if there wasn't enough drama, as a member of the Redistricting Commission, Governor Mike DeWine is a defendant in cases before the Ohio Supreme Court, and his son, Pat DeWine, is one of the seven justices. A story this week in the American Independent reports that the younger DeWine has refused to recuse himself from a number of cases involving his father, including . . . redistricting. Links to articles and groups taking action are at AmericanDemocracyMinute.org. Granny D said, “Democracy is not something we HAVE, it's something we DO.” For the American Democracy Minute, I'm Brian Beihl
Welcome to The Psychosemanticast: Join host Daeron and a revolving door of guests in discussing movies, politics, and political movies. In this installment: With the 2022 Midterm Election just a few months away and with an episode falling through, solo Daeron drops some stats and rants on the State Supreme Court elections coming up in November. Twitter: @PoliticalMovies Instagram: Psychosemanticast Facebook Group:facebook.com/groups/Psychosemanticast/ Psychosemantic Pod on iTunes : itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-psychosemantic-podcast/id1191732198?mt=2 Psychosemantic Pod on Legion: https://legionpodcasts.com/podcasts/the-psychosemantic-podcast/ ….and all your other favorite podcast places The post The Psychosemantic Podcast EP 119: 2022 Midterm Primer (State Supreme Court Edition) ￼ first appeared on Legion.
Welcome to The Psychosemanticast: Join host Daeron and a revolving door of guests in discussing movies, politics, and political movies. In this installment: With the 2022 Midterm Election just a few months away and with an episode falling through, solo Daeron drops some stats and rants on the State Supreme Court elections coming up in November. Twitter: @PoliticalMovies Instagram: Psychosemanticast Facebook Group:facebook.com/groups/Psychosemanticast/ Psychosemantic Pod on iTunes : itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-psychosemantic-podcast/id1191732198?mt=2 Psychosemantic Pod on Legion: https://legionpodcasts.com/podcasts/the-psychosemantic-podcast/ ….and all your other favorite podcast places The post The Psychosemantic Podcast EP 119: 2022 Midterm Primer (State Supreme Court Edition) ￼ first appeared on Legion.
It was a busy week at the State House as the "Human Life Protection Act" received a favorable report from the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate Medical Affairs Committee took 9 hours of testimony regarding pro-life legislation, and the State Supreme Court issued a block of the Fetal Heartbeat Law.Justin and Mitch break it all down on this edition of the Palmetto Family Matters Podcast.www.palmettofamily.org/donate
The high court on Tuesday ruled that Yellowstone County District Court correctly blocked the abortion laws passed in 2021 while litigation continues in the lower court. The laws ban abortion at 20 weeks, require providers to offer an ultrasound to patients and restrict access to medication abortions.
A group of parents known as Stand Up Montana brought two cases in Gallatin and Missoula counties where mask rules were implemented in districts last school year in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Attorney Matt Ellinwood of the Justice Center's Education & Law Project and Letha Muhammad of The Education Justice Alliance The post Education advocates Matt Ellinwood and Letha Muhammad on why an upcoming hearing before the state Supreme Court likely represents one of the last best chances for North Carolina to preserve and rebuild its public schools appeared first on NC Policy Watch.
On this bonus episode, we present our Hacks & Wonks Candidate Forum with Tyler Crone, Nicole Gomez, Jeff Manson, and Julia Reed - all running for State Representative Position 1 in Seattle's 36th Legislative district, which covers northwestern Seattle, including the neighborhoods of Ballard, Magnolia, and Queen Anne. This was originally live-streamed on Facebook and Twitter on July 13th, 2022. You can view the video and access the full text transcript of this forum on the 2022 Elections page at officialhacksandwonks.com. We hope you enjoy this forum, and please make sure to vote by Tuesday, August 2nd! As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii. Resources Register to Vote, Update Your Registration, See What's on Your Ballot: MyVote.wa.gov 36th LD Primary Candidate Forum Video and Transcript: https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/36th-ld-candidate-forum-2022 Hacks & Wonks - Julia Reed, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (April 26, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/julia-reed-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative Hacks & Wonks - Nicole Gomez, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (May 10, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/nicole-gomez-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative Hacks & Wonks - Jeff Manson, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (May 24, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/jeff-manson-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative Hacks & Wonks - Tyler Crone, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative (June 21, 2022): https://www.officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/tyler-crone-candidate-for-36th-ld-state-representative Transcript [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Hello everyone, this is Crystal Fincher, host of Hacks & Wonks. This is a bonus podcast release of our Hacks & Wonks Candidate Forum with candidates for State Representative Position 1 in Seattle's 36th Legislative district. This covers northwestern Seattle, including the neighborhoods of Ballard, Magnolia, and Queen Anne. This was originally live-streamed on Facebook and Twitter on July 13th, 2022. You can view the video and access the full text transcript of this forum on the 2022 Elections page at officialhacksandwonks.com. We hope you enjoy this forum, and please make sure to vote by Tuesday, August 2nd! Hello everyone. We are here for the 36th Legislative District candidate forum. My name is Crystal Fincher - I'm a political consultant and the host of the Hacks & Wonks podcast, and I'm honored to welcome you to tonight's candidate forum. I'm so excited to hear from our guests - all running for State Representative Position 1 in the 36th Legislative District. Before we begin tonight, I would like to do a land acknowledgement. I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional lands of the first people of Seattle, the coast-Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish people, past and present. I would like to honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe. So welcome to the Hacks & Wonks 2022 Primary Candidate Forum for Legislative District 36 Position 1. We're excited to be able to livestream this series on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, we are recording this forum for rebroadcast and later viewing. We invite our audience to ask questions of our candidates. If you're watching a livestream online, then you can ask questions by commenting on the livestream. You can also text your questions to 206-395-6248. That's 206-395-6248, and that number will scroll intermittently at the bottom of the screen. The candidates running for 36th Legislative District Representative Position 1 with us tonight are - in alphabetical order - Tyler Crone, Nicole Gomez, Jeff Manson, and Julia Reed. A few reminders before we jump into the forum: I want to remind you to vote. Ballots will be mailed to your mailbox starting today - ballots were mailed. You can register to vote still, update your registration still, and see what will be on your ballot at MyVote.Wa.gov. So please take advantage of that and double check that everyone you know is also. I want to mention that tonight's answers will be timed. Each candidate will have one minute to introduce themselves initially and 90 seconds to answer each subsequent question. Candidates may be engaged with rebuttal or follow up questions and will have 30 seconds to respond. Time will be indicated by the colored dot labeled "timer" on the screen. The dot will initially appear as green, then when there are 30 seconds left it will turn yellow, and when there are 10 seconds left it will turn red. You will be muted as soon as time is up. I want to mention that I'm on the board for IDF or, The Institute for a Democratic Future. Jeff Manson is an IDF alum and Nicole Gomez was the program director for the most recent IDF class. We've not discussed any details of their campaigns or of this forum. In addition to tonight's forum, Hacks & Wonks is also hosting a 47th Legislative District State Rep Position 2 candidate forum, in South King County, for next Wednesday, July 20th at the same time - 6:30-8p. Now we'll turn to the candidates who will each have one minute to introduce themselves, starting with Tyler Crone, then Nicole Gomez, then Jeff Manson, finally Julia Reed. And we will proceed immediately to a lightning round of Yes/No questions following that. So starting with Tyler Crone. [00:04:14] Tyler Crone: Hi, I'm Tyler. I'm a global public health leader, human rights advocate, public school parent for 14 years and counting, and a mama bear of three. I'm not an ordinary candidate and this is not an ordinary time. The stakes are extraordinarily high. We are at an inflection point for shared prosperity and progress. We continue to live through a pandemic. We are experiencing an historic rollback of our rights, self-determination, and even our collapse of our church and state separation. COVID-19 has shown us that global health is local and public health is essential. Advancing sexual reproductive health and rights has been what I have done throughout my career and it is needed now more than ever with the overturn of Roe. And ultimately I had to jump into this race as transgender kids and their families, just like mine, are being criminalized across our country. I spent my lifetime making a difference for others, partnering with impacted communities, and centering those most impacted. And so I look forward to your questions and I see this as the leadership our state needs now. Thank you. [00:05:20] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and next. [00:05:26] Nicole Gomez: Hi everyone. Hello, I'm Nicole Gomez and I'm a mom, an advocate, a community leader, and I'm running to be your next State Representative here in the place I'm really proud to call my home and where I've chosen to raise my family, the 36th District. I'm running to be the next State Representative of the 36th because I would like to help create an economy that works for everyone. And that means addressing our regressive upside-down tax code, healthcare for everyone, fully funded public education, affordable housing, addressing the climate crisis, and so much more that's important right now in the 36th and across the entire state. At age five, I went from living in a secure house and lifestyle to quickly losing a home simply due to the illness of a parent. And from that moment I learned everything I can to navigate complex systems. And so I've been quietly doing this work behind-the-scenes through my healthcare nonprofit that works on transformative policy. I currently sit on the Universal Healthcare Commission and I'm the Executive Director of IDF, and I look forward to talking to you more. [00:06:27] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and now Jeff. [00:06:31] Jeff Manson: Hi everyone. I'm Jeff - I'm a state administrative law judge, labor leader, and disability community advocate. And as an administrative law judge, I see every day how state laws and budgets affect people and I'm tired of underfunded government that tends to prioritize the wealthy and corporations over working people and the most vulnerable in our state. And although administrative law judges are state employees - for almost 40 years, we did not have the right to collectively bargain. So a few years ago, I organized my colleagues to successfully lobby the Legislature to extend collective bargaining rights to us. And then we formed our new union with 85% of my colleagues signing union authorization cards. I'm endorsed by the King County and 36th District Democrats, the Washington State Labor Council, the Environment and Climate Caucus of the Washington State Democrats, and Mary Lou Dickerson, who represented this district in the house for 18 years. And for those who are watching who are registered voters in the 36th - would be honored to have your vote. [00:07:30] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Julia. [00:07:32] Julia Reed: Thanks - my name is Julia Reed and I'm running for the State House to advocate for a Washington State where everyone can belong and everyone can have a place. I'm a workforce policy expert, an advocate for youth and racial justice, and a lifelong Seattleite - and I love my hometown. I love the 36th District. But I know that if my public school educator parents were moving to Seattle today, they couldn't afford to live here. As a millennial, my peers and I are living the housing crunch, the high cost of living, lack of childcare, and the threat of climate change. These aren't policy hypotheticals to us, it's about fighting for the future - for our future and the future of other young people. I know we can make different choices in Olympia that will build a vibrant, empowering, equitable economy, where everyone can participate and everyone can thrive. As someone who bridges old and new Seattle, I wanna help create a future of shared prosperity and possibility for generations to come and I'm excited to get your questions. [00:08:41] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much. So now, we are actually gonna start right off with the lightning round portion. Candidates - get your Yes/No paddles ready to respond to questions. After the lightning round is complete - with all of the questions - you'll each get one minute to provide any further explanation of any of your votes or waffles or anything that happens like that. So we've got a number of questions to dive into - they go pretty quickly and we will attempt to announce the votes as they happen, so if anyone is listening along, you can hear that. So starting off - first question, do you support calling a special session this year to codify reproductive rights and access into law? That is a Yes from everyone, and it looks like we have some background interference with green in that, for those of you who have that. So please make an extra effort to make sure that your green check is visible, but everybody appears to be a Yes for that. Are there any instances where you would support sweeps of homeless encampments? I see Nicole Gomez, Julia Reed, and Jeff Manson have said No. Elizabeth Tyler Crone has said Yes. We'll move to the next one. Would you vote to end single-family zoning to address housing affordability? I see that - I see Nicole Gomez and Julia Reed have answered Yes. Jeff Manson, Elizabeth Tyler Crone have answered No. Would you vote to end the statewide ban on rent control and let localities decide whether they want to implement it? Everyone has answered Yes to that question. Would you vote in favor of Seattle's, or will you vote in favor of Seattle's social housing initiative, I-135? Everybody is a Yes vote for social housing. Would you have voted for the Legislature's police reform rollbacks in the last legislative session? Everybody is a No. Should the Legislature pass restrictions on what can be collectively bargained by police unions? It's taking a long time to get those Yes and Nos up. This is - looks like everybody's waffling on this - so you can address this in your one minute afterwards. So we have a districtwide waffle on this. Should we continue to limit the circumstances under which law enforcement is authorized to perform vehicular pursuits? Everybody is a Yes. Do you support a state law that would remove obstacles, like qualified immunity, when suing police officers for violating a person's civil rights? Everybody is a Yes on that. Should we offer tax credits or rebates for the purchase of electric bikes? Another Yes from everybody. Would you vote for any bill that increases highway expansion? Nicole Gomez is a No and the only one to answer definitively so far. Julia Reed says No. And Jeff and Tyler look like they have a more nuanced answer to this. Will you vote to ensure that trans and non-binary students are allowed to play on the sports teams that fit with their gender identities? Everybody is a Yes. For people wanting to change their name to match their gender, do you support removing the cost and need to see a judge for legal processing name changes and gender marker changes? Everybody is a Yes. To provide relief from inflation, should we temporarily suspend the gas tax? I see everybody as a No. Would you vote to enact a Universal Basic Income in Washington? Everybody is a Yes. Do you support a wealth tax? Nicole, Julia and Jeff are Yes. Tyler was a little bit after the Yes, but it's a Yes. Should we increase taxes on large corporations? Everybody's a Yes. Should we increase taxes on small businesses? Everybody's a No. Should we lower taxes on small businesses? Everybody is a Yes. Do you support implementing ranked-choice voting in Seattle? Everybody is a Yes. Do you support moving elections from odd years to even years to significantly increase voter turnout? Uniform Yes. In 2021, did you vote for Bruce Harrell? We've got three Nos, except from Julia Reed who just came in with a No. In 2021, did you vote for Lorena González? We have uniform Yeses. In 2021, did you vote for Nicole Thomas-Kennedy for Seattle City Attorney. I've got a Yes from Nicole Gomez, a No from Jeff Manson, No from Tyler Crone, a Yes from Julia Reed. In 2021, did you vote for Ann Davison for Seattle City Attorney? Nicole Gomez, Tyler Crone, Julia Reed, and Jeff Manson all say No. Is your campaign unionized? We've got uniform Nos. If your campaign staff wants to unionize, will you voluntarily recognize their efforts? Everybody says Yes. Would you vote to provide universal healthcare to every Washington resident? Everybody says Yes. There's more uniform agreement than I thought we were gonna have. The Legislature just passed a law that will cap insulin at $35 a month for out-of-pocket costs for Washington residents. Would you vote to expand price caps to other commonly used drugs? Uniform Yeses. Will you vote for a budget that increases funding for charter schools? Everybody is a No. Right now, money raised by PTAs and parent organizations can be donated to their individual school. Should we require that this money instead be distributed equally across all similar schools in the district? Nicole, Jeff. Okay. So Julia and Jeff are Yeses, Nicole Gomez and Tyler Crone say No. That concludes our lightning round today. So thank you - just kicks off, sets a baseline for where folks are and what they have. So moving into these questions, and we will begin the questions starting with Nicole Gomez. First question is we've seen significant increased investment in programs meant to reduce homelessness, yet people are saying they're not seeing the problem get much better despite a significant increase in funding. Do you agree that our homeless crisis is not improving? And if so, what needs to happen to get results? Starting with Nicole. [00:17:00] Nicole Gomez: Great. I think that - so the homelessness and - [00:17:08] Crystal Fincher: Oh! [00:17:08] Nicole Gomez: Wait, did we get to respond to our answers before we move on? [00:17:11] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, you did. I totally forgot that - thank you for that reminder, Jeff Manson. Yeah, you guys get to explain your waffles and there were a number of them. I just jumped into the other section. So pause on that, Nicole - thank you so much for your flexibility in that. And we will start the explanations starting with Nicole on that one. Anything you wanna clarify about your answers, waffles, your unique Nos? [00:17:35] Nicole Gomez: Sure. So I think the only one that was a unique No was the requiring PTAs or PTSAs to distribute equally to other schools as a requirement. I believe that individual PTAs should be allowed to make that decision. And the only reason is that back when my kid was at Salmon Bay K-8, that did come up as a topic. And so we were really interested in exploring it further and were able to vote on it together as a team. Parents have kids in their schools and so sometimes they would like to donate the money to their school specifically and other times not. So I think it's more democratic process to allow them to have that opportunity to vote. We ended up with a vote to share. [00:18:32] Crystal Fincher: Thank you, and now we move to Jeff. [00:18:36] Jeff Manson: Yeah, so a couple answers I'd like to discuss. One was collective bargaining rights for police officers. There have been a couple things that have been addressed. One is making the collective bargaining sessions open to the public, which I am opposed to, because I think that would undermine public sector unions beyond just police officers. And I don't think the benefit we would get would be worth that risk. It's been a right-wing, anti-union idea for years and I think we'd just be handing them something if we did that. In terms of - the other thing that's been discussed is the discipline process. I do think that law enforcement are in a unique position of power that other public employees like myself are not in. And so if we're careful about how it's written, there could be some aspects of the discipline process that we could look at. The other is highway expansion - should be our lowest priority, but wouldn't absolutely vote No. [00:19:36] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and Tyler. [00:19:39] Tyler Crone: Yes, so the collective bargaining - I do not know enough to make a sweeping statement on that. Regarding eliminating single-family zoning, I think we all agree that there needs to be more density. We have affordability and housing as a middle-class crisis, but I am not in favor of eliminating single-family zoning all together. It needs a more thoughtful approach. The sweeps piece - I couldn't make an absolute statement to say, I would never agree to that, because there have been instances where there are encampments in schools and other places where children and families need to go and we need our civic space. Regarding the PTAs and the schools, we need to fully fund education so that our PTAs do not provide our specialists, our librarians, our counselors, our nurses, our arts. So I will fully support fully funding education. I understand that parents are desperate for options around - [00:20:35] Crystal Fincher: It looks like that is your time. And we'll go to Julia. Oh, Julia, you're gonna have to unmute yourself - there you go. [00:20:47] Julia Reed: Oh, sorry. There we go, I'm unmuted. I was just gonna say on the police bargaining question, I think that I have seen from working in City Hall, the challenges and obstructions that can come from police unions and sometimes that run counter to police officers' own wishes around wanting to implement reforms. So I'd like, but I'd also as someone who's endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, I wanna be sure that any actions we're making regarding collective bargaining or something that the labor community feels is right and is not going to undermine overall labor rights across the board. And I thought Tyler's answer just now was excellent on the need to fully fund public education, so I feel like I wanna change my position on that question. She definitely convinced me, made a great argument. I think that fully funding our schools is essential. We shouldn't be relying on PTAs to fill the gap. [00:21:46] Crystal Fincher: And that is the time. Thank you so much. And now - thank you for your flexibility. We are heading into the general question portion. So restating the question and we will start this time with Jeff, we've seen significant increased investment in programs meant to reduce homelessness, but people are saying that they're not seeing the problem get better yet despite the increase in funds. Do you agree that the homelessness crisis is not improving? And if so, what needs to happen to get results? [00:22:24] Jeff Manson: Yeah, so I think we have - the City and the County make a lot of decisions about homelessness programs and contracts and parcel by parcel, but the state provides a lot of the funding for shelters, for tiny homes, for permanent supportive housing, for low income housing. And I think the - what the pandemic in the last few years have shown is that we've underinvested in these areas in recent decades. I do think that the services and the housing options are getting better. I just think during the pandemic, the lack of housing was rising faster than the services for homeless could keep up. So I think we're heading in the right direction, I think we are slowly seeing improvements, I think we're finding models that work. I think having peer navigators start with people when they're on the streets and looking through the whole process, I think tiny house villages are a good first stop for people. I think we've relied too much on our emergency shelters. As a housing option, they're great when it's subfreezing or 108 degrees but not as much as a night-to-night housing option. But a tiny house village is a good first stop and the majority of people there are placed in permanent housing within a few months. And I think permanent supportive housing is the gold standard. It's permanent housing, but with mental health therapists and other social workers on site for people who can't fully live on their own. And the Legislature put money in for about 2,000 more units statewide this last session, which should be coming online later this year, which is great, but it's not enough. We need a round two. [00:23:56] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much. And now we head to Tyler. [00:24:04] Tyler Crone: Thank you. I know that the issue of homelessness is top of mind. I was out door knocking today in Ballard and that's the major concern. I have seen us spend a ton of money. I do not know what the results are and we've been calling it a protracted crisis for a very long time. I think it is the moment to accelerate and strengthen our partnerships at a city, county, and state level. Coordination was one of the key takeaways from an article in The Seattle Times about what we needed to strengthen our response. One, housing is a human right - we do not currently have enough shelter to put those who are unsheltered on the streets somewhere safe overnight. We need more immediate shelter options. Two, that long-term work towards affordable housing is critical. Right now, housing insecurity now is a middle class issue. Three, we do not have a sufficient mental and behavioral health system. That is top of mind for me - that both, we need to have a place where people can go and people can be safe, but we also need to be taking care of those who are most vulnerable amongst us. And currently our sweeps are happening without necessarily a place for people to go and that is not okay, so circling back to an earlier point that I made. The last piece I'll make is that it needs to be a regional approach. Thank you. [00:25:33] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much - now Julia. [00:25:36] Julia Reed: Yeah, I think that - so when I was working in City Hall, one of the things that I remember - what came up in the conversations we had around the original start of the Regional Homelessness Authority was that actually the system within the greater Seattle area is exiting thousands of people and thousands of families from homelessness every year. The challenge is that tens of thousands of more are entering homelessness every year because of the high cost of living, the shortage of affordable rental property, the stagnant wages that we experience all across our country that mean that every person is really just one medical emergency or one sudden event away from finding themselves homeless. I understand that people's frustration is that we put money into it, it seems like it's getting worse. But I think that we invest comparatively little in our homelessness response. If you look at the billions of dollars we might put into roads and bridges, we don't invest a comparable amount in our human infrastructure in our state. And as a legislator, that is gonna be one of my big focuses - not just housing, mental healthcare - but also human infrastructure, like childcare, green spaces, access to healthy food. All of these things contribute to a safer, healthier community for everyone and particularly contribute to addressing our homelessness challenge in a permanent and lasting way. [00:27:09] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - now Nicole. [00:27:11] Nicole Gomez: Sure. So I think of homeness as a phenomenon that also should be contextualized with systemic issues, right? Racism or ableism, education access - there's a lot of different things that go and contribute to homelessness. So while it might seem like our numbers have been increasing, we've also been in the middle of a pandemic. And that, in addition to the high cost of housing overall, has been - exasperated the problem. Our unhoused individuals are carrying an immense amount of pain and trauma and we need to be looking at the programs that are also supporting - we've been underfunding a lot of them for decades. And so it's really time for us to think about what our true north is again - and make universal housing a goal - making sure that we are housing everyone and make it a priority. And I think that we're on the right track, we just need to get there in the long run. It's an issue and a problem for a really long time and it's gonna take a while to fix. [00:28:40] Crystal Fincher: Thank you. For the next question - last year, Washington experienced a natural disaster in the form of our record breaking heat wave that left hundreds dead. Due to human-caused climate change, we're guaranteed to see more disasters like this. What will you do as a legislator to prepare our state and your district for future crises? And we are going to begin this question with Tyler. [00:29:13] Tyler Crone: Thank you. So to prepare our state for future crises - this is an urgent and top-of-mind response issue for me - accelerated climate action and the climate impacts must be embedded into all of the decision making we make. One of the things that was top-of-mind related, Crystal, to the heat dome question as I entered this race was how smoke season has come up as a issue in the very short time that my youngest child has been alive. I see a way forward as - one, bringing my public health expertise and prioritizing that as what are the health impacts of these climate emergencies and how are we centering frontline communities? Two, the UN report on the climate crisis has suggested a very important strategy and that is something that we have an abundance - is centering Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous leadership. That is another key priority and approach of mine. Three, it is again about planning and coordination. Do we have the systems in place to keep people safe and healthy? Four, there is a piece of - do we have the funds available to help people recover from these climate emergencies and navigate them? And five, I would say it is about leaning into the bold innovation and leadership across our state so that we are all working together. As a young student said to me, "It's Earth Day, and I don't know what to do to make a difference." Thank you. [00:30:50] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and next we're headed to Julia. [00:30:53] Julia Reed: Thanks. When I was working in City Hall, a group of Parks Department staffers came to me early in the spring and said, "We really wanna work on getting ready for wildfire season early. Can you help us?" And as a mayor's policy person, I was able to help elevate that issue. We created the first ever Smoke Ready Communities Day, which was a four-countywide event across King, Pierce and Snohomish county that tried to create awareness and information about preparing for wildfire smoke, especially for low-income communities, because these climate emergencies - they touch all of us, but they hit our low-income communities, our communities of color, our working people who have to go out to work the hardest and first. It's one of the reasons I'm proud to be endorsed by Puget Sound Sage and one of the reasons why I've been talking about wildfire smoke resiliency from the start of my campaign. I really want to see the state use some of our cap-and-invest funding to create a grant program for small cities to increase their climate resiliency and to help create a strategy for those cities as well - because large cities like Seattle have the staff and the expertise to create their own filtration systems as we did when I was in the mayor's office, but smaller cities and towns don't have that support and their folks are suffering right now and they need the state to step in and help them understand what to do and help them afford to make the retrofits to keep their community safe. [00:32:22] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole. [00:32:25] Nicole Gomez: Sure. Our communities are being attacked, are being destroyed every day by the climate or impacts of climate change. And we're seeing this in the forms of the flooding, the wildfires, droughts and we're being threatened by the inaction that's been not taken. So I think Washington should lead on reducing the carbon emission through more sustainable, like transportation, construction and consumption. Also, one of the secret weapons - I've read articles - one of the secret weapons against climate change is affordable homes. And it's a problem that I think that if we think about it in a more holistic way and look at the larger overarching systems, I think we can come up with some really good ideas for tackling our goals, our climate goals. And then also with the creation of the HEAL Act that's just been put into place - and that's engaging community through our state agencies and being able to make those recommendations from the bottom-up will really help also with that environmental justice aspect as well. [00:33:52] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - now, Jeff. [00:33:54] Jeff Manson: Yeah, I agree with what everyone else has said. I would just add, in addition to smoke season that we have now and the heat waves, which are gonna be more common, we also have a water crisis that's coming - and that's both our drinking water, it's our agricultural water, it's our electric power. So we need to be preparing for not only the disasters we're already experiencing, but the ones that we should be anticipating 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now. And we also need to keep leading on preventing these worse outcomes. Washington - the good news is Washington State has been a leader among states and among countries in terms of pushing our pro-climate policies to reduce our carbon footprint. The bad news is it's not enough. Even if every jurisdiction in the world copied exactly what we're doing, they're not gonna meet - none of us are gonna meet our climate goals of halving, cutting in half our carbon emissions by 2030 and even more by 2050. We had some low-hanging fruit this last legislative session - we had electric vehicle subsidies, which we can bring back - also support the electric bike subsidies, redoing our building code to promote electricity over natural gas. There was also a bill to include climate effects in the Growth Management Act comprehensive plans. So it's easy, low-hanging fruit to pick up next session, but we need to keep investing in green infrastructure and clean energy to prevent the worst from happening. [00:35:28] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. Our next question will be an audience-submitted question. Pat in Greenwood wants to know what actions can the Legislature do to protect reproductive care with the Dobbs decision coming down from the Supreme Court, but our right already codified in state law here - but a constitutional amendment seems unlikely given the makeup of the chambers. So what actions can happen to protect reproductive care? And we are going to start with Julia. [00:36:04] Julia Reed: Yeah, I think that I want to just push back a little bit against the concept that a constitutional amendment is unlikely. I think that it'll be challenging - maybe we can do income tax and reproductive rights in the same push. But I think that we have to start thinking about a constitutional amendment. Our rights are legally protected, but that law is only as good as long as we have Democratic majorities in the Legislature and a Democratic governor. And that could change and I don't feel comfortable leaving our rights up to that kind of risk, especially not in this day and age. I also think another thing we can do is - in Washington State, we have legally protected access to abortion. But in many parts of the state, there are no accessible abortion clinics and hospital systems have merged with Catholic hospital systems that restrict access and information about abortion. So there are people in Washington State who have legal access to abortion, but they lack actual access to abortion. I think it's really critical that we ensure that we're regulating state hospital mergers and Catholic hospital mergers to ensure that everyone's access continues to be protected in our state. And I also think helping to support and create funding for people who may be coming here from other states - I want to applaud the governor's work limiting the State Patrol's ability to be pulled into investigations of people coming to seek abortion care in our state. [00:37:37] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole. [00:37:40] Nicole Gomez: Yeah, so since the start of the campaign, I've been talking about the Keep Our Care Act, which is something that I worked on last session and I'm looking forward to continuing the work on it in the upcoming session. And that's similar - it's the bill that would ensure those health entity mergers, acquisitions, and contracting affiliations to improve rather than harm access to that affordable, quality care within the community. And it would, like Julia mentioned, put that prohibition on those consolidations that diminish that access to affordable quality care, including our reproductive rights. That is one very small thing that we can do right now. As Executive Director of Institute for a Democratic Future, one of the things that I heard a lot about when visiting the areas along neighboring states like Idaho was that we're going to need additional funding for those health providers that are right along the border there in order to appropriately have that intake of new, potentially new patients coming into the state to seek care. And so that's something I look forward to continuing to work on in the future. [00:39:10] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and Jeff. [00:39:12] Jeff Manson: Yeah - again I agree with what both Julia and Nicole have said. I do agree that we need to push for a constitutional amendment. We, at the federal level - I think a lot of people thought that Roe was settled law, Roe v. Wade was settled law and we had a constitutional right to abortion access. And it took the right wing 50 years, but unfortunately they were successful and I don't think we can take anything for granted here. I feel rather confident that our current legislature is in the right spot, our current Supreme Court's in the right spot, but you never know what's gonna happen 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now - so we should push for a constitutional amendment for an explicit right to abortion access. In terms of what we can do, this last legislative session the Legislature did pass a bill to expand the types of providers who can perform services, anticipating that Roe may fall, which is great. That helps expand access, but I really think funding is gonna be a major issue. We need to make sure that we are fully funding our clinics and other providers 'cause people are already - even before Roe - people from Texas were already coming here for services as they were being further restricted across the country. And we should be a safe haven for people, we should be a place that people can come and feel safe, no questions asked and have access to services. And if that means also funding for their stay or transportation, I'm open to that as well. And I also agree that we need to - [00:40:48] Crystal Fincher: Oh, thank you - and now Tyler. [00:40:55] Tyler Crone: I've served on the board of Cedar Rivers, which is an independent feminist abortion provider in our state and one of the best in the country. I've also been on the frontlines of advancing safe, legal abortion around the world. This is an urgent moment, it is an all-hands-on-deck moment and is one of the key reasons why I'm running. One, we have to codify Roe - we have to do it. Two, we have to invest in the infrastructure of care - the services, the providers, the clinics. We have a desperate shortage in eastern Washington and in the 36th legislative district, you cannot get abortion care at a hospital because of the mergers. Just so you know, it is here at home that you cannot get the care you need. I also am deeply invested in increasing and expanding the funding that has already been initiated by Dow Constantine, by the governor, by our mayor to overcome barriers and to ensure access to care for everyone who is seeking abortion care in our state. We also have to think about upstream - let's ensure that we're scaling up our access to reversible, long-acting contraception such as IUDs - that will take the burden off of our limited clinic and service facilities. We need to invest in training - all of these rollback of Roe means that all those states where abortion is not legal, you cannot train to provide that care. And I guess I would like to say one last point - this is just the beginning. I hope you look to commentaries by my law school classmate, Melissa Murray - [00:42:30] Crystal Fincher: Appreciate that. And for the next question - the pandemic exposed our healthcare system's limited capacity - which has grown even worse, continues to grow worse and more limited - and our state's unequal access to health services. What action do you propose to increase our state's capacity to respond to a health crisis, including behavioral health crises, and what will you do to make sure that our response supports our most vulnerable communities? And we are going to start this with Nicole. [00:43:03] Nicole Gomez: Oh, Crystal - can you please repeat the question one more time? [00:43:06] Crystal Fincher: Sure. [00:43:07] Nicole Gomez: Thank you. [00:43:08] Crystal Fincher: The pandemic exposed our healthcare system's limited capacity and our state's unequal access to health services. What action do you propose to increase our state's capacity to respond to a health crisis, including behavioral health crises, and what will you do to make sure that our response supports our most vulnerable communities? [00:43:28] Nicole Gomez: Okay, thank you. One of the - I work on healthcare policy quite a bit at the state level, that's what I do. And one of the things that we have done to help increase access to medical care has been, like this last session, we got additional funding to help cover our undocumented population and we're seeking additional funding for that. So that was something that that was done during the pandemic because we saw the huge inequities in the way medical coverage and care is provided. I've been working on the Universal Healthcare Commission - I was appointed by Governor Inslee there - and so we are in the current talks of trying to figure out what the nuts and bolts of a comprehensive healthcare plan for Washington State would look like. [Noise of object hitting ground] And I just dropped my little thing. At any rate, we are currently in the process of doing that right now - to ready the state for a potentially single-payer program. And that's something that my nonprofit has been working strenuously on, and I'm hoping that by being there as an elected official, I'd be able to continue that work in a different capacity. [00:44:56] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Jeff. [00:45:00] Jeff Manson: Yeah. I support universal healthcare, universal coverage, health insurance coverage. Ideally the federal government would take the lead on this, but we can't and shouldn't wait for the federal government to get its act together and need to do it here in Washington. I supported the creation of the Universal Healthcare Commission and I want to give a shout out to Nicole for all of her great work on this issue. If elected, I'll be relying on her on healthcare access issues. We need to take the lead here and if federal government maybe could follow our example in how we set things up here. But we don't just need health insurance coverage. I do Medicaid hearings as an administrative law judge. These are people who are covered by Medicaid, which was expanded under Obamacare, which is great. But often there are not sufficient providers for a lot of different types of services, including behavioral health services. And often, I think they would say the reimbursement rates aren't high enough to be able to cover people. So we need to not just provide universal coverage, we need to be providing the funding so that the actual services are available for those with insurance coverage. So it's attacking it from all angles and really it comes back to - are we gonna raise progressive revenue through progressive revenue sources in order to fund the services that people need and deserve. [00:46:28] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Tyler. [00:46:34] Tyler Crone: First, I want to start with where you started - the pandemic exposed - the pandemic is not over. We need to be learning from where we fell short, what we did right, what we do better next time - that is the first pillar of continuing to navigate and recover from COVID-19. Too many of us are sick, too many of us have had our lives disrupted. A key piece of this, for me, is bringing that pandemic expertise coupled with investment and fortification of our public health systems, our public health leadership, and our public health infrastructure. A next piece of this for me, that is top-of-mind, is about how are we taking care of those who keep us healthy? We have an incredible nursing staffing shortage in our state, our healthcare workers are exhausted and overstretched, and we need to keep that top-of-mind if we're thinking about how we're navigating a crisis and who takes care of us. Likewise, we have frontline responders who are overstretched, such as our firefighters. I'd like to make sure those stay top-of-mind as well. I think the piece that I will close with here is how I would legislate and how I lead. I lead from behind centering those who are most impacted. A key question you asked is about how would those who are most vulnerable not be excluded - they would be partners in the solutions. Thank you. [00:47:59] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much - Julia. [00:48:03] Julia Reed: I'm really proud to just recently have been endorsed by SEIU 1199 Northwest, which represents thousands of nurses and behavioral healthcare workers all across the state. It's an honor after all of the work that they've put in to keep us safe, that they've put in to keep us safe every day to have their support in this race. And one of the - we talked about two things in the endorsement process. One is the essential need for safe staffing. Too many of our hospitals in healthcare settings are being run at staff-to-patient ratios that are unsafe - that put the medical staff at risk, that put patients at risk, that put care at risk, that put our whole system at risk when there are stresses like pandemic. The other thing we talked about is the really important need to grow our healthcare workforce pipeline. I'm one of the only candidates in this race who has worked on and built workforce development programs and that includes having done work with the Somali Health Board to try to advocate for greater access for immigrant and refugee doctors. We have a lot of excellent medical, trained medical personnel in our state who, because of government regulations, aren't able to do the work that they're trained to do. And I want to work with SEIU 1199 Northwest Multi-Employer Training Fund to help grow our next generation of healthcare workers, especially women and people of color. Because to ensure they aren't excluded, we have to have, you have to have providers available who come from your community, who look like you. [00:49:40] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. According to a recent Crosscut/Elway poll, Seattle voters were asked what they think are major factors in the crime rates. The top three answers were: at 85% lack of mental health and addiction services, at 67% homelessness, and at 63% economic conditions. And when asked specifically if they could direct where their tax dollars were spent, the top three responses were: at 92% addiction and mental health services, 81% said training police officers to deescalate situations, and 80% said programs to address the root causes of crime. Given that the Legislature has already voted to increase public safety funding, largely devoted to policing and prisons, do you feel that we should increase funding for behavioral health resources, non-police intervention services, and rehabilitation services before passing further increases for police spending? And we will start with Jeff. [00:50:45] Jeff Manson: Yes, I do. I think in terms of where we have underinvested in recent years, mental health and behavioral health services and interventions is where we are the farthest behind, where we need to invest the most. The Legislature did increase some funding this past year, but I think it's just a start, it's just a drop in the bucket. And I was trying to type up the numbers and I'll have to look it up later - and I think I generally agree with the respondents to the poll. I think mental health and addiction is a major contributor to criminal activity, and we need to make sure that we have these services available and that we are directing people who enter the criminal justice system into services, when they're properly identified to need those services. Drug Court is a huge success, other alternatives to incarceration for those with addiction issues and other mental health issues have been a real success story. But there are stories of Drug Court telling prosecutors not to - don't send as many referrals, we don't have enough providers to provide services for as many people who are wanting to come over to Drug Court. So we need to make sure that we're providing that funding so that the services are available. I do think that is the - one of the main causes of criminal activity and the cheapest way to reduce it. [00:52:12] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Tyler. [00:52:18] Tyler Crone: Investing in the criminal legal system does not work. It does not help us solve the problems of today. I'd like to put forward and agree with many in Seattle who do feel concern, grave concern, about our public safety situation at present and push you back, Crystal, a little bit and say it has to be nuanced. We are currently facing a public health and public safety crisis. And so I am not going to pit two things against each other of saying - absolutely, we need to be investing in mental health, we need to be investing in behavioral health. And those are some of my key priorities - bringing forward a public health and a harm reduction approach to both. But you said - would you say you would do this rather than - I'm not sure we're at a moment where we can say rather than. As much as I'd love to put forward public safety as public health, I recognize we have Starbucks closing down, I recognize that my child who worked at Majestic Bay had to shoo out a person using drugs from the entrance who lurched at them and they had to call out a manager. And my daughter last night had someone break a bottle on her car. So just to say we are facing a moment that is complex and nuanced and is going to take a lot of integrity, thought, and care to center human dignity and put the services that we need to prevent these types of scenarios. So thank you so much. [00:53:49] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. And just clarifying the question - it's would you fund those things before passing other ones, not necessarily instead of. With that, we will go to Julia. [00:54:05] Julia Reed: I think safety, public safety, is the issue we hear about on the doors - all of us - the most every day. I think everyone deserves to be safe, but I think we can see that doubling down on our current system, which is broken, is leading to the results we're having in our streets. As someone who's worked in government my whole career, I really try to be led by data in making decision making. And I think the data shows us that we have solutions that work here in our City. I'm proud to be endorsed by Dominique Davis, the CEO and founder of Community Passageways, which is one of the leading examples of community-based, evidence-backed, non-incarceral, non-police-related solutions to public safety that create lasting safety in our City. I've also been a longtime board member for the YMCA Social Impact Center which sponsors the Alive and Free program, which similarly is a community-based program, community-based response to crime that has shown real measurable results. I want to see us investing in the solutions that work. I want to see us investing in things like Community Passageways, Alive and Free, greater access to advocates for victims of violence, of sexual assault, and addressing the scarcity and poverty that drives a lot of low-level crime, including the lack of mental and behavioral healthcare. [00:55:33] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole. [00:55:37] Nicole Gomez: Yeah, so on the topic of behavioral health, I actually will - first, to answer the question - yes. But on the topic of behavioral health specifically, the Legislature just recently put in a really large package of behavioral healthcare funding because it is a top issue - top-of-mind not just here in the Seattle area, but across the entire state and nation, quite frankly. And there still needs to be additional investments. This past session - something that I'm proud to have helped pass was this budget proviso that one of my, one of the local nonprofits came to me and said, Hey, can you help with this? And we ended up passing a proviso for a pilot program that - mental health providers were coming to them and saying, Hey, I would love to volunteer my time, but there's no way that we can figure out how to pair patients with providers. There needs to be a screening process that's easy for us to manage. And so we helped pass that through, so it's a pilot in King, Snohomish and Pierce. And with innovative ideas like that, if it works - let's see if we can continue to do it, especially now that we have telehealth, that could potentially help get providers across the state specifically in the areas where there's a lack. There's a huge lack of mental health providers statewide. [00:57:15] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. And with that, it's 7:30, it is a hot evening, there's a lot going on. We are going to take a quick two-minute break just to give people the chance to grab some ice, refill water, do whatever you need to do. So we will start that two-minute countdown now, which goes by pretty quick. So we will start that break and then be back shortly. Excellent. So it looks like we are back - I'm waiting for, there we go - we're all back. So this next question is a combination of two - a combination of a preexisting question and one sent in from a viewer. Starting off - Washington's facing housing affordability crisis - lots of conversation about ending exclusionary zoning, making further investments in the Housing Trust Fund, but also balancing concerns of different constituents. One in particular writes in asking, citing a King 5 story where Seattle has lost 11,500 rental property units in the past year, mostly smaller locally-owned properties, according to this and suggested by the King 5 article. They're wondering if you're gonna pursue similar regulations at the state level, which they feel greatly disfavor and disincentivize mom-and-pop landlords. So that's question one. And question two - in addition to what you plan to do for landlords or not, what needs to happen to address this housing affordability crisis beyond expanding zoning and investing in the Housing Trust Fund? And we are going to start with Tyler. [00:59:07] Tyler Crone: Thank you. So I think that the first question piece was about these smaller landlords and what are we doing to find strategies that work? I think that we are at a extraordinarily difficult moment because one, we're facing a homelessness crisis that will only be exacerbated when we lift an eviction moratorium. This eviction moratorium is placing a disproportionate burden on some of these small landlords who are an important part of the solution. And so what I would look to do would be to one, bring these stakeholders around the table to see where have our actions had unintended consequences, or that article, Crystal - I just saw it on Twitter before we hopped on - where we're losing critical space where people are selling their units and it is impacting our housing availability. So one, that partnership with landlords looking for practical solutions, exempting small landlords from some of these onerous regulations. To that piece of affordability, we have to be finding smart ways forward around density, around building with that urban village model, increasing density along our secondary arterials and seeing it as a strategy for inclusive, safe, healthy neighborhoods. [01:00:38] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Julia. [01:00:41] Julia Reed: Yeah, it's hard for me to speak to that specific article without having read it and dug into the data a little bit more. I, like I said, I like to be driven by the data and I know sometimes television news can can create packages for clicks as opposed to things that are more nuanced. I am very concerned about the loss of rental property in our City and the lack of affordable rental property. The University of Washington researchers just put out a book that I've been deeply reading for this process called Homelessness is a Housing Problem - the thesis is in the title of the book. And one of the things that they identify is that the lack of affordable rental property is the number one most determinative factor in the rates of homelessness in a particular area. So it's a huge concern. I'm really focused on this rising trend around LLCs and corporations buying up homes as investment properties to increase corporate profits. I want to explore what that looks like in our state and see if we can regulate that to ensure that our market can remain something that individuals can buy into for their own ownership. And that's really gonna be, I think, a big focus of mine in the Legislature. [01:02:04] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole. [01:02:07] Nicole Gomez: Sure. So like others, I have not had an opportunity to read the article that was posted, but what I would say is that this is exactly the reason why we need different options for housing. Aside from being able to lift the ban on rent control or something of that nature, we would also need to look at limiting predatory fees. There's other ways in which we can work through making sure that we have more affordable housing. I was thinking about an article that I read - I think it was regarding Amsterdam and there's a 40-40-20 rule that they use there. And so essentially what that is - is you have 40% of regulated rent, and then you have another 40% of medium-term rental, and then 20% would be an expensive rent option. And looking at other countries who are tackling this problem and are doing it in a successful manner could be helpful in helping guide the work that we do. We're in a - oh, there's time. Thank you. [01:03:34] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - and Jeff. [01:03:36] Jeff Manson: Yeah, our housing affordability crisis, I think, is related to a lot of the issues we all hear at the door and I think we're all experiencing ourselves. I think in terms of the role the state can play in that - there's twofold - one is direct state investment at the lower end of the market. This would be the Housing Trust Fund, other direct investments. The other is we need more density. We need - we're tens of thousands of housing units behind where we need to be. People are moving here faster than we're building new units and that's causing the - one of the main reasons that prices are rising. Seattle has taken steps in recent years to increase density - it could do more - but other cities in the region haven't done nearly as much. I think another thing is people who are wanting to build more housing units are having a lot of trouble with just basic things like permitting. I hear, of course, at the doors about Seattle's process and we need to make sure that our municipalities have the resources, are able to raise the resources they need to process permanent applications expeditiously. In terms of small landlords, I also haven't read the article. I would say my overall approach is that we need to respect tenant's rights, but also need to make sure that we aren't disincentivizing providing rental units so much that we don't have any housing for everybody. So I do think it's a balance and it's complicated. But those are the two things I would be looking at in any of this legislation. [01:05:07] Crystal Fincher: Thank you very much. Now we go to a audience-submitted question. What would make Washington's tax code more fair for the poor and working families? And how much funding would you look to raise for needed services in Washington? And we're gonna start with Julia. [01:05:28] Julia Reed: That's a great question. One of the things that makes our tax codes so regressive is that poor and working families who purchase more of their goods and consumables are paying a lot of money in sales tax. Tons of money in sales tax. Also, we talked about the gas tax earlier in the lightning round. People who have older cars, less fuel-efficient cars are paying more in gas tax than people who are buying - well, people who are buying Teslas in general aren't paying gas tax. So it's just another example of how working families are carrying the load for our parks, our roads, our schools, our infrastructure - and wealthy folks are getting a free pass. I think what we need to do in our state is - I'd like to see us create a statewide income tax. While we are working towards that, dealing with constitutional issues, I really support the wealth tax that Noel Frame who held this seat before has proposed - which she proposed a 1% tax on wealth over a billion dollars. I think you could even bring that threshold down a little bit. I also would like to see us increase the estate tax on large estates and use that as an opportunity to lower the estate tax on smaller estates so that families of color can afford to create generational wealth and that all working families can try to bring some generational wealth to the next generation. [01:07:01] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Nicole. [01:07:04] Nicole Gomez: This is the billion dollar question. So I've been working with the Balance Our Tax Code coalition over the past few years. And we've been working in detail on this very issue. There's a lot of different ideas that are floating out there. We did pass the capital gains tax, so that was one effort. I do think we need to tax excessive wealth - that is something that we've been working on and will continue to work on it. That 1% tax on the value of stocks, bonds, and the other financial intangible assets over $1 billion, which again, I do also think that should be lowered. And I believe that they're working on a number that might be a little - a different number perhaps, or a different way of looking at it - but that only affects like a hundred people in Washington State. It's time that the wealthy do pay their fair share. There's also other ideas like a guaranteed basic income program I've seen out there. Baby bonds has also been floated where you're giving funds to - I think the bill was like $3,200 to give funds to people, to kids who are on the state's Medicare Apple Health program. And then that money grows over time and they get it when they're an adult, which is a good way to eliminate or to address the wealth gap. And I have so many more - I could talk about this topic for hours. So thanks. [01:08:36] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - Jeff. [01:08:39] Jeff Manson: Yes - as I'm sure this is a very informed audience and everyone's aware that we have the most regressive tax structure in the whole country. It is by far the worst, and we're really feeling it right now with inflation and the affordability crisis - the sales and property taxes that are so regressive. That's one thing I hear at the doors all the time. So I support capital gains tax and am cautiously optimistic our State Supreme Court will find it constitutional. Same with higher earners income tax and a wealth tax. We need to be pursuing all of these progressive revenue sources. And once we raise enough money to fund the services that we say that we need, then we could provide some relief from the more regressive taxes. The second part of the question was how much more revenue do we need? I don't know if I can put a number on it, but it's definitely in the billions - like billions and billions. Think about all the things that we've all been talking about, we mostly agree on that we need - we've been talking about healthcare, we've been talking about behavioral health and mental health, we've been talking - we haven't talked about childcare, but that's really expensive and requires direct state subsidies. We're talking about low-income housing and Housing Trust Fund and permanent supportive housing - and fully funding education. All of these things cost money besides the basic government services that we already have - often, which are not acting at full capacity. So we have not enough revenue and the revenue that we have is being collected too aggressively. So we need more - [01:10:20] Crystal Fincher: Thank you - now Tyler. [01:10:24] Tyler Crone: Thank you. My approach to this question, which is a critical question, is that we need to be closing corporate loopholes. We need to put our weight behind a move to an income tax. And I would like to see that income tax ultimately reduce our sales tax or move us away from sales tax, which I think Julia made a really good case of how that disproportionately impacts working people and people with less income. I am also very concerned about how our property taxes are affecting our seniors, our single moms - it's a concern that's raised to me, time and again, at the doors of how do we manage this and provide the supports we need with such an upside-down tax structure. A question that has been raised to me when I've asked it to colleagues is about a wealth tax. Will people move out of state? Is that something that we need federal leadership around or is it something that Washington can lead on? That's an outstanding question for me, but I just want to underscore the critical, critical need to fully fund our schools, to increase our investments in making high-quality childcare, and a strong start in life available - that we have and we see, as we've talked about throughout this call, a need to lift kids out of poverty and a need to really reinforce our behavioral and mental health systems and services. Thank you. [01:11:49] Crystal Fincher: Thank you. You just talked about childcare a bit, Tyler and Jeff. You were a little bit prescient in saying we haven't talked about childcare yet, but this question is about childcare. We are experiencing a childcare crisis. It was already out of reach for many Seattle families - exceeding $1,600-1,800 a month in the City of Seattle per child for many families and only got worse during the pandemic, with many counties in this state reporting a 40% loss of childcare providers since the start of the pandemic - causing costs to rise even further and access to lower and become even harder. What can be done specifically to make childcare more affordable and more accessible to all parents in Washington? And we are starting with Nicole. [01:12:41] Nicole Gomez: Yeah, so I recall this - even pre-pandemic - my nine years, wait how old is my son now? Oh my gosh - he's 12 - 12 years ago. When we first started looking for a daycare
Washington Supreme Court Justice G. Helen Whitener returns to catch up with Crystal about the last two years on the state's highest court and her bid for re-election this November. The two talk about Justice Whitener's path to the Supreme Court, how coming from a marginalized background with an intersecting lens impacts her time there, and the impacts COVID has had on making the courts accessible and navigable by everyone. The Supreme Court's “June 4th Letter” from 2020 sparks conversation about addressing systemic injustice and Justice Whitener shares two recent decisions she wrote about shackling and restrictive covenants. The show wraps up with discussion of the future of the court system and what to weigh when choosing Supreme Court justices. Note: This episode was recorded before the end of filing week in May. The candidate filing deadline passed without any challenger filing to run against Justice Whitener, so she will appear unopposed on the November ballot and serve another term on our state's highest court. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii. Resources Campaign Website - Justice G. Helen Whitener: https://www.keepjusticewhitener.com/ Previous appearance on Hacks & Wonks (Sept 15, 2020) - Justice Whitener: The Law, Representation, and Becoming a Supreme Court Justice: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/crystal/HW20200911JusticeWhitener_mixdown.mp3 Washington Supreme Court - “June 4th Letter”: https://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20News/Judiciary%20Legal%20Community%20SIGNED%20060420.pdf “Washington Supreme Court Announces Prohibition Against Blanket Shackling Policies at Pretrial Proceedings” by Anthony Accurso from Criminal Legal News: https://www.criminallegalnews.org/news/2020/nov/15/washington-supreme-court-announces-prohibition-against-blanket-shackling-policies-pretrial-proceedings/ Washington Supreme Court - State v. Jackson - Slip Opinion: https://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/976813.pdf Washington Supreme Court - In re That Portion of Lots 1 & 2 - Slip Opinion: https://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/995982.pdf “Washington Supreme Court reverses its 1960 ruling that allowed Seattle cemetery to discriminate against a Black family” by David Gutman from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/washington-supreme-court-reverses-its-1960-ruling-that-allowed-seattle-cemetery-to-discriminate-against-a-black-family/ Justia - Price v. Evergreen Cemetery Co. of Seattle: https://law.justia.com/cases/washington/supreme-court/1960/34854-1.html 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 am absolutely thrilled to welcome back to the program Justice Helen Whitener, Justice on our Washington Supreme Court. Thank you so much for joining us again. [00:00:50] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Thank you and nice to see you and be with you again, Crystal. [00:00:54] Crystal Fincher: Excellent to see you and be with you again. Well, this time two years ago, around this time, we had a conversation - you were running your campaign to win your first election after being appointed as a Supreme Court Justice. And it's been so phenomenal for so many people who have watched you throughout your illustrious career and followed you - just to give people a bit of a background, and we talked about this on the prior show - but you have an unusual breadth of experience coming behind you, which reminds us of a certain new Supreme Court Justice in our country. But she actually reminded me, when I first learned about her, of my conversation with you in that - wow, just so much experience and much more varied experience than we normally see for your justices, now your colleagues, and who we've seen before. What was your path to the Supreme Court? [00:02:02] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Well, as you know I've been a former prosecutor, public defender, and I had my own law firm - I was a managing partner of that firm. I have pro-temmed on the City of Tacoma Municipal Court level and on the Pierce County District Court level, I've also been a Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals judge. I got appointed by the governor to the Superior Court in Pierce County in 2015, and then five years later I got appointed to the Supreme Court. Both times I got appointed and subsequently had to run to retain my seat. So I'm happy to still be here and to come back and have this discussion with you. [00:02:49] Crystal Fincher: Well, and I'm thrilled that you're back to have this discussion with me. In your first couple of years on the bench, what has been most surprising to you? [00:02:57] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Well, my experience on this bench is quite different than I think anyone who has ever sat on this bench, because it occurred during the pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic. So my entire experience with my colleagues have been on a virtual platform, which is unusual. So, when I talk about my experiences, just keep that in mind. What's been wonderful, as I've indicated, is the advocacy - the level of advocacy on this level - and then being able to review the trial level records that I used to create as a prosecutor and public defender, and then presided over those trials as a trial court judge. So it's really different to review the work of the trial level courts, because I've been so intimately involved with that level. [00:03:52] Crystal Fincher: Well, and you bring, as you talked, so much experience - both just professional experience, also lived experience. You are a Black woman, an immigrant, a member of the LGBTQ community. You have so many different experiences that have shaped who you are and that impact just how you experience the world. How has that impacted your time on the Court? [00:04:25] Justice G. Helen Whitener: And I think one of the other personal characteristics I have is I identify as someone with a disability. So I come to the Court with a very marginalized background and intersecting lens. And I got there in April of 2020. And May of 2020, we saw the killing of George Floyd. And June 4th, 2020, the entire Supreme Court - all of the justices - signed off on what we now call the "June 4th letter," which was a directive to attorneys and judges and those working within the criminal justice system or the justice system as a whole to do better, because now we do know a lot of things have occurred that were unjust and different facets of our community were being unjustly treated. So I tend to think being at the table with my colleagues, and I'll also point out - when I joined the Supreme Court, it's my understanding it became the most diverse Supreme Court in the country, which I hadn't really thought about at the time. But we already have - and presently we have - a Chief Justice who is Latino male. We have seven female justices - normally it's predominantly male. We have the first Native American Supreme Court Justice. We also have an Asian and Mexican heritage and first LGBT Supreme Court Justice, I'm the second. So here I came in and I'm the immigrant and the Black woman, and I also identify as someone with a disability. So our discussions are really in-depth, and our view is trying to make a law more encompassing of the majority of people in our community, through all of our intersecting lens. And it's a beautiful process, challenging at times, because certain labels that we belong to conflict with the other, but we try to ground our decisions in the law. [00:06:38] Crystal Fincher: Throughout this pandemic, how have those kinds of conversations been? Have they been more challenging because of the pandemic and being limited in being together, and limited via just seeing each other online? How have those discussions been in a remote environment? [00:07:01] Justice G. Helen Whitener: You know, it's the only environment I know - dealing with this then. And there are challenges, even with oral arguments, because sometimes there's that delay in timing because of the platform. I love it, but there's a tradition that goes with the highest court. I haven't experienced the tradition, but I know about the tradition. And I think some of my colleagues miss that - they miss the in-person congeniality between each other. I think it's a cold platform at times, so sometimes when we have conferences it's open to misunderstanding, but then it also allows us to repeat and we can see and engage a bit more than we probably would feel comfortable in-person. So I think there are pros and cons in regards to this platform. And for me, I came from running a courtroom by myself to now having eight colleagues to decide something, so that in and of itself has been an adjustment. But it's an adjustment I would hope I'm doing well with. [00:08:20] Crystal Fincher: Are we doing a good enough job with making the courts accessible and navigable by everyone - especially through these pandemic times - but overall, how are we doing with that? [00:08:35] Justice G. Helen Whitener: I think we're doing as best as we can with the infrastructure we have in place. Washington state is not a unified court system, so that means even though the Supreme Court can issue directives, many of the directives are open to the discretion of the lower courts when it comes to procedures and policies and things like that. Many of our courts have been in-sync, but each court and level of court has its own management style. And what was interesting to me is everyone really pivoted in trying to make their particular court accessible to all because it became an issue. I think for the first time, just like with the killing of George Floyd, it woke some individuals up to what people of color have been saying for a while. I think the pandemic woke our courts up in regards to how we have been dealing with justice and dispensing justice and making it accessible to all. So I tend to think of it as - well, the court has now had to deal with this issue that is impacting all levels, all different kinds of people in the same way. Because the pandemic and the virus didn't have any biases - it'll take you however it can get you, and address, deal with you that way - whereas the courts, and we're aware of this, had implicit biases built - well, biases built within it. Some were, I guess you can say implicit, and many were explicit, but at least the conversation is occurring and people are listening. [00:10:34] Crystal Fincher: Yes, and you brought up that June 4th letter, which I was proud to see. And was really a nation-leading letter from - signed by all of the members of the Court, really recognizing that - it says the devaluation and degradation of Black lives is not a recent event. It's a persistent and systemic injustice that predates this nation's founding and just really acknowledges - explicitly - racial injustice within our system and the responsibility to address it. I just really appreciate it - it is a well-established fact. As we do navigate through those systems, what do you as a justice do, and how do you approach wrestling with that? [00:11:30] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Well, speak up - that's one important thing. Share my experiences - personal as well as professional experiences. Making sure that people understand that you're not asking for any special treatment or special privileges - that what you're asking for is to be seen and treated respectfully and justly like everyone else. What's interesting to me about the June 4th letter - it raises the issues faced by Black Americans, Black individuals - slavery, the devaluation of how we have been treated. And from that came all these different committees and task forces looking at inequities within our system. The way I deal with it is making sure I make my voice part of that discussion and make it an authentic discussion by sharing truthfully how I see things and how I believe people are affected. And when I say that, remember I indicated our bench is very diverse and everyone brings their own lens to bear on discussions. When it comes to race and equity issues, each group deals with it differently, has had different experiences. And that's why it's BIPOC and not just POC. So Black people and indigenous people have a different experience than people of color. And sometimes that's a difficult thing for others to hear and understand - we're not to be lumped as one. My indigenous colleague on the bench shares from time to time her personal experiences, and sometimes there are similarities and sometimes there are not. So my purpose in these discussions is to make sure I am authentic 'cause like I like to say, I wear the robe at work, but when I take that robe off - that black robe that garners respect - you're looking at a Black woman walking out and into society and being treated as a Black woman in society. And those experiences don't go away because people don't know who I am. So making sure my colleagues are aware of these real lived experiences. [00:14:01] Crystal Fincher: And I appreciate that so much - I appreciate your lived experience. It seems like a lot of people in organizations appreciate just the professionalism that you bring to the bench and sharing all of your experiences. Just since you've been on here last, you've received some awards - including the ABA Stonewall Award, which recognizes members of the judiciary and legal professions who have affected real change to remove barriers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and who have championed diversity for the LGBT community. The 2020 and 2021 International Association of LGBT Judges President's Award. The Public Official of the Year by the Evergreen State College's Master of Public Administration Program for your legal aid and judicial careers, which have centered on a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that is a model for other judges and public service professionals - in their words. You also were awarded the Western Region of the National Black Law Students Association Judge of the Year Award. And in addition to being rated "Exceptionally Well Qualified" by 14 bar associations - think a lot of people just became a lot more acquainted with how important that is and what that really means, especially after the approval of Justice Brown. And similarly, just you are rated "Exceptionally Well Qualified" by just about everybody. And endorsed by all of the other State Supreme Court justices who come from varied backgrounds and have a lot of different experiences, but all recognize you belong there on that bench in their opinion. Looking at all that, and as you discuss different cases like the Blake decision - where we wrestle with issues similar to that so much in society - do we take a public health approach to things like substance use disorder that often accompany charges for possession? What were the conversations around that and obviously you're wrestling with what's in the law and what's not there, but how do you connect wrestling with your decision versus the impacts that it may have on society and in our community? Do you weigh the impacts on that, or is it just strictly the letter of the law? [00:16:45] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Well, every justice and judge has a different approach. For me, it's the letter of the law - I stay within the confines of the law. If I cannot do anything that is within the rule of the law, then I make sure I flag that in my opinion, or my decision, to the legislative branch. And it's a good thing that we have some good legislators that pay attention and try to address the inequities. But we have three branches of government. There are some judicial officers who are more policy driven and do things a bit different. But for me - I can only speak for me - I stay within the rule of law. Yet I have been able to address in my decisions, and I have many 9-0 decisions - I'd like to think my litigation background assists me in presenting my case to my colleagues. But I've written a number of decisions that touch on social issues. The first case was State v. Jackson, a shackling case - the inhumanity of that - making sure as I write that decision, it is clear that the dignity of the individuals before us should not be lessened because of the type of cases that come before us. These are still people and we still have a responsibility as judicial officers to treat them as such. My most recent decision that was release filed - I call it May v. Spokane, but it's called In re Lot of something. It deals with covenants - restrictive covenants - and yes, we still have those in our state. And this one was in Spokane and the individual, the homeowner, wanted to remove that restrictive covenant, which basically said, don't sell to Black people - something along those lines. And to think that we still have those laws still there - those things are still out there that we have to deal with. Many individuals who looked at it, including my law clerks at the time, thought - and the lower court judges attempted to address it. But thought that they would have to and could not keep the original document if you took the restrictive covenant off. And I was very clear that - no, no, no, no, you don't get rid of history, because then later on there's nobody who can - when they're making the discussion - have that supporting data. History is very important for a number of reasons, even derogatory and abhorrent history. It's history. So don't destroy it - archive it for future generations to see, and to understand what this type of restrictive covenants did to a group of people. So it comes like the Price case that was mentioned in the June 4th letter, where a Black family could not bury their child in a cemetery where they had these separate burial areas and a whole number of different racist things. So my position was don't destroy that history - I don't like it, it's derogatory, it's abhorrent - but don't destroy it, please. Because the next generation or the generation after that - 'cause these things are cyclical until we find a solution, and racism has been a problem in this country so a solution may not arise in my lifetime. But let's keep that history, and let's make sure it's there for the future generations. But here's what we can do - we can create a new document for the individual and this way the racist covenant does not go forward and still exist. So those are the types of ways I deal with issues in the law that - I have to stay in my lane. And the interesting thing about the last one, the May v. Spokane case, is while that case was before us and I was writing the decision, the Legislature came with a fix and the fix matched very closely what I was saying in my decision. So I was really happy to see that, but yeah - it's making sure that you don't lose the authentic voice that you brought to the bench. You need to share it and give your perspective and then follow it up with well-reasoned arguments to your colleagues. And I'm thankful that they're very receptive to that. [00:21:54] Crystal Fincher: Which is good - I'm also thankful for the same. There was another decision that you wrestled with that was very visible, especially within the political and policy-making communities, dealing with redistricting and just untangling a number of issues there, including whether the process they followed was in line with what they were supposed to do. And it actually wound up before our State Supreme Court. How did you go about determining whether the Court should be involved, to hand it over to the Legislature? What was that process? [00:22:39] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Well, the interesting thing about the law and especially at the Supreme Court - we don't discuss issues that can come back before us. So that is one of those situations that - it's not over yet - it deals with redistricting, it deals and has impacts on things like elections and voting and a whole myriad of things. So that one I can't give you more than what you already have, because it's still working its way through the Court. Just like some of the remote platforms and holding trials on this platform - there are constitutional questions that still can come before the Court and are likely to come before the Court. And you touched on one of them. [00:23:31] Crystal Fincher: Well, I guess we will have to stay tuned. And it's always interesting in those situations, especially looking at redistricting, in that we're looking at potentially voting within these new districts while there may be legislation, while there may be court challenges or issues making their way through the system. So it'll be interesting to see if and how that proceeds. I do have a question with - looking at across the country, and how we've seen some of our federal courts transform lots of conversations about a lot of conservative nominees appointed by Trump - a number of them not receiving "Exceptionally Well Qualified" ratings and in fact, a number receiving "Unqualified" ratings, but now they're on the bench seemingly for life. And now we have a conservative Supreme Court, which has a lot of people worried about the maintenance of some really basic human rights. As we look at the situation across the country and everything - from abortion rights to civil rights and equal protection under the law - just kind of everything. Do you feel optimistic? Pessimistic? How would you advise people who are worried to think about this, and what can people do if they are worried? [00:25:02] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Well, first and foremost, it's understanding the courts and the court system. State courts - the judicial officers are elected. So, even though they may make decisions that are favorable or not favorable, they have to stick or try to stick very close to the the law that they're interpreting. Federal court is a little different - they're appointed for life. It is also very partisan in how that is dealt with. So they're two very different systems. And at the end of the day, it's what the framers wanted for our system. Think about it this way - you may not like the Court as it's set up right now, but hopefully you can believe in the system and hopefully you can get some decisions that fall within your values. It is a completely different system and I - it is just so sad that it is so politicized. Because to me, the law is the law and should apply through equitable lens to all. And I think at the end of the day, the justices on that Court start off struggling with that. But they come in all ready, and that's how they are elected, and that's how they're nominated, and that's the process they go through, and that's how they're seen. So you can probably - and I think that's why there is concern - you can probably figure out how they're going to deal with cases based on what they've done in the past. Because they're there for life - you can't do anything about it. That's why it was such a big deal in getting certain people to the bench during a particular time. But that has been historical - that is nothing new. So, all I can do is hope that the decisions that come out from the highest court covers most of the constituents of the United States at any given time. They're not going to cover all, and I hope they get more or less the arc - you have that bow and you have extremes on both ends and the majority falls in the middle - and hopefully that'll be the case, but that's how the law works. And I try not to get too caught up on that. I love the restrictions the Constitution - the State Constitutions - can place on those type of decisions because we can look at our constituents and make decisions that we believe are best, even though the Supreme Court has precedent. Those precedents can be viewed narrowly on the state constitutional interpretation. [00:28:02] Crystal Fincher: So as people are considering, as they're going to be voting for Supreme Court Justices in our state this year, what do you think should be the most important things that they weigh? [00:28:15] Justice G. Helen Whitener: I think, especially since it's the highest court, one of the most important things is experience - not necessarily experience writing decisions or anything - but the varied experience, the quality of the experience. And I think it's really important - last election cycle, which was two years ago, my opponent had just basically passed the bar, but our constitution allows for a newly supported individual, a new attorney that has taken the oath to run for the Supreme Court. It's the only court that that can happen. And you have to remember the decisions this Court makes impacts everyone and impacts everyone in a very meaningful way. It's not necessarily a case-specific thing, it's a lot broader than that. So, look at the experience, do the homework, and make the decision - the best decision - that you believe falls in line with your views. [00:29:24] Crystal Fincher: Gotta say it really was something last election to look at someone who did really just pass the bar, seemingly to run against you, up against all of your experience. That was a very audacious decision, in my opinion. And just - [00:29:45] Justice G. Helen Whitener: But it's a right that he had. And going through the campaign and having him on various platforms, I was very much aware of his lack of knowledge of how the courts works. But I thought, this is his right. It might be his bucket list thing to tick off, but this is his right. And why not? So, he did. And thankfully, I think for our courts and our legal system, the voters responded in favor of me because of my experience and what I bring to the bench. But at the end of the day, it was his right. [00:30:30] Crystal Fincher: It was his right, he exercised it, he tried it. Voters made the decision on the side of experience and breadth of knowledge. As you're talking to voters this cycle, what do you tell them when they're asking, why should I vote for you? At this point, you don't have an opponent, you could still draw one. Why should they vote for you? [00:30:58] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Well, I think I bring something to this bench that has never been at this bench. And it's not just my personal background, but my professional background - I believe the fact that I've been a prosecutor, public defender, done private defense work, I've been a judicial officer on all three trial level courts - and I mean all three positions in all three trial level courts - is important. It gives me a very intimate knowledge of the types of cases that come before our courts. I represented individuals, so I understand the defense arguments that are coming. I understand the prosecutor's position, and I also understand the private bar perspective as well. I also, as a Board of Industrial Insurance appeals judge had to deal with people who were injured and at their most vulnerable, so I've been able to maintain that empathetic lens and air as I interpret the law. And when it comes to now the appellate work, I'm very proud of the cases that I've made decisions on, the opinions that I've written. Many of them have been majority opinions, meaning all nine justices signed. And those that I dissented on - I've not concurred on anything yet - but I've dissented on, I believe, three or four is because I believe in the position I took on those. So my lens is truly different and I'm not afraid to stand if I have to stand alone, if I believe my decision is well-reasoned. And it will always be an independent decision that I make, not based on anything else but my interpretation of the law through my intersecting lens. [00:32:47] Crystal Fincher: Well, I certainly appreciate that. If people want to learn more about you, do you have a website they can visit? [00:32:54] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Yes. It's keepjusticewhitener.com, or you can Google Justice Whitener - there's so much information out there on me, you can just find me. Just Google Justice Helen Whitener, or keepjusticewhitener.com, or keep Whitener for justice. And you can find me - you can find information about me and the work that I'm doing. I just recently returned this week - I'm somewhat exhausted - from an invitation I received from the United Nations, based on my human rights interest and environmental law. And that was very, very intense and again, keeping abreast of what's important out there. And our environment surely is. [00:33:48] Crystal Fincher: It surely is. Well, I sincerely appreciate you taking this time to speak with us today. You are so highly decorated and awarded - so much experience. We have been fortunate to have you on the Court and as voters make their evaluation on who they want to keep, they certainly have some excellent choices on the ballot this year. And just thank you so much for speaking with us - we will stay updated on your race and wish you the best. [00:34:24] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Thank you. And thank you again, Crystal. It was a pleasure, at least, getting a chance to chat with you again. And we'll see what happens. I'll keep my fingers crossed and keep the bar high as I proceed on this year. [00:34:38] 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.
A recent decision by the State Supreme Court will allow a Natural Resources board member to stay past his term limit. We explore what that means for democracy and environmental policy. Then, look at how overturning Roe v. Wade will impact marginalized people. Plus, learn about some of the hidden gems in the Milwaukee County Parks system of trails.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission was unable to come to a decision on what to do now that the State Supreme Court said unmanned absentee ballot drop boxes were illegal. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Patrick Marley is a National reporter for the Washington Post focusing on voting issues in the Upper Midwest. Ballot drop boxes not allowed in Wisconsin, state Supreme Court rules
Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center discusses how income tax advocates hope to use the new capital gains income tax to get the state supreme court justices to change the rules of the game. https://loom.ly/u6wowxo #Opinion #Columns #Commentary #JasonMercier #WashingtonPolicyCenter #IncomeTaxAdvocates #CapitalGainsIncomeTax #Taxes #StateSupremeCourtJustices #WashingtonEducationAssociation #WEA #Voters #ConstitutionalAmendments #VancouverWa #ClarkCountyWa #ClarkCountyNews #ClarkCountyToday
On this midweek show, Crystal has a delightful conversation with Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu about her path to becoming the first Asian American, first Latina, first woman of color, and first LGBTQ+ justice on the court. They discuss the importance of state supreme courts in light of recent decisions that threaten people's rights on the national level, how that translates to why we should scrutinize judicial elections, and common misconceptions people have about the state Supreme Court. Justice Yu then shares about efforts to make courts more accessible and equitable to everyone, what she's most proud of in her career, and how people can be involved in restoring confidence in the justice system. Notes: This episode was recorded before the end of filing week in May. The candidate filing deadline passed without any challenger filing to run against Justice Yu, so she will appear unopposed on the November ballot and serve another term on our state's highest court. This episode was also recorded before the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, hence the reference to the leaked draft about overturning Roe vs Wade. 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 Justice Yu at @JudgeMaryYu. Resources Washington Supreme Court Bio - Justice Mary I. Yu: https://www.courts.wa.gov/appellate_trial_courts/supreme/bios/?fa=scbios.display_file&fileID=Yu Campaign Website - Justice Mary Yu: https://justicemaryyu.com/ “Who's Marrying the First Gay Couple? Judge Mary Yu” by Dominic Holden from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/blogs/2012/12/08/15483647/whos-marrying-the-first-gay-couple-judge-mary-yu Justice Mary Yu On Jimmy Kimmel Show: https://vimeo.com/673039715 State of Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct: https://www.cjc.state.wa.us/ Washington State Court Rules: Code of Judicial Conduct: https://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.list&group=ga&set=CJC Civil Right to Counsel or “Civil Gideon”: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_aid_indigent_defense/civil_right_to_counsel1/ June 4th Letter - Washington Supreme Court: https://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20News/Judiciary%20Legal%20Community%20SIGNED%20060420.pdf Washington Leadership Institute: https://www.law.uw.edu/academics/continuing-education/wli 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 once again just so excited to welcome to the program another very distinguished State Supreme Court Justice - Justice Mary Yu is with us today. Thank you so much for joining us. [00:00:51] Justice Mary Yu: Oh, Crystal, thank you for the invitation. I really appreciate your interest and I'm looking forward to having a fun conversation. [00:01:00] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. And so I just wanted to start off talking and ask you - what was your path to the Supreme Court? [00:01:08] Justice Mary Yu: Well, I came from the trial court - so I was a trial court judge in King County Superior Court for 14 years - that felt like a lifetime in many ways. And prior to that, I was a prosecutor in the King County Prosecutor's Office. And then before that, I was just frankly very proud to be working, doing some organizing work in social justice in Chicago. So a little crooked path, but nevertheless, it's what brought me to the court here. [00:01:38] Crystal Fincher: Well, and I have found that those crooked paths are sometimes the most useful and oftentimes give you such helpful perspectives because you're not just coming from one point of view, you've seen things from different perspectives, have walked in different shoes, and have been able to see that. And you're actually the first Asian American, first Latina, first woman of color, and first LGBTQ+ justice on our State Supreme Court. What has that meant to you and how do you think that impacts the work that you do? [00:02:08] Justice Mary Yu: Gosh, Crystal - being the first sometimes can be a real burden in the sense that I know that I worry about not messing it up for others. I'm worried that, really, my path will create more opportunities for others. And so I'm aware of the fact that when people see me, they see all of what you just described. And I think at one level for our community, there's a lot of expectations that others will be able to follow, that this has opened up the door for all of us. On the other hand, I know that with that comes a lot of assumptions about it - our community - some will be positive, some will be negative. I think some people in their own mind wonder or not - I have a packed agenda or am predisposed to do something or decide a case in a particular way because I'm first. And I don't think that that's true, other than I do bring a level of sensitivity to what it's like to not have resources, what it's like to be other, what it's like to be an outsider. And frankly, I see that that's an asset at our table because there are nine of us and it means nine different viewpoints. And frankly, I think the viewpoint that I bring of the other, the outsider, a person of color, a person with little economic resources growing up - they ought be at the table too, not to control, but to contribute. [00:03:33] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely, that's such a great point. A lot of people are just now figuring out how important our courts are, our supreme courts are - not just at a national level, but especially if we lose rights at the national level, our states are really our firewall and the only thing standing between a lot of people and their rights. So right now, when we are basically looking at the overturning of Roe vs Wade - there was the leaked draft that looks like it's going to become official at some time soon. How do you view the state of not only abortion rights, but the ability to be covered by contraception and just access to healthcare for everyone. Where do we stand here in the state? And where do you stand, as a justice, in how you approach these issues? [00:04:33] Justice Mary Yu: Yeah, well, Crystal, I think you're right in the sense that a lot of these issues are going to be decided eventually by state supreme courts. And so state constitutions are pretty important and state supreme courts are important around the country. Each one of us is different, if you will, because our constitutions are different. So there really is no exact pattern of what this all means. In the State of Washington, I think we've already had the executive and the legislative branches indicate that they intend to protect the right to abortion, that they intend to protect healthcare rights for all people. And our branch - we don't declare policies, right? We will wait for a case to come to us. So at one level, it's inappropriate for me to comment on what are we gonna do when that happens. And yet at the same time, I can say is - our court is very protective of our own State Constitution. In our own state, we have had a long history of protecting privacy and individual rights. It's a long track record that our court's not gonna step in and undo. So I think Washingtonians can feel very comfortable that our court's going to follow precedent, our court's going to continue to protect the rights of Washingtonians as we have done for the last couple of hundred years, in some ways - even the territorial courts. So, it's right to be concerned. I can see the concern that people would have of what does this all mean when you look at the United States Supreme Court? But my understanding when I have reviewed the opinion - it really is seeming to indicate that these issues should be decided at the state level. And of course, I think they would be decided by the legislative branch. [00:06:19] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. I think one thing that surprises people still sometimes - for as much as people who are involved in politics and who do this know all of the rules and policies and everything surrounding elections - I think a lot of people, talk to a lot of people who see our federal Supreme Court being appointed, and then being very surprised that we elect our Supreme Court justices in this state. How do you think that impacts just how we should be looking at the Supreme Court, how we should be looking at these elections, and what is at stake with our State Supreme Court elections. [00:07:01] Justice Mary Yu: First of all, I do think that everybody ought to scrutinize all judges in all judicial elections. I think it's really important that Washington State has retained the right to vote for their judges. Now, what's interesting is we have a hybrid because when there's a vacancy, someone is appointed to fill the vacancy before they're subject to election. For example, I was appointed initially by Governor Locke to the Superior Court. At the Supreme Court, I was appointed by Governor Inslee and then stood for election. So in many ways we have part of the same process in terms of an appointment, but the check on it, if you will, is elections. And elections are an opportunity for the electorate to really evaluate someone and decide whether or not they want to retain that individual as a justice in our state. Unfortunately, people drop right off in the sense that they don't vote all the way down ballot. We are always at the bottom of the ballot and most people would say - I don't know anything about judges. There is an interest this year - because of all these issues that you mentioned, people are suddenly looking and saying who's on our court and what does it mean? And what's their track record and who are they? I think that's a good thing. I think it's really important for people to educate themselves, take another class on civics, and understand who's on our court - how many, who are they, what have they written, what have they said? Because they will - ultimately may be the decision makers on these important matters. It's not only in terms of healthcare, perhaps abortion, but it really includes questions related to race, incarceration, the death penalty - all the things that are important to people and touch them in every single way. So, I hope that people will pay attention, that they will bother to actually invite us to come and speak, invite us to come into classrooms, into forums. All of us are always willing to answer questions about what we do. [00:08:59] Crystal Fincher: And I do have to say - in our interactions with you, you have been exceedingly willing to talk and to share and just wanting to help people understand how the process works, how they can access and be a part of the process. And I really do appreciate just talking about how critical it is to engage in judicial elections at all levels. And even when it comes to just same-sex marriage and rights that people have to love the person who they love without penalty or consequence - was looking back, it was super fun - back in 2012, after the long and hard fought battle for marriage equality was won, you were actually on Jimmy Kimmel doing [Perfectly Named People] and you officiated the first same sex marriages in Washington State. What does it feel like - just the euphoria of that time and winning rights that so many had fought for so long to secure, to landing back where we are right now, where that looks to be in jeopardy once again? [00:10:15] Justice Mary Yu: Yeah, it's really interesting because when we talk about crooked paths, it was a crooked path to get to the place where same-sex marriage would be legal in the State of Washington. Unfortunately our court went - it had the opportunity to decide the matter, decided it incorrectly - and then it went to the people and it was really the vote of the people. It was a popular vote that really granted us the right to marry the person that we love. Again, another check on all of our systems. For me, I have to admit that my bailiff, who was a young Japanese man whose parents had to go to someplace else to get married because they lived in DC and could not marry because they were an interracial couple, said to me - Judge, we shouldn't wait one more moment for people to marry who they wanna marry, so let's start to do weddings at midnight, as soon as the law takes effect. And it was, as you described, it was a joyous moment. It was something to celebrate because finally we had equal rights, right? The right to marry who you love. I would say, Crystal, I don't think that's in jeopardy in the State of Washington, given that it is the law and there hasn't been a challenge to that law. And regardless of what may happen at the federal level, that's not going to really jeopardize the law in the State of Washington as it exists now. Now, if there's a challenge to it because of some federal action, that's a whole different matter - then it would make its way through the legal system, and perhaps somebody might challenge the law that was enacted by the citizens somehow, but that's not the pattern everywhere in the country. And despite the fact that we have a little comfort in the State of Washington, I think we should be concerned because we care about other people, and we care about other people in other states where they don't have a state protection and they did rely on federal law to grant them the right to marry someone. So what we're developing, which should be a concern to everyone, is just this big checkerboard in the country of rights being different, depending on where you live. That's a serious concern, especially for people who are transient - for example, those who are in the military - should their families have certain rights in one state and yet when they move, not have those same rights in another state. And we know that those military personnel will be moving around to different states, so it's a real concern. [00:12:46] Crystal Fincher: It is an absolute concern. One other concern that I've heard a number of people raise is just looking at the quality and the qualification of judges - there being a number of concerns at some of the judges that have been appointed, particularly in the last administration, who aside from questions of partisanship, just on questions of - do you understand the law as it is, in order to protect it. And people may have different perspectives on how to protect the law, how to decide if a case is consistent with it, but truly understanding and being just qualified enough to sit there and make those judgements is a different issue than partisanship. You happen to be rated "Exceptionally Well Qualified" by several bar associations, you're endorsed by all of the other State Supreme Court justices, and just so many people. I could spend, literally five minutes, just talking about all of the awards and accolades that you've been given. But when it comes to some of our local judicial elections that don't receive a lot of scrutiny, where a lot of times newspapers that used to cover those and that used to look into the backgrounds of judges - they've lost a lot of resources - and so there is a fear that there could be people who land in our courts here in this state that just aren't qualified, that are coming with an incorrect perspective of what the law is, who the law protects, and how it should operate. And that especially given this national climate and with some of the just extremism that we have been enduring, that that poses a real danger for local communities, potentially even when we do have a State Supreme Court that is doing its job correctly. How do you view that risk? [00:14:58] Justice Mary Yu: It's a real risk to begin with - what you described isn't something that's sort of a sci-fi movie. It's a real risk, but that's why people like you play an important role, as well as other media outlets. You do invite people to come and speak and talk with you. You have the opportunity to ask some questions and to help educate the electorate. As long as Washington remains a populous state where elections are important, you will always face the risk that there could be somebody who's not qualified or not competent to serve. It's the risk we take, it's the price we pay for the right to vote, the right to selection, the right to have a voice, and not to give up citizen power. But I would hope that the bar associations and other people would continue to try to make themselves available to rate judges, to ask questions, and to try to educate the broader community about who these people are. [00:15:54] Crystal Fincher: What do you think are the most common misconceptions that people have about the court? [00:15:58] Justice Mary Yu: Sometimes I wonder whether there are misconceptions or frankly realities, because I think a lot of people think that our courts are bureaucratic, insensitive, do not treat people of color fairly. And as much as I wanna be defensive about ourselves, I think some of that is very real - is we have to do a better job of becoming more accessible, of becoming a little less bureaucratic and simpler in our procedures. And we're trying to get there. I think some of the other unfortunate misconceptions are - is that we are groupthink or that we decide decisions together just to get along. And yet, if anybody studied our opinions, they would see that is hardly - hardly - the reality is it's hard fought, we sometimes will split 5-4 on some cases. We do our job best when we are in disagreement. So we're not a groupthink entity - none of our courts really, I would hope, are just stamping just to go along and create an assembly line. Every so often you might have a judicial officer that brings shame on the rest of us - somebody who has done something imprudent. I know there are a couple in terms of some sexual assault allegations and that's harmful because it hurts the whole judiciary when something like that occurs. But I think overall, we have a really functional system in the State of Washington and it may be because we're very transparent and open, and people can walk into our courtrooms anytime and watch the proceedings. [00:17:31] Crystal Fincher: You do bring up an interesting issue where there are a couple of judges that are the subjects of investigations or controversies, currently. There was just a recent situation where a judge had used the N-word and had some other behavior that their colleagues thought was inappropriate. Do you think our system of discipline and accountability for judges at all levels is sufficient? [00:17:59] Justice Mary Yu: I do. I do think it is. The Judicial Conduct Commission has the ability to investigate if there is a complaint. And I can say from personal experience, they are robust in scrutinizing judges and trying to really enhance confidence in terms of what we do. I think it's pretty robust and it's a very open process - anybody can file a complaint - that person's identity is protected, so there's no risk to them because judges can - right - they can punish, they can be coercive, they can manipulate. I think it's really important to protect people who would file a complaint, and we have that process. I think probably publicizing the rules might be a good thing in the sense of more people should know that in the State of Washington, we have a code of judicial conduct. We do have a code that governs how we should do what we do. We have a code that really guides us in terms of when we should recuse or not. We have a really strong board of ethics that will provide an opinion if a judge needs specific advice on a particular circumstance and probably the public does not know that. And I would say we might do a better job of letting people know. [00:19:16] Crystal Fincher: That is certainly very helpful. I do think a lot of people don't know. I'm also wondering what more can be done to help people, even if they don't come with a lot of resources, to participate in our judicial system and to be protected by it at all levels in our state. There are so many situations where - not so much at the Supreme Court, even though people are still trying to figure some stuff out there - but where a defendant may be up for eviction and they're in a tough situation, and coming in and they don't know all the rules, their landlord knows all the rules, seems to be very chummy with everyone else in there, 'cause they own a lot of properties and it seems like the system is working for them. They're all familiar with it, they're doing the same song and dance that they do all the time to the detriment of someone who still has rights and protections under the law. What more can be done to help people, especially those who are not familiar with the system or who don't have the money to hire people who are, to be able to receive all of their protections that they're entitled to. [00:20:30] Justice Mary Yu: We've been working really hard to try to increase civil legal aid. And that is to try to ensure that people have representation on the civil side as well. We've received a lot of money from the Legislature this past year to really offer representation to individuals who are being evicted. That's just one particular circumstance, but I have to admit that I'm very sensitive to the fact that there are a lot of hearings where people not only are at a loss in terms of housing, but their jobs, benefits, the inability to access healthcare at times. There are a host of issues where people need representation, so I have to admit that I'm a fan of civil representation 100%. I would love to have a case come to us that gives us the opportunity to do the same thing we did on a criminal side. And that is "Civil Gideon" - is to say that everyone deserves the right to be represented by an attorney, regardless of your income. I know it would be expensive, and yet the rights that are at risk in the civil arena are great, right? It is to be homeless, to be without a job, to be without benefits - are very real things for individuals. So we're trying, I think - our court and along with others are big advocates of trying to ensure that there is civil legal aid available to individuals. [00:21:54] Crystal Fincher: That would be tremendously helpful, and certainly would cost more. I do hope that we get better as a society. And as we - we're having legislative elections and conversations right now, but that we also examine the cost of going without it and what it means to potentially push someone into homelessness, or out of a job, or into financial crisis because they don't have healthcare or the services that they need - it is so costly. And often in ways that can't be compensated or reimbursed. So I just - I completely agree with you and thank you so much for bringing that up. What are other challenges you think the Court is suited to address within the justice system? [00:22:48] Justice Mary Yu: Well, I would say two areas I know that I have spent a lot of energy on that I think are very important is - one, has to do with funding of our courts. As you may know, our courts charge for everything, and you have to pay a filing fee, we also use monetary sanctions. And why do we do that? Because we have to fund ourselves. So I'm a big advocate that some day - there has to be some heavy lifting - and our courts really should be part of the general fund, so that we are not the cash registers. So we don't have to collect the funds in order to pay for the services that we're providing. We're a branch of government that ought to be, again, accessible and available to everyone. I know of no other branch where you have to pay before you get served, and yet that's what happens in our court systems. I know the judges, who are in our municipal courts or in our district courts, feel awful about having to constantly collect money in order to sustain therapeutic courts or any other kind of court that serves people. So that's one that I think is really important and we're working very hard on. The second is we're really wrestling with how do we eradicate racism from our system? It's systemic, it's institutional, and it's taking a lot of work to invite everyone to say - how do we do this better? How do we examine ourselves and our practices and how do we change? So we look at jury diversity, we've looked at legal financial obligations. We are trying very hard at every level to say - this is our responsibility, it is our duty to ensure that every single person can be guaranteed truly not only access, but a fair process. So we're doing a lot of education at this point. And as you may know, in 2020, our court issued a letter to the entire legal community inviting everyone to join us in examining our systems and to eradicating racism at every level. So we're doing that heavy work - those are the two things that I have as a priority, and that I think are important. [00:24:54] Crystal Fincher: And I appreciate that in our recent conversation with Justice Whitener, we talked about that letter and just how important it was in the role that our court took in leading the country, really and acknowledging that and stating plainly this is a problem that we are responsible to solve. It is widely acknowledged - I certainly believe we can't start to solve problems until we acknowledge them, and so having that acknowledgement and having people who are, who seem to be doing the work to fix it is something that I appreciate and I'm thankful for. You - again. I could go on about all of the accolades that you've received for quite some time. You received the 2019 Crosscut Courage in Elected Office award. You recently, just late last year, had your portrait unveiled at Seattle University. You have - my goodness, there's so much - you received the 2020 Latino Bar Association Trailblazer Award, the "Established Leader" Pride Award from Mayor Jenny Durkan in the City of Seattle, the 2018 "Voice of Social Justice" from the Greater Seattle Business Association, the 2017 "Lifetime Achievement" - and I'm telling you, I - this is literally about a sixth of the things that I could list from you. As you look at your career, what are you most proud of? [00:26:34] Justice Mary Yu: It's a hard question. It's hard because when I think about my life and not just a career, I think I am most proud that I think I fulfilled my parents' dream. And that's because both of my parents came to this country very, very poor with nothing. My mother was a farm worker. My father grew up on a ship that just floated around the world for years - he was a boy without a parent. And their dream when they came together, I think, was simply to provide an opportunity for their children to have food on the table, to have a decent job, and to maybe have an education. So when I look back and I look at my life, I think I'm most proud that I fulfilled their dream of in one generation, having the opportunity to be successful. When I look at my career, I would say the thing that I'm most proud of is having been a mentor to so many young people of color who have grown up and who are now judges. I am proud to be the co-chair of the Leadership Institute with Mr. James Williams, where we have graduated 196 lawyers from our leadership program and our focus is on underrepresented lawyers. And what we do is just really enable and empower them to see their gifts and talents. And we have a lot of them who have become judges. And we have one who is the US Attorney for Western Washington - Nick Brown was one of our graduates. So I would say I'm most proud of those acts because it's about giving back and it's about enabling others to do this work, so I would be very happy to rest on those laurels, is to say - you paid it back, Mary, and that's what it's all about. [00:28:33] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely, and they would be so proud and that you are also helping to enable that for so many other people in this state - I certainly appreciate. And I guess as we are looking forward and your continuing service on the court, assuming you're going to be re-elected, assuming all of us get out there and vote to make sure that happens. What do you most want to accomplish moving forward? [00:29:06] Justice Mary Yu: I wanna continue to do what I am doing, 'cause I think that's really important. And I'd like to put some more energy into restoring confidence in our courts. I'm trying to respond to Eric Liu's call to be concerned about the health of our democracy. His call has really resonated with me that we can't live with just accepting polarization - this is not the future of our country and the future of who we are. And that all of us, as judges and lawyers, we should be very, very concerned about keeping our democracy alive, keeping it healthy, and frankly being engaged. [00:29:47] Crystal Fincher: And if you give people some advice on how they can help ensure that within our judicial system, what would you say? [00:29:57] Justice Mary Yu: Crystal, can you pose that question again? I'm sorry. [00:29:59] Crystal Fincher: Oh, sure - no problem. If you were to give folks, one piece of advice for how they could engage with our judicial system, or something that they could do to help it be more equitable and healthier and to restore that trust - what advice would you get for people for what they could do to help that? [00:30:19] Justice Mary Yu: I'd say come to jury service - come to jury service and be a part of the decision making. Restore confidence in what we do - when I was a trial judge, I remember talking to the whole pool of jurors, 70 people who were just dying to get outta there. And I would just say before you raise your hand and ask to leave, I just want you to imagine and think about this - that if it were you, would you not want somebody like yourself to be sitting there to be the decision maker? Because all the people who come into our court system, they're there because there's something really important to them. The things that they hold most near and dear - and it could be innocence in a criminal trial, injury that they haven't been compensated for, some unfair contract, whatever it might be - it's something important to those individuals. And who would you want to be seated, sitting there, listening to this. Would you not want somebody like yourself? And I'd just say - just pause and think about that. And I'd have to say hands went down and people became a little embarrassed and thought - well, yeah, I guess I could do this. I can't do it for 10 weeks, I could do it for two days or three days. So I would say to everyone is - please, if you have the opportunity to serve as a juror, do so. You become the fact finder, which is the most important part of a trial - is somebody who determines what is true and what is not, or what you wanna believe or what you don't wanna believe. It doesn't even matter if it's truthful or not. What do you believe and how do you determine credibility should rest in the hands of other people? So I would say that's something everyone can do - is please come to jury service when you can. And if you get that summons, that's the beginning. From there, you'll be able to see the rest of the flaws and then maybe you can help us figure out the rest. [00:32:17] Crystal Fincher: Great advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today - sincerely appreciate this conversation and all of the work you've done and continue to do. Thank you so much, Justice Yu. [00:32:29] Justice Mary Yu: Crystal, thank you so much. [00:32:31] 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.
This is your WORT local news for Monday, July 11.The state Supreme Court issues several big rulings, New flex lanes are coming to the beltline to help alleviate congestion during rush hour,And in the second half, we get the week in city and county meetings, plus working from home, and two new movie reviews.
We discuss a post Roe America and its connection to the insurrection. Governor Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul go on the offensive and file lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's 1849 law banning abortions, calling it unenforceable. We review the historic and eye-popping details of Tuesday's January 6th hearing testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a key staffer to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board called for the defeat of Ron Johnson following his connection to the January 6th insurrection. The State Supreme Court says a Walker appointed DNR appointee can stay indefinitely and disgraced Michael Gableman sued for the 4th time for failing to keep public records. We discuss how election coverage isw dominated by horse race and faux scandal media. Finally, we urge you to get involved and volunteer with Citizen Action to make calls for Mandela Barnes for U.S. Senate every Wednesday, 5-8pm.
The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that the state Legislature does not have the authority to legislate gun rules on college campuses. The justices struck down part of a new law that would have expanded concealed carry rights on campuses.
On this episode of New Mexico in Focus the podcast, host Lou DiVizio shares new action from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on abortion access. The Line Opinion Panel reacts to the recent developments in Otero County where commissioners have voted to certify its primary election results. That's after a lawsuit from the Secretary of State, and an order from the State Supreme Court. In an interview from early June, Jason Casuga, CEO and chief engineer of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, speaks with Our Land Executive Producer Laura Paskus about the impact of monsoon rains will have on the persistent drought in our area. Plus, the Line Opinion Panelists review a Chaves County lawsuit over a police shooting, as the Attorney General probes another officer-involved incident in the same county. Host: Lou DiVizio Line Host: Gene Grant Line Opinion Panelists: Merritt Allen, Vox Optima Public Relations Andy Lyman, NM Political Report Laura Sanchez, attorney Guests: Jason M. Casuga, CEO/chief engineer, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District For More Information: Cowboys For Trump Founder Sentenced to 14 Days - Reuters Otero County Votes 2-1 to Approve Primary Results – Source NM Building Anger in Rural New Mexico Erupts in Election Crisis – Associated Press A.G. to Probe Chaves County Deadly Deputy-Involved Shooting – Associated Press Suits Alleges Misconduct, Lack of Training by Chaves County Deputies – Albuquerque Journal Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/nmif/message
With the Supreme Court ruling Thursday on New York's open carry law, what are the implications for Rhode Island. Former State Supreme Court Justice, Bob Flanders, joins Gene to explain how this effects people in the Ocean State. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
No. Not Cambridge, Mass. Cambridge, NY; my home town. The school board appealed to State Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the State Education Commissioner forcing the school to retire its "Indians" name and mascot.
Tom and Andy discuss a recent Supreme Court decision involving the size of the Minneapolis Police Department and whether the governor's energy policies have contributed to the possibility of rolling blackouts this summer.
12pm - The Big Lead @ noon // Does WA State Supreme Court impose different standards on police seizures and stops based on race? // Pramila Jayapal's odd tweet over the weekend // GUEST: KelllyAnna Brooking, 14 year old Kitsap girl who is catching flak for her conservative beliefs // Dori says he's glad he's not a kid growing up now See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
4PM - Shortage of Seattle cops is a growing crisis // Race must be considered in determining legality of police stops and seizures, WA state Supreme Court rules // Biden takes aim at Republicans, Trump during appearance on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' // Some Flight Attendants Can Bring Their Full Selves to Work—Tattoos, Sneakers, Nose Studs and All // Do Swedish People Feed Their Guests? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The debate about policing in Minneapolis gets a hearing before the state supreme court and political leaders are making a final try at a special session. This is an evening update from MPR News, hosted by Tim Nelson. Music by Gary Meister.
West Virginia school systems will learn more about a new program which encourages them to go green with school bus transportation. The State Supreme Court reverses a Wyoming county murder conviction. Jury selection continues in Charleston in the trial of a man charged with killing a Charleston police officer. One of the state's teachers unions plans to rally today in support of control legislation in schools. In Sports, Logan and Fairmont Senior advance to the state championship game of the high school baseball tourney while Class Single A and Triple A semifinals are today in Charleston. Those stories and more in today's MetroNews This Morning podcast.
AlabamaWill there be a debate between Mo Brooks and Katie Britt before runoff election?State school superintendent releases statements after shooting at Texas schoolInvestigation begins in Lee county after inmate is dead by way of foul playBirmingham now ranks third in state for population, Huntsville comes in firstApple CEO Tim Cook donates $100,000 dollar gift to alma mater Robertsdale HighNationalTexas AG Ken Paxton says some schools in TX are arming their teachers and staffRasmussen conducts poll on gun control laws after shooting in Buffalo NYLouisiana pastor wins religious freedom case at State Supreme Court level Washington Examiner confirms that Hunter Biden laptop is authenticLink to promoted podcast: https://rightsideradio.org/
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending May 14th, 2022… why lumber prices are falling, what the FHA is doing to discourage investors, and the new Google mapping tool that could help house hunters.Hi, I'm Kathy Fettke and this is Real Estate News for Investors. If you like our podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review.Economic NewsWe begin with economic news from this past week. Inflation appeared to slow down a bit last month. The government reported a slight decline in the Consumer Price Index from an annual rate of 8.5% in March to 8.3% in April. But that's coming off a 40-year high, so we haven't come down much. Plus, the so-called “core rate of inflation” - which omits prices for food and gas - was .6% higher. That was a disappointment on Wall Street because analysts had forecast a lower .4% increase. (1)As reported by MarketWatch, many economists expect inflation to slow down, but they say it will probably take a while for that to happen. Supply chain issues and the labor shortage are two big reasons that prices keep rising.The decline was also not enough to put consumer minds at ease. The University of Michigan says its consumer sentiment index fell to a ten-year low as of this month. It went from a reading of 65.2 in April to 59.1. A survey shows that most Americans expect overall inflation to remain at the 5.4% level for the next year and at 3% for the next five years. (2)Mortgage RatesMortgage rates also crept a little higher last week. Freddie Mac says the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 3 basis points to an average of 5.3%. The 15-year was down 4 points to 4.48%. (3) The mortgage company says that many homebuyers are continuing with their plans but are paying about one third more per month than they would have a year ago.In other news making headlines…Builders Getting a Break on Lumber PricesLumber prices are headed lower. They fell below $800 per thousand board feet last week. That's about 30% lower than they were at the beginning of the year, but they are still much higher than they have been historically. The National Home Builders Association says they've been so high that homes were $18,000 more expensive than they were in previous years, just because of high lumber prices. (4)A recent survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows that prices may be coming down a little because of softening demand for entry-level homes. And, the COO of Sherwood Lumber, Kyle Little, told Insider: “We expect prices in the long term to be challenged with the affordability and rising interest rate headwinds.”Landlords Lose in Appeal to CA Supreme CourtThe California Supreme Court rejected a request by landlords to review a lower court ruling that impacts the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. If you haven't heard of Costa-Hawkins, it's legislation enacted in 1995 that prevents California cities from imposing rent control on single-family homes, condominiums, and residential properties built after 1995. (5)There was concern that San Francisco landlords were circumventing eviction laws by raising rents so high that tenants would move out. The city called them “bad faith” rent increases that were used to evict tenants. The city then passed an ordinance in 2019 to prevent that from happening. It included a way to compare rent increases to market rates, and to check if there had been a recent eviction attempt. Landlords sued, but lost their case in lower courts. In 2020, a Superior Court judge said: “Costa-Hawkins does not protect a landlord's right to use a pretextual rent increase to avoid lawfully imposed local eviction restrictions.” The high court's decision last week, allows the lower court ruling to stand.FHA Gives Owner-Occupants First Dibs on ForeclosuresThe Federal Housing Administration will make investors wait their turn, for a look at foreclosed properties. The FHA announced that owner occupant buyers, government entities, and HUD-approved nonprofits will get first dibs during a 30-day exclusive time period. It will also provide time for buyers to get a loan if they need one. (6)The FHA says it's doing this to support a goal to reduce the number of homes that investors are buying and turning into rentals, and to help people who want to become homeowners. Buyers must provide a signed statement saying they intend to live in the home. They also have 15 days to back out of a deal if they get “buyer's remorse.”Google Street View Get “Immersive”Google is adding a new feature to its mapping software that will help house hunters. It combines satellite and street view images so that users can fly over an area and then drop down to street level to take a closer look. Some people say the aerial view looks like you're flying over a property with a drone. Google calls it an “immersive view.” (7) It's being introduced in New York and Los Angeles. Google plans to expand soon to new areas.That's it for today. Check the show notes for links. And please remember to hit the subscribe button, and leave a review!You can also join RealWealth for free at newsforinvestors.com. As a member, you have access to the Investor Portal where you can view sample property pro-formas and connect with our network of resources, including experienced investment counselors, property teams, lenders, 1031 exchange facilitators, attorneys, CPAs and more.Thanks for listening. I'm Kathy Fettke.Links:1 - https://www.marketwatch.com/story/u-s-inflation-rate-slows-to-8-3-cpi-finds-after-hitting-40-year-high-11652272713?mod=home-page2 - https://www.marketwatch.com/story/consumer-sentiment-hits-ten-year-low-amid-high-prices-umich-survey-finds-11652451173?mod=economic-report3 - https://www.freddiemac.com/pmms4 - https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2022/05/11/lumber-prices-tumble-to-lowest-level-of-20225 - https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/State-Supreme-Court-rejects-a-challenge-by-17166499.php6 - https://caanet.org/calif-supreme-court-snubs-appeal-of-costa-hawkins-case/?mkt_tok=NTU5LVRFTi05NDgAAAGEXbZRUIFaYfDr8n_JnaducPEN7VatF5PpAR34RTKWv7UiK3Y8lW_ce1Ko7WQ8Ot94wKy1cFzjQ3HgtJy6wLdJXjpjwPON50XI1dFc5Q7 - https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2022/05/11/fha-gives-buyers-exclusive-sneak-peek-at-foreclosures8 - https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2022/05/11/fha-gives-buyers-exclusive-sneak-peek-at-foreclosures9 - https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2022/05/12/new-google-map-feature-offers-immersive-view-of-streets
In the US, it's supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty,” but it's a routine part of our criminal legal system to imprison people while they await trial, causing them to lose their jobs, housing, access to transportation and more. This is a problem across America, and we've covered it extensively on RANGE (see links below), but here's a new wrinkle, courtesy of our friends at InvestigateWest. Whether or not you get access to pretrial services, which often requires home monitoring, drug testing and other costly programs, largely depends on the jurisdiction you're in. Some counties have no services at all. In others, the defendant is responsible for the cost of those services — such as ankle monitors, which can run $500 per month — effectively keeping the most destitute people in jail. Even in counties where services are offered, the costs can be drastically different depending on what part of the county you're arrested in. That's the situation in Spokane, where getting arrested in the City of Spokane gives defendants free access to many more services than people arrested for the same crime in other parts of the county. We talked to Wilson Criscione, a reporter from InvestigateWest, who covered this issue extensively in the first article for their project called “https://www.invw.org/justice-by-geography/ (Justice by Geography).” In it, he told us the story of Amber Letchworth, a Washington woman who was pulled over and arrested after a police officer found a dirty baggy containing meth on her car floor. She couldn't pay for bail, so while waiting in jail for the next few weeks, she lost her home and access to a car. She pleaded guilty to felony drug possession in an effort to get out of jail sooner. But she still left jail homeless and lost her financial aid for college because of her felony record. Amber had been mourning the death of her grandmother and was not in a good place. On paper, she was a good candidate for pretrial diversion, but no diversion took place, and she spiraled, for a time, to an even darker place. Had she been diverted to mental health or addiction treatment, her arrest may not have started her on a path to drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, and more arrests. There are two bitter ironies in this case, one personal, one systemic: The drug charge that set this whole chain of events in motion has since been vacated after State v. Blake — a State Supreme Court decision last year that https://www.nwpb.org/2021/12/03/washington-supreme-court-state-vs-blake-drug-possession-law-payments/#:~:text=State%20Vs%20Blake%20is%20a,to%20charges%20related%20to%20distribution. (ruled Washington's simple possession law unconstitutional). But the real kicker is that Asotin County is one of the counties that actually HAS pretrial services — on paper anyway — but the program administrator had retired and the remote, rural county hadn't been able to find a replacement. This story is crucial as we examine the disproportionate effects of our criminal legal system and what can be done to lift more people out of it. Wilson and Luke talk about the current patchwork system of pretrial services in Washington and how they play out differently in Spokane compared to the rest of Spokane County. Read the full story, republished with permission from InvestigateWest, https://www.rangemedia.co/spokane-justice-geography-washington-pretrial-services-jail-trial/ (here). Previous Coverage of Pre-Trial Inequalities: https://www.rangemedia.co/episode-010-independence-day-1c2/ (EPISODE 010 | Independence Day) https://www.rangemedia.co/episode-011-independence-day-cont-6c1/ (EPISODE 011 | Independence Day (cont)) https://www.rangemedia.co/episode-025-no-new-jail-feat-jim/ (EPISODE 025 | No New Jail feat. Jim Dawson) https://www.rangemedia.co/and-justice-for-some-feat-cam-zorrozua/ (And Justice for Some feat. Cam Zorrozua & Virla Spencer) References: ...
Today on the Zeoli Show, Rich discussed the controversy still surrounding President Biden's son Hunter Biden. The investigation into his seemingly secretive connections to Russia and Ukraine is still ongoing. We need to know what and who he has connections with as they could mean a major security risk to the nation, especially with Russia invading Ukraine. It can't be swept under the rug. 6:03-NEWS 6:07- Dr. Oz backtracks and tells Fox he will give up his Turkish citizenship if elected to the Senate 6:11-Two years since "two weeks to slow the spread" 6:14-TSA extended the mask mandate for travelers for at least another month 6:25-Jussie Smollett is already out of jail 6:37-President Biden believes everyone has been photographed in a compromising position and blackmailed by it 7:01-NEWS 7:05-United States Senate Candidate Kathy Barnette joined Rich to discuss her thoughts on Ukraine and if the U.S. and NATO should establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine air space. 7:30-Marve denounces all anti- LGBTQ+ bills 7:38-Deeper investigations into Hunter Biden 7:46- CUT SHEET | Biden clarifies that he does think Putin is a war criminal | Psaki questioned on why Biden is now calling Putin a war criminal | Senator Lindsey Graham doesn't regret saying he wants someone to take Putin out | Andrea Mitchell speculates a war in Ukraine would help Democrats | 8:03-Licenses to carry in Philadelphia are skyrocketing 8:10-Governor Andrew Cuomo is already planning on running against Governor Kathy Hochul in New York 8:20-NEWS 8:42-The investigation into Hunter Biden is still ongoing 9:02-NEWS 9:05-Justin Sweitzer, Senior Reporter at City and State PA, joined Rich to discuss the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial race as the primary election for the Republican candidate becomes a key point in where the state will swing. He also discussed the State Supreme Court selecting the redistricting map and how it has affected some of the Congressional races 9:14-Governor Wolf asks the legislator to send money to Ukraine refugees 9:43-Governor Andrew Cuomo sounds like Al Pacino from Any Given Sunday | Is Biden more of a morning or evening person? | Gas theft is on the rise | Zelenskyy believes we're already in WWIII 9:55-Final Thoughts Photo by: Mark Makela / Stringer