Week in Review: July 23, 2021
Release Date: 07/24/2021
Hacks & Wonks
Today Marco Lowe, Professor at Seattle U's Institute for Public Service, joins Crystal to discuss the extension of the eviction moratorium, the departure of Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, City Council candidate Sara Nelson fudging the truth regarding laying off her workers, the increasing impact of climate disasters, and developments in the carpenters’ union strike.info_outline Chat with Hugo Garcia, Burien City Council Candidate
Hacks & Wonks
Today on the show Hugo Garcia, City Council candidate for the city of Burien, joins Crystal to discuss the planning for growth and justice in a rapidly changing city, how to create more housing and ensure residents are able to afford to live in a city, and the vital importance of parks and public spaces.info_outline Week in Review: September 17, 2021
Hacks & Wonks
Erica C. Barnett, editor of Publicola, joins Crystal to discuss King County's new vaccine requirements, the city attorney's efforts to hurry through his last priorities, political polling, misogynistic attacks on the carpenters' union leader, rerouting crisis calls away from the police, and wariness around quarantine shelters by houseless folks.info_outline McGinn Continued
Hacks & Wonks
On Friday, Crystal and Executive Director of America Walks (and former Seattle mayor), Mike McGinn, talked for so long that it made for a two-part show! They get into the SPD's calls being mostly non-criminal, the surge in gun violence, the lack of investigation into Mayor Durkan's alleged illegal deletion of text messages, and the need for the law to be applied equally.info_outline Week in Review: September 10, 2021
Hacks & Wonks
Executive Director of America Walks and former mayor of Seattle, Mike McGinn joins Crystal to discuss new Covid-19 vaccine mandates, planned walkouts by some workers in Seattle fizzling, rising gun violence and the conspicuous lack of analysis by the media and the mayor’s office, the knee-jerk desire for police presence when crime rises (in spite of it being ineffective), and the integration of Compassion Seattle into a certain mayoral campaign now that it’s off the November ballot.info_outline A Chat with Senator Karen Keiser
Hacks & Wonks
This week Crystal is joined by Senator Karen Keiser, Washington State Senate President Pro Tempore and one of the busiest women in the state legislature. Highlights include a dozen public safety bills, protection of essential workers, attempts to fix our tax code, passage of the Working Families Tax Credit, supporting childcare workers, and more.info_outline Week in Review: September 3, 2021
Hacks & Wonks
Today Crystal is joined by a new co-host, Rich Smith, Associate Editor of The Stranger! They discuss plans to tackle homelessness, a racist email from Bellevue School Board candidate Faye Yang, the need to center accessibility in transportation planning, and an alliance of landlords and renters threatening to sue to speed the distribution of rental relief.info_outline Consultant Roundtable Part 2
Hacks & Wonks
This week on the show we have the second half of the Consultant Roundtable, featuring Consultants Riall Johnson of Prism Consulting, Michael Charles of Upper Left Strategies, and Heather Weiner discussing the results of the primary elections, and what we can expect from the general election in November.info_outline Week in Review: August 27, 2021
Hacks & Wonks
Today on the show Marco Lowe, Professor at Seattle University’s Institute for Public Service, joins Crystal to get in to kids returning to school this fall without having had a Covid vaccine, the slow pace of rental aid distribution, the arrival of Afghan refugees in our state (and how you can help welcome them!), and the tragic rise in gun violence in our area.info_outline Consultant Roundtable: Part 1
Hacks & Wonks
Consultants Riall Johnson, Michael Charles, and Heather Weiner join Crystal to discuss the results of the primary elections this month, and what we can expect from the rest of election season. They discuss the mayoral primary results, Charter Amendment 29 / Compassion Seattle, and the results for City Council Pos. 9.info_outline
Today on the show, Marco Lowe, Professor at Seattle University’s Institute for Public Service, joins Crystal to discuss recent polls that have come out about Seattle’s mayoral, city council, and city attorney races, the importance of understanding poll methodology and margin of error, and the historic and tragic impact of Seattle’s recent heatwave and our governments responsibility to act to protect people from the impacts of climate change.
- Seattle’s population has changed so much in the past 10 years that incumbents can’t run just on their past popularity - a lot of folks who live here now won’t remember it.
- Polls are just a snapshot in time, and it’s important to contextualize them.
- Climate change is here, and there is no more neutral ground. All policy and legislation needs to be evaluated through the lens of helping or hurting the environment.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
“Bruce Harrell, Lorena Gonzalez lead in 2021 Seattle mayoral race with many undecided” from the Northwest Progressive Institute: https://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2021/07/bruce-harrell-lorena-gonzalez-lead-in-2021-seattle-mayoral-race-with-many-undecided.html
Poll released by Echohawk campaign:
“A three-way race for Seattle City Attorney: Pete Holmes barely ahead of two challengers” from the Northwest Progressive Institute: https://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2021/07/a-three-way-race-for-seattle-city-attorney-pete-holmes-barely-ahead-of-two-challengers.html
“Nikkita Oliver has a big lead over Sara Nelson for Seattle City Council Position #9” from the Northwest Progressive Institute: https://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2021/07/nikkita-oliver-has-a-big-early-lead-over-sara-nelson-for-seattle-city-council-position-9.html
- The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2021/07/14/59065522/the-strangers-endorsements-for-the-august-3-2021-primary-election
- The Urbanist: https://www.theurbanist.org/2021/06/28/the-urbanists-2021-primary-endorsements/
- The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/who-supports-who-in-seattle-elections-endorsements-roll-in-for-mayoral-council-races/
- 350 Seattle: https://350seattleaction.org/2021-elections
“2021 heat wave is now the deadliest weather-related event in Washington history” by John Ryan at KUOW: https://www.kuow.org/stories/heat-wave-death-toll-in-washington-state-jumps-to-112-people
Crystal Fincher: [00:00:00] Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes.
Today, we're continuing our Friday almost-live shows, where we review the news of the week with a cohost. Welcome back to the program friend of the show and today's co-host: professor at Seattle University's Institute for Public Service, Marco Lowe.
Marco Lowe: [00:00:52] Thank you for having me. Always love being here.
Crystal Fincher: [00:00:54] Always love having you here. Always very insightful. I thought we would get started talking about polling that was released in the past week about Seattle races, including the Mayor's race, City Attorney's race, the City Council races - the Northwest Progressive Institute actually sponsored a whole slew of public polling - some of the only public polling that we've seen regarding these races this cycle. We've heard a lot about internal polls at various points from different campaigns, but this was really interesting. So, I guess, starting with the Mayor's race, what did you glean from these polls?
Marco Lowe: [00:01:39] I think that they're reflecting what we've seen some of the campaigns release quietly, maybe through back channel communication. That it looks like, currently - and again, Not Sure is the winning candidate in most of these races - but Bruce Harrell seems to have coalesced a good group behind him that gives him a very good chance of getting into the general. And then Council President Lorena González is probably in that second spot behind him. But what I think we've been watching is the jockeying with Colleen Echohawk and Jessyn Farrell that are trying to jump into that second spot as the weigh-in days of the campaign commence.
Crystal Fincher: [00:02:17] Yeah, absolutely. And so, just for the percentages that were in this poll that has a 4.3% margin of error and a 95% confidence interval. Not Sure, Undecided at 54% - more than half of the people there. So to your point, Undecided is the winner here and really how they break will be how this race breaks, it looks like. Bruce Harrell at 15%, Lorena González at 8%, Colleen Echohawk at 6%, Jessyn Farrell 4%, Andrew Grant Houston 3%, Arthur Langlie 3%, Casey Sixkiller 2%. Lance Randall 2%, and everyone else has not broken 1%. The rest are at 0%. So really what that says is even though, technically, Bruce Harrell is - looks to be leading in this poll for people who've made a choice - one, more than half of the people who are still Not Sure. And it really is still a race for second place, if not first. It's certainly still a race for second place, and by no means decided.
Marco Lowe: [00:03:27] I agree. And just to say that sometimes there's a tactic that you think you're going to push all the Undecided into the current levels and that's not often true. If people aren't deeply engaged in a race - when they enter and get educated, it doesn't follow that pattern. They will find other candidates. So I would agree with you entirely. This is an open race.
Crystal Fincher: [00:03:48] Yeah, absolutely an open race. And there usually are a percentage of Undecideds who, unfortunately, end up not voting. Also, sometimes they just do not end up feeling strongly about any candidate and don't wind up pulling the trigger at all. But certainly, even with that percentage accounted for, this race is still wide open. But I think a number of the candidates certainly view the two front runners in the poll as front runners. And you see a number of candidates taking aim at the leader in their lane. And we've talked about lanes on this before - who is the more progressive candidate in the race who are aiming for that lane. Who is - again, I always talk about conservative in Seattle does not equate to a conservative in other areas - but Seattle's version of a conservative or a moderate Democrat, certainly, Bruce Harrell in that lane and people looking at that.
And so, you have people like Colleen Echohawk, really seeming to take the fight directly to Lorena González, which led to another quasi poll released that we saw this week, that came from Bill Broadhead and people affiliated, it appeared with the Colleen Echohawk camp. But who released a portion of a poll, which upfront means that we need to take it with a grain of salt, because we don't see the methodology. I mean, there are best practices around how to release polling, so other people can, basically, check your work and verify that this is a legitimate poll - polling is an actual science. And we didn't get all of the information from this poll that purportedly shows that Colleen Echohawk performs better head-to-head against Bruce Harrell than Lorena González. And they certainly were pressing that point very hard online, but, unfortunately, the actual poll information that they released was scant. How did you view that?
Marco Lowe: [00:06:06] It was an interesting release, because they did not, as far as I can tell, formally release it from the campaign. I saw it on Facebook from Bill Broadhead. And I think the way that you normally see these laid out, it looks a little different. Not bizarre, but just it was a little more informal, might be the right word. And I don't know exactly what they were trying to do, but there is potentially this effort to show that she could possibly win in a head-to-head. And that, again, we're trying to see her move into second place. So, I think this may have been more an insider game to show to donors or larger groups, versus a wider - because you see campaigns release these with press releases and press conferences and framing for the race. And this seemed to be a much more subtle effort.
Crystal Fincher: [00:06:53] Yeah. I agree with that. And certainly, this brings to mind conversations - I've had a number of these conversations in real life with people - but polls as marketing versus polls as actual research. And this certainly seemed to be on the side of a marketing effort. Now I say that, and I certainly would not be surprised at all, to see that Colleen Echohawk polled more favorably against Bruce Harrell than Lorena González. I actually don't think that's a wild and ridiculous outcome if it were to happen. That could be the case. It's just making that conclusion from the data that we've seen publicly seems to be a stretch. Especially given as I read it - the bios as they were constructed in this are not consistent with the bios that people have heard to date. Now this can certainly have been message testing and "Hey, this is how we will message him and paint him if we do get through the primary. And so we can create these conditions." Maybe that's part of the conversation. And to your point, maybe part of that insider conversation, but we just haven't seen this information publicly.
So, and given just the platform that it appears that the poll was done on, based on the watermarking, is one for corporate market research, commercial market research, not necessarily public opinion polling. So there are challenges there. That doesn't mean that the result is wrong, but it does mean that it's hard to accept that conclusion based on the information that we see here. And clearly the campaign was comfortable just releasing this information. So, I mean, I assume it's accomplishing their objectives, especially with some of the coverage of it that I've seen is certainly advancing this narrative. But it'll be interesting to see how this continues to play out over the final weeks of the campaign.
Marco Lowe: [00:09:02] And it's worth saying - even just putting this poll aside, head-to-heads are tough until you're really in a race. And if you're in the last month of a presidential race, where there's been so many TV stories and everything about it, that's one discussion. But I remember in the second round for Dino Rossi and Governor Gregoire, he was polling very well into the spring against her. And one of her campaign folks, when I called them asking about it, they said, "Let's get them both in the ring and then let's see what happens. This is all just subjective data at this point." And so, it does just always with every poll - put it in its place in time.
Crystal Fincher: [00:09:35] Yeah, absolutely. And it is worth reiterating that polls are in fact, just a snapshot in time. These polls are a snapshot of what people thought when they were fielded - which for the NPI poll was week before last or going into early last week, and it finished in the field early last week. So that certainly is before a lot of voter communication has happened, it's before a lot of the messaging from campaigns that are happening in these final weeks and campaigns making their closing arguments for this primary have happened. And that's going to impact how a lot of people wind up making a decision for this, in addition to a lot of endorsements that have come out and people seeing organizations that they like or trust, or dislike or distrust - see who they wind up supporting.
So, certainly not conclusive. It would not be a shock if the results don't wind up lining up with these polls, because there's a lot that can change. And again, it's worth noting that the more than half of the people, the biggest vote getter were people who were Undecided. So, anything can happen. We're still in a wide open situation.
Speaking of wide open situations, though - one race that really caught my eye in this polling that I think has to be causing some consternation for the incumbent is the polling in the Seattle City Attorney race. That race is extremely close in this poll with - again, 53% of people not sure who they're going to vote for, but Pete Holmes coming with 16%, which as a three term incumbent, not the number that you are aiming for. I mean, either he has not made an impact, has not been notable, or people have not noticed the work that he's done, or they're just unhappy with it. Either way, a tenured incumbent is never going to be happy with a number like 16%.
Marco Lowe: [00:11:46] As a creature of City Hall, I will defend City Attorney. If you stopped cars on Fourth Ave in downtown and rolled down the window and put a mic in and said, "Who's the Seattle City Attorney?" I think you'd be lucky to get 16% to name any - maybe going back to Mark Sidran in the 90s and early 2000s, you had somebody who was on the press a lot. But Tom Carr, in the middle, lost to Pete Holmes - I think by his second re-election in '09. And I do agree with these numbers. I don't think anybody on Mr. Holmes' teams are saying this is a good news, but it's a challenging place to be.
But that knee-jerk reaction aside - yeah. I agree with you. Going into a primary with these numbers and having three people so close together - you made a great point that with three - we were talking prior to the show. They can pitch somebody out really easily and it raises the bar for what he needs to get to now to close. I think that may be the first race I look at it on election night when the numbers drop.
Crystal Fincher: [00:12:44] Yeah, same here. And so Pete Holmes is at 16%, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy at 14%, and Ann Davison at 14% also. So a race within the margin of error. The interesting thing about Pete Holmes is he used to be well-known. When he first came onto the scene, it was with a lot of pomp and fanfare - and he had looked at doing what, at that time, were some progressive things. Certainly, working with the nightlife community - there were a number of issues that were important to people involved in nightlife - owners of bars and cultural establishments, arts establishments, who definitely preferred him over his incumbent.
And being willing to decriminalize, at that point in time, pre-legalization of marijuana, that they were going to de-emphasize prosecuting marijuana crimes. And they were on the front end of doing that. So when he came in, it was with progressive fanfare. But I think that, one, what we've seen from him in the preceding years was a lot less vocal, a lot less upfront, and he has been in the background. And a lot of the conversations where previously he has been in the foreground with, he was also well known for having some disagreements with Mayor McGinn at the time when that came in.
But also - yes, there's been a lot of population change since he first came in. So there are just a lot of people in the City who never experienced that Pete Holmes, and never experienced what he hung his hat on. And so he's just a name that's part of this unpopular administration. And so looking at these numbers for his opponents, and especially given that The Times has endorsed Ann Davison, his opponent to the right. And The Stranger has endorsed Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, his opponent to the left. So, I would not call his position comfortable. And he certainly has to campaign and deliver a message to the people in order to get through this primary.
Marco Lowe: [00:15:03] No, absolutely. And it is a low turnout - those endorsements matter a heck of a lot more right now. And it's interesting - boy, that point on population growth - we've added 30,000 people since '14. That's an incredibly good point. And he may be - you could almost look at his campaign like he is a new entrant into the race and we have three first-timers. That's a really interesting way to look at it. Especially when you're in an office that just isn't watched. I mean, there hasn't been high profile cases, they work a lot behind closed doors as attorneys do. Boy, when I'm hitting refresh on Tuesday night, it's going to be looking at that race.
Crystal Fincher: [00:15:43] That's going to be one of the first races that I'm looking at. And who knows how that's going to end up? One and two could be anyone in that race. It could include Pete Holmes, it could not include Pete Holmes. Just really interesting. And the polling shows that it's completely up in the air. So, that's interesting.
The other race that we saw some notable polling in was in the City Council race, with Brianna Thomas, Nikkita Oliver, and Sara Nelson - where Nikkita seems to be in a comfortable position in the lead. I'm actually pulling up this polling to get the exact numbers as we speak.
Marco Lowe: [00:16:33] 26% was-
Crystal Fincher: [00:16:36] Yeah. And so look, especially comparing this with the numbers in the other races - I mean, we're looking at Pete Holmes at 14%, Bruce Harrell at 15%. Seeing Nikkita Oliver at 26% - that's a big number. It's a big number, especially compared to a number of the other numbers. Certainly helps that Nikkita had been on a citywide ballot before - with this has Sara Nelson at 11%, Brianna Thomas at 6%. Again, Undecided - still 50%. So, again, when you're looking at this, it certainly is a race for number two, it appears, that could go any way. And with 50% of people Undecided and looking at Seattle ballot return - Seattle was trending a few percentage points behind the full King County number, which in my opinion, Seattle usually - well, I guess the fact that Seattle usually ends up with higher turnout numbers, but I feel like they may be lagging behind a little bit, because there are some tough choices for Seattle residents to make that aren't as tough in other cities, and in terms of City Council and mayoral races. So it just may take people a little longer to decide, but I anticipate that we'll see a Seattle number probably higher than the overall King County number. But this is going to be another interesting race to watch. And seeing Brianna Thomas and Sara Nelson - seeing how they both make their final statements. Sara Nelson ended up with The Times endorsement, Nikkita Oliver got The Stranger endorsement. Just saw today, PubliCola endorsed Brianna Thomas in the race. So we will see how this finishes out. But again, another one of those races that is not sold and that has a big Undecided number.
Marco Lowe: [00:18:36] And you're seeing it's an open seat - when Nikkita Oliver, when they ran last time - if somebody agreed with them or not, oh my gosh, they were amazing. That King 5 debate - they owned the stage on numerous answers. And so, we have that name ID for them. Sara Nelson did not get through the primary last time. This is Brianna Thomas's first race. 26%, I mean, that's-
Crystal Fincher: [00:19:06] Second race actually.
Marco Lowe: [00:19:07] Second race. Oh, I apologize - so second race. So yeah, they're in a real strong position. And then you get to the general and it kind of resets, but I agree with you. Compared to the Mayor's race, it'd be hard to see them not going to the general. City-wide race to city-wide race, this is how people get into elected office.
Crystal Fincher: [00:19:30] Yeah. I would agree. It is - this more than any other situation, that's hard not to see Nikkita getting through to the general. This seems like it would be the least likely to wind up in a surprise for the person in the lead in this poll to not make it through. But I do think that it's - we're up in the air for number two. Certainly a Times endorsement - countywide, a Times endorsement is a big deal. This could be something that really helps, or actually hurts - in terms of a Seattle race. But I also think an interesting dynamic there, because the voters who that would probably hurt most with are probably leaning towards Nikkita. But there is a lot to be talked about just in terms of people's records, whether they've been honest and forthcoming about those records. And I think that there may be more to come about that in the race. We will see.
Marco Lowe: [00:20:39] Agreed. And also, you see this if Seattle breaks into, I call it, the outer ring and the inner ring. And the outer ring, homes with a view, tend to be the more conservative Seattle Times voters. And the inner ring tends to be the more progressive candidates. And you see the progressive candidates win when they push out the ring and the conservative candidates win when they compress the ring. And that's where I think you're going to see if Sara Nelson can attract the outer ring voters or not.
Crystal Fincher: [00:21:07] Absolutely. And we will put in the show notes a review or links to different organizations and the endorsements that they've made. I know, certainly, it helps me sometimes to read through how other organizations are making their decisions, if I'm undecided about something. And I certainly have spoken to a lot of Seattle voters who still don't know which way they're voting in a number of races. So, this is still a critical time for making the case and people are still trying to decide. There's still a lot of communication that campaigns have to do. And that's also still making a difference. So the race is still shaping up.
Marco Lowe: [00:21:49] If I can throw in one quick thing too - for all the races in Seattle, I think these three candidates have done an excellent job of articulating what they want to see in the City. This is as issue-based race as I've seen in a long time and I appreciate it. There's a lot of, "Here's what I'd like to do." And I just really appreciate that. A lot of races tend to say, "Look over here, look over there, but not right at what I'm trying to do." That is not the case. All the mail has been very specific.
Crystal Fincher: [00:22:21] Yeah. Which I appreciate and I think is actually necessary at this point in time - not just that someone has a vision, and we've heard lots about people's visions. Or even that they're supported by, "I've got a ton of endorsements." Lots of candidates can tout that, but what do you actually plan to do with your power and authority and your jurisdiction? What are your plans? Not what we can do regionally, not what we need partners to do, or what we can study and learn more about doing, but what are your actual plans? What action will you take? I really do hope voters take a look at what candidates have said on that. And to your point, in that City Council race, there certainly is a lot that have been talked about for what the candidates actually plan to do, the action that they plan to take. And I hope they look at the mayoral race through that lens to say, "Okay. It's one thing to say, 'Yes, I believe in equity and treating people well, and we can have a better Seattle tomorrow,' but what have they committed to doing? What are our concrete steps and concrete actions beyond 'A lot of people support me?'"
Marco Lowe: [00:23:42] And I give a little bit of credit to Nikkita Oliver on that. Anytime they're on stage, they are ticking off boxes. And even on Twitter, they said with a retirement of Seattle police officers, this money should be going to these kind of community groups. And again, this is a constant statement of what they would do in office. So, just - you kind of set the example - and the other candidates, it's hard to be on stage if you're not doing that as well.
Crystal Fincher: [00:24:13] Very hard to be on stage if you're not doing that. I mean, just drawing on - we had conversations with all three of those candidates on Hacks & Wonks, and I heard a lot of information in detail and frankly, leading by example, from Nikkita Oliver, Brianna Thomas. Heard a lot of" I don't know"s from Sara Nelson and "We'll have to study that and figure that out." it's also interesting to see how campaign candidate rhetoric evolves throughout the campaign. So, a little bit more polished, but I certainly think that it is more natural for some candidates to be more action and ownership focused than others. And I think that's really important, especially at a time like this, when so much needs to be done to get us on the right track.
Marco Lowe: [00:25:09] Sometimes just where they are in the race too. They're kind of - I mean, where I've started with some candidates early on at positions and later they may get better, but I agree, that's going to be a really interesting race.
Crystal Fincher: [00:25:23] Going to be a really interesting race. So, we've covered races. Another thing that I wanted to talk about this week is it's taken a little bit for the state to compile all the numbers on what the impact of the historic heat wave that happened as a result of climate change was, but 112 deaths is the current toll. Throughout the entire Northwest - hospitalizations up over 60x. Not 60%, but 60x higher than what they normally are. So, the toll that the heat took on our communities was huge and devastating. It was the most lethal weather event that Washington State has ever had. And by all accounts, more extreme heat is something that we have to be expecting, because of climate change over the coming years. So this is something that our state and local governments have to prepare for. And frankly, it seemed like a lot of them were caught flat footed with, "Oh, heat coming. Oh, it's just another heat wave." We have some of these occasionally, but especially with the amount of folks that we have who are unhoused, who are vulnerable with a low percentage of air conditioning in homes and apartments now. This - you could see it coming - was a major threat to people's health and wellbeing.
And it just seemed like a lot of governments were viewing this as something that was happening, that they didn't have to prepare for, that they weren't responsible for. And I think that we have to have a massive shift in attitude that, "Hey, this is something that is predictable - the consequences, the deaths, and the casualties are preventable. And we actually have a responsibility to prevent it." How did you see that play out?
Marco Lowe: [00:27:30] I agree. A lot of local governments looked very flat-footed and we saw this temperature coming over a week away. And that's just irresponsible to not have both cooling centers, and how you get people there. The humans that are most vulnerable to this heat, whose bodies can't cool themselves. And at 105°, nobody's cooling themselves.
Crystal Fincher: [00:27:47] No one.
Marco Lowe: [00:27:49] But the most vulnerable aren't often driving. We have a whole issue with seniors in America that are somewhat stranded. Whether they can't drive, they live in a non-walkable community, what have you. So it's not just that you open the centers, but you get people in the center. And you staff them and people may be sleeping in those centers, because the night did not get better. So we have this immediate tactical response that we need to have better going forward, because we're not done. 2021 has been a B-roll for a disaster film - Texas mold, China and New York rain, Northwest heat, the fires in Oregon, in Washington, California, and the smoke that's gone all the way to New York City. We are in climate change, people are dying, and we have to react now.
The other thing I'll throw in is that we are watching a fight in Washington, D.C., over an infrastructure bill that has in it more money towards renewable energy, so we can decarbonize this world. And America has to be a leader on it, because we are most of the carbon. So, to have both this tactical response and strategic response is essential and immediate and there's not a this or that. It is all of the above.
Crystal Fincher: [00:28:53] It is all of the above. And I forget who it was on Twitter, but someone very astutely tweeted like really there is no neutral action on climate change. Every piece of legislation that every City Council person advocates for, passes, mayor legislator, there is no neutrality on climate change, on pollution. We have to examine every piece of legislation and say, is it hurting or is it helping? And to that point, we have a transportation package coming up in our State Legislature, where this has been a big point of conversation and contention - in that, are we going to continue to push for highway expansion and building and road expansion, which is the number one source of pollution. Over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions and a lot of air pollution is directly attributable to the transportation sector. So, are we going to continue and move in that direction? Are we going to start to move in the other direction?
And to your point, climate change is here. We are dealing with it. And we also talked about, before the show - a point you made, which is very true - a lot of people have been pushed out of the city, because of affordability, into suburbs. A lot of our most vulnerable people now live in suburbs. And what people always hear talk about the "inner city," which is really a relic of the past, especially here on the West Coast. And that extreme poverty and some of that hardship is now in suburbs, who do not have the human services infrastructure that was built and developed in cities. And so, access to transit, access to assistance and help, just the visibility and prioritization of human services and health, in a lot of these suburbs and rural areas just does not exist. And it's not something that they've even factored in before and thinking in conversation. So, we're so behind. And so, experiencing these lethal challenges with some governments who just up to now aren't up to the task, we just need a rapid redeployment of resources, a rapid getting electeds up to speed, and demand from people in every city that you're in, that this is an essential service of government. Fundamentally, they're there to protect their residents and to keep them from foreseeable harm. And this is a threat that we know exists.
It's so interesting seeing how heat and climate related disasters are covered in comparison to a lot of other things. Because there's this tendency for media to just cover it as an extreme weather event, disconnected from anything else, and like, wow, that was wild. Who could have predicted that? Or that was a once in 100 year event. We've seen these once in 100 year events, several times a year, all over the place. This is what climate change is. We have a responsibility to prevent it from getting worse. And man, we're already in for it getting worse and more just trying to prevent Earth from being uninhabitable for a majority of its people and for mitigating those impacts.
So, we have to take action. I've certainly been vocal about this and the responsibility that local governments have to their residents to protect them. And that deaths and injuries that result are really a matter of negligence at this point, because we know what these consequences are. And either we choose to act and protect people or ignore the risk, and people should be held to account for that.
Marco Lowe: [00:32:53] And if U.S. and, frankly, human history teaches us anything, when a crisis hits the wealthy will be taken care of. I mean, I have to - in my head, Exxon has a Dr. Evil lair some place, where they know they're going to be okay. I know that sounds crazy, but they know the data better than we do. They've been looking at it for 40 years and continued on their path. So if they're comfortable, it's not that they don't see the change, it's that they don't worry that it's going to impact them. And that has to be part of it. I will also just really - you said something that's worth putting a light back on. Legislation all needs a lens - is this making it better or worse? There is no middle land. I just think that's a really, really great idea.
Crystal Fincher: [00:33:35] Well, thank you so much - we are at this time - certainly, issues that we both feel very passionately about. But I just want to thank you, the listener, for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM, this Friday, July 23rd. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler. And our wonderful cohost today was Professor at Seattle University's Institute for Public Service, Marco Lowe. You can find Marco on Twitter @MarcoLowe, it's M-A-R-C-O-L-O-W-E. 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 & Wonks" into the search bar, be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live show and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave us a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.
Thanks for tuning in. We'll talk to you next time.