Jan 25, 2022
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, newly re-elected to citywide Position 8, joins Crystal with thoughts and next steps on the SPD ruse scandal, a run-down of ambitious plans for the broadly-supported JumpStart economic stimulus, and discussion of the urgent need to shore up our childcare infrastructure. The show closes with a call to action for electeds everywhere to not hesitate and take the bold, progressive action voters want.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
“Seattle council questions watchdog about police lies, investigation into faked radio chatter” by Daniel Beekman from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-officials-face-questions-about-police-lies-investigation-into-faked-radio-chatter/
“As negotiations with city loom, Seattle’s police union has had an outsized influence on police accountability measures” by Mike Carter from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/as-negotiations-with-city-loom-seattles-police-union-has-had-an-outsized-influence-on-police-accountability-measures/
“Council Passes Mosqueda’s JumpStart Seattle Progressive Revenue Plan to Address COVID Response, Essential City Services, Affordable Housing” from Council Connection: https://council.seattle.gov/2020/07/06/council-passes-mosquedas-jumpstart-seattle-progressive-revenue-plan-to-address-covid-response-essential-city-services-affordable-housing/
“Councilmember Mosqueda Moves Forward with Transparency and Accountability Measures for JumpStart Seattle” from Council Connection: https://council.seattle.gov/2021/07/19/councilmember-mosqueda-moves-forward-with-transparency-and-accountability-measures-for-jumpstart-seattle/
“Durkan Budget Would Gut JumpStart Spending Plan, Increase Funding for Encampment Response” by Erica C. Barnett from Publicola: https://publicola.com/2021/09/28/durkan-budget-would-gut-jumpstart-spending-plan-increase-funding-for-encampment-response/
“NPI’s July 2021 survey of Seattle voters found deep support for JumpStart revenue plan” by Andrew Villeneuve from The Cascadia Advocate: https://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2021/09/npis-july-2021-survey-of-seattle-voters-found-deep-support-for-jumpstart-revenue-plan.html
Seattle City Council - Seattle Rescue Plan: https://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/seattle-rescue-plan
“Child care was already dysfunctional. COVID-19 could break it completely” by Melissa Santos from Crosscut: https://crosscut.com/focus/2020/09/child-care-was-already-dysfunctional-covid-19-could-break-it-completely
“DEEL Awards Nearly $3M to Child Care Workers in Appreciation of Their Service to Seattle Families Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Sage Leibenson from Seattle Department of Early Education and Learning: https://education.seattle.gov/deel-awards-nearly-3m-to-child-care-workers-in-appreciation-of-their-service-to-seattle-families-throughout-the-covid-19-pandemic/
[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.
Well today, I'm thrilled to be welcoming Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda - Position 8, the citywide position. Just got new committee assignments, so she is the Chair of Finance and Housing - lot going on there - Vice-Chair of Public Assets and Homelessness. She is a member on the Governance, Native Communities and Tribal Governments Committee, Land Use Committee, and Public Safety and Human Services Committee. And we are just thrilled to have you. Welcome to the program.
[00:01:08] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for the invitation.
[00:01:11] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. So I just want to start off real quick since we're in the middle of it right now - it's in the news - and talking about what is happening with SPD. The ruse issue, which certainly seemed to escalate and inflame tensions while protestors were protesting downtown, was near the beginning of CHOP and CHAZ, City resources were deployed thinking that it was real - what do you think about that? And what do you think should happen next?
[00:01:47] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: It erodes public trust. I think that it's a real problem that we have misinformation that's intentionally being used and - apparently - allowed for in policy. We had a hearing that Councilmember Herbold led through her committee on Public Safety where a lot of questions were asked, and I think the main question is - are we going to allow for this type of "ruse" to continue? I think if you'll remember at the time there was almost daily press conferences being held with the mayor and then the chief - Chief Best. I remember that this issue was talked about out in those press conferences and it just wasn't accurate. It was misleading, not only the folks who were calling for action and for accountability, but it misled the broader community. And I think that it has the effect of potentially eroding public trust when a real threat is there.
So I think there's a lot more policy changes that need to be put into place. I just finished compiling a list of questions as well that we're sending over to Councilmember Herbold that she's going to send over to the chief and the new mayoral administration, because there was also a lot of conversation about how the East Precinct was under attack and at the time, that was the justification for why the East Precinct was abandoned. I'm not sure that that was accurate. I'm not sure if that was a ruse or not. And if there's federal threats that were being assumed or spouted out in press conferences, I want to see what those details were because we need to be able to grow trust with the community, we need to be able to make sure folks know that there's not misinformation being spread. And if it's allowed for or sanctioned in public policy, then that public policy needs to change.
[00:03:37] Crystal Fincher: Yeah - certainly seems to be the case. Certainly just a continuation of eroding trust. What can be done - I guess there's an issue about the texts also happening at that time, which are still missing. What can be done to get that information or to compel that information? Are there options there?
[00:03:59] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: Well, I'm going to be working with Councilmember Herbold as the Chair of Public Safety - I think she has some follow-up questions that she's going to be asking as well. I think that number one, text messages shouldn't go missing and for four to five months of text messages to be missing - from a handful of people in the previous administration - I'm surprised that that hasn't gotten more attention, frankly. And I think that it's really problematic. Problematic both again, from the policy standpoint, we want to know that good public policies are being adhered to and from public trust. I do think that we shouldn't have policies that allow for a "ruse" to be used, and we should change that. And I know Councilmember Herbold - this isn't the last time that she's going to be talking about it. And I'm very much interested in making sure that we can give folks a better sense of assurance that this type of misinformation will be used intentionally in the future.
That's, I think, just scratching the surface, right? You mentioned a lot of other areas that haven't been fully investigated or concluded yet. And we have a new mayor - I think that there's conversations right now about who will be a new chief. I know that there's been conversations about who will be interviewed for that. And during the inauguration, Mayor Harrell mentioned that they were going to have conversations with our existing chief, but I think across cities across this country, we need chiefs and leadership within police departments who are willing and ready to accept that reform - and the status quo - the status quo is not going to be permitted and reform alone isn't enough. We need to invest upstream in making sure that people have education, and housing, and that we invest in gun violence reduction strategies, and youth violence reduction strategies, that we create greater economic security and opportunity for everyone. And I'm interested in a chief and leaders that want to embrace that broader vision of what public safety looks like.
[00:05:59] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and they've mentioned being sometimes limited by the consent decree, and some of what the judge overseeing that feels. And also with the union contract, the SPOG contract. As you - I don't know if - what is going on there certainly with the new administration. The new mayoral administration - they're talking about how negotiations are going to unfold and who's going to be involved in them, but is there anything that you're specifically looking to get out of that contract in terms of accountability?
[00:06:37] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: Well, number one, I think that we should have had these conversations a lot earlier. When I came into office in 2017, we were already years delayed in having a renewed contract. So finally, when the contract was passed, it was supposed to be short-term in nature because there was only about 12 more months left of what should have been the contract. And I and other council members called for the mayor to convene the Labor Relations Committee meetings so that we could start negotiating faster. Those convenings didn't happen in, I think, a timely manner, and we're still here on the cusp of beginning our negotiations.
And I think what's going to be important is to make sure that the accountability pieces are truly not negotiable, right? We want to negotiate the things that relate to workplace standards, but on what I think is a broad consensus of needing reforms overall - items that we saw in the public safety legislation that Councilmember González led on in the past - we wanted those items to be statute, we wanted them to be law, and they shouldn't be negotiable. So those are going to be some of our core components that I know we'll continue working on in the upcoming contract.
[00:07:48] Crystal Fincher: Certainly, a lot more to come - a lot to unfold there. We'll keep an eye on it. I do want to talk to what you just spoke about and making meaningful investments in - really, it boils down to people, to prevention, to meeting needs, to addressing root causes of the problems that we're seeing, instead of just trying to address symptoms downstream. I wanted to start off talking about one of your signature pieces of legislation, the JumpStart Tax. And one, just to recap for people who are listening - what is it, what does it do, who does it help?
[00:08:25] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: This is one of the biggest pieces of legislation that I am so proud of, but it is one of the largest pieces of progressive revenue that has passed in Seattle's history. There's been a long road to have this actually passed, and I want to thank all of the community members for their calls for progressive revenue to turn our regressive system right side up and actually make it progressive. And in a city that has seen such tremendous growth in terms of the wealth of not only individuals, but corporations - it is the right thing to do to make sure that we have progressive policies that allow for dollars to be invested in our community, into our most vulnerable.
And it is the right thing to do for our economy as well - this is actually an economic stimulus when you think about the ways in which these JumpStart dollars will be used. They're going into affordable housing, into economic resilience, into Green New Deal policies. I just want to, from the outset here, say how important this is for our local economy. We cannot have a prosperous local economy when we have folks who are living in the door steps and entryways of the largest corporations across our country. And in the time that we find ourselves in with growing economic inequality that was existing before COVID, but has only been made worse by the pandemic, we have to invest these dollars into creating a healthy, more resilient local economy and that starts with housing.
So JumpStart progressive revenue is going to invest over $214 million a year into housing, economic resilience, equitable development, and Green New Deal priorities. 68% of the funds, so the vast majority - over two thirds - is going into affordable housing. This is for building affordable housing, low income housing, not just for individuals - like one bedrooms - but we're talking two, three and four bedrooms. We're putting funding into building first-time home ownership opportunities. Funding specifically going to smaller developers who are trying to build affordable housing in communities hardest hit by displacement, so that we can truly create ownership and liberty and self-determination among community members who've been hardest hit by displacement. And really address the past legacy of discriminatory policies as well.
Then 15% of the funds is going into economic resilience, especially into small, BIPOC, women, minority-owned businesses. In this time where we've seen folks really lose their livelihoods as small business owners as well, this is going to be critical.
Equitable Development Initiative, obviously - this is one of the biggest areas for us to invest in that creates, I think, greater equity and a more just local economy, because these are dollars that go into things like childcare, space for small businesses, community centers, creating community. As we've all been isolated for so long in our homes, if folks have been able to work from home, we're disconnected from family due to isolation and quarantining - we want our community, when it's safe for people to reconvene again, to be able to have a community plaza or a community center. And to be able to gather in markets and childcare settings so that we can create a sense of community. And that's what that Equitable Development Initiative really goes towards.
And the Green New Deal - this is the first time we've been able to allocate funding for the Green New Deal through JumpStart in a significant way. We have funding that's gone in - to the tune of, I think, near $20 million - that's going into helping set up Green New Deal investments. And this again, is not just something that we came up with on our own, either in my office or on council - this is what community has called for.
So this broad group of over a hundred businesses, and small community organizations, and Green New Deal advocates, and housing advocates, immigrant refugee advocates, union members helped pass this. And now, it's the critical time to make sure that it actually gets captured and that it gets deployed the way that we said it would. So we had to pass, as I'm sure you know, the implementation plan twice and make sure that it was truly codified in statutes so that those dollars didn't get swept for other items.
[00:12:45] Crystal Fincher: As a former mayor was trying to sweep that money for other items, and making conflicting statements about them, and just really trying to take this money - which clearly is doing a ton of good - and use it for other things and pitting interests against each other, which turned out not to work, thankfully. In talking to people, I don't know that a lot of people recognize just how comprehensive this is. Everything you just talked about - sometimes people look at one section of it or another - and you can look at one individual section and it is making a huge difference.
But to meaningfully address small business - investing in small business - to meaningfully address affordable housing, the Green New Deal. At this time, it really is speaking to the most pressing issues that we're facing as a city - to your point, as defined by the residents - and saying, "This is where we're saying we need help." And really said, "Well, here is a comprehensive plan to do that in a progressive way." In this state, which is coming from the most regressive tax structure, to really trying to rightsize that in a way that truly asks - just asks people to pay their fair share, is not asking for stuff from ma and pa businesses, stuff for employees who are making low or even medium wages.
This is really just looking at - hey, if you're a business who is one of the most successful businesses that we're dealing with, who has profited from what this community has provided you, the resources that the City has provided, and on the other side has created some challenges that the City has to deal with. We are looking at the rise in prices for homes that are now out of the reach of lots of people because of high-wage earners coming here to work for the Amazons of the world, so it certainly makes sense that for those super high earners - that a small tax on that - when we're asking so many other people to sacrifice so much. And they're already dealing with such burdens - and with fees and taxes and all that - while the richest just haven't been paying their fair share. And just look at what's possible when we ask people just to rightsize this whole thing. It's really wonderful.
[00:15:20] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: I was just going to say - thank you. And also, thanks to Seattleites, who I think are absolutely recognizing exactly what you said. The Seattle Business Journal said that they did a poll and 67% of Seattleites support JumpStart. And maybe they're thinking about the specific areas of interest that you noted - whether it's childcare assistance, or small business assistance, or housing assistance - but 67% of Seattleites embracing a progressive payroll tax is really exciting. And I think, as a reminder, this is not a tax on individuals or individual wage earners. This is a tax on those large corporations that have more than $7 million in Seattle payroll. And it's only on the highest salaries, so if an individual makes more than $150,000 a year, then the tax applies to that employee.
We're going to see how the work-from-home nature of COVID is going to affect the projected revenue, but what's clear is that those largest companies - that especially are in the tech sector - that had the ability to work, have their employees work from home. Those companies, with so many people doing online transactions, they saw their profits grow exponentially. It is absolutely still a fair tax, it is absolutely still the right thing to do, and it's going directly into providing COVID relief in the first year. In the second year, making sure that we had childcare and support for our most vulnerable and warded off austerity budgeting. And then this year and going forward, those investments in housing, Green New Deal, economic resilience - this is truly how we have avoided deep austerity cuts to budgeting.
And you're right - the previous mayor used those dollars after vetoing our bill. Then we, as a Council, came back and said, no, we're going to maintain this tax and we're going to put into statute the implementation plan. But for JumpStart, we would have been in the red last year. I think that it's going to be really important to build on that because even JumpStart alone isn't enough when you look at the sheer amount of housing needs that we have in this community and the infrastructure needs. And just the fact that, as you noted, our population's grown by 21% in the last 10 years, and we haven't kept up with the housing, childcare, and infrastructure needs. So we're going to need to do more, and this was a tax on payroll and corporations. We got a lot to do to recognize the individual wealth and, I think, CEO distribution of the pay between workers and CEOs that we can catch up on as well.
[00:17:59] Crystal Fincher: I think the public is more ready for it now than they have been. It says something about this that people see a direct benefit for them in this program in at least one, if not many of the areas. Because support has actually only grown for this. Before, when you were talking about it, support was still a majority of people supported it, but it has actually grown over the past year as this has been implemented, despite the really - opposition to this, a legal challenge - largely it's Amazon - who's opposing this - this is a big corporate pushback.
One of the things I think was made plain over the past couple years is that small businesses and Amazon are not necessarily aligned on a lot of things. You have a huge coalition of small businesses who came together to pass this - business coalitions like the GSBA talking about how crucial this is for their membership - providing direct support to businesses who are here in Seattle, who are hiring people, who live in Seattle, and it's a huge benefit. There really is one source of big mega-corporate pushback - because they seem to push back against any fees, taxes, anything, anywhere where they're at. The residents are just not in the mood for it after really bearing the brunt of some of the fallout from the economic inequality - from resources being used and exploited for mega corporation profit, but not then reinvested or invested in the surrounding community.
Certainly, I'm a big fan of this legislation. This is the kind of leadership I think people are looking for where, "Hey, we have some really big problems that we're facing that are going to take big, bold solutions." But man, when people do provide those big, bold solutions - they're rewarded. This is what people want - people support this, they support you by a large margin. I just hope people look at this and cities across the country, certainly the state, as a blueprint on how to move forward and how to rightsize their municipal budgets and provide services to the people who need them, and the revenue necessary to do it.
[00:20:34] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: I so appreciate that. Thank you. When we were considering JumpStart, we had a forum that brought in Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and In The Public Interest and a handful of other national groups - and they showed the charts that proved that. When you invest in public services and you prevent against austerity, when you raise taxes on the largest corporations and put those dollars into the public good - you actually make recessions shorter, you create greater economic activity, and you create greater wealth that is shared amongst the population. It's so counterintuitive that the Chamber of Commerce is the one who is leading this legal challenge when it's actually good for the smallest businesses. If they were representing those voices, it would be good for those local small businesses to allow for these dollars to go forward.
I'm really thankful that we had such broad support on Council and that that broad support was really generated by the community who saw the need for this. I think, like you're saying, in the wake of COVID too. This conversation around payroll taxes and our taxes - it predates COVID, but people have seen how these largest corporations have just become more and more wealthy as corporations and also as the wealthiest individuals that help run them. Now, folks are saying, "I lost my job. I lost my small business. I lost loved ones in this time and you've made profit. How are we going to recover from this in a way that doesn't bring us back to the normal that was before, and actually a more equitable recovery?" And JumpStart was part of that and I'm really proud.
But also we need it at the state level, right? And I want to thank Representative Macri who was really spearheading the progressive payroll tax at the same year. It didn't happen that session, so we picked up where she left off - we still need it at the state level. Representative Noel Frame, who was able to get capital gains passed in the state legislature. We need so much more so that we can actually rightsize our upside down tax system. They've been great champions as well, and I'm hoping that we can see more from our state partners as well on revenue.
[00:22:43] Crystal Fincher: Certainly, that's an excellent point. Sometimes we hear the tired excuse of, "Oh, it's going to chase business away. Oh, it's going to run jobs out of town." And time and time again - we've heard that with raising the minimum wage - that has shown not to be the case. In fact, Seattle has been attracting businesses at a greater rate than many other areas in the country. And even Amazon, the company that is pushing against this - as anything that would impede profit - there seems to be pushback against, but they have more jobs listed here in the Seattle area currently than they do anywhere else. It looks like the landscape for hiring and then feeling comfortable that they can continue to work here profitably and are looking to continue to hire here would suggest that maybe all the fearmongering isn't quite connected with reality. Once again.
[00:23:43] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: That's right, that's right. And even in the region where they're expanding, they're expanding places where we're going to have light rail - light rail which takes public investments, light rail which takes taxation and financing. To try to lure or encourage people to come to our region and take these jobs, they are benefiting from our infrastructure - whether it's light rail, or our roads and buses. Obviously, the limited housing stock that we have - we are going to benefit by having these large corporations pay into creating greater housing density, infrastructure, childcare, economic opportunities. This is actually good for the local economy. And we, as public policy makers, need to stay strong and recognize that these taxation strategies are a good thing for our local economy as well.
To your point, every time the fearmongering has been levied, the data proves it wrong. When we pass minimum wage in Seattle, all of these conversations were happening about how businesses are going to close and they're going to move out of Seattle. Literally, two years later, when the minimum wage went into effect, the headline of The Seattle Times read, "The Sky Did Not Fall." That is the letters that they used - the words that they used, because the sky did not fall and twice as many restaurants opened than closed. Restaurant industry is a really challenging area to open a business - I hear that all the time from entrepreneurs. I know that from my family who owns Tasty Tacos in Des Moines, Iowa - get your tacos there when you go, voted Best Taco every year - but it's a very challenging industry to start up in. There's always closures and opening, but twice as many opened than closed? I think that's a good indication of our strong economy. We're constantly rated among Forbes listing of one of the best places to have, to start your business, and grow your business.
We also want that to be a good thing for the workers in those businesses. I want it to be a good thing for the folks who are cleaning the buildings in those businesses. I want it to be a good thing for the folks to take care of kiddos for people who work for those businesses. That's where I think, by looking at the investments that we can get from JumpStart, and investing into worker safety standards, childcare investments, small business support - that is actually the antidote to the crisis that's been worsened by COVID. The public health crisis that is upon us is worsening the economic inequality that we previously had and we have to have antidotes against that type of crisis. Those are public health crises, too. As councilmembers will talk about, economic stress and chronic poverty - that affects our public health, that affects our health and well-being, and it's creating a shadow pandemic.
Stress and the physical wear and tear on our bodies during these times - just the income inequality that we live in in the United States is actually worsening our health. I'll just give a shout out to this one professor at University of Washington, Stephen Bezruchka, who talks about how income inequality, especially in the United States where income inequality is the worst - it is actually causing all of us, including the wealthy, to die earlier, our babies are dying at higher rates, our elders are dying faster, and we're living with more chronic health conditions because of income inequality. In countries where they have less income inequality, everybody lives longer and healthier. So if you don't care about income inequality from a social justice and economic justice perspective, at least care from your own self-interest, that you could have a better quality of life if we all had greater income equality across our area.
[00:27:23] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely, I appreciate it.
[00:27:25] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: I'm nerding out on this. I love this.
[00:27:28] Crystal Fincher: I love it - I love it so much. I also want to talk about another big challenge and really a crisis situation that we're in with childcare. Working families having a very hard time to deal with childcare - certainly, with a PAC that I'm involved with, Persist PAC, we have started reimbursing political candidates for childcare expenses to try and lower the barrier there. But the amount of childcare facilities and providers was dwindling anyway, the cost of childcare was getting out of control before the pandemic. There are several counties in the state who have reported losing 30% to 40% of their providers through the pandemic, so you have families who are searching and scraping - sometimes can't find childcare, which is a barrier for people being able to fully participate in society, to work, it hinders economic mobility. What are you working on in that area?
[00:28:32] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: Well, this is an area I'm really passionate about and I think probably a lot of your listeners have been in a similar situation where if they are interested in having a kiddo, a lot of people are told you should get on a wait list before you can get pregnant. You should get on a wait list before you even begin the process of adopting a kiddo because of how long it takes to get into a childcare facility. And that is precisely because we do not have the capacity of childcare centers or in-home based centers to meet the need of our growing population.
Headline-wise - we saw a headline recently in The Seattle Times - I think last year that said we saw more kiddos born in our city than any time in recent history, and we don't have the childcare to keep up with that. We see people spending more on childcare than they do on their rent and their mortgage in some cases. We know that this is a crisis, especially for families who have kids between the ages of 0 and 3, where it is more expensive to provide care for those kiddos. And yet childcare providers often are earning minimum wage and the childcare providers themselves are often women and people of color and sometimes come from immigrant and refugee communities. And so the disparity in terms of both who is not getting an equitable wage and the impact of not being able to find affordable childcare directly impacts women and folks of color who are working in that area and also need to be able to have affordable childcare coverage.
What we're trying to do is a number of things. Number one, downtown core, right? Before COVID, anecdotally, we had heard more doggy daycares were opening than childcare centers in downtown Seattle, which makes a lot of sense if you look around. If there's younger single folks moving to Seattle to work maybe in the tech sector and we want to welcome folks, that's great. But doggy daycare was being provided at those places of work and not childcare. We need to be trying to create more childcare opportunities in all of our downtown buildings if we're wanting to think about how we encourage more workers to come back downtown in the wake of COVID. I think we should have started with City Hall. There's an empty room down there that has windows on the first floor that has a bathroom and a kitchen. We should be using that for childcare and opening it up to more folks to be able to have their kiddos there. For the fourth year in a row, we've been stymied on that, but I'm going to keep working on it.
And in terms of supporting our childcare providers that are out there right now, we passed $3 million in the Seattle Rescue Plan to provide direct cash assistance to childcare providers. It penciled out to about $835 per childcare provider before taxes and then the childcare providers got their portion of that before the holidays, which was really great. We put $5 million in for new childcare facilities and those are rolling applications, so we'll get you information about how to apply for that if you're interested and put that on our social media.
But what we have to do right now, I think number one, is support childcare providers. These are the folks who, if they don't keep their doors open, then folks can't go to work. And if they're barely making it, if they've had increased costs due to COVID and need additional support, we need to be supporting them. And also make sure that more people are able to work as childcare providers and really investing in those wages as a true profession that it is. I think that's in partnership with our state legislative members who are investing dollars into childcare.
We need to be doing more to subsidize the cost of childcare. In every other country, this is a public good. In the United States, we treat it as a commodity and it should be treated as a public good. Childcare is a necessity for local economies and it is a necessity from an economic and gender justice perspective because the number of women, specifically - folks who are parents who are women - who had to take themselves out of the workforce in the wake of COVID has led to this being as she-cession because they did not have places to take their kiddos when so many childcares were closing in the wake of COVID.
And as you mentioned, this was an issue pre-existing before COVID - so invest in childcare providers, invest in their wages, invest in career ladders, making sure that they have additional support for running those entities because they really shouldn't be treated as businesses, they should be treated as a public good. And that means we've got to pass public policies to make sure that we're supporting more workers and organizations and small businesses in that sector.
[00:32:57] Crystal Fincher: Well, I'm over here just saying amen to everything.
[00:32:59] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: I hear a hoot hoot from your train in your background.
[00:33:04] Crystal Fincher: You can hear this train in the background here - always in the background at some point in time, usually. But we are just about at time - I could talk to you all day long - you get so many things and are such a fierce advocate for policies that help regular people. And that are delivering results for regular people right now, which is really the bottom line. A lot of times, people look at the success as signing the legislation, but it really is about getting help to people who need it in ways that they feel on the ground. Certainly, that is happening with a lot of what you spearheaded and so, you should be proud, and thank you, and keep it up. And thank you for joining us - just appreciate you spending the time and hope to have you back again soon.
[00:33:56] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: Thank you so much - I really appreciate it. And thanks for your note across the country to look at Seattle to do things like investing in revenue and public policy. And I hope this last election was also a good indication to folks locally, whether it's in Seattle or at the state level - now is not the time to sit there and wring your hands and think about your next election. If you want to get the highest percentage of votes like I did in Seattle -
[00:34:22] Crystal Fincher: Like you did.
[00:34:25] Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: - you got to get out there, be progressive. Be collaborative obviously, but aggressively committed to passing public policies that make radical change for people. And don't sit back and wring your hands and think about your next election because what voters want to see is action. So I'm thankful for your podcast and I'm thankful for the call to action that you put out there at the beginning as well. I'll keep working on it, and I know there's so much more to do - and look forward to doing that with you and our community.
[00:34:53] 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 podcast - just type "Hacks & 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.