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Hacks & Wonks

Mar 20, 2021

Today on the show co-host Michael Charles of Upper Left Strategies joins Crystal to go over news of the week, including the need to confront hate and bigotry against our Asian neighbors experienceing racist violence, why it matters when white journalists write inaccurately (and misspell the names of) women of color, the continued marginalization of political consultants of color, and new developments in the Seattle mayoral race.

As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at

Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-host, Michael Charles, at @mikeychuck. More info is available at


Articles Referenced:

Read the article in which a Seattle reporter continues to misspell the name of Hamdi Mohamad here:

Get to know more about the Political Consultants of Color Coalition here: 

See Crystal’s tweet about a campaign worker of color not being paid for work they’ve done for a Seattle mayoral candidate: 

Read about Bruce Harrell’s announcement of running for mayor, including his requirement that officers watch the video of George Floyd’s death, here: 

Learn more about the Washington Campaign Workers Collective here: 



Crystal Fincher: [00:00:00] Welcome to Hacks and Wonks. I'm your host, Crystal Fincher. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy through the lens of those doing the work with behind the scenes perspectives on politics in our state. Full transcripts, resources referenced in the show are always available at 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, political consultant and managing partner of Upper Left Strategies. Michael Charles. 

Michael Charles: [00:00:46] Thanks Crystal. Happy to be here again. As always.

Crystal Fincher: [00:00:49] Yes. Always happy to have you here and, you know, share space with you. We have the opportunity to do that in some other spaces and always love it when you're here on the show.  

So there's a lot that has been happening this week. We will certainly get into it. I just want to start, first and foremost, by acknowledging that our Asian community has literally been under attack. Under continuing attack and it's unacceptable. And as we have talked about with so many other things, we have to confront hate in all of its forms, whether it's jokes or fetishism - people are just - feel like it's fine because of model minority myths. "Model minority myth" and all of that.

And all of that is racism. All of that leads to this harm and violence, and we have to call that out in public and in private. We have to confront it in order for it to stop, 'cause it's, it is just unacceptable. So I just wanted to start off and say that unequivocally.  And say that also it's not time for anyone else to do any kind of, what-about-ism to, to try and bring other issues or other nuance in this conversation. This is a time to center Asian  voices from the AAPI community. 

Michael Charles: [00:02:13] Especially Asian women. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:02:14] Yes. Hundred percent. And, and like, that's it. And that's, that's what we need to do. And we just need to listen and support and be an ally.  And most people have heard me, right. Or say, ally is a verb. It's about what you do.  You know, we can -

Michael Charles: [00:02:32] We don't need to see pictures of you at rallies. We don't need to see, you know, none of that helps in these times. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:02:40] Absolutely. So, so I just wanted to start with that.  And that this is about how we react when we are confronted with jokes and attitude, and hate and bigotry, and violence in our own spaces and our lives. With people we know and interact with, that it is our responsibility to confront it wherever we see it, including  and especially right now, stepping up for the Asian community to make sure that this is not tolerated anywhere. 

So I just wanted to start off with that.  And then get to a number of things that have happened this week. I guess we can start  with an article that was written this week about  a couple of Port candidates. And do you want to talk about that a little bit, Michael? 

Michael Charles: [00:03:26] I mean sure, and full disclosure, both candidates are my - I work with them through the firm and one is actually my, my wife. So I have particularly strong feelings about it, but you know, looking at it from just a, like a pure analytic perspective and thinking deeply about - like I said this to you when we talked earlier - I really, in some ways appreciated the candor because I think that there are a lot of people that feel that way. And it's kind of, you know, I thought the irony in it, I guess, was that same author writes a lot about Trump and the problems with Trump and the Republican Party. And  I just think, you know, this is that same type of white, like escapism, where they feel like they're being left behind.

And I mean, the lines of "Oh, you know, even this is what the voters want now. They care more about DEI than they care about running the economy," as if the two are, for one, somehow separate. And two, to think that you can spew inaccurate information and somehow that makes you better than somebody else is. Literally the things you're decrying  in one hand, and not understanding in another how you're contributing in the same sense and to that, what we'll call it exactly what it is - white supremacy. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:04:51] It is white supremacy and to be clear, this was written by David Brewster. It was  Port elections - changing dynamics for getting elected, which is just really curious. Just a title and a premise. And he basically - his premise is, "Hey, in these races that are not getting top billing, including these Port races that have  women of color running for these positions" -  who he one, it is always telling how they choose to describe candidates. Do they refer to them by their profession as they do with so many males and white males? These  women are not described by their profession, none of their qualifications,  their various expertise - they have quite a bit of expertise in several areas - are not mentioned. One is mentioned  because in reference to being  the daughter of someone else. Another one, it just mentions that she's worked on social justice issues with  Pramila Jayapal.

So one, we aren't even talking about what their profession is, what their expertise is, what their  history is. None of that - always telling. And then went on to say that these races are "now run as an aspect of DEI - diversity-equity-inclusion politics, with  voters more likely to vote on youth green causes empowering minorities, than rewarding incumbents for focusing on economic issues, the Port's main business." 

Michael Charles: [00:06:27] No mention that the Port is doing worse than it's ever done before right now. But you know - we won't go there. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:06:35] Yes. And that all of those - you can't separate those elements out. If they all work together, if you're choosing what to buy and evaluating it based on its qualifications, and some of the requirements that you are required to consider when you purchase and you buy and you make these decisions and you  achieve these goals, include these things, then you have to make sense to include these things.

These people, the white people, I have also heard talk about these things and somehow they are not coming up for criticism. And also he has made it very clear that he has not read any of the platforms. He actually made an assumption about Hamdi Mohamed, one of the candidates, and has a stance of hers wrong. And clearly made an assumption that because these were women of color, that they must only be concerned about and are only talking about DEI, which has nothing to do with the Port. And this is a bastardization of what running for  election, the quote unquote right way is. And I -

Michael Charles: [00:07:40] There's also the part that Toshiko knows about  Asian port operations because you know, she's Asian. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:07:47] Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Trade. She's Asian. And her knowledge of Asian trade - 

Michael Charles: [00:07:54] But the incumbents know about Asian trade apparently. And she doesn't, you know. So it was interesting to mention one hand that she does and then the other, she doesn't. It's just, you know, it's consistent with the inconsistency of this article.

Crystal Fincher: [00:08:09] Yeah, it is a mess.It is very - he thinks he's whispering, but he's yelling.  He also  got - spelled the name of Hamdi Mohamed incorrectly  Hamdi, I mean, it's a phonetic spelling and he -

Michael Charles: [00:08:25] It's literally in - it's the only thing in her logo, in case you needed to look it up. It says "Hamdi" - in case you needed to look it up. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:08:37] Yeah. Yeah, it is - it is something.  But I will note he has no problem spelling the name of Peter Steinbrueck - definitely not a phonetic spelling.  You know, I challenge people who are not familiar with his name to try and spell that correctly on their first three tries. But somehow her name was too  difficult to spell right, or care to even fact check for a former reporter. So that's just that. I just wanted to start with that and just see - say we see it, we hear it, and yes, as you mentioned -we hear this is a dynamic out there. And  especially when people of color run, we know that people make assumptions about them that have nothing to do with what they say or who they are. They're more about the person and the perspective and the mindset that they're coming from. So that's this - we see it and just wanted to call it out. And we see this. 

Michael Charles: [00:09:39] I will say one smart part of the piece that he did engage was that most voters do care about this now because most voters are smart in King County. And yes, that's a good thing for our voters moving forward, so I did appreciate that with a nod.

Crystal Fincher: [00:09:56] He was mad about it, but did nail that dynamic and yeah, we do think that's -that's a good thing. Speaking about other things that we saw this week,  I wanted to talk a little bit about some  things that I heard. We are both  - we got together and  with a few of our other consultants of color, most of the Black consultants, started the Political Consultants of Color Coalition. We've talked about that before on the show.

And a lot of it was because we were being  like just literally excluded,  despite  you know, not even, "Hey, we're - we want a shot. Like we've done that work. We've shown that we can do that work. We're winning those races where we have records as good of, or as good as, or better than the people who were working." It wasn't a matter of merit. It was  you know, policies that had the effect of excluding  consultants and staff of color. And so that was covered.  They wound up saying, "Yeah, actually that is literally what was happening. We will change it in many instances. " And that was great, but these dynamics are are just an example of where we're at in society, and that permeates all spaces, even spaces where people call themselves democratic and progressive and all of that - doesn't make people immune. So, yes. And in fact, the troublesome part is when they use that as cover to say, "No, no. I'm saying all the right things about including BIPOC communities, and centering BIPOC communities, and being inclusive and welcoming and, you know, having a diverse staff. And no, we are totally doing all of that. I'm doing all that - I care. So how dare you say that I have a blind spot or I could be doing better in an area. Or I'm being hypocritical by doing this." That is a dynamic that we've also talked about before.

So, I learned -  because we do talk and talking is good and useful and helpful.  And sharing information among  staff or workers or, you know, classes of workers is, is always useful. Talk about pay, talk about salaries. Talk about conditions, talk about all of that. That only helps people  to - who are in more marginalized positions to help make that more equitable.

So we - we have learned that and we do  have a continuing dialogue. And so I learned and ended up  tweeting about -  in one instance, a City of Seattle mayoral candidate  is attempting to stiff a BIPOC  consulting firm for work that they did - significant amount of work that they did, great work that they did. And is really trying hard not to pay them. That's not okay. 

And then I  learned of another situation where another City of Seattle mayoral candidate  has offered  general consultants less money  than people in more junior or different roles.  And that's not okay. And, you know, you should pay people  to scale for what they do in the industry, to scale for, you know, appropriately within your own campaign. And if you can't do that, then maybe you should reevaluate whether you're ready to run, or maybe you should reevaluate how your campaign is structured. And certainly what you need to do is reevaluate all of the rhetoric that you're talking about  - equal work for equal pay, and  talking about wage theft, and talking about being fair and including  BIPOC community - just all of the talk, all of the right words, all the things that they know to say. If you are actually not doing that, don't be surprised if you wind up being called out.

And so I just mentioned that - I didn't mention names. I figure that - these are still - what prompted me to mention that I knew that is one,  it is appropriate for that to be on the radar - the Political Consultants of Color Coalition, of which I am a member. And so that was one, and these issues have been lingering, have not yet been resolved. And sometimes it can be helpful to say, Hey, you should actually, you know, get this resolved. We are actively interested in making sure this gets resolved quickly. So you can take the initiative and get that done. 

So people noticed,  as they do.  And the reaction to that has been very interesting in the responses  that we've heard and not heard. And one of the responses that I particularly wanted to address was -  a campaign followed up with one of the people I was talking about who recognized themselves in that tweet and it was a conversation that we are used to having as people  in spaces who are calling out behavior that is not ideal  of people who often have more power and resources. And the response to that, the appropriate response to that is, Hey, you know, I saw this mentioned, and I think this is about us. And I think this was about the situation.  We would like to, you know, resolve this. We should have handled it - we can handle this differently. You know, we want to make sure we take care of this and all this kind of stuff. 

What is not appropriate, but what I know we have both experienced, Michael. And what happened in this was - making the person feel wrong for bringing their bad behavior to light. To be clear, it was me who brought the bad behavior to light.  And it was me who tweeted it publicly. And I decided  to not share names.  But they definitely knew who I was talking about. And my goal is just making sure that people get paid money that they're owed. And that people are treated how they're supposed to be. 

Michael Charles: [00:16:26] Accountability, right? Like how do we provide any accountability now? Like it seems like Twitter is our - one of our only tools. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:16:36] Yes. And what was conveyed to this consultant was,  Hey, we don't want you to wind up in a position where you can't end up working in your City." We all know what that means. We all have heard that and dealt with that. It's - be careful what you say. Don't cause trouble. That's only gonna make things harder for you, when really the situation is the person who is calling out bad behavior - the bad behavior isn't calling out bad behavior. It's the actual bad behavior.

And maybe there was an oversight, maybe there's - there were extra considerations. And that happens. And that's why there weren't names in the tweet.  But what also happens is sometimes people just think they can get away with it and they assume that they can operate like that behind the scenes, which we've seen in several circumstances,  which is why this isn't new behavior. It's just new that this behavior is getting called out. But that it is important to bring accountability to it, because if we don't, then it just continues to happen. And to have the response be, and I don't know if - I can't say, because it was someone on behalf of the campaign and not the candidate. I can't say that the candidate felt that way, authorized that being saying, but no one should feel comfortable saying something like that. What they should feel comfortable doing is making sure people get paid and do their thing.  But not being like, you know, Hey, you should be careful what you call us out for 'cause that might not be cool. 

And I'm just past the point because I have been in that situation before,  and right now I am fortunate enough to not be. And I'm in a position where if they threatened to take something, you know, my business isn't constructed like that. So, you know, if they're going to threaten to continue to not work with me then okay.  But that is where the harm is. The harm is in that reaction. We all get called in, and it is how we react to that. And man, that reaction is toxic and I hope that campaigns and people across the board do better. 'Cause this is certainly not an issue limited to current Seattle candidates. It's pretty pervasive, but man, I'm so sick and tired of seeing people mistreated and then treated as if they have done something wrong for sharing that they were mistreated. I don't like it. 

Michael Charles: [00:19:28] I mean, we see it through all levels of government right now. We're talking about the Cuomo situation. It's about  when are we going to be living the values that we all say that we want to? And I think, I mean, that's what we ultimately want when we talk about accountability, right? It's to not be hypocritical, to approach  problem solving with the values that we all share and say we share. And I think, you know, it's part of the reason why you think to even do that is that you're asking people to question their own morals and values, and see where do I fall in this and are the actions I'm taking consistent with the morals and values I'm stating publicly? You know, it's  I mean, I think about the Cuomo situation and just how we have so many local politicians that deal in the same business and there's the fear of repercussions, the fear of being ostracized or not believed.

I mean, I just think about how that type of situation pervades all types of when, when dealing with race in these situations, when you're dealing with anything that pushes the values and morals of a group, like you begin to get pushback. And I think that it's really cool to see us all, at least some of us, getting together as a group and beginning to say, No, you know, we're stronger when we're together. You know, on Twitter, that's part of what - when people call it, you know, the Twitterati or whatever, and, you know, they're scared they get held accountable in this cancel culture or whatnot. And, you know, it feels very similar in Seattle where people are like, Well, I don't want to get yelled at on Twitter. And it's like, well, You won't if you're not doing anything stupid, you know - 

Crystal Fincher: [00:21:18] Yeah and it usually takes - like, it, it is rare where it is just simply doing something stupid. It's usually you have to double down on the stupid and not listen to people who were like, Hey, Hey, reconsider. They're like, I don't need to reconsider. You re like, you know, and they'll just, they double down on it. And, and there's a lot of people now who - we just had a conversation about, you know, activism for profit - McKesson, the Grammy awards and, and you know, who, what are we doing this all for?

Is it to, is it to build our personal brands or are we actually trying to make things better for people. To have people  you know, to have less harm happen less often. To, to make the playing field simpler, and to not keep power concentrated in the hands of the few, and opportunities concentrated in the hands of the few, and money concentrated in the hands of the few. To give people a real shot to do what they're  qualified to do, to do what they want to do, to actually be judged on merit and to have opportunities not  completely eliminated because someone just isn't comfortable with you for a reason they can't pin down.  You know,it is that. And so we are all challenged in all of our spaces to say, Okay, is what I'm saying? 'Cause you know, we talk publicly, we are steering campaigns and advocacy, and it is a big deal to say we're  doing things and to be consistent with the values that you're talking about.

And I've had conversations with candidates and others before - it's like, Hey, you're -you have this in your platform, or you're saying this, meanwhile, like, look at how you're paying someone right now. Or, you know what you're doing here isn't exactly consistent. So that is actually a signal that you need to stop and reevaluate that position. Maybe that's a sign to you that it isn't as simple and straightforward, and this is more of a nuanced issue. And you need to account for that and how you talk about it. Or that, you know, if this is an absolute for you, for everyone else. It has to be an absolute for you too. Otherwise it's not, and it's just a double standard and you will eventually get called out for it.

You - we all have to take steps to be consistent, and we're all challenged continually and confronted with circumstances where  that's put to a test. It's put to a test with how we treat employees, with how we choose to spend money, and, and, you know, in all of these spaces and circumstances. And, and so we all have to do better. And if you're going to stand up and say, This is what I stand for, and this is what I'm holding - what I'm going to hold the City and the businesses within it, and the people within it accountable for, you can't exempt yourself from that. And we're at a time when it's really cool to talk about  supporting BIPOC communities and people are getting a lot of clout and credit for talking about how, you know, like their activist cred and their  community cred and all of that kind of stuff. And they are all for fairness and inclusion and equity yet, if you're like really trying hard to stiff a consultant and silence consultants, that's not right. 

By the way. I'm just going to throw this in here for reasons. Yeah. We also need to have a conversation about the role of NDAs in politics in these situations. We've seen both in corporate America and locally, you know, situations with politicians using that to cover up abuse and harassment, like usually it's just not good. We all need to keep secrets within campaigns. Confidential information is confidential. That doesn't change. That's pretty easy to deal with. But using that just as a tool to silence criticism of your own activity and like really doubling down, because you really have something that you really want not talked about. Maybe the solution is addressing the thing that you don't want talked about. 

Michael Charles: [00:25:42] That's right. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:25:45] But that's what's going on - is lots of people are like name names and one, those are not, you know, the people who are in those immediate situations  can make the call about whether or not they want to do that. That is not my call to make.  I am there to support -  to support people and, and we're here to support each other. So that's -that's where that's at. And, and there were lots of questions about that, but, but in general

Michael Charles: [00:26:15] That it's just like, it's, there's a bigger systemic problem than just these specific instances. And I think that's what we're really trying to speak to. And you call some of these things out - is it's like, how do we, like, why aren't we thinking about these in the time being, you know, rather than having to react, et cetera. So. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:26:34] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And with so many campaigns  kicking off and getting started, these are all conversations that are being had. I mean, the other thing that came up - this was a broad ranging, unpleasant conversation evidently 'cause I'm referring to like, the things from the same conversation that were relayed to me, that are just so familiar - was the assumption also that came through and we've talked about this before. We've experienced it so many times that as  people  In politics, Black people in politics,  we can only speak to other Black people or we only speak to ethnic audiences and somehow we are not qualified to speak to white people, which one never seems to apply in the same way to white consultants. But also how - just how deeply ridiculous is that? And if anyone bothered to take five seconds to check and see the races that we have worked on and one,  you know, you would think that you would want to go with us in like rural and suburban races because we - 

Michael Charles: [00:27:40] It always cracks me up because I'm from iowa. You know, I'm like - I lived in Iowa. Why would you not want me to work on rural races? I probably know rural America better than most of you people. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:27:54] Yeah. That's the thing - working rural but suburbs are my jam. Like I got suburbs - that has worked out.  And, you know -

Michael Charles: [00:28:07] I do understand it. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:28:08] Yeah, we actually deal in those areas and especially with challengers, and really having to win messaging fights in those areas more frequently than a lot of other consultants do. So, you know, but this thinking that somehow we can only speak to certain groups or we can't adequately relate to other people is just very revealing  and very telling and disappointing and challenging. And that is automatically a limitation  that those people are telling you that they're, placing on you and  very revealing. It's no mystery why then they're not calling you or saying you aren't quite right. Even though you've won stuff, like just, I dunno, it just doesn't seem like that is the right fit and all of those very vague things that are said that really boiled down to, they just don't feel that we can relate. That we are so different, that we can't understand messaging in different situations when literally that's what we do every day.

Michael Charles: [00:29:18] Or you get the, I heard you are hard to work with because you called somebody out for being racist before, you know? 

Crystal Fincher: [00:29:24] Yeah. Yeah. And the racist person is never the problem. It's the person who had the audacity to say, Hey, that's not okay - the way that you're acting.  Yeah, it is, that's all toxic. And I don't like it. And I'm old and tired and in a position -  I do think that when we are in spaces and we have.  more privilege that we are there to use it  to make sure that other people don't have to struggle to the same degree because  you know, I, I can't speak for your journey, but I know along my path, I have struggled. I know what that feels like. And other people should not have to go through that. It that's, that's unfair. It is wrong.  And this treatment is really harmful. You don't know if someone is struggling to pay their bills when you're just stiffing them and acting like it's just not a big deal. You know, and it is that serious sometimes. I've, I have known people who have been attempting to do this who have  you know, been evicted over not being paid and who have like really struggled and suffered. And I've certainly experienced that myself. So I'm just not here for it.  And people should know that yes, people are watching and you just can't treat people like that. You just can't. So that's where it's at today. Hopefully those situations are resolved fairly quickly. And hopefully we can talk about issues that matter to people in all of these races, in these various cities and jurisdictions.  But how you conduct yourself matters and people are watching and kind of across the board, there is a new culture and  zest for accountability that I hope people are prepared for.

And I'm looking forward to it. 

Michael Charles: [00:31:11] Yeah, totally. I agree. I think that  that's part of the amazing things with the internet becoming so prominent. I also, you know, to kind of shift gears, but I also think that it's also lessened the impact of endorsements too, which I think is kind of an interesting piece that like these organizational endorsements - things don't matter as much now because we have the internet. We have all these other measures of accountability from which to judge people by. So I don't know, that's kind of a tangent, but. I think we're all like a very similar wrapped in piece of like, this accountability is actually providing better candidates. I actually think there's a lot of ways it's improving democracy in some ways. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:31:51] I agree.  It is. I mean, you know, certainly positives and negatives have resulted from the ways we are able to share information and connect. But one of the dynamics in campaigns is that it is, it does, it can decentralize power. It can distribute power in ways that weren't there before and across the board. You know, you talk about endorsements. Those are really interesting all the time.  Because a lot of times there is a, you know, whether it's a board or committee -  a really small subset of an organization is driving a lot of the  endorsement process. And there has certainly been a long-standing feeling  in some spaces in areas that, that some of the endorsements represent the membership. Yeah. And so the members are like, well, how'd that happen? I don't, you know, like I thought this other candidate was the one who was down for workers, like this other candidate used to be one of us.

And they're challenging an incumbent. And for some reason we're endorsing an incumbent that like voted against our interests? How does that, and you know, we've both watched this happen where like they will endorse against their members. And endorse people who've not been with them for some reason.  And sometimes people really like the proximity to power.

 But, but it doesn't make sense. And so it has enabled people to be like, okay, but, but for the people who actually care for who is really down for workers or was really down for community or who is principally concerned with who is  voting for the right things in the SPOG contract, you know - name the issue that they can vet for themselves what is happening. And they don't need  a couple people on a board to signal to them who they should support. More information is more accessible and they can do that for themselves and actually even call their own, you know, endorsing board out. So it's an interesting dynamic. I think it's one that's - that we're going to see throughout this  election season. These races are going to be really interesting.

 And we just saw Jessyn Farrell and Bruce Harrell -

Michael Charles: [00:34:19] Wow. I didn't realize those rhymed until right now. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:34:24] That - look, I just said that and I didn't realize it.

Michael Charles: [00:34:31] The week of Harrell and Farrell. Yes. The week of Harrell and Farrell.

Crystal Fincher: [00:34:34] Yes. The week of Harrell and Farrell has happened.  I certainly found Bruce Harrell's take on how to make communities safer from the SPD interesting.  You know, he had mentioned that he would have people - he'd, I want to say it verbatim because I don't want it to sound like I'm mocking him. I want to say exactly what he said accurately.  And so, and he had mentioned  his first step would be to ask every police officer to watch the video of George Floyd's murder and ask officers to sign a statement saying that inhumane treatment of human beings doesn't fly in Seattle. That's the baseline, he says. That was according to -  Natalie Graham was live-tweeting his announcement.

 I am hoping to hear more details about more concrete accountability and actual  policy and institutional and organizational changes.  I think at this time, videos and pledges are not going to get it. 

Michael Charles: [00:35:42] I mean, it's certainly ending climate change, that's for sure.

Crystal Fincher: [00:35:48] Michael.

I mean, we're going to have a robust con-. I can't even tell,look, this has put me all sideways. We're going to have a robust conversation  on, you know, on all of these issues. And, and the one thing I will say, that I am excited about is, is that we're going to hear, like, so often it's hard for people who are not Black, or people who are not people of color,  for white people to be like, okay, there are varying opinions among Black people. So often the tendency is to be like, okay, so what is the Black opinion? What is the Asian opinion? Like, you know, what does this community think? And like every other community, like white communities, we don't all share the same opinion as we just saw, right? We don't all hold -we don't all have the same background and experiences. We are not coming from the same place.  You know, we, we have different takes on things and I think that conversation is healthy. We  are going to have -

I'm looking forward to a number of the conversations in  the city-wide city council race  that includes both Brianna Thomas and Nikkita Oliver. They're, they're both people who have done a ton of good work and I like them both. And they're going to have differing opinions on, on things. And I'm interested to hear that and we need to surface more nuance and real conversation from within communities.  Because that, that is a mainstream conversation. People are not aware of it - they should be. And so I'm excited that we're going to hear from a number of Black candidates who don't all agree and, and we're just going to talk about it, and we're going to deal with it as we, as we do. And as we have within the community, but, but to see majority communities and white communities interface with that and, and like experience that, which they don't often get to experience in major metropolitan races. I think that's a positive. A positive thing. 

Michael Charles: [00:37:53] Yeah. I mean, as long as it's done in respectful ways, you know, I'm just, we've mentioned many times that people can have positive intentions, but their results can not, can oftentimes lead to, you know, negative scenarios. And I, you know, I'm just concerned with  people who aren't more in tune with the nuanced conversation. I hope they're able to respectfully engage when there are disagreements. Or, you know, understand that the viewpoints are - they're both coming from Black women, are both coming from people of color or, you know, Native and  Black folks. Like I just think there's a whole bunch of different experiences that you need to also consider the source before you begin criticizing the way that - our current political environment usually has allowed for the engagement. That the styles of engagement. So, you know, I'm a little cautious to suggest I'm excited.  I, I think that  I'm cautiously optimistic. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:39:04] I -. you know, I think it's going to be ugly, but I think we have to deal with it. I guess I'm just like, well, we're going to have to deal with it. Like this is something they need to engage with. Here we go.  And, and that engagement, you know, as we talked about at the beginning of the show, a lot of that engagement will be ugly and  not respectful or, or, you know, not coming from a place of good faith or genuine engagement. And we need to see that too.

Michael Charles: [00:39:38] Yep. That's true. And so how we started this today, you know, and with that, that piece, the Port article, I think it's important to see that viewpoint because we can't grow unless people are being honest with themselves. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:39:50] Right. 

Michael Charles: [00:39:50] With their viewpoint, so - 

Crystal Fincher: [00:39:52] Yeah. And, and just because you - there is kind of like you talked about, well, you know, how can you say, how can you criticize me for doing this? I criticized Trump. I'm, you know, not doing that. And like, clearly dude, you have some blind spots  have to be addressed. Like, why don't we go ahead and correct that name that has still not been corrected. Can we start with that?  And like maybe before you assume what someone is talking about, like read their platform, engage with people of color to the same degree and with the same depth that you engage with these white candidates - to start.  So that's, I mean, that is, is, we're just going to have an interesting conversation. We're going to have another interesting week.  And there is more of a desire to see if people are living consistently with the values that they are espousing.

So -  and we have a Campaign Workers  Coalition and union now. That's a new dynamic, which is exciting.  So, so there are people getting together and sharing and supporting each other  increasingly in a lot of spaces.  We're going to get an Amazon vote pretty soon - results. And so  I, I think that is an encouraging, exciting thing that we are seeing - that in spaces that have resisted organization for so long  in both overt  and direct and indirect ways like us, we aren't a union, but we are acting  cooperatively. I think that makes things better for all of us.

Michael Charles: [00:41:31] Agreed. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:41:33] We'll continue down that road.  Just want to thank everybody for taking time to listen today to Hacks and Wonks.  Today's show - as always a full text transcript of the show is available at and in the show notes. I wanted to thank Michael Charles, who you can find on Twitter @mikeychuck that's, M I K E Y C H U C K.  And I'm on Twitter @finchfrii - that's F I N C H F R I I. You can find Hacks and Wonks wherever you get your podcasts, just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar and subscribe to get our midweek show, and then our Friday almost live show. Of course, you can find more information at

So thanks for joining us. Thank you, once again, Michael -  have fun with the new baby. 

Michael Charles: [00:42:21] Thank you! And thank you for living your values Crystal, for doing all the work that you can to do it. So appreciate you. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:42:29] Appreciate you. And like we're doing a lot of this work together, so appreciate too.

Yeah. And we'll talk to you next week. Thanks everyone. 

Michael Charles: [00:42:39] Sounds great. Thanks you all.