Sep 23, 2022
On this Hacks & Wonks week-in-review, Crystal is joined by Hacks & Wonks’ very own Production Coordinator, Bryce Cannatelli!
The show starts with some new polling from Crosscut/Elway looking at November’s upcoming general election. Current Senator Patty Murray is maintaining a fair lead against challenger Tiffany Smiley, who released a new ad this week that sees her pushing a “Seattle is Dying” narrative, filmed in front of the closed Starbucks along E Olive Way.
In police news, mayor Bruce Harrell has chosen his SPD Chief, and it’s the same interim chief we’ve had for a while: Adrian Diaz. Diaz represents a status-quo pick from Harrell, and the decision seems to promise more of the same emphasis on police hiring and department budgets that we’ve been seeing from the administration.
The upcoming Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) contract negotiation is a real test for Harrell and Diaz’s commitments to police reform and accountability. People Power Washington put out recommendations for what they would like to see in the contract, including numerous oversight and discipline requirements already present in the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA) contract. We’ll be paying close attention to the final contract to see which reform measures the Harrell administration will push for.
Next Tuesday, September 27th, Mayor Harrell will announce his budget proposal for the city, and we all have a chance to have our voices heard! From September 28 to November 22nd, the public can provide feedback on the budget. You can submit your comments on the budget to the City Council via their email, Council@Seattle.gov, and public comment will be accepted at all meetings of the Council’s Budget Committee.
In other interesting police-related decisions from Mayor Harrell, Notes from the Emerald City reports that, during an August 17th Community Police Commission meeting, the mayor spoke of working to get officers back into schools, without mentioning the potential to worsen the school to prison pipeline or risk the health and safety of students. The Mayor is also vouching for a parks budget that would pay for 26 additional rangers in the city’s parks. Seattle’s Solidarity Budget coalition is criticizing this move as paying for “soft-cops” to enforce harmful policies on homeless and marginalized people using the parks.
In some positive news this week, we look at the Green New Deal Proposals from Mayor Harrell, which promise to take some necessary steps to both lessen emissions from city buildings and prepare for the consequences of climate change through the creation of resilience hubs.
We also have some exciting, and much needed, financial relief programs for immigrants in the county. The Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) announced the launch of two new programs: one that will help immigrants pay fees associated with applying for legal status, and another that will provide financial assistance to immigrants disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but are ineligible for federal assistance because of their immigration status. Please look at the links below for more information, and share this information as much as you can to get the word out.
Finally, a reminder that Crystal will be moderating a debate between 37th LD State Representative Pos. 2 candidates Emijah Smith and Chipalo Street on October 4th at the Rainier Arts Center at 7:00pm. See the links below for information on how to RSVP and how to ask questions ahead of the show.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
Follow us on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-host, Bryce Cannatelli, at @inascenttweets. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.
“Poll Watch: Elway finds solid lead for Murray; Steve Hobbs barely ahead of Julie Anderson” by Andrew Villeneuve from The Cascadia Advocate:
“‘So much crime that you can’t even get a cup of coffee from the hometown shop on Capitol Hill’ — Republican Senate candidate takes on Murray over E Olive Way Starbucks closure” by jseattle from Capital Hill Seattle Blog:
“New SPD Chief, Same as the Old Chief” by Will Casey from The Stranger:
“Harrell Picks Diaz for Police Chief” by Erica C. Barnett from Publicola: https://publicola.com/2022/09/21/harrell-picks-diaz-for-police-chief-as-expected-council-park-district-alternative-would-keep-park-rangers-raise-tax/
People Power Washington’s 2022 Seattle Police Officers Guild Contract Recommendations:
“City of Seattle’s Fall Budget Cycle Is Nearly Upon Us: Your Participation Is Needed!” by Vee Hua from the South Seattle Emerald:
“Mayor Asks for CPC’s Assistance in Bringing Cops Back into Seattle Schools” by Amy Sundberg from Notes from The Emerald City”:
Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) August 17, 2022 Meeting:
“Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition opposes funds for what it calls 'soft cops'” by Amy Radil from KUOW:
“Det. Cookie Chess Park Reopening, Council Passes $6.5M for Seattle Green New Deal” by Vee Hua from The South Seattle Emerald: https://southseattleemerald.com/2022/09/19/news-gleams-det-cookie-chess-park-reopening-council-passes-6-5m-for-seattle-green-new-deal/
“King County launches new programs to support immigrants” from Northwest Asian Weekly:
Call for support: 1-844-724-3737 (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m.)
Contact Aimee Zhu at 206-393-2110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“$340M WA immigrant relief fund plagued by monthslong delays” by Melissa Santos from Crosscut:
“Delayed immigrant relief fund now accepting applications” by Melissa Santos from Axios:
Apply through: immigrantreliefwa.org.
The application portal went live Monday and will remain open through Nov. 14. People will be notified as soon as December whether their application was accepted. Checks or pre-paid cards are expected to be mailed by January 2023.
37th LD State Rep. Pos. 2 Debate - Tuesday, October 4th at the Rainier Arts Center: officialhacksandwonks.com/blog/37th-ld-debate-state-representative-october-4-2022
Submit audience questions before the show here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdQlF7kRixWh_GnFInZ7UxDdKXK59LONGKAsQ1WBXgm3lysRA/viewform
[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Today, we are continuing our Friday almost-live shows where we review the news of the week with a cohost. Talk about talking to people who do the work - today, we are welcoming for the first time our co-host: my colleague, Bryce Cannatelli, who is the Production Coordinator for the show also. Welcome Bryce.
[00:01:00] Bryce Cannatelli: Hey, Crystal - thanks for having me.
[00:01:02] Crystal Fincher: Excited for you to be on - you are in the trenches with me every day in the work that we do - our day jobs - this podcast is like the side hustle. But you are brilliant and intelligent and always helpful and insightful and savvy and wise, so I'm excited to have you on the show today.
[00:01:27] Bryce Cannatelli: Oh, thank you so much. That's very kind of you.
[00:01:31] Crystal Fincher: Okay, so we should start off talking about - hey, some new polling dropped. We are in the midst of a general election with a lot of races on the ballot, including a senatorial race at the top of the ballot. And so what did these poll findings conclude?
[00:01:52] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, so this new Crosscut/Elway poll, that was published yesterday, was a statewide poll and confirmed one of the things that we took away from the primary election earlier this year, which is that the red wave that was much talked about is not happening the way that a lot of people anticipated. Looking at the statewide races from this poll, we see that US Senator Patty Murray is still leading against Tiffany Smiley 50% to 37% with 12% undecided, which is a comfortable lead for Murray.
And maybe more interesting from the polling - looking at the Secretary of State's race between Steve Hobbs, who was appointed to the position last year, and independent challenger Julie Anderson, where Hobbs received 31% in the poll, Anderson got 29%, and 40% of the voters were Undecided. And maybe even more surprising than that was Hobbs only getting 42% in his home county of Snohomish County, which shows that there is definitely a pathway for Julie Anderson here to become an independent Secretary of State, which would be a first for Washington in a very long time.
[00:03:04] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it would be. And the Cascadia Advocate, which is a publication of the Northwest Progressive Institute, had a nice analysis and breakdown of this. I think this is consistent with what we have seen with prior polling for Patty Murray and Tiffany Smiley - it looks like Murray has a comfortable lead. Smiley is definitely trying to throw out all the stops - we've seen Smiley go hard about her being pro-life in the primary, try and scrub reference to that and revise her messaging in the general - that doesn't quite seem to be landing. Recently shot a "Seattle Is Dying" style - and that's a reference to previous hyperbolic documentary-style programs that have largely mischaracterized the state of homelessness and public safety in Seattle, conflated different reasons and root causes. And is really just viewed comically by people in Seattle, but unfortunately often taken seriously by people outside of Seattle - both in our suburbs here in the state and nationally. And so it's a narrative that doesn't land inside the City, but we'll see if maybe they think they can make some inroads using that kind of tactic. Capitol Hill Seattle had some coverage of that earlier this week, but I was not surprised to see anything about that.
It looks like the Secretary of State's race is a race. It does look like it is a competitive race. I know that there are some people who - Hey, this thing is done. We will see. And, it may turn out not being as close as current polling reflects. Obviously we are sitting here in late September - most of the communication that campaigns are going to do is yet to come. And so there's still some defining of the candidates - their name IDs aren't very high statewide for either of them. So that may change some minds. There's a chunk of undecided people who still have to get familiar with them and get to know who they are. So it's an interesting dynamic because this is a position that has been held by Republicans for a long time. With Steve Hobbs' appointment, he's the first Democrat to be in that position in several years, but being challenged by an independent. And so - in campaigns, who you are aligned with can also influence how much money and resources you have access to. Steve Hobbs, you would think, is going to be supported by some Democratic organizations and independent expenditures by Democrats. It remains to be seen whether Julie Anderson gets that kind of independent support and other organizations communicating on her behalf to see what that race is gonna be like. So stay tuned, but that certainly looks to be a competitive race.
Certainly more competitive than what currently looks to be the case for Patty Murray or Tiffany Smiley. But that is not to say that that should be taken for granted certainly. Voting is important, getting involved is important. And so we will continue to follow what the polls continue to say and what the campaigns continue to do. Also this week, we had a big announcement from Mayor Bruce Harrell, mayor of Seattle. Bruce Harrell naming that he selected his interim police chief as his permanent police chief. So basically person's doing the same job and their title changed, but it looks like we are going to be in for more of what we have gotten - very much a status quo pick. How did you see this, Bryce?
[00:07:04] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, I definitely see it as a status quo pick as well. It seemed like there was a preference for Diaz early in Harrell's administration, but Harrell was required to do a national search for a new police chief. The three finalists that were highlighted were Adrian Diaz, SPD Assistant Chief Eric Greening - two people who have been working with and in the SPD for a long time. And the third pick was the assistant police chief out of Tucson, Kevin Hall. And the pick for Diaz really does highlight this commitment to the status quo, to the same strategies that we've been having when it comes to public safety and the role of police in public safety. Now, all three finalists did at least speak to some elements of reform, to some elements of alternative response, or evaluating the role of police in public safety and how to improve the relationships between police and communities. But it was really Kevin Hall out of Tucson who spoke the most in that regard, who talked about programs that he had been a part of in Tucson to try to circumvent people going directly to jail, who pointed out issues with the intense hiring focus strategy that the Harrell administration has been leading - pointing out that there is a nationwide shortage, or at least a long time, hiring troubles for police. And that in Seattle, specifically, we have bottlenecks within our police training system that make it such that hiring a police officer today means they won't be on the street for about a year. It is not a quick fix.
And the Harrell administration ultimately choosing Diaz runs a little counter to Harrell's own talks about really rolling up his sleeves and figuring out how to change the culture of the SPD, how to add a little accountability - seems like we're really just strapping in for more years of the same approaches we've been seeing, which as you pointed out, the "Seattle is Dying" narratives that people like Tiffany Smiley like to use to try to rile people up outside of the City are overblown, but public safety is still an issue here. And our police-focused, or police hiring focus, strategies just have not been helping that.
[00:09:40] Crystal Fincher: This is an interesting choice. As you just said, public safety is a concern. Rising violence is a concern. Any violence is a concern. And there is a problem within the City. I don't think anyone is disputing that some types and categories of crime have decreased, others have increased. But I think we all have an interest in making sure that fewer people are victimized, that we reduce violence. And there's just about no one who is satisfied with the direction things have been going in support of that effort. People may have different reasons for being dissatisfied, but pretty much there's universal agreement that the status quo has not been working.
So this being a status quo pick is a curious choice in that regard. And to your point, it does seem to run counter to some things that Bruce Harrell has said, and even just lip service to how he views accountability. They talked about - Hey, they're gonna prioritize addressing violent crimes, the staffing shortage, and improving the culture within the department. Well really - they're gonna focus on addressing violent crimes? This is the same person who decided to stop investigating sexual assaults of adults - without telling many people evidently - but what is worth investigating if that isn't worth investigating? That actually often comes with more evidence unfortunately than a lot of other types of crimes. And to just wholesale make a decision that you're stopping doing that - seemingly just to deploy more people on patrol - doesn't seem in line with this. Bruce is this police chief's boss and if he is holding people accountable for their decisions, what was the outcome of that? Was it just - oh, please don't do that again. Why didn't I know about this? It seems like there is an endorsement of the things that have happened with this decision, and I question a number of the things that have happened and whether they are consistent with this goal of reducing violent crime and how we're measuring that.
And so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out, but just - I don't know that - it seemed like there was a big effort in the press conference to sell this as - Hey, we're turning a corner, this is a new day. We're gonna start focusing on these things. And really it's the same people focusing on the same things, making the same kinds of decisions. And I just - in terms of reactions, whether someone is progressive or conservative, it just seemed to have fallen flat. Whether that squarely lands on the head of Diaz or Harrell is - can be questioned, but certainly from an outside perspective and just at a glance, it's - okay, we're continuing to do the same thing, and it seems like there's universal agreement - same thing isn't working. So would be very eager to see some differences in approach and in decision making to give people confidence that there is going to be something done to address violence.
And also to your point, something done to address it today, this year - because hiring isn't that. Even with the money that has already been approved, and additional money that has been approved, to hire, to retain people, to search across the country - despite officers continuing to say that they don't think that's the most effective use of money and won't be effective in keeping people on the force. That can't result in any additional officers until next year at the earliest, because it does take a long time for someone to go through the hiring pipeline, then to go through the training pipeline, then to land on the street. So if that's what you're counting on, that won't start to make a difference until next year. And we have a public safety problem right now. We have people getting victimized right now. And so would love to see the plan for what are you going to do right now.
With that - influential in that, and also talking about - just still in the realm of public safety, especially accountability. A lot of that goes beyond the chief or the mayor, and is largely dictated by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, or SPOG, contract. And what did we see happen this week?
[00:14:26] Bryce Cannatelli: This week we saw an open letter of contract negotiations from People Power Washington, talking about what they would like to see happen with this year's SPOG contract. And this SPOG contract really represents a major test for what we've been talking about for how serious Harrell and Diaz are about adjusting the culture, introducing accountability, improving relationships between police officers and the City. What People Power Washington are asking for here is establishing greater methods of accountability, of making sure that the disciplinary review process mirrors what happens in the Seattle Police Management Association contract, making sure that there are methods of actually holding police officers accountable for problematic and illegal behavior. They want to see restrictions so that SPOG doesn't allow in-uniform off-duty work for police officers, which is definitely a problematic occurrence. They want to see that any contract with SPOG provides alternatives for, or provides alternative community-based emergency response programs. And a lot of other requests that are, quite honestly, things that we've seen in other cities in other areas really make a difference in community public safety. And especially programs like alternative community response - when City leaders are really hounding us again and again on the lack of police - you brought up sexual assault cases not being investigated. It is a very reasonable request. And it seems like in everybody's best interest to try to figure out some of these alternative community response programs.
[00:16:26] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, definitely that. And these are - I think it's worth going through these things, 'cause a lot of times people are just like - okay, we need reforms, but what are those reforms? And yes, this contract is important but what are the things that we need to make sure that are in here? Sometimes it's not the most accessible information. And so I do think it's important to talk about - and not just things that have made a difference in other jurisdictions, but with the baseline set by the Seattle Police Management Association contract from earlier this year, making sure those types of provisions are included in here.
So I'm gonna go through some of these things, especially what was in the Seattle Police Management Association contract - at minimum, the things that were included in there that should be included in the Seattle Police Officers Guild contract - providing subpoena power to both the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of the Inspector General so that they can get all information relevant to their investigations and to complaints to make their findings. Establishing the standard of proof as a preponderance of evidence for all disciplinary action, requiring OPA records to be retained for the length of employment plus six years regardless about whether the findings are sustained or unsustained - because we've had problems with records disappearing, officers unfortunately repeating that conduct, but no paper trail to be able to better root out who is creating problems. Defining dishonesty as providing false information which the officer knows to be false or providing incomplete responses to specific questions regarding material facts. Right now that definition is not that robust - pretty common sense, but it's not. Including layoff language in the management rights section of the CBA - allowing the city to decide the necessity for layoff without having to bargain. Requiring public disciplinary review meetings, phase out additional pay for the use of body worn cameras, establish a disciplinary review process mirroring the one defined in the recent 2022 SPMA contract. Allow for the 180-day clock to be stopped whenever a criminal investigation is conducted, regardless of where the alleged criminal activity occurred or what agency is conducting the investigation. And place the burden to establish any reason to deny an extension of the clock based on a good use, a good cause on the union. Empower the OPA to make assignments based on the skills and abilities of the investigator, rather than whether they are a civilian or a uniformed sergeant. And allow the OPA to communicate with the criminal investigators and prosecutors from any agency about the status and progress of a criminal investigation.
These are really common sense things, things that are not out of bounds. These are already in a Seattle Police Management Association contract. They should absolutely at minimum be included in the SPOG contract.
Also, wanting to remove barriers to civilianize certain public safety functions and provide alternative community-based response as you talked about - it shouldn't include any guaranteed minimum of staffing that might impede efforts to civilianize or limit the possibilities for reenvisioning public safety in Seattle. The mayor, the police chief, the council - all of our leaders in Seattle - have made commitments in this direction and tying their hands preemptively limits what they're able to do and what voters voted for and expect. Requiring SPOG - the contract should not allow in-uniform off-duty work for police officers, nor should it require the City to pay any part of the Seattle Police Officer Guild President's salary. It's pretty unprecedented. And in a time where we're heading into budget shortfalls, where other departments in the City are also dealing with this, that's not an arrangement that we see with other unions within the City. So let's bring that in line with other unions.
And broader changes to the accountability system that'll close loopholes and remove barriers to accountability. Specifically, discipline should not be required to be foreclosed within a certain timeline - in other words, 180 days. The OPA should have the ability to refer criminal investigations to the agency of their choice and be able to oversee those criminal investigations. Requirements should be instituted for the OPA to retain records permanently for investigations related to excessive force, dishonesty, criminal conduct, or where underlying allegations were concealed. Limitations should be removed as to how many of OPA investigators must be sworn versus civilian, so we can progress towards civilianizing OPA and stop the practice of officers investigating other officers which is an inherent conflict of interest. There shouldn't be any language barring the ability of complainants to appeal disciplinary decisions, a process that should be developed by the CPC as a top priority. And there should also be no language preventing the transparency of and ability to adapt standards of discipline so the public can evaluate these standards and participate in changing them as expectations around public safety change.
I wanted to go through those just because it is important for us all to know what we should be looking for in this contract, what is at stake, and what desperately needs to change. And so I appreciate People Power Washington engaging in this, so many community organizations engaging in this, and look forward to seeing what comes of this and what the mayor is comfortable with in this contract, as well as the city council.
Other big upcoming element - and this is all wonky stuff, but it's wonky stuff that material impacts the day-to-day lives of people in these cities. So the budget process for the City of Seattle is coming up and that is going to determine a lot of what is - everything in the City - every service that the City provides, every function that the City has - is addressed in the upcoming budget. I just want to review the timeline real quick, so people know what to be on the lookout for. Coming up next week, the mayor's going to deliver the proposed budget on September 27th. The mayor's gonna outline his priorities, what anticipated spending levels on different things are. The council is going to review the mayor's proposal starting on September 28th throughout October. The public will be able to provide feedback on the budget between September 28th and November 22nd. Councilmembers will propose changes in October, the Budget Chair presents a balancing package - basically a response to the mayor's proposed budget on November 8th. Councilmembers may propose further revisions up to November 21st, and the council will vote to adopt the budget on November 22nd. So the months of October, really in the month of October, there's going to be a lot of work being done, and that's the time to engage with your councilmembers, to engage with the mayor, make your voice heard on what this budget is going to bring. And there are a couple elements that kind of preview a couple things that are on deck. One being - looks like the mayor is going to ask for the Community Police Commission, or CPC's, assistance in bringing cops back into Seattle schools. What is happening here?
[00:24:26] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, so this was pretty interesting. During an August 17th meeting between Mayor Harrell and the Community Police Commission, Community Police commissioner and Officer Mark Mullens pointed to defunding as overstepping. And removing resource officers from schools - people don't have the visual, but I put quotes over defunding - and Mayor Harrell did respond, saying that resource officers and police officers needed to earn the trust and right to get back into schools. But also said that he's working with Superintendent Dr. Jones and Chairman Brandon Hersey to rebuild these relationships and is working to get officers back into school - suggesting that the Community Police Commission could be an invaluable asset in this space. It's interesting because in all of this, no mention was made about how this would affect - or could affect - students detrimentally, how it could contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, how it would affect students' health and safety, which again just calls into question or at least runs counter to these spoken commitments to trying to find a more up-to-date view of police's role in public safety. In the same meeting, he also suggested that the CPC help recruit new officers for the Seattle Police Department.
[00:25:57] Crystal Fincher: I don't think that's in their given roles, is it?
[00:25:59] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, no, not at all. It's definitely not. So it was a really interesting meeting and it seems to go against what a lot of communities are concerned about when it comes to the role of police officers in school, especially how it affects students of color and other marginalized students.
[00:26:19] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I'm curious to see what the Seattle Public School Superintendent has to say about this, what Seattle Public School's board members have to say about this. And what their intentions would be and what they find acceptable in this area - is this something that they are looking to incorporate, or is this something that the mayor is suggesting that does not align with what they want? I'm very curious to hear what their takes would be on that. Also, another thing that was - that will be - that Bruce Harrell previously announced will be something that he's looking to include in the budget is a new park ranger, basically expanded park ranger hiring, and maybe some expanded duties. What are the details there?
[00:27:04] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah. Harrell proposed to pay for 26 additional rangers in Seattle's parks. And during the announcement did stipulate some - tried to preemptively defend this by defining the differences between these park rangers and police - they're not supposed to be involved in sweeps. But this decision has still gotten a lot of pushback. The Solidarity Budget - the Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition is leading the effort here in criticizing this - calling the park rangers "soft cops" because park rangers can still issue trespass citations and can still end up funneling people into jail and into other areas of the criminal justice system, even if they're not armed, even if they don't fulfill the same exact roles as police officers.
[00:28:16] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and so this is gonna be interesting to follow. Bruce Harrell is rolling this out, seemingly, as a public safety initiative, which immediately invited questions. Okay - what public safety role do these play and which talks, basically brings it into the "soft cop" conversation - they can issue citations, they can introduce people into the criminal legal system or reintroduce them into it. And so that being a concern - the council is looking at taking this up and potentially narrowing the scope of what they can do. The council looking at, as you said, preventing them from engaging with sweeps or anything like that. It'll be interesting to see where this lands, but again, make sure you make your voice heard. There was an article in KUOW this week that we will link discussing the Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition and what they have talked about and what they're also proposing. And they certainly are talking about - it would be more effective, according to evidence and data, to invest more in addressing core needs, things that are more closely tied to the root causes of crime to prevent it - instead of operating around the edges perhaps. So we will see where that lands and continue to follow that.
We talk about Seattle a lot. We talk about Mayor Harrell a lot and certainly have some bones to pick with a number of things that are happening within the City. But one positive thing, I think, that was just announced by Mayor Harrell was the City unanimously passing a $6.5 million Green New Deal. Last week, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation requested by Bruce Harrell, I believe, for setting up a Seattle Green New Deal Opportunity Fund. And this is something that Bruce Harrell talked about on the campaign trail, this is something that is desperately needed in Seattle and beyond. We have to address greenhouse gas emissions, we have to address pollution in all of its forms, and mitigating the effects on all of our communities, particularly those hit worst and the hardest, which are usually BIPOC, low-income communities that are dealing with the brunt of this. So what are the specifics of what's going to be happening, Bryce?
[00:30:47] Bryce Cannatelli: Like you said, this is exciting and definitely points towards the City, both looking at how can we reduce emissions, but also how can we battle the impacts that climate change has on people who are really vulnerable. So looking at the breakdown, which we'll link in the show notes - the South Seattle Emerald did a really great breakdown of it. These funds are going to new resilience hubs to help during climate emergencies like extreme heat or other weather-related events like wildfire smoke and flooding. We're gonna see $1.78 million go to upgrading community facilities to foster resilience. Another, a little over a million dollars, for centers in the Duwamish valley to provide cooling, air filtration, other programming. And almost half a million for a citywide resilience hub strategy, focusing on communities that are impacted, as they say, first and worst by climate injustice.
We're also going to see some upgrades to municipal buildings for electrification, cooling, heating, and air quality upgrades to Seattle's 650 owned buildings, including its 27 public libraries. We're gonna see over $2 million going to accelerating Seattle's transition of City-owned buildings off of fossil fuels by 2035. Providing heating, cooling, clean air to some library branches and over half a million for building electrification. We're also going to see, and this is pretty exciting as well, investments in fossil fuel free affordable housing - affordable housing for low income residents, which will give about $2 million to supporting affordable housing projects that are underway to be free of fossil fuels and avoid really inefficient and costly upgrades that we would have to do later just to make them more climate friendly and energy efficient. They're also funding a climate and community health indicator project, which hopes to get accurate local and reliable data for addressing climate change. Developing a carbon pollution and community health indicators to inform how we plan around climate change. Money to go to supporting community and public health partnerships to look at cumulative health impacts of climate change. Trying to acquire new transportation energy data to figure out where electrification needs to happen first.
And there's also a hundred thousand dollars going to supporting community engagement to inform the climate element of the One Seattle Comprehensive Plan, which is hoping to develop Seattle's climate resilience and environmental justice goals over the next 20 years. This money is going in a lot of different directions - some of it proactive, some of it reactive - but it is really encouraging to see the City really taking this seriously and putting funds that came from the JumpStart program actually into making the City a place where people are safer and healthier. Especially if they're already in a part of a town or in a community that's especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
[00:34:25] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. So good work. Keep it up. Also wanted to make mention this week - King County is launching new programs to support immigrants, which is a big deal. There is now, which was just announced, this launch of two new programs that started earlier this month to provide financial support, including a King County immigration fee support program to help immigrants pay eligible fees associated with applying for legal status - including fees with US Citizenship and Immigration Services and Executive Office for immigrant review. And also immigrant applications costs vary from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars per applicant. So if you are living, working, going to school in King County, or currently detained in ICE facilities, but previously living, working, or going to school in King County - you are eligible for support. And that's up to $3,000 per individual and $6,000 per household, depending on the fees incurred or expected in 2022. So we will link that - in the system, oftentimes people are listening who may not be in that situation, but maybe you know folks who are. It's also common to know folks who are, but not know that they're in that situation - 'cause there is, often people are not excited to disclose that they may not have all of their papers in perfect order. So just the more people can do to spread this word throughout all of our communities in every area, in person and online - the more we can make sure people are connected to resources that are going to be helpful. So I was very encouraged to see that as well as there's another related piece of welcome news this week - in that some long overdue relief looks like it is finally going to get out. What is happening here?
[00:36:23] Bryce Cannatelli: Washington's Legislature approved of $340 million in aid for undocumented immigrants last April and there have been a lot of delays on this program, this money not reaching its intended recipients. But this week we did get some good news. Applications are now open for a fund that are gonna provide financial aid to undocumented immigrants in the state. People who need the support can apply to receive a check or a prepaid debit card through the website immigrantreliefwa.org - we'll put that link in the show notes and it'll be on our Twitter as well. This application portal went live on Monday. It's gonna be open until November 14th. So just like the other story that we just talked about, this is gonna be really good to share as much as you can. The Department of Social and Health Services says that each eligible person will get a minimum - a minimum - of $1,000 with the total award to each person depending on the size of the applicant pool and other factors. If you qualify - you have to be over 18 years of age and you must be ineligible for unemployment benefits or federal stimulus payments due to immigration status.
[00:37:44] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and this if we recall, back then was necessary because although there was a wide variety of relief made available to the majority of residents living here, there were some very notable carveouts for immigrants. And that - immigrants are part of our communities, they're working in jobs just along with the rest of us and in need of support. And so this was meant to fill the gap. Obviously would've been great to get the money out earlier as intended, but it is now available, so please spread the word. The online application is available currently in Spanish, English, Chinese, Korean, and Tagalog. Make sure you spread the word - support and help is available. And we are fairly sure that there are definitely a lot of people who need it, so making those connections is a very helpful thing.
And as a reminder, I'm going to be moderating a 37th Legislative District candidate debate on Tuesday, October 4th, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Doors are gonna open at 6:30. This is an in-person event that will also be streamed online. It's gonna be at the Rainier Arts Center. So the programming starts at 7, doors open at 6:30. They are going to be checking vaccination cards, masking is required, they will also offer rapid testing for those who are not vaccinated. Again, all will be required to wear masks, but hope that you come down, make your voice heard. You can also submit questions. We'll put a link in the show notes that you can use to ask questions. You can also @ me on Twitter if you wanna do that, shoot me what you're thinking, we'll try and incorporate that in there. This is being put on by media partners, including Hacks & Wonks, KNKX, KVRU, and Real Change with support from King County Elections, the Seattle Foundation and League of Women Voters. So excited about that. Excited about hearing from both of those candidates. It's gonna be an important choice that residents of that district are going to make. So look forward to seeing you there.
And with that, I think that is our show for today. Thank you so much for listening to Hacks & Wonks on this Friday, September 23rd, 2022. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler, assistant producer is Shannon Cheng, and our Production Coordinator is my co-host today - Bryce Cannatelli.
[00:40:21] Bryce Cannatelli: Thank you so much again, Crystal. It's a lot of fun.
[00:40:24] Crystal Fincher: And so thanks to Bryce for being our insightful cohost today. You can find Bryce on Twitter @inascenttweets, spelled I-N-A-S-C-E-N-T-T-W-E-E-T-S. You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter @HacksWonks, and you can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, as you do. You can catch Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere you can get podcasts - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get the full versions of our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, please leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full text transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the podcast episode notes.
Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you next time.