Feb 12, 2022
On today’s week-in-review, Crystal is joined by political consultant and urban farmer, Heather Weiner. They discuss the lawsuit against the capital gains tax in Washington, the concrete workers strike, the Harrell administration’s push for hotspot policing, safety at Pike Place Market and Inslee’s legislation to deal with highway encampments, and the “Tacoma Shuffle” of people returning to encampments after they’ve been swept because they still have nowhere else to go.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
“Superior Court Judge hears arguments in capital gains tax case” by Shauna Sowersby for The Olympian: https://www.theolympian.com/news/state/washington/article258066028.html
“West Seattle Bridge reopening could be delayed if concrete union strike continues” by King 5 Staff for King 5: https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle/seattle-construction-projects-delayed-concrete-union-strike/281-2765b55a-c89d-4abd-999f-261fc711b106
“Hot Spot Policing” Twitter Thread by Erica C. Barnett: https://twitter.com/ericacbarnett/status/1490185898108936193?s=20&t=8beV9DyCMjunAtJNLMatYw
“CID community group says they don’t see an improvement” by Hannah Krieg for The Stranger:
“Councilmember Pushes “Seattle Is Dying” Narrative, Data Confirms Stop-and-Frisk Disparities, Someone Is Posting Fake Sweep Signs, and More” by Publicola Staff for Publicola: https://publicola.com/2022/02/10/councilmember-pushes-seattle-is-dying-narrative-data-confirms-stop-and-frisk-disparities-someone-is-posting-fake-sweep-signs-and-more/
“Inslee Pushes Legislation Prioritizing Homeless Encampment Removal Near Highways” by Natalie Bicknell Argerious for The Urbanist:
“'Tacoma shuffle': People return to I-705 homeless encampment days after sweep” by Lionel Donovan for King 5: https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/homeless/tacoma-encampment-remains-occupied/281-8730a985-8104-470c-b169-7dc1bdfae0cd
[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 the state through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Today, we're continuing our Friday almost-live shows where we review the news of the week. Welcome back to the program, friend of the show and today's co-host: political consultant and urban farmer, Heather Weiner.
[00:00:52] Heather Weiner: Hi, Crystal. So happy to be here - happy Friday.
[00:00:54] Crystal Fincher: Happy Friday. Well, we have a ton to talk about today - I won't - so much, so much. I wanted to start off talking about the capital gains tax case - it was passed by our legislature and people filed suit against it - conservative Republican interests filed suit against it. And there was just a court hearing a week ago in - where arguments for and against were heard about it. What is going on with that?
[00:01:27] Heather Weiner: This is, I think, one of the most interesting stories if you care about education, you care about getting more childcare to people, you care about providing early learning, fixing leaky roofs in our schools. This is about $400-$500 million/year that is going to be going to all of these education projects. And in what I like to call a reverse Robin Hood move, these conservative interests are trying to steal from the children and give to the rich by taking away this capital gains tax.
Now it's in court right now - it's in Douglas County Court. We expect to see a decision in the next couple of weeks - have had a lot of really interesting people weigh in on that court case - everybody from Wenatchee school teachers to the former Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce president, economists - all saying the capital gains tax is actually a really great way to balance our unfair tax code which puts the biggest burdens on the poor and the least burdens on the rich.
Now here's a couple more things that have just happened today that you should know about, Crystal. The first one is we're seeing in the PDC filings that are coming in right now that there are some really bad black hat political consultants who are coming in to Washington state to help do this reverse Robin hood move. These are people who were fined the biggest fines in the nation's history for laundering campaign contributions during a previous ballot initiative here in Washington state - they were fined $18 million by my boo, Bob Ferguson. And here they are back again trying to repeal the Washington capital gains tax.
The other really interesting thing that's going on is kind of this - what I think is really bad reporting. There is a Amazon exec who is moving from Medina to Dallas - I think probably 'cause the Seahawks had a horrible season and the Cowboys had a pretty good season. But what the reporters are doing is saying that the move occurred right before the capital gains tax goes into effect, so therefore that must be the reason why they're moving. There could not possibly possibly be another reason that somebody is moving to a warmer, sunnier place that has better barbecue. And so I've just been - just been kind of a little bit of a - rhymes with "witch" - to people on Twitter this morning telling them coincidence does not equal causality - just because somebody left the state before the capital gains tax goes into effect. And by the way, this is a super rich person who should be paying their share just like the rest of us. And if they are moving because of the capital gains tax, then they need to say it, take responsibility for it - that they are a tax dodger and that they do not want to take responsibility for all of the great things that this state has done for them. Am I on my soap box? Can you tell?
[00:04:37] Crystal Fincher: I mean - it is logical and it makes sense - again, this capital gains tax - it's not an income tax. It is not a tax that most working people pay. This is where extraordinarily wealthy people are realizing gains - we're talking about that. And we are in a state that has no income tax FYI, so if you're arguing that people left for that reason - there are several stories where people have left to states with income taxes. It's like - I don't know if you're really doing this full analysis. But whether or not people are staying or leaving - and people continue to come to the state - it is, it has been well-documented and universally accepted and known for awhile that we have the most regressive tax structure in the nation, meaning that the people with the least pay the highest percentage of their income in taxes and the people with the most pay the lowest percentage of their income in taxes.
And at a time where we see the impacts - exacerbated through this pandemic - of years and years of underfunding of education, of our social safety net, of our public infrastructure - we absolutely need everyone to be chipping in their fair share. And to continue to ask working people, who are making an income, to be paying basically to make up for super wealthy people not paying their fair share - just isn't realistic. At this point, we are basically - most of the taxpayers are subsidizing the sixth homes and the third yachts of extremely rich people with our taxes.
[00:06:30] Heather Weiner: And the spaceship - and the spaceships up into the - up into the atmosphere. I mean, we are literally - actually, they do get huge tax subsidies for that. I mean, these are the same people who took tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds during COVID to basically pad their investment portfolios, to pad their investor rounds for these tech startups - they're producing nothing new. All they're doing is moving this taxpayer money between each other in kind of a shell game. And then they don't want to pay taxes on the gains that they have made from taxpayer money? Shame on you, shame on you - shame on you for going to Metropolitan Market and buying and spending $300 on cheese and then complaining about the people who are living in the boxes that that cheese was delivered in. Shame on you. If you want to do something about what is happening in this state with a lack of housing, with the lack of services, then you need to pay your damn share.
[00:07:27] Crystal Fincher: You do need to pay your share. Absolutely. We could go on about this at length.
[00:07:32] Heather Weiner: Oh boy. Boy, do I have feelings - I have a lot of feelings, Crystal.
[00:07:37] Crystal Fincher: We will leave it with that for today, but I think we are both aligned and with so many other people in the state. Again, this was supported by wide margins of the public - north of 65% are really tired of our tax dollars not going - coming into our communities at the level that they should be while they are padding the corporate bonuses and fourth houses of the uber-wealthy - it just - it just isn't wonderful.
[00:08:09] Heather Weiner: Can I just - you're talking about polling - for a second, I just want to do give you a quick update on polling. So I just read in The Olympian this week also that polling numbers - typically we think that Washington state is pretty just kind of knee jerk anti-tax - but we just this week approved a whole bunch of education levies. So we do want to fund education, which this capital gains tax does. And the polling, at least as reported in The Olympian, shows that any initiative to repeal the capital gains tax starts underwater. And as you and I know, as political consultants, a ballot initiative - a Yes ballot initiative - needs to start at over 60% to have any viability. So I just don't know how they're - if they're going to try to repeal this in the court, I think they're going to lose in the State Supreme court. I think they try to repeal it with the voters - I think it'll be a tough fight, but I think they might lose there too.
[00:08:59] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it is - it is certainly an uphill fight to try and repeal that. We're in a much different place than we were 15 and 20 years ago in terms of how people view their taxes. And now people have had a long time to see the effect of everyone not paying their share and seeing how many things now haven't been funded and are not happy about it.
Also, there are lots of people unhappy about working conditions that have languished and lagged over the past several years - and especially during the pandemic - employers not being as responsive and protective of their employees as they need to be, or just flat out issues of pay. We've seen that with a number of unionization efforts around the country and around our area, but there actually has been - what I feel has been somewhat under-covered and that's why we're talking about it today - a strike from concrete workers and that has been going on for a while. And this week there was a press conference with Mayor Harrell and County Executive Dow Constantine talking about some of the impacts of the strike and saying the West Seattle Bridge reopening could be delayed - other projects could be delayed - if this is not solved soon. Of course, that makes everyone kind of go back into some entrenched messaging - some people are like, Well, well, those workers just, you know, get back to work already - when really this is an issue of these concrete companies needing to meet these demands to get the strike over with. What is going on with this?
[00:10:41] Heather Weiner: Yeah. This is really interesting, because this is where unions have spent a lot of money and a lot of time electing people to office and this is where they expect those elected officials to stand with them. In this case, it's a public contract. There are four concrete companies who have basically - withholding great - better pay and better benefits for these people who are doing really hard physical jobs. And they're withholding that and so the concrete workers have been on strike. They've been outside for months - in the cold, in the rain - trying to negotiate this. And so this is where you - if you're an elected official - this is where you need to step up for the workers and you need to say, "The pressure is on the employers, is on these corporations, to pay fair share and get everybody back to work."
I was very disappointed to see that the message instead was, "The corporations - the unions and the corporations need to go back to the table." What they're really doing there - it's an implied you're both at fault message - instead of it being the corporations need to just - they're making huge profits on these taxpayer funded projects. They need to make sure that money is coming back into the community by paying people fairly.
Let me give you an example - your friend, Mayor McGinn, former Mayor McGinn, did the right thing in a similar strike situation when he was mayor. There were thousands of garbage, recycling, composting drivers who went on strike. And rather than saying they and the companies need to go back to the table, he said, "I'm going to start fining the companies millions of dollars a day for every day that they are not getting the trash picked up because that's what I can do under the contract." And he broke that strike and he helped those workers win much better wages. And that's what our elected officials should be doing right now, instead of somehow putting the onus on the workers themselves - they're sitting outside in the rain. It is not like they have a lot of power. They need to step up and help them.
[00:12:55] Crystal Fincher: Certainly do. And was a fan of that action taken by former Mayor McGinn, certainly. Other mayors have done similar in the past to help address these work stoppages. And one of the things that's really critical with this is that these companies have a responsibility to deliver - what is implied is that the companies do what's necessary to maintain a functional and effective workforce. If they are not paying them effectively, that is not maintaining a functional and effective workforce. There actually is precedent and great justification for saying, Hey, you are obligated to perform. Do what you need to do, have the conversations that you need to have, come to an agreement - but you have an obligation under this contract. And saying, well, we don't feel like - on other projects, our profits are massive enough, even though they are substantial to continue doing work. And to allow this work stoppage to continue - relying on some public partners and government to also play hard ball alongside them - is just not what I think most people are hoping to see. We know workers are put in more perilous positions today than they have been in decades. And navigating just the challenges of being a concrete worker and working on a site is not an easy thing on the body, it's not an easy job to have - certainly through a pandemic it has not been a comfortable job to have. So, I do hope that the companies are encouraged to do what it takes to be good corporate citizens, to invest in their workers and in this community to get this done. But the blaming of workers is just something that I think more - most people are - see through and are tired of.
[00:14:56] Heather Weiner: Yeah, I hope so. And I hope they do resolve this. I hope the companies do come to the table, do increase their wages and benefits so that they can get back to work. So that I can take the West Seattle Bridge to West Seattle again, because I - I live in Beacon Hill and boy, am I tired of that 3 minute drive turning into 35.
[00:15:15] Crystal Fincher: It is a challenge. Well, this week there have been lots of conversations around public safety. One of them being - there are conversations with, between councilmembers and community members, Mayor Harrell and his administration announced a new hotspot policing strategy to address certain hotspots in the City as Erica Barnett and PubliCola covered extensively on Twitter and has been written about. This is a strategy that has been used - has been tried several times before in the past in former administrations - several former - to say, Well, let's just increase patrols in these areas, let's target some intersections, some blocks - and kind of flood them with police and patrols.
And while it certainly is a visible sign that activity is happening and communities certainly don't want crime - they want to feel safe, they don't want to be victimized. And I don't think anyone wants that - that should not be happening. People do want to see action being taken to improve the safety in their communities. Whether more patrols are that action that people want to see is - certainly depends on who you ask, but it is not wanted across the board, certainly. And just the impacts of a hotspot strategy - how effective those are seems really questionable, given that this has been tried several times when SPD was smaller, when the budget was smaller, and Hey, let's hire more cops, let's increase the budget, let's invest in this hotspot strategy. And that has happened over and over and over again - yet, we're still having these same conversations about these hotspots. I certainly would hope that we would try strategy that's more in line with what data from across the country tells us actually helps to resolve crime completely. And that's getting closer to addressing the root causes and not after someone has been victimized - let's try and focus on that, let's prevent people from being victimized in the first place.
It appears that Harrell is certainly moving forward with this hotspot strategy. So we will see how that turns out. But The Stranger had an article this week talking about how a CID community group was saying, Well, you've been saying that you have implemented this hotspot strategy in our neighborhood now. We don't see an improvement and we actually don't think that improvement is going to come from adding more patrol officers on our block. So it'll be interesting to see how that is responded to, what the results of this initiative are this time, and follow through what is and isn't working.
[00:18:25] Heather Weiner: Yeah. I mean, we're just really - just moving people around from place to place to place. And so you have a hotspot team here, or an emphasis that they call it sometimes, and those people who are not housed still don't have any housing - you're not building any more housing - there's no place for them to go. And the people who are committing crime - fairly petty crime, but still disturbing crime - are working for much bigger syndicates of - and crime groups. And I think it was Andrew Lewis who said, Look, I really want to emphasize - I really think that we need to be spending resources on going after those kingpins, not going after the people, the pawns. By the way. I don't think he said it like that, but I think that's a brilliant analogy - I think he should be using that.
[00:19:10] Crystal Fincher: I love that.
[00:19:10] Heather Weiner: That was really good. Yeah - ring ring, Andrew.
[00:19:13] Crystal Fincher: Well see - that's why you're a political consultant, Heather. That is why - right there.
[00:19:17] Heather Weiner: Yeah. And <laughter> - no, no. Yeah - anyway. Why am I a political consultant? We could talk about that next time. Well, not sure.
[00:19:28] Crystal Fincher: There's a lot to be talked about, and this is happening with a backdrop of conversations that were covered and written about this week of -
[00:19:35] Heather Weiner: Oh, I know - they were kind of shocking actually.
[00:19:38] Crystal Fincher: Councilmember Sara Nelson basically, kind of literally pushing a "Seattle is Dying" narrative.
[00:19:48] Heather Weiner: Didn't Bruce Harrell say that we weren't supposed to be doing that anymore? Didn't he literally say, I don't want to hear any more "Seattle is Dying."
[00:19:55] Crystal Fincher: Well, he may have said he didn't want to hear it anymore, but a coalition of people who supported him certainly are not tired of it. And a number of those people also support Sara Nelson, who owns Fremont Brewing with her husband. And Sara invited 11 business representatives to discuss their public safety concerns at her Economic Development Committee hearing last Wednesday - this was covered on PubliCola in one of their Morning Fizz articles this week - but Nelson's committee doesn't deal with crime or homelessness, and isn't considering any legislation, but evidently Sara felt it was important to allow these business community members, and only business community members, to talk about their concerns.
And again, those business owners really wanted more police - kind of at the end of the day. Sara Nelson was talking about, We're in a crisis. We need to increase the amount of police we have. We need to stop this horrible crime that is happening around the City and is out of control and the City is about to burn down - blah, blah, blah, blah. And again, to be clear, there are - people's concern about crime is absolutely legitimate. There are too many things happening that are bad. We do not want people to be victimized - I think that's really important to center. I think at the end of the day, if there was no crime, people would be happy about it, but wow is there so much data that is being ignored, really coincidentally by people who say that they want a data-driven strategy, that literally says that jailing people doesn't reduce crime at all.
[00:21:47] Heather Weiner: No, if anything, it makes it worse because you're making people -
[00:21:51] Crystal Fincher: There is actually evidence that it makes it worse because we don't focus on rehabilitation. We have to get in touch with the reality that if we're focused on - focusing on punishment is not the same thing as focusing on safety. We're really good at the punishment part, we're really good at making people feel pain - oftentimes it follows them for the rest of their lives as a consequence of committing crime. We're good at making some people and certain segments of our community feel good about that, other people don't feel any consequences for the types of crimes that they commit. But in this - we have to engage with the goal is - these people are reentering our communities. And they're our community members, and we have to help them reintegrate in society, and to be able to build a life - and to be productive on their own terms, to be stable in terms of housing and income, to have mental health resources available. And everything about our current carceral system destabilizes.
There is no meaningful rehabilitation services provided. And the fact that you have been in the system is a red flag that people use in terms of employment and housing - that makes everything harder to do for people who are struggling to get started anyway. And at a time when people with no record, who are struggling just to be able to afford housing, imagine what it's like when you have people who just don't want to house you, who don't want to hire anyone with a record - what do you then do? We actually stack the deck against people being able to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society. And our solutions have to be focused on that if we are going to make our communities safer.
[00:23:57] Heather Weiner: Can I give you a totally - a little bit of a far-fetched conspiracy theory? So, I'm looking at the timing of this - this big push that we need more police, we need more police, we need more police, we need more officers - this is kind of what the answer is. And this is also during the time that the police union is entering into negotiations with the City. I don't think that that is - well, I don't know, it seems - I'm not saying it's causality - I was just bitching about coincidence does not equal causality, but I think that it - I don't know, it's an interesting timing issue.
I also think it was really interesting that Debora Juarez took a swipe at Pike Place Market this week.
[00:24:37] Crystal Fincher: That was interesting - also this week, Debora Juarez made comments talking about - she is afraid now to go to Pike Place Market because she feels that it's unsafe and that there are lots of issues around crime there, which raised a lot of eyebrows.
[00:24:56] Heather Weiner: Yeah, I agree with her though. I think it is really dangerous. First of all, there's the donut place, right? That calls me in, right? Then you've got to go to the pierogi place - Piroshky's - oh my God - then that calls me in. Then there's Beecher's Cheese place - that's sucking me in. It is a really dangerous - and then they're giving out free samples everywhere. It is highly dangerous for me to go to Pike Place Market.
[00:25:18] Crystal Fincher: And just so I correctly characterize Debora Juarez's words - she says she no longer goes to Pike Place Market downtown "unless it's Saturday in broad daylight" because of the "safety issues" there. Which was really interesting because Pike Place Market - one, closes at 6. And it is an area, as PubliCola points out, that is consistently bustling and full of people, which actually is one of the hallmarks of keeping places safe. I don't know if she is talking about feeling uncomfortable on her way to Pike Place Market - I am not sure, but that - if you were going to cite anything, seems like an odd citation and certainly made a lot of people raise their eyebrows and wonder - want some more clarification certainly from her, but also wonder if rhetoric is taking hold and if she is actually on those streets today or - you know that was -
[00:26:28] Heather Weiner: This has always boggled my mind about the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Businesses Association, where their talking point is to - ends up discouraging the very customers that they are trying to attract. Instead of telling everybody, Oh, it's unsafe here, don't come here. How does that help their business members? How do the Pike Place Market vendors feel about their City Councilmember discouraging people from going there? It just seems like it's not a great message strategy. And if I were them, I'd be talking about what they are doing to make it safer, what they are doing to welcome more people there.
I do not want to undermine the fact that almost all the times we hear about people saying this - it's almost always women who are saying they don't feel safe. And I think that's a really valid point. If you are feeling less safe out on the streets right now as a woman, is there an increase in, particularly if you're a woman of color, is there an increase in a feeling of hostility from other - from men? What is happening out there, but putting more police on the streets and arresting more people, as you were saying, is not going to solve the problem. What's going to solve the problem is addressing - in a big way - the lack of housing, the lack of good paying jobs, the lack of economic and mental health and other health supports that people need so that they are not forced into crime.
[00:27:51] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. And speaking of that - Inslee this week is pushing legislation that prioritizes homeless encampment removal near highways, which - he talked about this being very important and characterizes it as, This is how we're - we need to take care of those people who are living under the highways. It's an extremely unsafe environment, it's a hazard for them, for drivers. And a lot of times he is talking about the right of ways under or adjacent to freeways and highways. Now, this has been an area - some of these are out of sight, some of these are very visible. We all know that there are some people who are bothered by the sight of homelessness much more than the thought of people and their experiences outside in a hostile climate without shelter.
But as we go through this, Inslee was talking about the need to clear these areas, for providing a budget - and in this bill, there is also money allocated for outreach services. Everybody talks about the goal of getting people into housing and in ways that we've seen before - having outreach workers working with the people who are in these encampments to get them into housing and also to track the outcomes of the people that they're working with to see - was it successful, was it not? We've talked at length about some of the issues before in this program about the current way we offer services and "offer services." And that a lot of the services that we have actually do not serve our entire unhoused population, that our current shelter system - and in many areas and in many spaces - is really hostile to people in terms of requiring people to be in by 6:30 PM, out by 6:30 or 7:00 AM. If someone has a job, actually - and there are a lot of unhoused people who are working, who have jobs and are employed that - that can conflict with your ability to be sheltered. And that then makes any particular shelter, the possibility of that impossible, keeping someone on the streets. Or they don't allow pets that people have, or they don't allow partners to be together, or there's no secure storage for people's belongings and the threat of their belongings not being secure. Or a variety of reasons or requirements that disqualify people, or make it impossible for them to hold on to the amount of stability that they currently have and not fall further and while taking advantage of those shelter services.
And so while some services are available, we are seeing over and over and over again, that that does not serve a significant portion of our unhoused population. And we can keep doing the same thing and saying, Well, we offered them and they turned them down - for a variety of very legitimate reasons. And watch people continue to move around to different places and be unhoused, or we can meaningfully do it.
There are different perspectives on this bill. There are organizations like the ACLU, some housing advocates and providers, who were saying this is going to make it really easy just to sweep people and without enough accountability to protect people's civil rights and to actually address this problem. Others are saying our entire goal and why we have allocated this money is to make it possible to get these folks housed. It's an interesting perspective. How do you see this?
[00:31:46] Heather Weiner: Yeah, well - well, I keep seeing it as every - it all comes down to money. And I'm just going to circle it right back to where we started. It all comes down to money and the reason that - a lot of the reasons that we do not have this housing, we do not have the services - because we don't have the money to pay for it. And the reason we don't have the money is because the super rich have rigged the system so that they don't have to pay their fair share. And you're seeing more and more anger - I think people are just number one, sick and tired of being inside. They're sick and tired of it being gray, they're sick and tired of COVID, and they're looking. And when they do go outside, they see people suffering and they just get really angry. And who they should be angry at is the super rich that they can't see who are not paying into the system like they should.
[00:32:28] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, that is - that certainly contributes to the problem. In this article, and I am looking and we'll link this in the show notes - this is an Urbanist article by Natalie Bicknell Argerious. A couple of things that they talk about are potentially some helpful things in that - different jurisdictions can only act on land that they own or have the rights to act on or engage with. There have been issues between the cities and the state when it comes to engaging with people in these state-owned right of ways. And confusion or complication around whether cities can even go into offer services or work with folks in these encampments and feeling that that has been largely off limits. This bill is an attempt to also address that and make it clear that the cities and state can work together, it establishes an office to basically enable that.
And so we'll see what happens but there is concern, as there has been everywhere, that this will enable sweeps and kind of move people out of some areas that seem to be relatively, really low impact for the surrounding community. It is away from neighborhoods, it's away from other things. And in the case of Seattle, many aren't even visible by anyone and allowing people to find a shelter in community that works for them while being unhoused. There was also the concern and has been some freeway deaths of people who were crossing a freeway or crossing an on-ramp and being hit by cars. So, I mean, there is some - obviously we don't want people to be outside, we don't want people to be in danger - I think that is a legitimate concern. But with a legitimate concern, we need to address it with legitimate solutions.
We will see how this plays out, but this - following it up with another article this week that we can talk about - talking about in Tacoma - having the situation where, Hey, they did a sweep in an I-705 homeless encampment, which is a highway through Tacoma. And starting just days later, people were returning because a sweep does not provide housing. The number one problem that has to be addressed if we're talking about homelessness is getting people housed. If a conversation about homelessness doesn't start with housing, then we're completely failing. There is no chance of actually meaningfully addressing this and we are seeing this as King 5 details it - talking about the Tacoma shuffle, which is the term that people use for, Yeah, you do this sweep, you clear an area, but people still actually don't have anywhere to go. They still don't have a home. And so they moved to another location for a little bit, they're pushed out of that location, and they're back at this one. So we're not doing anything, but just kind of moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic, just moving people around the community, and spending a ton of money to do it. The City of Seattle spent over $1 million to clear out an encampment under a freeway and install razor wire. Could we have spent that $1 million perhaps on helping people to get into stable and permanent housing? That's a conversation we have, but certainly looking at the Tacoma shuffle, looking at how this has happened so far in Seattle and other places - this is a statewide problem. And if we don't address the housing issue and not focus on - whether it's substance use disorder or mental health disorders, which are made worse oftentimes by being unhoused - if we don't start with housing and lead with housing, then we're not doing anything to address this problem.
[00:36:52] Heather Weiner: Amen sister.
[00:36:53] Crystal Fincher: Well, with that, we will wrap up the day. I certainly thank you for listening to Hacks & Wonks on this Friday, February 11th. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler and assistant producer is Shannon Cheng. Our wonderful co-host today was Seattle political consultant, Heather Weiner. You can find Heather on Twitter @hlweiner. That's H-L-W-E-I-N-E-R. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii - that's F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. And now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar, be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our mid-week show delivered to your podcast feed. While you're there, leave a review, it really helps us out. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in this show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.
Thanks for tuning in. Talk to you next time.