Pete Hanning, Candidate for Seattle City Council District 6

Pete Hanning, Candidate for Seattle City Council District 6

On this Wednesday topical show, Crystal chats with Pete Hanning about his campaign for Seattle City Council District 6. Listen and learn more about Pete and his thoughts on:

  • [01:05] - Why he is running
  • [01:49] - Lightning round!
  • [09:15] - What is an accomplishment of his that impacts District 6
  • [10:54] - City budget shortfall: Raise revenue or cut services?
  • [14:39] - Public Safety: Alternative response
  • [18:43] - Victim support
  • [23:20] - Public Safety: Police accountability
  • [25:52] - Housing and homelessness: Frontline worker wages
  • [27:15] - Climate change
  • [29:42] - Bike and pedestrian safety
  • [31:24] - Transit reliability
  • [32:49] - Addressing public drug use
  • [38:30] - Small business support
  • [40:47] - Childcare: Affordability and accessibility
  • [43:22] - Difference between him and opponent

About the Guest

Pete Hanning

As a lifelong Seattle resident, this city has helped shape who I am.

For the last 35 years, I have been a leader in the nightlife/hospitality industry. I owned the Red Door in Fremont for twenty years. My experience as a small business owner has honed my ability to solve problems and provide service to others.

I’ve been civically engaged throughout my career, with a focus on improving public safety and supporting small businesses. I’ve served on many boards, including the Fremont Neighborhood Council, the North Precinct Advisory Council, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle Restaurant Alliance, and the Washington Restaurant/Hospitality Association. I helped form the Seattle Restaurant Alliance and the Seattle Nightlife & Music Association.

I am currently Executive Director for the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. I believe the small businesses increase the quality of life of our community and form a key part of the fabric of our shared neighborhoods. I will always champion these small businesses and businesses throughout Seattle.

We are in a pivotal time as a city and I am running because we need a more pragmatic, problem-solving approach to shape our shared future.

I live in Fremont with my wife and two cats.

Find Pete Hanning on Twitter/X at @pmhanning.


Campaign Website - Pete Hanning


[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. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get the full versions of our Friday week-in-review show and our Tuesday topical show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, the most helpful thing you can do is leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at and in our episode notes.

Well, today I am pleased to be joined by a candidate for Seattle City Council District 6, Pete Hanning. Welcome, Pete.

[00:01:01] Pete Hanning: Thank you very much for having me - I'm happy to be here.

[00:01:04] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. So starting out, why did you decide to run?

[00:01:10] Pete Hanning: Well, I've been in Seattle now 52 of my 54 years, and I have loved my community for that entire time - and I find the most amount of satisfaction when I am of service to my community. I have always found that my community has given back even more when I am fully engaged. I come out of 35 years in the hospitality industry, so being of service comes naturally in that way. And then currently I'm the executive director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, so I am helping our small businesses in that community on a daily basis.

[00:01:48] Crystal Fincher: Excellent. Well, this year we are doing our candidate interviews a little bit different and including a lightning round. So there are some quick yes or no, or quick answer questions here before we get back to our regular type of questions. So starting out - This year, did you vote yes on the King County Crisis Care Centers levy?

[00:02:10] Pete Hanning: I did.

[00:02:11] Crystal Fincher: Did you vote yes on the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services levy?

[00:02:15] Pete Hanning: I did.

[00:02:15] Crystal Fincher: Did you vote in favor of Seattle's Social Housing Initiative 135?

[00:02:20] Pete Hanning: I did.

[00:02:21] Crystal Fincher: In 2021, did you vote for Bruce Harrell or Lorena González for Mayor?

[00:02:26] Pete Hanning: I voted for and supported Bruce Harrell.

[00:02:28] Crystal Fincher: In 2021, did you vote for Nicole Thomas Kennedy or Ann Davison for Seattle City Attorney?

[00:02:35] Pete Hanning: Well, I have a long relationship with Pete Holmes, so I was supportive of Pete Holmes. But he didn't make it into the general and I endorsed Ann - or I supported and voted for Ann Davison.

[00:02:47] Crystal Fincher: In 2022, did you vote for Leesa Manion or Jim Ferrell for King County Prosecutor?

[00:02:54] Pete Hanning: I voted for Leesa Manion.

[00:02:56] Crystal Fincher: And in 2022, did you vote for Patty Murray or Tiffany Smiley for US Senate?

[00:03:03] Pete Hanning: My smile does not mean that - who I voted for. I voted for Patty Murray.

[00:03:07] Crystal Fincher: Do you rent or own your residence?

[00:03:10] Pete Hanning: I have owned the home we live in since 2003.

[00:03:14] Crystal Fincher: Are you a landlord?

[00:03:17] Pete Hanning: Yes, my family - my mom lives in and rents property along Westlake - commercial property.

[00:03:25] Crystal Fincher: Would you vote to require landlords to report metrics, including how much rent they're charging, to help better plan housing and development needs in the district?

[00:03:35] Pete Hanning: Maybe.

[00:03:36] Crystal Fincher: Are there instances where you support sweeps of homeless encampments?

[00:03:40] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:03:41] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to provide additional funding for Seattle's Social Housing Public Development Authority?

[00:03:47] Pete Hanning: Maybe.

[00:03:48] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree with King County Executive Constantine's statement that the King County Jail should be closed?

[00:03:54] Pete Hanning: No.

[00:03:55] Crystal Fincher: Should parking enforcement be housed within SPD?

[00:03:59] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:04:00] Crystal Fincher: Would you vote to allow police in schools?

[00:04:03] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:04:04] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocation in the City budget for civilian-led mental health crisis response?

[00:04:10] Pete Hanning: Yes, I like the co-responder program - I believe that we would need, in a lot of instances, law enforcement in second position.

[00:04:22] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocation in the City budget to increase the pay of human service workers?

[00:04:27] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:04:28] Crystal Fincher: Do you support removing funds in the City budget for forced encampment removals and instead allocating funds towards a Housing First approach?

[00:04:36] Pete Hanning: No.

[00:04:37] Crystal Fincher: Do you support abrogating or removing the funds from unfilled SPD positions and putting them towards meaningful public safety measures?

[00:04:46] Pete Hanning: Perhaps.

[00:04:47] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocating money in the City budget for supervised consumption sites?

[00:04:54] Pete Hanning: Perhaps.

[00:04:56] Crystal Fincher: Do you support increasing funding in the City budget for violence intervention programs?

[00:05:01] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:05:02] Crystal Fincher: Do you oppose a SPOG, or Seattle Police Officers Guild, contract that doesn't give the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of Inspector General subpoena power?

[00:05:14] Pete Hanning: I'd have to see exactly what the contract looks like, but I am concerned that we are trying to fight a no-sums game where we need to have some compromise. And I think we have a priority to get that contract signed soon.

[00:05:29] Crystal Fincher: Do you oppose a SPOG contract that doesn't remove limitations as to how many of OPA's investigators must be sworn versus civilian?

[00:05:39] Pete Hanning: Perhaps.

[00:05:40] Crystal Fincher: Do you oppose a SPOG contract that impedes the ability of the City to move police funding to public safety alternatives?

[00:05:52] Pete Hanning: Perhaps.

[00:05:53] Crystal Fincher: Do you support eliminating in-uniform off-duty work by SPD officers?

[00:06:00] Pete Hanning: In certain situations, yes.

[00:06:01] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to ensure that trans and non-binary students are allowed to play on the sports teams that fit with their gender identities?

[00:06:11] Pete Hanning: I'm running for city council, not school board.

[00:06:14] Crystal Fincher: But in your capacity as a city councilmember, would - if a vote came to it - vote to support?

[00:06:21] Pete Hanning: I would think so, but I would have to read it - exactly how it is written.

[00:06:27] Crystal Fincher: Okay. Will you vote to ensure that trans people can use bathrooms or public facilities that match their gender?

[00:06:32] Pete Hanning: 100%.

[00:06:33] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree with the Seattle City Council's decision to implement the JumpStart Tax?

[00:06:39] Pete Hanning: No.

[00:06:40] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to reduce or divert the JumpStart Tax in any way?

[00:06:45] Pete Hanning: Perhaps.

[00:06:46] Crystal Fincher: Are you happy with Seattle's newly built waterfront?

[00:06:49] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:06:50] Crystal Fincher: Do you believe return to work mandates, like the one issued by Amazon, are necessary to boost Seattle's economy?

[00:06:58] Pete Hanning: I think they're a good step, and I don't think it's only for economic reasons why they should be implemented. I think there are societal reasons and cultural reasons why they're really important.

[00:07:10] Crystal Fincher: Have you taken transit in the past week?

[00:07:12] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:07:13] Crystal Fincher: Have you ridden a bike in the past week?

[00:07:15] Pete Hanning: Oh, yes.

[00:07:16] Crystal Fincher: Should Pike Place Market allow non-commercial car traffic?

[00:07:20] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:07:21] Crystal Fincher: Should significant investments be made to speed up the opening of scheduled Sound Transit light rail lines?

[00:07:30] Pete Hanning: It depends on what those measures are taken - to speed it up. I mean, District 6 is the only district currently that doesn't have a light rail station within the city, so we are woefully behind all the other districts. So I would definitely love to see it happen, but we don't - at what cost?

[00:07:52] Crystal Fincher: Well, District 1 is probably in the same boat as you are there also.

[00:07:57] Pete Hanning: Well, District 1 does - just to - because with the new district, they get all those SODO stations.

[00:08:02] Crystal Fincher: Oh, redistricted - they did, they did. You are correct.

[00:08:06] Pete Hanning: I know that. I'm a nerd about that kind of stuff.

[00:08:11] Crystal Fincher: A wonk on Hacks & Wonks. Should we accelerate the elimination of the ability to turn right on red lights to improve pedestrian safety?

[00:08:20] Pete Hanning: Yes.

[00:08:21] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever been a member of a union?

[00:08:23] Pete Hanning: No.

[00:08:24] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to increase funding and staffing for investigations into labor violations like wage theft and illegal union busting?

[00:08:32] Pete Hanning: Perhaps.

[00:08:33] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever walked a picket line?

[00:08:37] Pete Hanning: No, but I've also not crossed picket lines on purpose.

[00:08:41] Crystal Fincher: Well, that was the next question, if you've ever crossed a picket line.

[00:08:44] Pete Hanning: No.

[00:08:44] Crystal Fincher: So that is a no. Is your campaign staff unionized?

[00:08:50] Pete Hanning: Currently, I have no staff. I have some consultants and some groups that I'm working with, but - so the answer would be no.

[00:08:59] Crystal Fincher: If you did have staff and they wanted to unionize - or in any future endeavors you have - would you voluntarily recognize their effort?

[00:09:07] Pete Hanning: Oh, for sure. Everyone has the right to collectively bargain.

[00:09:11] Crystal Fincher: Well, that's the end of the lightning round. Hopefully pretty painless there.

[00:09:15] Pete Hanning: For sure.

[00:09:15] Crystal Fincher: Well, lots of people look to work you've done to get a feel for what you prioritize and how qualified you are to lead. Can you describe something you've accomplished or changed in your district and what impact it has had on the residents there?

[00:09:30] Pete Hanning: Well, I can share with you one of the things that I was instrumental in having formed was the Seattle Restaurant Alliance. Back when I was running The Red Door, we had a wayward chapter of the Washington State Hospitality Association's Seattle chapter - sparsely attended. And so myself and a few other restaurateurs decided to really take a look at ways we could create a more active and vibrant group that represented the hospitality sector. One of the things I was really clear on and fought for - and I'm glad to say that we have - is you do not need to be a paying member of the state association to vote and participate in the Seattle Restaurant Alliance. And so that really encouraged those smaller businesses, that might not have seen themselves in the state umbrella, really have a voice and have an opportunity. And out of that, when we were in the COVID times and we started looking at ways to help protect these small businesses, the Seattle Restaurant Alliance was the major organization that was able to help advocate for the hospitality sector in our community.

[00:10:53] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha. Now I wanna talk about the City's budget situation. The City of Seattle is projected to have a revenue shortfall of $224 million beginning in 2025, meaning that preparations and plans need to start now. Because the City is mandated by the state to pass a balanced budget, the options to address this deficit are either raise revenue, cut services, or some combination of that. Which one will be your approach to addressing this budget shortfall as a city councilmember?

[00:11:26] Pete Hanning: Most likely Option C, the combination of the two. With a real first - first and foremost, you have to make sure that the resources that you currently have and are using are being spent wisely, and that they - we're getting the amount of services from each dollar as much as we can. And then we have to look at, if we're not able to meet our obligations, then where funding will come from, extra funding will come from. But first and foremost, before we ask for extra money, we have to make sure that the money that we currently are bringing in is spent right - and it's in the right departments, and we're using it to the best of our abilities. And we also, as a municipality, I know we have some very wealthy people in our city, but we have a lot of people who are on fixed incomes or on the lower margins. And so the way our tax structure is in this state, it's very regressive. So I'm very concerned that, as much as we try to be targeted, we really don't have those tools. And I don't think those tools are best used at the municipal level. I really do feel like true fundamental change around our tax structure should happen at the state level.

[00:12:43] Crystal Fincher: I agree that we do need fundamental change at the state level, but if that doesn't happen and no guarantees that that happens, what would you advocate for at the city level?

[00:12:57] Pete Hanning: Well, I'm really concerned that we continue try to create these false walls around our city around tax structure, where most of the businesses that operate in our city also operate in other local jurisdictions, neighboring cities. And so we create this complexity of varying rates and varying taxes. We also incentivize businesses to leave Seattle in that way. And so I'm not sure that that would be my first approach - is to raise taxes. It would be a last measure.

[00:13:37] Crystal Fincher: So in that case, what would you prioritize cutting?

[00:13:42] Pete Hanning: I think we have to take a look at the amount of employees that we are currently staffed - in all the departments in our city. And that is a really difficult conversation to have - I recognize that. I do not say that cavalierly or with any malice. First and foremost, our City employees are our greatest resource and we should invest in them. And we should make sure that they are paid a very good wage in which they can live and thrive in this city. But there is also the reality of the amount of resources in which we can extract from our local citizens. And when I'm knocking on doors, I am hearing - a lot of people feel very concerned about A) the amount that they're paying, and B) that they don't see a real actual tangible return.

[00:14:38] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha. Well, I do wanna talk about public safety, particularly starting with alternative response. And while other jurisdictions around the country and in our own region have rolled out alternative response programs - and the Seattle City Council has funded alternative response - Seattle is stalled in the implementation, in what is a widely-supported idea by voters in the city. Where do you stand on non-police solutions to public safety issues? And what are your thoughts on civilian led versus co-response models?

[00:15:08] Pete Hanning: I prefer co-response models. I think it's really important that all the agencies are there at the same time - and so that they are getting the same information, so that people are not trying to say one thing to one group and another to another. And I understand that we do not want to have, nor do the police wanna be in first position on a lot of the responses that we get calls for in our city. But for the safety of everyone, having law enforcement in that second position is a good idea for most situations. I do outreach along the Leary corridor here with the Salvation Army and their street-level program - they don't go out without a King County Sheriff - and that's for good reason, it's for the safety of everyone. And so I feel really strongly that we have created this situation where we are saying that the police aren't part of the solution. They don't want more responsibility, they wanna be able to have clear understanding of what their role is in that, but they are part of the solution.

[00:16:24] Crystal Fincher: So for other jurisdictions that are similar, like Denver or Austin, who have implemented alternative response programs without a co-responding police officer, are you saying that you don't think that type of model would work here?

[00:16:41] Pete Hanning: It may work here, but I think that we would be better off going with the co-responder response. I think we should put our priorities there.

[00:16:51] Crystal Fincher: In the situation that SPD is in now, where they're saying that they're having challenges deploying the appropriate amount of police because they say they have a budget shortfall - or a staffing shortfall-

[00:17:02] Pete Hanning: It's a staffing shortfall, and which they do.

[00:17:04] Crystal Fincher: Correct. And so in that situation, do we still have the staff to deploy to all of that? Would you look at redeploying in any other way, or just maintaining the current status quo?

[00:17:15] Pete Hanning: Well, I think that gets back to your question earlier in the lightning round of - are there some roles in which sworn officers that we might see not participate in all the calls? And I do think that we need to have a hard look at what are the main priorities in which we want our police officers to be engaged in. So when I talk about doing outreach to our unhoused neighbors - the situation in our city - those folks need all of our help and all of our kindness. In most encampments, though, there is one or two tents or RVs in which there are people perpetrating crimes upon our unhoused neighbors - specifically in the sale of fentanyl, which is a poison. And we have to be really honest with ourselves. And we need to make sure that we have law enforcement there so that when we see that kind of sale of that poison within our communities, that we put a stop to it - because we have too many people dying on our streets because of it.

[00:18:24] Crystal Fincher: Now we will talk about housing and homelessness in just a little bit, but are you viewing homelessness as a public safety issue?

[00:18:31] Pete Hanning: Public safety plays in the homelessness crisis for sure. And the unhoused are, by far, our greatest victims.

[00:18:43] Crystal Fincher: I do wanna talk about victims, actually. And there's a lot of speaking being done - people say they're speaking on behalf of victims, a lot of victims claim they're being spoken over. But what victims are saying and what data show is that victims overwhelmingly want two things. One, they wanna make sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to them again or to anyone else. And they also want better support through and beyond what happened. What can we do to better support victims of crime, or people who have been harmed?

[00:19:18] Pete Hanning: We're in a community crisis. And by that, I mean, people are really struggling in finding healthy places in community. And especially those folks who are struggling with mental health or addiction - we have to do more to give them on-roads back into healthy community. And that starts with each one of our individual efforts. When I do outreach, I make sure that people know that I see them. That does not mean that they also don't recognize - and I let them know that I care about them, I see them, here are some resources - and I'm advocating for them to be moved from their current location because it is affecting that business that they are right out in front of. And it is not appropriate for them to be there. I'm honest. And I want people to really know that we have to have an honest conversation about what it means to be in a healthy community.

[00:20:26] Crystal Fincher: Well, I guess what I'm really trying to say - if they're, I think you were talking about some, you know, moving people or sweeping people away from where they're at if they're homeless, but I'm more focused on people who have been victims of crime and who have been harmed. The people who we talk about - if someone has had their car broken into, their business broken into, or has been assaulted, or stolen from - yes.

[00:20:49] Pete Hanning: Hear gunshots - yeah.

[00:20:50] Crystal Fincher: What can you do to better support people who have been through that?

[00:20:56] Pete Hanning: Time again, one of the things I'm hearing from the residents who I'm talking with while I'm on the campaign is they want some kind of police presence in the form of what is formerly referred to as beat cops, right - patrol officers in their community. Now, I know enough about policing, that beat cops - they do not reduce the amount of crime in our communities. They don't - we know the statistics, if we go off data. But like - policing is like every other job in America - there is both a tangible science to it and there is an art to it. The CPT program, which we did away with - the Community Police Team Officers - which is kind of a beat cop, if you will. It's officers who are embedded in a community who aren't in a patrol car, who are able to respond the day-after to events, is what we do find is - those communities, their sense of safety increases greatly by that presence of those kind of programs, right? And so, yes, it doesn't show up in the data, but it does show up in our sense of safety. And so, I really think - and that's why earlier when you asked about police officers in our schools - we have to build back a relationship where children don't feel afraid to have police officers in their communities, where they can build that dialogue. Now, how that's done and to make sure that those police officers are reflective of their community and understanding the community that they're serving - for sure, we need to always be on there. But what I'm concerned is, is we are creating these false barriers that actually widen that distance, sever our ability to be in community, to accept all of us in this bigger thing - to really widen the table, to make room at the table, does not mean to remove the law enforcement officers. It just means making more space for others also at that space. So, that's where I think people are really wanting - they're wanting more responsiveness.

[00:23:20] Crystal Fincher: Well, and I - just following on to that, you were talking about wanting community police officers and to bring back that program. Is it wise to bring that back without more accountability work done? Or is there a role for accountability, additional measures? Do you plan to pursue any additional accountability or reconciliation measures on behalf of the police?

[00:23:42] Pete Hanning: For sure. But in order to have that conversation, we have to rebuild the relationship with the law enforcement agencies and the police department so that they know that they are seen, that they're valued. And so that it starts with trust. And then you have those difficult conversations. And without that, you really just get everyone crouched, like we currently are, in these really polarized positions. And it's not giving - the community as a whole is frustrated because they're not getting any of the benefits.

[00:24:22] Crystal Fincher: Well, based on some of the recent votes, it looks like the community is frustrated at some of the slow pace of some of the accountability measures that have been promised, but haven't come to fruition. Are there any specific policies that you plan to advocate for in the area of accountability?

[00:24:38] Pete Hanning: What votes are you speaking towards?

[00:24:40] Crystal Fincher: Like the King County public safety vote, where they reorganized the Sheriff's department, implemented public safety reforms on a county-wide vote - that passed, obviously passed county-wide, but certainly in the City of Seattle. Looking at reforms that passed in that, do you have any specific policies that you would advocate for on the city level when it comes to accountability and good governance for the police department?

[00:25:09] Pete Hanning: So years ago, I did public testimony at the city council around then that turn's contract, which is now expired. I believe our police officers should be tested for drugs if there is a use of force, because I am fully aware that drug use in society as a whole is a certain percentage. And it would be naive for us to think that our law enforcement aren't also struggling with some of those issues. And we should know when our officers are struggling with signs of addiction and illegal use of drugs.

[00:25:52] Crystal Fincher: Now I do wanna talk about homelessness, particularly one thing called out by experts nationally - by people who have been involved in the local response, both in the city and the county level - is that frontline worker wages do not cover the cost of living in Seattle. Do you believe our local nonprofits have a responsibility to pay living wages for Seattle? And how can that be made more likely with how the City bids for and contracts for services?

[00:26:22] Pete Hanning: Yes, everyone deserves a living wage. When we have so many different agencies and nonprofits all dealing in the same space, there is some inherent duplication of certain positions and inefficiencies that I think we have to be honest about. And just because a nonprofit has been doing yeoman's work for decades in our community does not mean that it's necessarily the right nonprofit, moving forward, to be spearheading that work. And so I think we do need to make sure that we are also maximizing and being efficient with how we spend our resources so that we get the best outcome possible. And so those employees actually are getting as much resources of it as they can.

[00:27:15] Crystal Fincher: I also wanna talk about climate change. On almost every measure, we're behind on our 2030 climate goals, while we're experiencing devastating impacts ranging from extreme heat and cold, wildfires with smoke, floods, and so on - we are experiencing impacts now. What are your highest priority plans to get us on track to meet those 2030 goals?

[00:27:40] Pete Hanning: Climate change - boy, it's a loaded question. My wife has a master's in environmental science - used to do environmental work for decades - so she is the expert in our household for sure. It starts with our own lifestyle choices that we make each and every day. And early on in my adult life, I became clear on a couple of things that I knew that I did and didn't wanna do. I chose not to have any children - first and foremost, a very big reduction in use of resources in our community. My wife and I have one car, and I bike to most of the places that I go to or use transit. We live next to a community garden and then we have 16 raised beds in our own yard and grow hundreds of pounds of produce every year and put it down. I choose and try to only eat animal protein one meal a day because I know both for my own internal personal life, it's better, but also for the environment as a whole. So those are all personal things that we can do. And then we can share that and encourage others to do it.

But at the city level, we have to continue to look at ways to encourage people to carpool, to use transit, to walk, to bike. Then we also have to make sure that our freight is done at the most efficient way possible, but also to protect and to incentivize the movement of goods, just like we do transit. Because those - not only is it important to move those goods about and those services about, but those are jobs - and we forget about that. I'm a big proponent of our freight community, because it really does represent the backbone of what Seattle is.

[00:29:42] Crystal Fincher: Well, one area that is preventing people from biking and walking is the issue of safety. We're basically having a crisis with the amount of pedestrian and bike deaths in the city of Seattle reaching an all-time high. How would you improve pedestrian and bicycle safety?

[00:30:02] Pete Hanning: I would love to see every community have pedestrian boulevards or areas in which they were activated - if not 24/7, on major times - so that we were putting different kinds of activities on our streetways and not just car activity. One way, though, is we also have to do a better piece about educating people. So in the Fremont community, in which I live and work, we're a very big tech corridor. And the amount of people that I see glued to their personal device, not looking up - there is an awareness that has to happen. There's also, there's some stuff that we really just at the city level, we're not gonna be able to affect, but the scale and size of some of the personal vehicles that are being purchased these days and built is really alarming. And so sight lines and just certain safety features just are not put first and foremost. You know, I also - I'm very fortunate - my community has a lot of great bike access to it, and so, and bus routes, but we need to continue to incentivize that behavior.

[00:31:24] Crystal Fincher: Now there are definitely mixed opinions on whether we're appropriately incentivizing and protecting transit. But one thing that's absolutely happening is that transit reliability is falling through the floor right now, with - staffing shortages are being cited and various other things. Now, granted Sound Transit is a regional entity, King County Metro is a county entity, but the City does provide for transit service and supplementing that. In your role as a city councilmember, what can you do to help stabilize transit reliability?

[00:32:02] Pete Hanning: We need to make sure that riding the bus, and waiting for the bus, and getting off the bus feel safe - first and foremost. It's the number one thing I hear why people aren't going back to the buses. Reliability might be second, but safety is always the first thing I hear. And so really it is making sure that folks can feel safe - to and from, and on our transit system.

[00:32:30] Crystal Fincher: How can you make them feel safer?

[00:32:32] Pete Hanning: Well, we can pass - we can get in line with the state's law around public use. And we can be a lot more clear on what is expected and accepted in our communities around consumption and the sale of drugs.

[00:32:49] Crystal Fincher: Now it is illegal to use drugs in public spaces in Seattle, so in what way-

[00:32:56] Pete Hanning: But it's - it's illegal in name and, you know, I mean - most people won't see this, but you and I are on video and you smiled when you said that, recognizing there's a wink and a nudge there, there's a fallacy to it, right? We can go to 12th and Jackson, you can go down along the Leary corridor, you can be along Third Avenue that's being called Fentanyl Way now. I mean, like - I am not trying to mischaracterize other drugs - fentanyl is a poison though. What it is doing to our community is truly a poison that we need to meet head on and directly because all these other issues aren't gonna be solved unless we really do better with that.

[00:33:48] Crystal Fincher: And I should just state for the record, my smile or grin was not in reference to that drug there, but so am I hearing - when you say we need to get in line with that, what does that mean or look like? Does it mean that you think that people need to be arrested and that jail is the appropriate response?

[00:34:05] Pete Hanning: Oh my god - we need to increase all of the tools in our toolbox and jail should be, and we hope, the last response. But there are those in our community who do need some time to calm themselves and to settle out and to sober up. I don't know if you've done any outreach to these folks who are in the thralls of this poison, but it is really hard to reach them. It is unlike any other drug. And I sold alcohol for over 30 years - I have a long experience of talking to people who are inebriated in one capacity or another, and this is different. And we see it - we see it on our buses, we see it in our bus stops, we see it in our streets, we see it in the front of our businesses, we see the businesses being shoplifted from - I mean, I wish it weren't the case, but it is.

[00:35:09] Crystal Fincher: I have done a lot of outreach and worked on this particular issue quite a bit. One thing that data overwhelmingly shows, but also that the majority of people who have been referred to, sought out, forced into incarceration or treatment say is that jail is more destabilizing than stabilizing, and that having better resources - or any available resources in some situations - for substance use disorder treatment is the most appropriate intervention. Do you agree with that, or do you think jail is effective?

[00:35:42] Pete Hanning: Oh, I totally agree with that - I would love if we had enough resource. Jail is a poor substitute for those other options. Sometimes it's the only option we have, unfortunately, right now. And the community at-large also is a victim in this, and we have a responsibility to everyone in this.

[00:36:09] Crystal Fincher: How do you address the revolving door issue there? Because even if you were to throw the book at them for what the law says, they're back on the street, not that long after. How would you address that?

[00:36:22] Pete Hanning: Well, I mean, the way I address all these situations is with compassion and honesty. And, you know, look - today is my 26th month of being sober, personally. And, you know, my journey is my own personal journey to it, but oh my gosh, am I so thankful of my sobriety - because the way I recreationally used for 30-plus years, there's no doubt in my mind that fentanyl would have made it into some substance in which I would have used, right? And that's really scary. And I have the utmost compassion and understanding that it takes numerous attempts for lots of us. It's like the tide - it rolls up the beach, it rolls back. Hopefully the tide - the next time it rolls a little farther up the beach, and at a certain point, you get to that beachhead and you've passed that tide line. And now you're back on stable land, right? And we have to, and there are many ways in which people find their road back. Your path is not my path. I do not wanna limit the amount of opportunities, nor say that anyone isn't able to really make change in their life for the better - for sure they are. But there are also people, Crystal, who have said they didn't get sober until they went to jail. And there is lots of family members who ache for their loved ones who are on the streets in crisis, just to even get into jail so that they know that they're at least somewhat safe - 'cause they're so fearful for their family members. And that's real. And that's not a great solution - maybe it's not a eloquent answer, but it's an honest one.

[00:38:24] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha. It certainly is something that we are going to have to do a better job contending with overall. I do wanna talk about our economy, and we have a very vibrant local business community. We do have some of the largest corporations in the world headquartered here and nearby, but we have a vibrant small business community, including in your district. What are the top issues facing small businesses here in your district, and what can you do to better support them?

[00:38:56] Pete Hanning: I might sound like a broken record, right? I mean, it's public safety. It's no different than what the residents I'm hearing from - you know, in my day job as executive director of the Fremont Chamber, or when I ran The Red Door, you know - if my team didn't feel safe coming to work, if my customers didn't feel safe walking into our door front, if my business was not protected so that the goods and services, so that I could provide them to my guests, like I wasn't able to be successful. And so first and foremost, that is what we have to provide to our small business and our local business economy and community. The other thing, and you and I both brought it up - it plays out in every sector is employment, right? Workforce development, encouraging those who are no longer in the workforce to get back in the workforce. And, you know, we see - you know, when I see folks on the street, on Leary Way, I also would - not only would I love for that human to find some happiness and some relief and be able to join a healthy community again, I'd love to have them back in our economy 'cause we need everyone to be carrying the water right now - whether it's healthcare workers, first responders, maritime community, bus drivers, as you brought up, at Metro, service industry, still even tech - tech is hiring still. It's just certain segments have - you know, they downsize, but not to a great extent. We need to help our businesses find good employees.

[00:40:47] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha. Now I wanna talk about a related issue really - and part of finding good employees, part of employees being available to work - is childcare. We can't have a conversation about employment or inflation without talking about childcare. It's the number two cost for a lot of families, behind their mortgage. The number one for some families who have multiple children. And we just received reporting - recently received reporting - that childcare is now more expensive than college on an annual basis. What can you do in your role as a city councilmember to bring relief to residents in your district, dealing with the high cost and low availability of childcare?

[00:41:31] Pete Hanning: Yeah. You know, I know former Councilmember Burgess did all that great work around the preschool program - so making sure that's fully funded and that we have good access for it. And I'm glad you call it childcare because I always bristle at the term daycare - because a lot of childcare happens in the evenings and other time periods. I come from nightlife and hospitality. And although what kids should be doing in the evenings is usually, you know, winding down, doing homework, playing, and then going to bed - they still need appropriate and safe care while they're doing that, if their parents are working shifts in the different time slots. And so we do need to really take a look at that segment as a whole. Both it needs more people to join it - we need to make sure that it's a livable wage. And we need to shine a light of what a great career it is as well, right - and you are doing something so important for your community - taking care of our youngest and our oldest should be one of the most respected positions in our community.

[00:42:46] Crystal Fincher: To your point, it is also one of the most underpaid. It's minimum wage in a lot of situations. What can be done to help on the workforce side and on just the wage side of that?

[00:42:58] Pete Hanning: You know, I'm not sure that the City itself is the proper place to be the main arbiter of that. But I wanna make sure - you know, we do have our minimum wage standard for all jobs in our city. But above and beyond that, I wouldn't see that the City is - that that's their role.

[00:43:22] Crystal Fincher: Well, and as we move this conversation to a close today, there's a number of people who are trying to make the decision between you and your opponent. What do you say to people when they're saying that they aren't sure who they're gonna vote for?

[00:43:38] Pete Hanning: You know, well, I first encourage them to continue to read up and get the facts. That participation is the most important piece of it, right - if everyone is well-informed and the outcome is what the outcome is, that's a pretty good outcome, right, for our community. And so engagement is the first and most important piece. But I feel like I'm at a place - I know I'm in a place in my life - this is not a career position for me. You know, I'm in my mid-50s. I had a successful career in another industry. I really want to give back to my community and I have some strengths and some skills. I've been on a lot of boards. I've been in counsel, given counsel, taken counsel. I don't personalize things very much. I want to find really pragmatic solutions that we can all compromise on, because I do feel that that is the best way forward and we have some really difficult problems ahead of us - so I bring that experience. And I also bring this understanding of running a business for over 20 years and the importance to that - why those small businesses are important, and what you have to do to make sure that you stay within a budget, and that you can't be all things to all people. You really can't. That is an unfair thing to say. And so I, at least, don't - as today's interview is probably a good indication - I don't shy away from saying what I believe.

[00:45:25] Crystal Fincher: Well, thank you so much for taking the time today to share who you are, what you do believe, and what your plans are should you be elected to the city council. Thank you so much, Pete Hanning.

[00:45:36] Pete Hanning: Crystal, it was a pleasure - thank you very much for having me today.

[00:45:39] Crystal Fincher: Thank you for listening to Hacks & Wonks, which is produced by Shannon Cheng. You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter @HacksWonks. You can catch Hacks & Wonks on every podcast service and app - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get the full versions of our Friday week-in-review shows and our Tuesday topical show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at and in the podcast episode notes.

Thanks for tuning in - talk to you next time.