Week in Review: July 1, 2022 - with Doug Trumm

Week in Review: July 1, 2022 - with Doug Trumm

On today’s week-in-review, Crystal is joined by Executive Director of The Urbanist, Doug Trumm. They start by looking at research that shows Seattle is continuing to grow faster than the suburbs around it. Next, they discuss the future of a Tukwila ballot initiative to raise the city’s minimum wage. In policing news, Crystal and Doug examine the troubling future of funding for non-police public safety and crime prevention programs in Seattle, and how despite the documented success of those programs, the city seems to dismiss their impact. After that, Doug explains what the city’s Comprehensive Plan is, covers why it’s important, and breaks down the various proposals for the plan. Finally, they end the show discussing the State Rep. Position 1 race in Seattle’s 46th LD and how it reflects current debates we’re having across the state.

About the Guest

Doug Trumm

Doug Trumm is Executive Director of The Urbanist, where he has contributed as a writer and editor since 2015. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at UW in 2019 with a concentration in urban policy. As a car-free renter living in Seattle, his policy focuses include improving transit and street safety and tackling the housing affordability crisis. His cat Ole is a national treasure.

Find Doug Trumm on Twitter/X at @dmtrumm.


“Outpacing Suburbs, Seattle Grows 20,100 in One Year in Latest Population Estimate” by Doug Trumm from The Urbanist: https://www.theurbanist.org/2022/06/30/outpacing-suburbs-seattle-grows-20100-in-one-year/

“Initiative for higher minimum wage in Tukwila qualifies for November ballot” by Daniel Beekman fromThe Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/initiative-for-higher-minimum-wage-in-tukwila-qualifies-for-november-ballot/

Raise the Wage Tukwila: https://www.raisethewagetukwila.org/

“Seattle Might Soon Defund a Promising Police Alternative” by Will Casey from The Stranger:https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/06/23/75477450/seattle-might-soon-defund-a-promising-police-alternative

“When Will Seattle Get Police Alternatives?” by Will Casey from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/06/28/75720496/when-will-seattle-get-police-alternatives

“Seattle Reveals Rezoning Concepts and Invites Scoping Comments for Big 2024 Update” by Doug Trumm from The Urbanist: https://www.theurbanist.org/2022/06/23/seattle-reveals-rezoning-concepts-and-invites-scoping-comments-for-big-2024-update/

“Far-Right Freaks Could Force Washington to Act Fast to Protect Abortion” by Will Casey from The Stranger: https://www.thestranger.com/news/2022/06/30/75818300/far-right-freaks-could-force-washington-to-act-fast-to-protect-abortion


[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 our 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 on 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 with a cohost. Welcome back to the program today's co-host, Executive Director of The Urbanist, Doug Trumm.

[00:00:49] Doug Trumm: Hi Crystal. Thanks for having me - I'm really excited - there's so much happening right now to talk about.

[00:00:53] Crystal Fincher: I know - we've got a full slate of things to talk about. Starting from the top is news that you covered in The Urbanist this week - in that Seattle's growing a lot faster than its suburbs once again. What's going on here?

[00:01:10] Doug Trumm: Yeah, the Office of Financial Management at the State released their April estimates and Seattle was up a little over 20,000 residents, which was by far and away the biggest gain across the state. All of King County was up about 30,000. So Seattle is again back to taking the lion's share of the county's growth and was also growing faster than Pierce and Snohomish County, so it just dispels that notion that Seattle is in decline, or is dying, or that the suburbs are certainly the place to be.

[00:01:47] Crystal Fincher: That's always so interesting - we've talked about that narrative a lot on this program and candidates who've run talking about "Seattle is Dying" - that whole thing - have never caught on. They've usually topped out at about 15% of the vote in Seattle elections, but there's been a lot of effort put into that narrative and one of the things about a narrative - if someone can walk outside and see that that's not the case, it doesn't quite gain the traction that people would hope. So people in Seattle basically have mocked that the entire time. However, that narrative has caught hold in the suburbs for people who actually don't live in Seattle, visit Seattle, know many people in Seattle - they just take that on faith - it's what they see, have seen on TV, or have heard people mention, or as they're browsing Facebook with all the other stuff on there. They see that and - oh, it's a chaos city, it's burning to the ground, my goodness. And couldn't be further from the truth. Obviously people there keep saying that, and the numbers of people attracted to the City continue to steadily grow. It's just one of those really interesting things where there is a very intentional political narrative that's laughable inside the City, but because it's just been so pervasive and the people have been persistent talking about it, it takes hold outside of it.

[00:03:21] Doug Trumm: Yeah, and sometimes the narrative can be destiny, but that doesn't seem to be the case here, where you'd think this produced narrative of Seattle just being chaotic would eventually lead to people moving to the suburbs. But that's not in the numbers - Bellevue posted like 1,300 population gain compared to Seattle's 20,000. And there are a couple standouts, like Shoreline and Redmond are growing at a relatively fast rate, but most of the suburbs are just growing very slowly. So all this talk of people wanting to ride out the pandemic out in bucolic setting or in a suburb is maybe starting to reverse, and I think some of the numbers obviously is also reflecting the fact that students are back on campus. So places like Bellingham saw a big jump as well.

[00:04:11] Crystal Fincher: Also another - exciting news this week - the initiative for a higher minimum wage in Tukwila, Raise the Wage Tukwila, qualified for the November ballot. This is really exciting. Have you been following this?

[00:04:25] Doug Trumm: Yeah, this has been really cool - Southcenter being in Tukwila - that's a lot of jobs, it's huge job center for south King County - and they qualified with a really healthy cushion. So it looks pretty certain that that's going on the ballot and, I think, in our state, once something like that is on the ballot, usually it passes. So hopeful sign, hopefully good - will be a solid raise for workers if it passes and with the mall being the driving employment center in the area, there are a lot low-wage workers.

[00:05:01] Crystal Fincher: Lot of retail, lots of service - yeah, definitely a lot of lower wage workers. And one of the issues there is surrounding cities have raised their wage - starting with SeaTac, which was the first in the country to go for a $15 minimum wage. And other surrounding cities have also raised the minimum wage. And one of the biggest, as you talk about, job centers in that entire area has been left behind. So even though Tukwila has to adhere to the state's minimum wage, which is currently $14.49/hour, they're comparing with minimum wage at $17.54/hour in SeaTac, Seattle is $17.27/hour for most workers. So just the geography is the differentiation here, and especially with the higher percentage of those low-wage workers, this is really meaningful.

These initiatives have won, but they've won with a lot of work in the campaign and door-knocking and calls with neighbors. So this is one where it's absolutely winnable, but it's gonna take people getting involved, volunteering - this has largely been a volunteer effort - the Transit Riders Union has been a big part of this and in conjunction with people, business owners, community leaders from within Tukwila. So very exciting, but definitely a point to get engaged in this issue - if this is something that's interesting to you, we are linking the information in our episode notes. This was also covered this week by Daniel Beekman in The Times - just always exciting to see a community-led effort successfully gather enough signatures to get on the ballot. So very, very good - congratulations for the qualification and looking forward to seeing how that initiative proceeds throughout this campaign.

[00:07:02] Doug Trumm: Yeah, great work to Transit Riders Union - I'm a member over there, but the leadership team there is just really great - Katie Wilson and all the organizers over there.

[00:07:10] Crystal Fincher: Really, really great. In less great news, I would say, Will Casey from The Stranger, who's been writing some great articles for The Stranger, wrote this week that Seattle might - the defund and movement in Seattle is going along just fine, except it's not the one that everybody keeps trying to complain about. It looks like the City might actually be defunding a really promising alternative response to armed police. What's the deal here?

[00:07:43] Doug Trumm: Yeah, this one's a head scratcher to me - just having tried to cover police as well for the past few years - whenever you're talking about police alternatives, everyone brings up JustCARE - it's almost like a rule. So you would think with everyone name-dropping JustCARE, that they would be ready to fund JustCARE. But it doesn't really seem like that's necessarily the case. And then, the successful program that JustCARE has helped stand up - that offers a police alternative so that when some of these motels and hotels that have been converted to serve homeless folks if there's an incident - canceling this program would just force more calls to the police, more emergency room visits, more things that are really expensive.

If we're looking at brass tacks to the City - so if you do a broader accounting, and a lot of folks who do this kind of work say, you really should be looking holistically at this - you're gonna save this $10 million maybe initially, but you're going to end up paying for it through other ways. So it just seems like someone's - we just have to figure out a way to keep these police alternatives going because $10 million for this program could really go a long way - and the budget is very large for the City and Seattle Police Department's spending far more than that. So if we're serious about funding public safety, I think this is one place to really invest.

[00:09:12] Crystal Fincher: Completely agree. And if we're serious about public safety, we start by acknowledging that public safety is bigger than policing. With - crime has increased - there are things that are happening in our community that are scary, that are worrisome - the rates of gun violence. Just the things that we're hearing about gun violence, assault and there are some crazy things going on. And if we are actually serious about solving that problem and reducing crime, we can't just focus on the responses after crimes have been committed, the response after people have been victimized. The most powerful way to keep people safe is to keep them from being victimized in the first place - certainly I've talked about this before, we've talked about - lots of people have talked about this before. And we talk about alternatives to policing or really just - hey, we're working on preventing problems and victimization and intervening in things before it gets to the point where it's hurting anyone else.

So JustCARE and a local public safety firm called We Deliver Care has been protecting outreach workers who serve people experiencing homelessness - so as they're doing outreach, they're also involved in that. They've been providing de-escalation services for people in crisis, and they've been doing it without the involvement of a uniformed cop. And this is what so many people are talking about - hey, police don't have the tools to, and were never intended to be people who respond to someone in crisis - mental health crisis - and are actually able to do something about that crisis and get that person into a situation where they need help. JustCARE and We Deliver Care are doing that.

And we had a conversation with Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell on this program where they talked about - hey, we're doing a review and analysis of our partner organizations who are doing alternative responses. And we just wanna make sure that they're effective, we wanna make sure that we're getting the results of the money that we're investing. I did make the comment that - I would love to use that kind of analysis across the board, including with the police department and all of our public safety stuff. But the University of Washington actually conducted a study of JustCARE that included findings about the work that We Deliver Care does - their analysis showed a 39% reduction in 911 calls in the neighborhoods where they operate, a 12% reduction in 911 calls from the hotels where the programs provide shelter.

The police department would be celebrating and calling a press conference, I'm sure Mayor Harrell would be celebrating and praising these numbers. So one, this is absolutely a success. If there was a small pilot program - that where they are operating, they're getting these kinds of concerns - a nearly 40% reduction in 911 calls where they are, meaningful reductions in crime and people being victimized and people being worried and anxious and concerned, and unsafe being able to handle crisis situations. This is what we need. This is keeping people safe. We have data showing this is keeping people safe, and this is gonna wind up on the chopping block, while we're increasing funding in other areas that certainly are not getting these kinds of results. It's just, it's really confusing. And it just seems if you're making this move, are you actually serious about keeping people safe, or are you invested in a particular method of, or a strategy - that maybe there's investment or a payoff in continuing that strategy, but it's not anything related to actual public safety. Just really confusing.

[00:13:14] Doug Trumm: Yeah, and are we only going to put our data on public safety through the prism of SPD? Because it doesn't seem like they're really, truly open to looking at these alternatives.

[00:13:26] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I know they're talking about establishing a Department of Public Safety - certainly did seem like some of the defunding effort of these community prevention and intervention programs may - that funding may disappear in order to stand up this Department of Public Safety. But whether internally or externally, it seems like the point is - do what it takes to keep people safe, do what it takes to make people safer, do what it takes to reduce the calls we - they keep talking about cops are overloaded and not able to respond to 911 calls - well, what would a 40% reduction in them do? This is what this program is accomplishing - seems like that might right-size things according to their calculations and help balance things, so maybe they could stop ignoring sexual assaults and actually start investigating them again.

Just it is - this seems to fly in the face of everything that the public is demanding, everything that they say that they are standing for, and it's just not coming. How do you stop a program that's getting those kinds of results, and then move the money to somewhere that is not? Either we care about keeping people safe or we don't. People are scared and anxious and they want solutions - hiring more police officers is not even something that will - those police officers won't land on the ground until later this year, or next year - that's not a plan for keeping people safe today, and people are demanding a plan to make their streets safer right now. I just don't understand what they're doing.

[00:15:02] Doug Trumm: Yeah, and one thing I'll say really quickly is - as a policy nerd, one really cool thing about the program design is the fact that We Deliver Care is hiring largely from folks who are formerly incarcerated or formerly homeless - you're creating a virtuous cycle there where people get meaningful and gainful employment and it interrupts that cycle of poverty. So it just seems like a really, just a really solid program that we shouldn't be pulling the plug on so abruptly.

[00:15:30] Crystal Fincher: That's a really good point - and really those are subject matter experts. Few people are better poised to be able to understand, connect with, and really help - with appropriate and meaningful help, and not something that people who've never been in that situation feel is best for that community or that group of people - but people who have been through it, who understand a lot of the challenges and ways that other folks don't. And so they can be more effective a lot of times in identifying and connecting people to help. I hope we see an increase and a further investment in that program and not a decreased one. And if you feel the same, it would certainly be very, very good to talk to your City Council people and to let, most of all, Mayor Harrell and his office know that we want to be investing in things that work and not defunding them.

Also this week, scoping for the Comp Plan update is underway - you've been covering this in The Urbanist - what's going on?

[00:16:38] Doug Trumm: Oh, so much - a lot of different advocates and organizations are really spinning their wheels right now trying to get geared up for this, because it's a month long - currently announced as a month-long - scoping period to determine what are the options, what's on the menu for our big Comprehensive Plan update in 2024, which is -

[00:17:02] Crystal Fincher: I'm gonna jump in and pause right here, just to ask you - a lot of people are not familiar with - okay, Comprehensive Plan? What's its purpose? Why does comprehensive planning happen and what does it accomplish?

[00:17:14] Doug Trumm: Yeah, the Comprehensive Plan - it's both kind of opaque and esoteric, but also it's sort of like the Super Bowl of planning. And you certainly can do things between the major Comp Plan updates, but this is when the big zoning changes, the big land use changes, and also the big changes in the related plans - like the Transportation plans and even Parks plans, everything - they try to line everything and get everything, hopefully in harmony, more or less. And there's a lot of debate about - that's really the case - but this happens. Now with the recent reform at the state level, every 10 years - you have to do a major update to your Comp Plan. And every 5 years, there's a minor update. Now if you really get a fire under someone, you can do major zoning changes in between them - and sometimes it's like a station area plan - if you're getting a new bus rapid transit or a new light rail station. So you can do stuff in between, but it's rare and you have to have the staff time to dedicate to it. So really there's a lot of pressure on this 2024 Comp Plan update to be ambitious, to really try to do as much as we can because worst case scenario, we're not gonna get another opportunity to do something really big until the next major update, which is a full decade later.

And this has really gotten the attention of climate advocates, which we would include us at The Urbanist as those, that - okay, well, the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is saying, okay, we need to do a lot of concerted climate action now because if you don't do anything by 2030, our options just get considerably less. If we're not lowering emissions immediately, our pathways just get worse and worse. So land use is the forgotten aspect of climate change for many policy makers, 'cause it's a hard thing to deal with, but it really is crucial to actually decarbonizing our economy and our society. So not to put a ton of pressure on this, but it is a huge moment and a good chance to do climate action through land use, and also through - to connect the Transportation Plan.

[00:19:42] Crystal Fincher: So as they're talking about this plan, they're looking at some different - conceptual alternatives. They've laid out some - and some look more promising than others - what's on the lineup?

[00:19:55] Doug Trumm: So, there's five alternatives currently. And one of them by default is no change alternative - they use as a baseline. So that's Alternative 1. Then there's also an alternative, that is called the focus alternative. I think that's alternative to - apologies if I get this order a little bit off - and the focus alternative uses the concept of urban nodes, so it's sort of like urban villages, but they'd be adding these nodes in between urban villages and other business districts, or existing grandfathered-in areas of multi-family and some commercial. And they'd be adding these sort of urban village-esque aspects - and urban village is just the City's term of art for - it's an urban neighborhood, but because it's Seattle, we have to throw in village to make it feel a little neighborhoody and quaint. But it's basically continued the urban village idea and then, I guess, the implication then is we wouldn't be doing a lot outside of those nodes. So it'd sort of be a truce on single-family zoning outside of those.

[00:21:03] Crystal Fincher: So basically any growth will be happening in these concentrated areas, any absorption of density, increase of density is limited to these new nodes. But most areas outside of that are still going to be high-cost detached homes.

[00:21:20] Doug Trumm: Exactly, and I think you would basically be going along roughly the same in the existing urban villages, potentially with some expansions, which would be nice in some areas where some of the urban villages are very skinny and gerrymandered.

And then there's Alternative 3, which is sort of the opposite approach - which is taking these Neighborhood Residentials, which the city's calling single-family zones now - it's taking these Neighborhood Residential zones and it's adding some missing middle types. And so far the types that OPCD, the Office of Planning and Community Development - it's the City agency tasked with this plan - so far, the types that they're listing are triplexes and fourplexes and that type of - it's on the low end. And so one thing advocates can do, who are looking for more than that - in the State bill, they contemplate sixplexes - is asking for sixplexes, maybe rowhouses, stack flats - more of those denser but still missing middle types that fit it very well into single-family neighborhoods or Neighborhood Residential, if you will. And so that's Alternative 3 - it's looking primarily outside of the urban villages, not necessarily only focus - it would be broad sections of single-family zoning, or you could just redefine single-family zoning to be that fourplex or sixplex zoning, or something like that.

Because this is a scoping phase, none of that's really decided - it's just setting the menu, like how much would OPCD actually study - because what they actually put into the draft is what we then can actually order. You can't order something that hasn't had some of that underlying work, like the environmental impact analysis, because then you get sued and you'll lose. And you will get sued probably anyways.

But we can move on to Alternative 4 now, which is called - I think a corridor approach, or transit corridors, I forget their shorthand name - but it would do more just along transit corridors and they didn't exactly say how wide of a band. So that would be one thing to give feedback on is - if we were to only focus on transit corridors and there's some arguments against that, which we could get into later, but that would be where you focus zoning change. Are we going a quarter mile from the stops, are we going a half mile, are we going only less than that? And if you're going only in a very narrow band, that's when those criticisms really creep in - because many of our transit quarters in this City are along busy, polluted, congested arterials, where you're not really gonna want your kid to be playing outside, you're not really gonna necessarily be breathing that air if you face out into that street. So, I think one concept that advocates are really bringing into this study is we need to be putting housing where people wanna live and it can't only be in the space leftover that single-family homeowners don't want. It also has to be places that are livable.

[00:24:49] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it has to be everywhere - otherwise we're just redlining by another name, really. It's really interesting - and this is, this is wonky, totally wonky - but as a former planning commissioner myself, it really is the skeleton of a community. This is the thing that the determines the composition of how the community can grow, can evolve, can look, who's going to be there, who's not going to be there, who we're gonna include, how we can be responsive and resilient against climate change. It's - everything about how a city develops is really dictated by this footprint that's established that says - this is what is allowed here, this is what can go here, this is what we wanna encourage in these areas and what we don't, this is what is included and straight up outlawed. This is how we're going to enable this community to become walkable - that this can build that 15-minute city where everything is within walking distance - everyone's basic needs.

So this is basically determining what Seattle's gonna look like in - 20 years from now - is based on the decisions that we make today. And if you think about what Seattle - I'm old, so I remember what Seattle was like 20 years ago - maybe people listening here may have moved here, maybe a lot younger, but it looks a lot different now than it did 20 years ago. And the planning process is what basically started the ball rolling on all of this. So if we think about the conversations that we're having today and what we're looking at in the City right now and saying - this is what we like and this is what we don't like, and this is what we wanna see, or don't see - then engage in this process because this is what will determine Seattle in 2042, and the Seattle that our kids and grandkids live in, or not able to live in - the decisions now determine that.

[00:27:06] Doug Trumm: And it has a big impact on affordability and what housing options and prices are out there. And we did save the best of the bunch proposed so far for last - the concept, Alternative 5 is the combined approach. So basically it sounds like you would stack those three approaches, just described, on top of each other - which makes sense, because like you said, some of these Neighborhood Residential zones - they're attractive places to live, but good luck if you don't have a million dollars sitting around. So it would add more housing options there, which helps folks age in place, while also still doing that stuff around the nodes and around the transit corridors - to focus even more potentially multi-family development or just more options in those areas where they're well served by services and transit. So, of the ones proposed, 5 looks promising, it looks like it would be a huge upgrade. And there's also some talk of there being an Alternative 6 that advocates are - do we need an alternative that sort of even goes beyond the concepts proposed so far? And I haven't seen exactly what Alternative 6 would be, but obviously if it's something even better, then that's definitely something worthy of discussion.

[00:28:28] Crystal Fincher: Well, we will keep an eye on that - certainly we hope you will keep an eye on that and engage, and at least conceptually make your voice known that - I think my perspective, a lot of people's perspective is - yeah, we don't want to constrain where people have the choice to live. People should be able to live in desirable, healthy, attractive, enticing neighborhoods. And we shouldn't reserve that for the most wealthy residents who can buy into them - those should be accessible to all of us.

Another thing this week, I guess leading into that, it is lots of conversations about the City we wanna see - as we were just talking about - and a race in Seattle for the Legislature that really is talking a lot about the kind of Seattle we wanna see. And that's the one between Gerry Pollet and Hadeel Jeanne in the 46th legislative district. What have you seen in this race?

[00:29:29] Doug Trumm: Yeah, this has been a really interesting race - so far this year, there haven't - well, and the deadlines passed, so we see what the field is - there haven't been a lot of progressive challenges of incumbents, like we saw two years ago with a lot of incumbents having to defend the record, which is I think a healthy thing for democracy rather than people just going unopposed for decades at a time. But the exception to this is this Gerry Pollet race where he's been there a good amount of time - he's also has a very important chair, which he's Chair of the House Government Committee - Local Government Committee - which is where many of these zoning bills have to go through. And he disputes this sometimes, but I think the record speaks for itself - we just haven't been able to get a zoning bill through his committee and he always has massive changes to bills, it seems like - rewriting bills like he did to Jessica Bateman's bill which was the big missing middle reform that we've covered in previous shows, I'm sure, and on The Urbanist. That was going to have that fourplex zoning, potentially sixplex zoning in an earlier draft, before - relatedly - Gerry Pollet voted to amend that. So in other words, he's been an obstacle to that kind of reform.

And he represents, now, North Seattle - he used to have Lake Forest Park and kinda more in farther north. But now it's just North Seattle and Northeast Seattle. And I think he's a bit outta step with his district because these are places where people are really concerned about housing affordability, where the idea of a fourplex isn't that scary necessarily - and it's something that he hasn't furthered in his time as a legislator. So he's getting a challenge from someone who's specifically saying - this is a reason why I'm running. We got a chance to interview Hadeel and she's clearly passionate about this issue, she clearly knows a lot about this issue, she's clearly approaching this race from a - much more of a sense of urgency around both climate and housing affordability, and not just doing the things the way we've always done 'em. The Urbanist's Election Committee is still yet to vote and issue its endorsements, but I would say that it's looking promising for Hadeel and that's just a testament to someone having the bravery and the gumption to run against a long-time incumbent with sort of this institutional backing.

[00:32:12] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it really is gonna be interesting to continue to follow these races. I am working in a 46th legislative district race with Melissa Taylor - that's the only candidate race I'm working on, but that does make it really interesting to watch what's happening in these other seats in Seattle and beyond. And housing affordability, which this conversation is directly tied to, is a huge concern in the district. The stories that I hear from the doors from Melissa, who's out there every day, are harrowing. So many people are struggling in so many different ways - even people who - you drive down to see - North Seattle street, right? You see the homes now - the average home price, it's pretty high in Seattle - and people may look comfortable from the outside, but a lot of them are struggling. A lot of people have had to bring in roommates and extra people to live in their homes. Some of them can't fit any more people in and are at the point where if rent goes any higher, if mortgages go any higher, if costs go any higher, they're not going to be able to stay in their home and stay in Seattle. There's so many people dealing with this - even in single-family neighborhoods - where they're saying something has got to give, we're being squeezed to the point where we have nothing left to give - and it's really displacing people from neighborhoods.

This is a conversation about who do we want to be able to live in neighborhoods - do we want these neighborhoods to be exclusive places where no one ever is able to move in again, unless you are effectively making half a million dollars a year or more? Or places where young families starting out, people graduating from college, the kids of the people in these homes - are they going to be able to move into this neighborhood and build the kind of life that other people have seen, or not? So it's just really interesting to see the different levels of urgency, as you just talked about, 'cause some people are - we're at this point with a number of things - you talked about with climate, the IPCC report saying - look, we get this right and we start making meaningful, tangible progress by 2030, or we're in for a world of pain and consequences. And we get this housing thing right, and this comprehensive planning process right now, or we're in for a Seattle that just does not reflect anything that we've seen before and that's really a playground for the rich, a very exclusive place. The only accessible places are ones that come with harm attached - with pollution and a lot of the consequences of poorly managed growth. And it's just - this is a time where the urgency is now - we need people to act and not continue to kick the can down the road.

[00:35:15] Doug Trumm: Yeah, exactly. And it really speaks to - there's so many legislators who are homeowners and who - many of them are wealthy, and there are not many tenants. And Hadeel would be someone who's bringing a younger tenant perspective to the Legislature at a time when it's really needed. And you would think that legislators who have had that luck - to have bought into the housing market, now have a home that's worth over a million dollars, like Representative Pollet - you would think they would have some sort of empathy or sympathy for folks who are not buying in at the opportune time, who are buying in when the prices of admission is a million dollars. You'd think that they would policy make to try to correct that problem, but it doesn't appear there's that sense of duty or urgency there.

[00:36:10] Crystal Fincher: Yeah - different experiences, different things - and when you look at polling, it's really interesting. And one of the things a lot of people have talked about - yeah, young people are feeling different, and younger people are - they have different voting patterns. But "young" is doing really heavy lifting in that sentence because when you look, the dividing line is 45 or 50 years old. This is not young as in college. This is young as in not senior. Everybody is being squeezed and that line keeps on moving up and up and up, which is why we are seeing different people being elected, different challengers gaining strength and momentum, different kinds of policies that weren't in mainstream conversation even five years ago now moving with urgency. 'Cause when you talk about just the community under 50 - that's parents, that's grandparents, that's a whole big swath of people who are feeling this pain and who understand that we can't continue the way we're going, that we're going to have to substantially change something if we want these results that we're seeing to change.

Another thing I wanted to talk about this week was another article from Will Casey. And it was about - hey, given these continuing Supreme Court decisions - first and foremost, the Dobbs decision overturning the right to abortion from Roe vs Wade - hey, is anyone gonna call for a special session in Washington to address this? What's in this article?

[00:38:02] Doug Trumm: Yeah, that - Will Casey made a really good point there. We've had special sessions for a lot less. The most recent example is, that comes to mind, is the 2013 special session to make a special tax break for Boeing - that was hoping to keep, entice them to keep their jobs in Washington State. And they ended up still moving their corporate campus to Chicago and they've moved also some of their production to the South and other locations in the country. So, we did it for that. But we're not doing it for fundamental rights that speak to the - both the physical and economic security of our population and people who really are scared right now because the Supreme Court really upended what we thought was sort of settled. And obviously we saw this coming for many years, and even if Democratic establishment sort of buried their head in the sand about this. But yeah, it seems like we could call a special session about this. There's a ton of Supreme Court mischief right now of overturning precedents and there are laws that we could pass to lessen the risk there. And really just - it's also important to remind people that maybe if not the federal level of government, but the state and local levels of government can still work how they should. It's a lot harder without the federal government, but I think at a certain point, you also just have to restore faith in our system.

[00:39:43] Crystal Fincher: That's such a great point and it's absolutely true. Lots of people are, myself included, frustrated by federal government, which is why I have a podcast talking about state and local government 'cause I do think we need to talk about that more and so much is possible, still, at these levels. But it's such a challenge when talking about this - so there is - Democratic leadership is all saying that we do need to pass legislation. And they're saying we need to carefully craft this legislation, we're working on it, we'll have it ready for when the January session starts. The risk to that is we have an election before the January session and people are working hard, but it's possible that Democrats lose seats this Legislative Session - to the point where it's possible to lose a chamber in our State Legislature. There are many competitive races here in our state in battleground districts, so it is not a given that we walk into 2023 with the same composition in our Legislature that - and given the current composition, they should be able to pass legislation that does codify abortion protections. I should note we should absolutely be going beyond that because we know that they're going to be attacking contraception, marriage equality, basic privacy rights - we know that's on deck, so we shouldn't wait for that either and that should be ready.

But it's possible that we lose the seats necessary to pass this before that time. Hopefully that doesn't happen, but there's a chance of it. And the one thing that we should never do with basic human rights is leave them up to chance. As you said, we called a special session for Boeing. We've called special sessions for transportation packages. We can do that with such basic, fundamental, necessary protections for Roe - protections for abortion access and the others, as we should say. I will tell you - so what is not talked about upfront - the problem is when you call a special session, it basically forces people to stop campaigning. We cannot campaign while a session, or fundraise, while a session is happening. So leading up to a session, during the session - you basically have to suspend campaigning activity, you have to suspend fundraising - which unfortunately is a necessary part of winning campaigns in our existing political system - would love to change that, but that's part of the existing system. And so, I'm sure there's calculations going - my goodness, we've got these more competitive races than we've seen in quite some time. We do have - we're fighting to defend seats on the Democratic and progressive side, with vigorous challenges by Republicans in several of them. The last thing that people wanna do is to take some time off the campaign trail to do this. We can do it in January.

And my response to that would be - one, it's the right thing to do and you don't leave rights up to chance. So one - morally, ethically, logically, it's the right thing to do. We can do it now, you do it now. You might not be able to do it later, so you do it now. On top of that, there's an opportunity to, as you said, show the State that one, government can work as it's intended. The majority of people in this state, as we've covered in polling and talked about over and over again - want, believe in, are passionate about these protections. You have the opportunity to have all eyes on you as you take action and deliver the protections that people in this state are currently protesting in the streets for. You have the opportunity to have a ton of earned media show that you're responding to the needs of the state. And only one party is willing to do that - you have the media shining a light on who truly is pro-woman, pro-family - pro-life in terms of being able to live, have opportunity, have rights and not be subjugated or treated like a second-class citizen. That's the opportunity ahead of us. And then you can roll after talking about - yeah, we just did take extra steps and take the action necessary to make sure you are protected. You can run on that. People will see that, people believe in that, they're asking for that. This is a humongous opportunity for the Democratic party to demonstrate, in the most clear and present way, that they are serving and protecting the interests of the residents in the state right now.

So I think there's absolutely a case for doing it - I understand that it's not the best thing, but I truly believe that if they were to do that - coming off the other end, they would have a lot of thankful, happy people who are ready to roll in to 2022, to continue to defend the threats that are being brought about by this extremist, far-right Supreme Court, the extremist Republican Party that's looking to gain seats in our federal legislature. The pressing need to defend against Republicans is not going away, so let's not leave any rights at risk and let's put ourselves in the best position to be able to continue defending and then moving forward to pass policies that we know people in the state want.

[00:45:24] Doug Trumm: Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more. And it goes to that fundamental critique of our politics, especially as the Democratic establishment party politics, where - issue polling, you can't be scared of your own shadow. You have to design the situation that you want to see, both as a policymaker and as a campaigner. If they're looking at polling and saying - oh no, maybe this won't be that popular in this swing seat or something like that. At a certain point, I think you have to just - A) take a moral stand, like you were saying. But also, have a little faith that people can change their mind, that you can campaign on something and change people's minds, that maybe this poll isn't really reflecting what would be salient in a race or that we'll see - oh, the Democrats took concerted action and that will have, and passed something and did something brave - that might have a bigger impact than whatever they fear for blowback by not apparently calling this sooner and just go charging ahead with this.

Because I think people really need a shot in the arm - just this, I think people are a little dejected right now, and they have a right to be, because we've seen this organized, concerted campaign from conservatives for decades to take over the court system and undo all this legislative work. And in the meantime, we didn't even codify it at the federal level. And now we have a chance to codify at the state level - and eventually, you have to treat this like it truly is - which is an all problem, and conservatives are coming for many of these basic rights. And they're coming for the climate, as we saw with the recent decision announced, I think yesterday, with the Clean Power law. This Supreme Court is on the march, it's corrupt, it has no regard for precedent and they make up their own. And if we're not all hands on deck right now, when are we going to be?

[00:47:39] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely - that's a question a number of people are asking. This is not a drill, we are here and it's time to act. We have to, we may not get this chance to act later on in the future, so now is the time.

With that, thank you for listening to Hacks & Wonks this Friday, July 1st, 2022. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistant producer Shannon Cheng, with assistance from Bryce Cannatelli. And our wonderful co-host today was Executive Director of The Urbanist, Doug Trumm. You can find Doug on Twitter @dmtrumm, that's two M's at the end. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii. 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 midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave us a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.

Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you soon.