Week in Review: July 30, 2021 - with Heather Weiner

Week in Review: July 30, 2021 - with Heather Weiner

On today’s week in review, political consultant Heather Weiner joins Crystal to provide insight into the final days of primary campaign season, including:

  • Optimistic vs pessimistic messaging in candidates' primary election closing arguments;
  • The candidate who spelled their name wrong on a mailer, and the biggest consulting mistakes Heather and Crystal have made;
  • This week's Pete Holmes interview where he admitted to making decisions as City Attorney based on fear of losing political campaign endorsements; and
  • Why Crystal tries to refrain from making primary election predictions.

And remember, get your primary ballots in by next Tuesday, August 3rd!

About the Guest

Heather Weiner

Heather Weiner (she/her) is a political consultant with 30 years of experience on labor, environmental, LGBTQ, racial justice, and reproductive rights issues. She focuses on ballot initiatives, independent expenditures, legislative, union organizing and contract campaigns. She's a recovering lawyer.

Find Heather Weiner on Twitter/X at @hlweiner.

Podcast Transcript

Crystal Fincher: [00:00:00] Welcome to Hacks and Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington state through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Today, we'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. 

Heather Weiner: [00:00:50] Hi Crystal. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:00:51] Hey Heather. Good to have you back. 

Heather Weiner: [00:00:53] Always glad to chat with you the couple of days before the elections. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:00:57] Couple days before the elections - I'm sure your schedule is just totally wide open and you're not busy or anything at this point in time. 

Heather Weiner: [00:01:05] What do you like to do on Election Day itself, when you feel like there's not much else you can do? Do you have a routine? Is there something you like to do? 

Crystal Fincher: [00:01:13] So that's an interesting question - between me and the candidate, right? So, for me, I just like to make sure that the candidate is occupied because they're dealing with anxiety and apprehension and all that kind of stuff and nerves. And so just making sure that there's a good plan in place for them. And then for me, I just like to step back and center myself a little bit, make sure that I'm prepared for the evening's events, whether it's an Election Night party, or if I'm just paying attention to - trying to figure out - okay, let me get situated for when the numbers come in, make sure that I have a good plan. I usually don't like to be in public when numbers come in. I like to be able to digest them myself before I have to react or synthesize them for anyone else. So that's me. What about you? 

Heather Weiner: [00:02:04] Well, sometimes I like to go get a pedicure, because I'm nervous and kind of do a little bit of self care. Sometimes I go get my hair done. There's always something now - of course, now that we've been in COVID times, there haven't really been Election Night parties - you're just kind of sitting at home and pacing and chewing your nails. So, I've been trying to get some exercise during the day, a little bit of self care. I will say though, that my hardcore campaign friends are like, "What do you mean? I am out there door knocking and getting ballots in until 7:59. I am making sure people are getting their ballots in. Don't even talk to me." And I'm like, "Oh wow. I guess I'm a little lazy. I guess, you're right. I guess I do need to be out there getting ballots in." 

Crystal Fincher: [00:02:52] Depending on - there have definitely been some campaigns, particularly close campaigns, where you are chasing every single ballot to the very last moment - making sure that everyone who has said that they were going to get their ballot in has, that you're assisting people with the last minute, "Oh man, I'm not going to be able to make it to the post office." Let's get that figured out for you - because every vote is going to count. 

Heather Weiner: [00:03:15] I remember, boy, back in 2013, I was working on the Prop 1 SeaTac minimum wage campaign. And there, you only had 7,000 voters. So you knew exactly who had voted, who hadn't, what time they came home. I think actually Brianna Thomas was the campaign manager at that point - outreach manager - and she had dozens of people out there making sure people got their ballots in on time. And it made a big difference because we won by just a couple dozen votes. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:03:41] Oh, it made the difference and why I have always said - if I'm ever running a field campaign, Brianna Thomas is near the top of the list of people - just because what she has done, including in SeaTac and Seattle Honest Elections, she will work a field campaign. So yeah, that's interesting. 

I also like to just center myself a little bit with family generally and just, okay, this is what matters most - no matter what happens, at least I still have people who I love and people who love me, and this is what's most important. And even if everything falls apart on the outside in the world, this is still the center and just getting back to what I know matters most. 

Heather Weiner: [00:04:24] Great. I think this should be a poll question you should always ask consultants is - what is their Election Day thing? Do they have a special pair of socks they like to wear, like baseball players? Or, is it just what are they doing? Or are they just already making plans to be out of town? It'd be interesting to find out. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:04:46] Many are already making plans to be out of town, I'm sure. I always have a thing with red lipstick on Election Days too. 

Heather Weiner: [00:04:52] I like that. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:04:54] That's my war paint. 

Heather Weiner: [00:04:55] All right. Please post photos. All right. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:05:00] We will see. So, let's talk about the races and as people are wrapping up, I was just taking a tour around some of the final C4s, which are reports that the campaigns have to file on their spending and final fundraising - just to see what campaigns are up to in these closing days. I guess I'll just say - what's interesting that you're noticing just in the general campaign world? 

Heather Weiner: [00:05:27] Well, you said you're looking at C4s and you're looking at the money. But I've actually been paying more attention to the messaging. I've got a lot of mail sitting right here that says, Seattle is Dying. Are you done yet? What do you want to - it's kind of a last person to leave Seattle, turn off the lights - really a doom and gloom messaging. Which I don't think works with voters in Seattle - we may all be kind of bitching about our lives, but we want optimism, we want, vision. And telling us that everything is bad, I think, actually depresses voter turnout - does not help with voter turnout. So, I'm really interested to see how many people from Jessyn Farrell to Art Langlie are using this very negative messaging - even Colleen Echohawk - are using these images that are kind of poverty porn, right? The images of people's suffering, tents, all of trash, just kind of ginning up fear and anger. So I think that's super interesting to see that that's what some of the folks are doing. And I'm going to be very curious to see if that messaging works. 

I've also been hearing a lot from the chattering class about an anti-incumbent, anti-City Council, anti-government backlash. And I think that that is definitely true, but the reasons that people are unhappy are very different and very split. So there's a lot of people who are kind of the older, more conservative voters who are unhappy because they see that things are changing. They don't like that things are changing in the direction - they're scared of younger people and their agendas, they're scared of crime, safety, et cetera. And then there's a whole other section of voters who are frustrated with economic inequality, the wage gap, rising housing costs, their inability to make a wage, to get to work with good transit. And so I think that those people are going to split. You're not going to see 80% voting for one candidate. So I think it's super interesting. I'm really interested to see what the results are. What's your take on it? 

Crystal Fincher: [00:07:47] This is really interesting. I agree with you in that - super negative, doom and gloom, is not - that can't be the only thing that you're doing. Sure, you have to contrast with other candidates and you have to underscore why there is a change needed. But really people need to understand what your vision is, and people are looking for what is on the other side? What does it look like when we get out of this? 

And, I think part of the problem - why doom and gloom is even worse now than it has been before, when it comes to getting results, is that people are having a harder time seeing beyond these times now. I mean, we're just now again, talking about how bad and contagious the Delta variant is. Is it that we're going to be heading back into lockdowns? Is it mask mandates reintegrated and all the drama that creates with anti-maskers and anti-vaccine people - talking about vaccine hesitancy and this Delta variant taking over and spreading. So it's just like, man, are we ever going to get out of this? And, housing is getting more and more expensive along with so many other things. And daily life is just a challenge for a lot of people. They need someone who can say, yeah, it is a challenge right now, but here is where we can be in two years, four years, eight years. And articulating that vision effectively, I think, will do a lot for any candidate running in the City. 

You talk about messaging. And so just looking through - some folks scan and send me mailers - just looked at one where Bruce Harrell spelled his name wrong on his own mailer.

Heather Weiner: [00:09:36] Get out of here, I didn't see that. Let me see, let me see -

Crystal Fincher: [00:09:39] We're on video - you can see. You see the third R in there. And I look at this and like, these are things - sometimes bad things happen and it is really easy to miss if you're not proofreading well, but you talk about the nightmare of consultants - is actually this mailer. It's like looking at it.

Heather Weiner: [00:09:59] Christian, if you're listening now.

Crystal Fincher: [00:10:03] I wasn't going to say his - but there you go. I didn't say it, Christian. 

Heather Weiner: [00:10:05] Oh man. Well, look look - we've all made those mistakes - disclaimers will eff you, is what we say in the consulting business. Also, I'm seeing quite a few candidates who are forgetting to put their disclaimers on their mail, particularly their videos, and Seattle requires your disclaimer [in] your video to also be spoken. And so I am not going to name any names, but I think there's a consultant out there who needs to check all his videos because he does not have the spoken disclaimer. He's going to get fined by the PDC - not naming any names.

Crystal Fincher: [00:10:37] Yeah. I know who you're talking about. But yeah - and that's a challenge. And really, there are so many rules and regulations - and they stack up and it's easy to miss something. It is our job not to miss them. And it always is - 

Heather Weiner: [00:10:50] It happens. Believe me, I've never made a mistake-

Crystal Fincher: [00:10:52] - it is a nightmare. And trust me, I've made my share of mistakes, so- 

Heather Weiner: [00:10:55] Oh, can I tell you my most embarrassing mistake story? 

Crystal Fincher: [00:10:58] Sure. 

Heather Weiner: [00:10:58] I mean, I can tell you now - it's four years later. It's horrible though. I was working on a mayoral campaign - you can guess which one. And, we were getting ready to do a big press conference with some labor unions announcing this candidate's economic platform - right before Labor Day, I think. And I texted somebody who had the same - there were two women with the same name. I thought I was texting the one who was with labor. I actually was texting the one who was the campaign manager for the opposition. 

And then I tried to pretend like, Never mind, we're not going to do it. Oh, never mind - we're not going to do it. And of course what happened - they jumped us, came out the day before we were going to do it with their own platform. I mean, I don't know if they were going to do it or not - they were going to scramble. Anyway, oh my God - even just talking about it right now, I feel the shame of that mistake. I had to call my team and say, You guys, I really just effed up. I'm so sorry. Here's what I just did. And all that work you just put into this economic platform, I just totally screwed. Sorry.

Crystal Fincher: [00:12:11] We all have-

Heather Weiner: [00:12:11] Oh God, my face is hot talking about it. I'm so embarrassed. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:12:16] Yes, we're talking about this mailer with the candidate - and out of everything you don't want to spell wrong - the candidate's name's is the complete number one.

Heather Weiner: [00:12:25] But we've all done it, we've all done it. We've all made mistakes.

Crystal Fincher: [00:12:26] And I was like, Oh, maybe this is a IE mailer - and I'm like, oh no, actually campaign. But to the point, we've all made mistakes. My biggest, certainly one of my biggest, I would rank it as my biggest - I was putting together a poll for a legislative race. There were two legislators who had the same last name - very different districts. I polled the wrong legislator. Polls aren't cheap. I - wrong legislator - 

Heather Weiner: [00:12:58] Oh my God. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:12:58] - same name, wrong person. I did it, I did it. Yep. That's me, I did it. 

Heather Weiner: [00:13:06] Wow. Wow. Too late. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:13:09] Yeah. Yep. That wasn't ideal. That was not fun. 

Heather Weiner: [00:13:13] Polls are not cheap. I will say that I am seeing a lot of people making the same mistake over and over again, which is spelling Lorena González's name - last name - incorrectly. And I kind of made fun of it - if you were going to say the name O'Sullivan, you would definitely put the apostrophe between O and the S - and yet what I'm seeing over and over again is people spelling her name without the accent mark over the a, which is a completely different letter in the alphabet.

Crystal Fincher: [00:13:41] It's a different letter. 

Heather Weiner: [00:13:42] Right. So you're misspelling the name. We've also seen it misspelled with an S instead of a Z Gonzales with an S apparently is a Filipino last name, González with a Z is Mexican. And we're also - just saw somebody completely garble her name in a voter guide as Gun... I can't even say the name. It was like Gungales.

Crystal Fincher: [00:14:06] Funky. 

Heather Weiner: [00:14:06] Apparently the name González seems too hard for people to spell, and I'm not going to say it's racist. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:14:17] Yeah, I've seen it with the S.

Heather Weiner: [00:14:18] ... but I am going to say it's lazy. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:14:20] It's lazy. And it is a sign of us being in a society that has not prioritized learning how to equitably interact with everyone in our society - understanding that there are different letters and, to your point, we get O'Sullivan and O'Reilly, and we get capitalizations correct. And McDonald and McGinn. We pick up these conventions for other ethnic last names.

Heather Weiner: [00:14:55] Van De Wege.

Crystal Fincher: [00:14:57] Yeah. Yes. Yeah. I mean, von Reichbauer. We can spell von Reichbauer and Steinbrueck. I mean, there was another racist Post Alley article this week involving Colleen Echohawk, which was horrible. But previously, there was another - that was not the only racist one. There was another one talking about Port candidates where Steinbrueck was spelled correctly, but he did misspell Hamdi Mohamed's last name - first name incorrectly. It's like, you can spell Steinbrueck correctly, really? You're getting that correct and you can't even double-check - 

Heather Weiner: [00:15:39] Hamdi? Wow. Well, I am definitely guilty of garbling people's names in pronunciation. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:15:47] I have. 

Heather Weiner: [00:15:48] Yeah, I think actually I was on your show and I said, Ubax when it's "Uba," when her name is, you know, and that's horrible and I apologize to you. So I understand like, but if you are writing something, you can Google it. Let me Google it for you. All right, look, listen. We have so much more to talk about. Let's keep going. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:16:07] So much more to talk about. Okay. And we've yeah, we can - the issue with the show is a lot of times we just talk anyway, and these are very reminiscent of the conversations that we have when we're not recording a podcast. So sometimes it just reverts into conversation mode like, "Hey, what do you think?" 

Heather Weiner: [00:16:25] And also I cuss more in our actual personal conversations. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:16:28] That is also true. I might also. 

The Pete Holmes interview that was just done in the Seattle Times. This came out yesterday, written by Jim Brunner, was very interesting to me. Titled - City Attorney Pete Holmes worries he'll get squeezed out in a tight 3-way Seattle primary - I guess I'll start off by saying, "Yeah, he should be worried." But it was really distasteful for me to read, because one of the things he says in there - a very unpopular decision, which he took a lot of criticism from people from all ideological backgrounds - was his decision to countersue the Seattle Times for seeking the texts that are missing from Jenny Durkan. These are just a regular part of government that the City is responsible for maintaining and providing - and is a potential felony for the way that they were missing and/or deleted. It's a real problem and so, as makes sense, and thankfully the Seattle Times did sue the City for those records for that process. And he chose to countersue. 

This was something talking about at the time - it's like, "Hey, there's some discretion here that we're not acknowledging the City Attorney has." And he's acting like - one, no statements, no nothing - and this seems like a very poor decision and one that should factor into voters' decision-making. He was silent at that time, has been silent until very recently - 'til a poll showed him within the margin of error of his two opponents who have been - both of his opponents have been endorsed by - one by the Seattle Times, the other by The Stranger. And so he's certainly feeling pressure. So now that he feels electoral pressure, now he's saying, "Yeah, probably wasn't a good move," and admits that he dropped that suit in part because Representative Gerry Pollet threatened to revoke his endorsement of him. It just does not seem like the proactive, principle-based leadership that we need if you're sitting here silent until you're forced to say something, because your silence has been costing you and you might lose. And then you say, "Well, I changed my mind because someone might have put my campaign in further jeopardy." How do you read that? 

Heather Weiner: [00:18:56] Well, first of all, I just want to talk about media training for candidates. So when you have a candidate, you need to make sure that they are media trained, which means they need to know how to say to a reporter, "I want to tell you something, but we have to have an agreement - it's on background, or it's off record." Reading this interview, I think that this candidate was not clear with a reporter about what was supposed to be on background and that's why the reporter was able to quote him. And I think he was being very candid with the reporter, which was a mistake - to not be that candid at that point on the record. So, first of all, media training - very important for your candidates. Anybody who's out there thinking about being a consultant, make sure you remind your candidates how to talk to reporters. Reporters are doing their jobs. They're not evil. They're not out to get you, but they are doing their jobs. And if you say something that is interesting, they will print it. I have also made mistakes there. That's another story about what I have done. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:19:59] There's an article coming out today, that I'm like, "Wait, what did I say again? Okay, yeah." 

Heather Weiner: [00:20:04] Believe me, I've lost a client for something that I said to KUOW that - and it wasn't like I could say they misquoted me because it was on KUOW. Oh, it was horrible - so when I criticize other consultants, let me just say, I have done all of the things and I'm probably - have made many more mistakes than anybody else has ever made.

So I think that's one of the things that I read. The second thing that I read is - I see this as and, by the way, I voted for Pete Holmes, myself. But I do want to say that he - like many men that I have seen in our political system who have been there for decades - are sometimes sitting on their laurels and not reading the room. And I think they need to read the room and understand that they cannot sit on it anymore and they need to follow where the people are going - particularly on police reform, and on transparency, and accountability. And I think he's catching up. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:21:05] Well, and I want to have a better standard for our elected officials than having to catch up. We have an option to have people who are already caught up, and who aren't resting on their laurels, and who don't have to follow where people are at, who can lead people in the right direction. There are few races where - I feel like there have been incumbents who, and one in particular I'm thinking about - he straight up said, "Hey, I couldn't do all of the stuff I'm talking about doing before," - a longterm incumbent - "because the people weren't ready for it before. We couldn't do it." And it's like, okay, well, what was your responsibility to help push people in the right direction? If you know that's the right policy, what is the difference between leadership and just following? To me, that is the difference - is not having to continually catch up. Now at the same time, continuing to listen to the public is important, right?

Heather Weiner: [00:22:10] Completely. Look at the style of Pramila Jayapal. So when Pramila was - when she was elected, she said, "I am not going here to just sit and take votes. I am coming in as an organizer. I have always been an organizer. And I'm going to organize my fellow legislators, my fellow members of Congress." And indeed she is - she's now the Chair of the Progressive Caucus. She has pushed and pushed and pulled and brought dozens of people with her - into the movement, as an organizer. And I think not all elected officials can be organizers, but I think electing organizers to those positions is really key. Look at Rebecca Saldaña - same thing, right? Kirsten Harris-Talley. Electing organizers, I think, is actually very smart if you want to move the movement. Yeah. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:22:57] And just thinking of congressional people really quick. I did notice that Adam Smith, Representative Adam Smith in the 9th Congressional District, endorsed Bruce Harrell, which was - you can't see, viewers - Heather's making a face. Probably the same face that I made when I heard that - I thought that was a very interesting choice. 

Heather Weiner: [00:23:19] Well, speaking of consultants. I was like, wow. So he shares a consultant with Colleen Echohawk - Adam Smith does. And so I thought it was interesting that he then went and endorsed somebody else's - another consultant's candidate. Anyway within the - usually you keep your candidates all together.

Crystal Fincher: [00:23:37] It is a little family. 

Heather Weiner: [00:23:38] Yeah. It's a little family and usually, you don't screw over your consultant like that. So I thought that was very interesting. But also Adam Smith - Pramila Jayapal endorsed Lorena González. So Adam Smith, who doesn't represent that much of Seattle, endorsed Bruce. And we talked, I think last time, about how Kilmer endorsed - who did Kilmer endorse? 

Crystal Fincher: [00:24:03] Was it Jessyn? 

Heather Weiner: [00:24:03] I think Kilmer endorsed Jessyn, yeah. Oh no no no no no. You know who endorsed Jessyn - was Marilyn Strickland. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:24:14] Oh, I actually did not know that. 

Heather Weiner: [00:24:16] I think so. Oh, I could be making stuff up. Yeah, hey, y'all - just make sure you Google. Make sure I'm saying - yeah, who knows - I might just be making this up.

Crystal Fincher: [00:24:25] It's really interesting. And I do think that - I just think that Harrell endorsement is very interesting, especially in this early segment in the race, and that a number of the LDs chose not to endorse Bruce Harrell. They endorsed other candidates to the degree that they did endorse them. And in the votes, Bruce Harrell actually wasn't a big vote getter within the LDs. Now that doesn't mean that he can't win a city-wide election at all - oftentimes those are at odds. But on the insider game, I just think that's another interesting choice that is going to fuel some contrast with his opponents who are - he's got a crew of opponents who are coming after him. And he also has Pramila Jayapal being a leader and outspoken and unafraid to take on an establishment or a long held establishment Democratic belief to say, "Hey, I am the party. We are the party, and this is the base. And we need to account for these real problems," in a way that's just different than Adam Smith. I think that contrast is very visible and is going to be really interesting to see play out throughout the next year.

Heather Weiner: [00:25:38] Hey, I just want to go back and footnote and correct myself. So Derek Kilmer endorsed Sixkiller. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:25:44] Oh, wow. 

Heather Weiner: [00:25:45] And Marilyn Strickland endorsed Harrell. So those are two members of Congress who don't represent Seattle at all, weighing in on the Seattle mayor's race, which is unusual. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:25:56] That Strickland endorsement of Harrell makes more sense to me. 

Heather Weiner: [00:25:59] Yes. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:26:00] Former Chamber head, Seattle Chamber head. If you look at where the Chamber money is going, even though it's not going directly through a Chamber PAC - where people who are members of the Chamber - and that money is certainly going to Bruce Harrell. So that doesn't seem surprising in a way. But Casey Sixkiller for Kilmer - I just want to know what compelled that - do they have a prior relationship or - that's an interesting - 

Heather Weiner: [00:26:27] Well, remember Sixkiller was a lobbyist for a whole bunch of different industries that congressional - lobbied Congress for some not great industries. He also was a legislative aide in Congress for a while. So I think - 

Crystal Fincher: [00:26:44] That makes sense. 

Heather Weiner: [00:26:44] - that's where the relationship is. We're not going to hear from Sixkiller again, so let's not worry about him right now. He is not going to make it through this primary. I would like to give my predictions right now. You ready? 

Crystal Fincher: [00:26:57] Yeah, I'm ready. 

Heather Weiner: [00:26:58] All right. I think it's going to be Harrell and González coming out of there. I think it's going to be, of course, Teresa Mosqueda and somebody we never heard of. What do you think's going to happen on Position - Seattle City Council Position 9? There we've got Oliver, Nelson, and Thomas - as you know, Brianna Thomas is a friend of ours. How do you think she's going to do, though? And Brianna? I know you're listening. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:27:25] I mean, here's the thing - which, that article that I said is coming out today, then I'm like, what did I say? I hate predictions. 

Heather Weiner: [00:27:33] Oh, you do? 

Crystal Fincher: [00:27:34] I love entertaining - I love hearing other people's predictions. I don't like making predictions. The reason why I don't like making predictions is that I don't want to keep someone from voting their conscience, especially in a primary. I mean, in generals I make them often, but in a primary, I think we get a lot into, "Okay, well, who's going to win? Who's best positioned to win? Where should I put my vote? Well, maybe I won't vote for this other person to get through." And I just personally believe that when we make those kinds of concessions in primaries where we're like, "Okay, well maybe, my candidate doesn't have much of a chance, so I'll vote for this other one that I don't really agree with, but we'll see." That that just dilutes the pool of general election candidates and doesn't accurately reflect where all the voters are at. Because even if Candidate Y gets 15% of the vote, but doesn't make it through - those two general election candidates are going to have to contend with that 15% of the electorate and say, "Okay, we see where people are at and we better make sure that we address those concerns if we want to win the general election." So I just think it's important to make a statement of values when you vote in a primary. Because a lot of analysis, a lot of policy making - consultants are looking at it, journalists are looking at it - and going, Okay, so where are people at?

And I just don't think it's - I think that we wound up in the place that we are at now from making too many concessions too early - in the choices that we have for who's elected. I think that we would have had Tammy Morales sooner if we would have paid more attention and if more people would have voted their conscience, instead of thinking about who had the best chance of winning. That's just me. I know it's just me. But I think that race may be closer than people think. I certainly think in the Position 9 race that it looks like Nikkita Oliver is in a pretty comfortable position. I know they're still working very, very hard and out canvassing with big teams. But who knows whether it's Sara Nelson or Brianna Thomas that gets through. I have interviewed all of them on this program - and I would just say, I think that there are dramatic differences between Nikkita Oliver, Brianna Thomas - and Sara Nelson on the other side. 

Heather Weiner: [00:30:08] Yeah. Yeah. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:30:10] So she managed to get that Times endorsement somehow, which just doesn't speak very well for the Times endorsement, because there's just not much there. 

Heather Weiner: [00:30:23] Oh well, the Times - right. Well, okay - we can talk about the Seattle Times endorsements, whether or not they're even relevant. You know, one of the things that we've also been seeing a lot in the Seattle Times, but also all of the other mainstream media, is a lot of talk this week about police - about shootings and then correlating that with the Defund movement. So - which is not - there's not a straight line here, people. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:30:52] Not at all. 

Heather Weiner: [00:30:53] So a couple of facts that we just want to make sure we're all working with. I mean, the first one is that shootings are up across the country, not just in Seattle. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:31:02] Red areas, blue areas, rich areas, poor areas - every area gun violence is up. Homicides are up. Yeah. 

Heather Weiner: [00:31:11] Right. This has much more to do with the availability of guns, particularly stolen guns - for people who have not properly stored their guns in safes, and leave them in their cars, and then their cars get burgled, or whatever the situation is with stolen guns. So there's a lot of stolen guns out there. Thank you very much to the NRA for opposing gun storage laws and everything else. We really appreciate that. 

The second thing is that, I think, there's been this whole narrative that somehow 250 police officers have left and it is somehow the City Council's fault - that that's why they have left. And it is true that many officers who were eligible to retire took those retirements. And many of them decided to go to other jurisdictions. PS - a couple of them have come back. But I think it has much more to do with the stress of being a police officer with poor management. And remember they are fully funded to hire who they want to hire right now. There actually hasn't been - 

Crystal Fincher: [00:32:18] They are fully funded.

Heather Weiner: [00:32:18] They're fully funded. So this is all a false narrative that I think is very much coming from the exceedingly brilliant - and I say that in a respectful, also your evil kind of way - from the exceedingly brilliant minds of Scott Lindsay, Tim Ceis, and Tim Burgess - who are trying to figure out a way to punish Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena González for not being who they want them to be.

Crystal Fincher: [00:32:47] Yeah. And the same narrative of, "Oh man, incumbents are super unpopular. The Council is super unpopular." Well, polling seems to defy that - when you have two former City Council members who appear to be in the lead in polling. That does not mean that they're definitely going to make it through - a lot of undecided people, all of those caveats. But if you just pay any kind of attention you see that that narrative is half-baked and there's a lot of wishful thinking going on in there. And it just doesn't match up with the data that we have. I mean, if it was that much of a problem, then there would be much more of a backlash against the candidates who fit that profile. But we're seeing the literal opposite. And it's a lot different too, in the same way - again, I've said this before we asked for - we poll on Congressional approval and, "Oh, it's at 22%." And then we see each Congressional incumbent get elected with 75% of the vote. Like that's - polling a person versus another person is a lot different than polling a person's positive negatives. It's a lot different than polling the entity that that person sits on - very, very different things. 

Heather Weiner: [00:33:59] I mean, how many times have people said, "Oh, you can't elect a US Senator to President," right? Because the Senate is so unpopular. Well, we currently have two former Senators as President and Vice-President. So yeah, you're absolutely right. And I think when it really comes down to it, people are much more worried about putting people who have zero experience in governing into these positions with something so important and so complicated. 

Crystal Fincher: [00:34:27] Yeah. And fundamentally, I think people just want to be comfortable that the people who they elect are going to act. I think people are sick of hearing a lot of talk and seeing little to no action, and they want to be comfortable that someone is going to act in accordance with what they're talking about.

Heather Weiner: [00:34:45] Correct. All right - so, it looks like - I'm looking at the time and - 

Crystal Fincher: [00:34:50] Yeah, we're just about - I mean, we could talk forever about so many of these things, and I appreciate your brilliance and insight with so much of this. But I just wanted to, again, thank you. Thank everyone for listening to Hacks & Wonks on this Friday, July 30th, 2021. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler and our wonderful co-host today was Seattle political consultant, Heather Weiner. You can find Heather on Twitter @HLWeiner, that's W-E-I-N-E-R. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. And now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts. Just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar - you may need to type the word and a ampersand, or an ampersand and not "and". Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek 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 the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes. 

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