Week in Review: March 26, 2021 - with Mike McGinn

Week in Review: March 26, 2021 - with Mike McGinn

This history of  police reform in Seattle is long and winding, and today Crystal is  joined by former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn to get in to how we got to  our present point. Additionally, they cover what may come next in  Seattle policing, and how this will affect this year’s mayor’s race.

As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.

Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-host, Mike McGinn, at @mayormcginn. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.


Read about the city of Seattle needing assistance from the state in order to regulate the police here: https://crosscut.com/news/2020/11/seattle-seeks-states-help-reduce-power-police-unions

Explore a timeline of police accountability and reform in Seattle here: https://www.aclu-wa.org/pages/timeline-seattle-police-accountability

Learn more about Seattle’s current situation with the consent decree here: https://publicola.com/2021/02/05/federal-judge-gives-forecast-for-future-of-seattles-consent-decree/

Find more about Seattle’s city attorney, Pete Holmes, here: https://crosscut.com/politics/2021/02/pete-holmes-seek-fourth-term-seattle-city-attorney

Read about the Seattle PD’s attempt to subpoena journalists recordings last summer here: https://crosscut.com/news/2020/08/seattle-police-subpoena-tests-washingtons-reporter-shield-law

Read the South Seattle Emerald’s profiles of Seattle mayoral candidates here: https://southseattleemerald.com/?s=mayor


Crystal Fincher: [00:00:00]  Welcome to Hacks and Wonks. I'm your host, Crystal Fincher. On this  show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight  into local politics and policy through the lens of those doing the work  with behind the scenes perspectives on politics in our state. 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 with a cohost. Welcome back to the program friend of the  show and today's co-host: activist, community leader, former mayor of  Seattle and just all-around cool and knowledgeable guy, Mike McGinn.  Welcome.

Mike McGinn: [00:00:52] You're awfully nice to me. Also, Executive Director of America Walks - that's my new gig.

Crystal Fincher: [00:00:57] Absolutely. And a cool new gig.

Mike McGinn: [00:01:00]  It's a national organization that supports local advocates who are  trying to build inclusive, accessible, and equitable communities. So  it's a fun new job to be able to support people, you know, who are kind  of like me, you know, when I was trying to get sidewalks in my  neighborhood, or trying to get better transit service, or trying to get  more housing in a neighborhood. I get to support people like that around  the country, which is a lot of fun.

Crystal Fincher: [00:01:29]  Yeah. And really cool. And I've seen you - I've seen your support of  advocates here in Washington which is really useful and necessary. And  especially someone who would love more connection and walkability in our  neighborhoods. And especially my father is blind and, you know, has  been reliant on transit and sidewalks and making sure those connections  are safe and accessible. Really appreciate that work 'cause that  literally makes the difference between some people being able to go  places and live life and not.

But  here in Washington on today's show, I wanted to talk with you - you've  been through so much and have so much experience and historical  knowledge from your time as mayor here in Seattle. And the conversation  around policing and specifically around the Seattle Police Officers  Guild, known as SPOG - their contract, which is going to be renegotiated  here in the near future - has been a hot topic of conversation because  we've been talking so much about re-imagining, a word that gets on my  nerves, but that is the most relatable word for what we're talking  about. Policing here and making changes within the department - we can  make changes to the Chief, but a lot of what happens in terms of  accountability really is dictated by the contract - and that supersedes  what the City or the Chief can do, or has authority over.

So  this is a big deal if we want to address the issues that we've seen.  And in this past week, we just had another story where a well person  check was called in and a 70-something year old man was held at  gunpoint, abused, had mobility issues, couldn't stand. They would not  help him, let him fall, harassed him - just exactly the opposite of what  you want to see. We want resources that come in and help and don't  cause harm. And in too many instances, that is not the case. The  contract has a lot to do with this. So I guess as we're just starting in  the negotiation, what is it like to negotiate that contract?

Mike McGinn: [00:03:49]  So we did have a negotiation of the contract when I was mayor, and I  guess, the most important thing to understand is the backdrop against  which the negotiation occurs - which is that in addition to the  contract, there's also civil service protections for the police union  that are the same as for any city or state employee. So it's - both of  those exist, but there are more specific things - more specific  protections that relate to police officers that are found in the  agreement.

And under  state law, if you cannot reach an agreement with the union on the terms,  then it goes to an arbitrator. And the arbitrator is supposed to look  at peer cities to determine what the appropriate result should be. And  what I was informed is that in practice, the arbitrator that is chosen  will tend to trade money for reforms. So, in order to give both sides  something - if the City is asking for reforms, then the - then it'll,  you know, if it's going to reward a reform, a change to the ability to  fire an officer, you know, making it easier to fire an officer, then  they're likely to award more money to the officers in pay.

And  that's certainly what's put on the table by the union itself in the  negotiations. Well, if you want that, how much you gonna pay us for it?  So I think you even see in this contract, the latest contract, that  there's extra pay if somebody wears a body camera, as an example. So  that even tied it together more tightly. But the problem is that the  discipline provisions are considered a subject of bargaining, and it's  going to go to arbitration, and you're going to be held up against the  standard of what other cities are doing, as to what is reasonable to ask  for. So that really constrains what you can accomplish.

So  it really is a case of going to the Legislature and asking them to  change some of those things. So that's one piece of it, you know, and  the other piece of it is, and it's not been tested yet, but you know,  the judge in the - that's overseeing the consent decree has made noises  for the City shouldn't have to pay for reforms. Well, is he going to try  to make a ruling to that effect? 'Cause, you know, the union will take  that one to court and there'll be litigation over which - what governs  the consent decree, and the judge and the consent decree, or national  labor relations laws - as to how contract should be bargained.

So  the union protections - the ability of having union protections and the  ability to bargain - basically starts to prioritize the protection of  officers over changes to the rules and reform. Now, again, we got to  avoid much of that in my negotiation, because we were in the midst of   negotiating the consent decree. So rather than attempt to negotiate into  the contract certain reforms, because who knew what the consent decree  would call for or what was appropriate? We had a reopener to address  consent decree issues, and as part of the consent decree we ultimately  gave to the Community Police Commission the responsibility to recommend  changes. And my thinking at the time was that then we'll have - we'll  know what to ask for.

Crystal Fincher: [00:07:34]  Yeah. And so that is good and helpful background. One, just kind of  explains how we got into the situation today where police budgets just  continue to expand, and another insight into why that has continued to  happen, or one of the mechanisms by which that's happened. But also  looking at - okay, we're comparing ourselves to other like cities - that  seems like that's going to be problematic if Seattle is one of the  cities on the forefront of making changes. We're one of only a handful  of cities that has reduced funding to any degree, by any percentage, in  the country. So, we're almost guaranteeing that we're going to be  comparing ourselves to cities who are doing less than we are just  because we're out front and trying to address some of these issues. So  is that going to work against us?

Mike McGinn: [00:08:32]  Yeah. No, that's exactly the issue - that's the challenge. Now, one  clarification though, the contract addresses the pay and working  conditions of the officers, but it doesn't say how many officers -  that's a budget decision that the City can make and does make. Um,  regularly, in fact. When I was mayor, we let the police force go down  through attrition in the first two years that I was there because we  were in the midst of a recession. So we let - we didn't replace officers  who left and we moved officers around to fill the gaps. So that's an  option today as well if you wanted to reduce the budget - was just have  fewer officers.

What  we're seeing now, though, is we actually have the judge stepping in,  overseeing the consent decree, to say, No, that would be a violation of  the consent decree. You have to have more officers. So you now got this  frankly bizarre situation in which the judge is saying we need more  officers to achieve reform. And you've got the public saying, or  portions of the public saying, No, we actually think we should have  fewer armed officers doing some of these functions and be moving them to  other parts of city government or not doing them at all - responding to  someone in crisis, as you mentioned at the front end of this  discussion, or whether it's handing out tickets to people, or whether we  even need people handing out tickets for jaywalking or not wearing a  helmet. Like there's things that off-, that should, that maybe don't  need to be priorities anymore for officers. And certainly not for  officers carrying a gun.

Crystal Fincher: [00:10:11]  Definitely. I think this is a really interesting conversation,  especially that element about the judge. It's a more conservative judge  who has voiced concerns about some of the reforms and changes that  Seattle has wanted to make. And it's impacted decisions that the Council  has made. I mean, they've - they have spoken about, Hey, that the judge  already said that moving in that direction is the opposite direction  that they want to see, even though we personally want to move there. And  if we don't come up with a solution that is within bounds of what he  deems acceptable, he's going to just throw this out and we're going to  wind up with something even worse than we have now. So having to operate  within the bounds to make this conservative judge who has authority to  accept or reject what Seattle, certainly what the Council does, and what  happens with the police department is a challenge.

Another  challenge that I don't think has been talked about much is the  relationship between the Mayor and the independently elected City  Attorney. And a lot of people are used to thinking about the City  Attorney in terms of like the Attorney General in that the Executive,  whether it's the president or a mayor, they set - they chart a course.  They say this is the direction that we're going, and the City Attorney  would then defend whatever the direction that the Mayor says we're  headed in. So if they're pushing for a reform, or even for something  that may be somewhat new and they know is going to encounter some legal  challenge, but they're trying to set a precedent - that the City  Attorney would be there to defend it.

It's not necessarily the case in Seattle, is that?

Mike McGinn: [00:12:00]  No. So here's the deal and, in your example, you said the course that  the mayor set. But the City Attorney represents the City. So it might  get a little complicated sometimes to figure out the City's position on  certain things. But there are processes for doing that. The legislative  process, for example, is how we decide what the City's position is on  something. The Council debates, the Mayor signs, or vetoes, and it's  overridden - like there are ways to get at the City's position on a  topic.

I think what's  interesting about Pete is that he's decided - Pete Holmes - is that he  decided some time ago that, as a separate elected official, he  apparently had the authority to decide what the City wanted, meaning the  public as a whole, as opposed to the decision - as opposed to the City  through its elected representatives and their decision-making process.  So it leads to, an interesting  - so for years, the Community Police  Commission had basically no representation in front of the Court. They  were like, Hey, we want to be heard on this. I experienced it myself,  like all of a sudden realizing, Oh my God, there's nobody here to - Pete  is now in a position to unilaterally decide what is or is not the  City's position on litigation - that's what his position was.

So  it's weird, you know? 'Cause he represents himself as - his client is  the public. Well, how does he know what the public wants? And so  therefore he finds himself without a client, essentially, 'cause he can  just divine it from within his own head. So that's a real challenge, I  think, in city government when trying to negotiate - work through the  litigation issues here with the DOJ or with other third parties. It was a  challenge for me. I don't know what it was like for Ed Murray or Jenny  Durkan, but it - there may have been a challenge there as well. I  certainly know it was a challenge for the Community Police Commission to  try to be heard as a voice of the City in the process. Um, you know,  Pete would put himself into the process and say, Well, I've got to  decide what the City position is first.

Crystal Fincher: [00:14:07]  Well, I think it's a challenge that we have seen throughout the last  year of protests and police activity - where the Council has taken very  strong positions and clearly indicated where they're at. The Community  Police Commission has been very clear in indicating where they're at and  where they've seen violations. And seeing the City Attorney defend the  other side, and defend what the department has been doing, and really  not seeing any pushback or any indication, that he would like to see  things move in a different direction. And certainly as an elected  official, he has the latitude to speak and voice - make his voice heard.  And we really heard silence.

Mike McGinn: [00:14:57]  Well, I think it's, I mean, now I will say this - there is an  expectation that a prosecutor will execute prosecutorial discretion. So  when acting as a prosecutor, for example, you would expect the City  Attorney to make decisions as to when or when not to charge. And you  actually wouldn't want the City Council or the Mayor trying to weigh in  on those individuals. Where the City itself is a party to litigation -  for example, on the litigation over how we were using, how the City was  using tear gas, for example. That does put the City Attorney in a tough  position, right? What's the City's position there? How should they  respond to those allegations? Where should they defend or not? And I  don't really know what conversations occurred between the City Council,  Mayor, and Pete Holmes to resolve that. But that is a place where the  City Attorney often finds themselves as an advisor to both branches of  government and can act in a way to help bring the City together around  an issue.

And I would say  that's a separate challenge for a City Attorney. And I don't know the  degree - well, I will say from my experience, that was not a role that  Pete embraced - of how do we bring everyone together on a common  position. It oftentimes felt to me as mayor, that Pete was more trying  to figure out - where's my political, where should I be standing  politically in this process?

Yeah.  When these things are so challenging, you actually - that's a time when  the City Attorney, in their advisory role to each branch, can yield a  particular benefit or create challenges.

Crystal Fincher: [00:16:37]  Yeah, you brought up a good example with the use of tear gas. I also  think about the decision to attempt to subpoena journalism  organizations, our news organizations, for evidence captured throughout  their reporting, which seems like that is a massive violation. They  fought back hard against that and ultimately prevailed, but wow, what a  challenging position to be in from the City's perspective and -

Mike McGinn: [00:17:06]  And that's - something like that is such a clear policy choice. Like  that actually should be put to - that type of decision shouldn't rest in  the City Attorney's office or with the Mayor alone. That's one where  you actually want the City Council and the Mayor maybe hashing that out.  What's our position? Do we subpoena? Is it our position as a city  government that we're entitled to journalists' notes and videos? That's  not a City Attorney's call. As opposed to - is this a misdemeanor charge  or a felony charge, or should I send this person off with a lesser  charge because that's the right way to handle this?

Crystal Fincher: [00:17:45]  Well, and I'm surprised that, well, you know, I don't know if  surprised, but I would have hoped to - that Pete Holmes, the City  Attorney, would have stood up in that instance and said, Hey, we  shouldn't automatically move to defend and pursue this here. We should  step back a little bit and examine this policy. Is this really what we  want to do? And instead of just moving forward with suing our news  organizations.

Mike McGinn: [00:18:15]  Well, I'm now recalling this issue too. It was portrayed as the police  department has requested this information. So I, as the City Attorney,  will do what the police department wants. Police department isn't yet  another branch of government. The police department - the Mayor report -  excuse me. The Chief reports to the Mayor, and the City Council sets  policy. So again, this is a place where it's not the SPD's call as to  whether or not to subpoena. And it's certainly not the City Attorney's  call as to whether or not to do that. If he felt that he was getting  conflicting messages, that the executive branch and the Mayor wanted him  to do that, and the Council didn't want him to do that, that's a place  where he's got to kick it back to them - You guys, go through the  legislative process and give me the answer. Or try to bring them  together privately and see if there was a chance to get the City on the  same page. But again, that's - that would require recognizing who his  clients are. And his clients here were not the police department. His  clients were the city government as a whole, with their position  determined by its elected - by the elected representatives of the  people.

Crystal Fincher: [00:19:24]  Certainly. And Pete Holmes will be on the ballot again this year. The  City Attorney is going to be up for election here - in the primary in  August and general in November. And I certainly think that these should  be important conversations to have, and have been kind of flying under  the radar here in Seattle, even though we've seen the importance of City  Attorney's races in shaping the path of criminal justice policy across  the country.

Mike McGinn: [00:19:53]  Well let's - so let's just close with a larger observation here. Which  is that this process of the consent decree and reform started with over  20 community organizations asking for reform. It led to the consent  decree that set up a Community Police Commission that had  representatives from many of those organizations making recommendations.  But now all the power as to what is or is not reform, appears to be  concentrated in the judge, in the City Attorney, in the Mayor, in the US  Attorney for the Western District of Washington. And you know, it  should not go unnoticed that those are older, white people - are now  making all the decisions and hold the cards on reform, including Mike  Solan, the head of SPOG. And who's left out of the equation? All of  those men and women - the Black men and women that were, and Brown and  Asian. And the communities of color that were all represented on that  Community Police Commission, their voice has been silenced.

And  I still look at this process and go, how did that happen? How did that  happen? And the answer is it happened the same way it always seems to  happen, where we have the media and others saying, Well, I guess those  important people, the judge and the City Attorney and the Mayor and the  US attorney, they must be the ones with all of the knowledge and power,  because look at who they are and look at their status. So if they say  it's reform, it's reform. And we were told - we were told for years and  years, that reform is on track by those important people. And the media  reported it as if it were true.

And  now we have officers wouldn't reveal their badges, the police  department used tear gas over a judge's order and over the City  Council's order. The police department abandoned the precinct,  apparently without any orders from above - just did it on their own and  then decided not to police the CHOP. Oh, we can't go in, got to wait for  hours. Even if that means people are dying. Right? So reform was in  fact broken, but we were repeatedly told by the important people that it  was not broken, that it was on track. And we listened and believed  those important people, rather than listening and believing to the  community members who said, No, this isn't working. Don't use - the  Community Police Commission wrote years earlier - don't, stop using  blast balls. You know, your demonstration tactics are wrong. And they  were blown off and everybody was told, Don't worry, we got it. We got  this. So, you know, I guess it happens the way it always happens. And  it's very, very disappointing.

And  I guess, you know, if we're looking at the next mayor, it's going to be  who's going to have the guts to just say, Look, this process - the  process we were in, was broken and we've got to try to figure out how to  fix it. And the contract's an important piece of it, but it's a lot  deeper than that.

Crystal Fincher: [00:23:00]  Well said. And to your point, it's going to take the next mayor  bringing them into the conversation, bringing all of us into the  conversation. If any of that dynamic is going to change, that seems like  it's going to be the only conduit. That the City Council appears to be  making attempts to do that. But it's really going to take the Mayor,  throughout this negotiation, throughout the consent decree issues, and  overall to bring them in.

And  we do have a mayor's race on our hands with several people who have  gotten in the race. And I think in looking at candidates on people's  radar - we see Lorena González, Jessyn Farrell, Colleen Echohawk, Andrew  Grant Houston, Bruce Harrell, Lance Randall. There are some others  who've been there, but I think that the names that we've listed have  gotten the most attention and are set up, certainly, to be a central  part of the conversation. So I guess as you're looking at this race,  what do you see? How do you see it shaping up?

Mike McGinn: [00:24:13]  Well, you know, probably the starting point to looking at the race is  to kind of consider Seattle's political landscape. You know, the  political physics of running a race in Seattle. And first of all, just  about everyone's a Democrat. I think over 90% voted for Biden in the  last election, almost 90% voted for Hillary Clinton. So, we're so used  to looking at things through a national frame. We just have to  recognize, well, pretty much everyone in the race is going to be a  Democrat and everyone's going to say they're a progressive. So you  really have to look at the fault lines in Seattle itself and recognize  that there are two different bases.

And  if you look at any election map in Seattle of any city-wide race - on  one end of the spectrum are, you know, single family homes with views of  the water. And that's one set of voters. And it's just, again, the map,  if you did a blue and red map, and you called the red, the more  conservative part of Seattle - all the view homes would be in red. All  the view neighborhoods would be in red. The other end of the spectrum  would be an apartment building on an arterial served by a bus line. And  those, and whether that's an immigrant refugee community, whether that's  young people moving to town, that's going to be on the other end. And  in the middle, then, are probably well-educated professionals making a  decent living who consider themselves quite progressive, but you know, a  little bit worried that maybe some people are a little too radical. And  that's the middle of the electorate.

And  so what happens in Seattle - also kind of looking at political physics -  95% of the time there are two candidates that come out of the primary.  One is endorsed by the Seattle Times, who is often also endorsed by the  greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. And one is endorsed by The  Stranger. And you'll find a host of environmental and labor unions over  there too, but, you know, service workers in particular. But you'll also  see some service workers, excuse me, some unions and construction  trades over on the Seattle Times, Chamber of Commerce side as well. The  unions are kind of in the middle of all this too. So the real question  is what candidate is in which lane? Because there's not a lot of room in  the middle here. You want to be in the middle to win. You want to be  able to get over that 50% to win the race, but you're not going to get  through to the primary unless you can claim a lane.

And  so in the left lane, everyone's going to be looking at well, who's the  real progressive with a chance to win. And over on the right lane,  they're going to be looking at who's a candidate we can work with. The  Chamber knows that they can't get, you know, just some dyed in the wool  corporate business person to win the race. This is Seattle. So this is  somebody who's progressive enough, looks like a progressive. They can  win the middle of the Seattle electorate, but they'll work with us.  They'll play ball with us. They'll make deals with us and they sure  won't be running around saying they're going to tax the hell out of us.  And taxes is probably the thing they care about the most, over there on  the Chamber side. So, who's in what lane is the question. I got my ideas  about who's in what lane. Why don't you tell me - go take it where you  want to take it.

Crystal Fincher: [00:27:30]  Uh, you know, what I want to hear is - who you do think are in what  lanes. We've talked about the mayor's race on several prior shows. I'm  interested to see how things play out. I think that there are going to  be - many people are going to be trying to claim that progressive lane.  The real issue is who is going to actually have policies to back that  up. And I think that it is telling - where we're seeing real passion and  specifics in what people are talking about, and where there's a lot of  vague speak.

So I guess, how do you read it?

Mike McGinn: [00:28:10]  Well, and to be clear, the race is still developing. And we were  talking about this before the show. Some candidates' platforms fill out a  little as it goes. I know mine did. I came in in 2009. I was really  comfortable talking about the issues I worked on the most, but I had to  learn more. But you can tell something from what people prioritize, or  from their history.

I  guess it's pretty clear. There are a couple of people that are pretty  clear what lane they're in. Bruce Harrell pretty clearly seems to be  claiming the right lane and I've got the depth of experience and what he  chose to emphasize. Which isn't to say - again, I want to be clear.  Bruce has pursued progressive things - protecting the rights of felons  to be able to rent property, for example. He upheld my veto of the  panhandling statute and I'm grateful for it. But it's very clear that  he's much more aligned with the business community than the other  candidates and that's his lane.

Over  on the left side, Andrew Grant Houston is a really fascinating  candidate. He's absolutely an urbanist. On Twitter, his handle is Ace  the Architect, and he's for - let's build more housing, let's defund the  police, let's build more bike lanes. And he's out there, credibly  raising money. So, he's really playing hard, which is impressive for  Andrew.

I think a lot of  people are looking at Colleen Echohawk because she's - because Durkan  appointed her to things and saying, Well, what lane is she in? Full  disclosure, the people who helped me on my race are now helping Colleen  on her race and she's coming in and saying, homelessness is the highest  priority. I've got experience with homelessness. I've got experience  with managing things. I represent the poorest people in one of the  richest cities in the nation. And she clearly is working to claim, in my  opinion, I believe she's working to claim that progressive lane.

Lorena  - very interesting. Lorena was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, the  Seattle Times and The Stranger in her first race. And I think kind of  the question has been, what side would she fall on? And obviously, from  her background and her, you know, the issues she cared about before  running for office, which were police reform. You'd expect her to be in  the progressive lane. I think that's where she is. But it's interesting  how much time she - I've seen her talking about how she's actually good  for business and she can work with small business, and I kind of get it.  When I was in the mayor's office and I was criticized for being too  progressive, I always wanted to tell people, No, I can work with other  people. I can work with everybody. But, so I think she's in that lane.

I  think the most interesting here is Jessyn Farrell. Because when you  look at Jessyn, she certainly comes out of an environmental advocacy and  transit advocacy background.But you know, when you look at  Transportation Choices Coalition - the two directors who followed her -  one went to work for Durkan - Shefali. Another was endorsed by the  Chamber in his city council race, and now works for a big corporation -  her former colleague, Rob Johnson.

Crystal Fincher: [00:31:41] That was Rob Johnson.

Mike McGinn: [00:31:42]  Yeah. Yeah. And Rob, you know, again, this is Seattle. Rob worked to  get bike lanes on 65th and more power to him, but he was the Chamber  candidate in that race, when he first ran. So, Jessyn's Field Director  and Communications Director when she was head of TCC is now head of the  greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. So the politics of Transportation  Choices Coalition has always been to work with the business community to  get money for transit by also supporting highways. They try to trim  back the highways and get more for the transit, but that's always been  their politics. And so when I saw Jessyn get in the race, I was like,  well, how is she going to out-progressive Colleen Echohawk and Lorena  González?

And all of a  sudden, I realized, Oh, she's not trying to out-progressive them. She's  trying to be progressive enough, but also be the candidate who would be  seen as the - perhaps the most credible challenger for the Seattle Times  endorsement. So -

Crystal Fincher: [00:32:49] And that my friends is a hot take!

Mike McGinn: [00:32:54]  I'm telling you it's - I think Jessyn's too smart to think that she can  out-progressive them. I think she's going to present herself as the  type of progressive, and she'd be more progressive. Let's be clear.  She'd be more progressive than Jenny Durkan by a bunch. But it's also  true that when she was asked who she voted for in the last election, as  between Durkan and Cary Moon, she said she voted for Jenny Durkan.

So,  it's an interesting play and let's forget - let's not forget, Ed Murray  was the champion of gay marriage when he ran against me. And was seen  as a very strong progressive because of his position on transit. He was  also a huge highway supporter, but he was a transit supporter. And he'd  worked to - for certain other things, but he was the type of candidate  that the Chamber of Commerce could support because they felt like, Hey,  he'd gotten the highway money for them. He made them promises that he  would be nicer to them than I would be. And again, the Chamber doesn't  get a hard right candidate. They get somebody who's progressive enough  to win in Seattle, but will play ball with them. And Ed was that  candidate, and those business leaders were standing up with Ed at press  conferences, you know, after there were multiple accusations of  wrongdoing against him. And they went and chose Jenny Durkan next.

And  Jenny said she was a progressive, so that's kind of what swings is -  how much of a progressive does the Chamber of Commerce have to accept in  order to get a credible candidate? And in today's age, maybe Jessyn's  that candidate. Maybe she's the Seattle Times candidate, not The  Stranger candidate in this time. And it's kind of interesting that the  issue she hit on, when she started running. She was on childcare, which  is a great issue. She was on affordable housing, which is a great issue,  but we didn't really hear her talking in the same way about taxes or  police reform at the time.

Crystal Fincher: [00:34:51]  You know, this is why I enjoy conversations with you, because you come  with context and history. And you will come with a take that I have not  heard someone make before. And then I'll be like, My goodness. That is  actually true. And when you do think about it, you're 100% correct that  the Chamber needs someone progressive enough. They're never going to get  a conservative candidate. They know that. They don't even try. It's who  can credibly message themselves as a progressive or progressive enough,  not a conservative, still holding progressive values, and they  certainly say, We are totally on the progressive bandwagon on issues  surrounding transportation. It's always been that.

They,  more than kind of general conservatives, recognize the importance of  transit, in addition to advocating for more highways and issues there.  They haven't been shy in advocating for transit, which is something that  we normally don't hear from conservative voices. And so they'll be  like, Hey, we are progressive, just like Seattle. We're different -  we're the Seattle Chamber, we love transit too. And people go, Yeah. And  then they stand up by, whether it's Ed Murray or Jenny Durkan and they  do go - and we are on board with their progressive transit agenda and  people go, Yay. That's okay. And then we end up with people making the  policies that we have seen.

I  hope Seattle learns the lesson that we have to listen to policy  specifics and that we can't just accept someone who says that they are  progressive or who makes a - can pull off a really good photo shoot with  a lot of diverse people in the picture. And actually looks at the  policies and experience and history and understanding that, Look, the  Chamber does not support people who it does not think are going to play  ball and get some usually meaningful reassurance in that area. And they  take that seriously this time, because people act surprised when they  elect the Chamber candidate and then the Chamber candidate does Chamber  things and they're like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe they would do this.  So hopefully we see something different this time.

Mike McGinn: [00:37:10]  The Chamber really got burned in the last election. You know, Amazon  put in a million dollars - all of their, all of their candidates lost.  You might see the Chamber not publicly endorse for quite some time in  this race, if at all. But that doesn't mean that the Seattle Times won't  endorse, or that doesn't mean they won't be behind the scenes, doing  their best to influence the outcome. So that's just one more observation  to make.

Crystal Fincher: [00:37:38]  Very interesting. Well, I appreciate you taking this time with us  today. I thank everyone for listening to the show today and for just  spending your time with Hacks and Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM on this Friday,  March 26th, 2021. Our chief audio engineer at KVRU is Maurice Jones Jr.  The producer of Hacks and Wonks is Lisl Stadler. And our insightful  co-host today was former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn. You can find Mike on  Twitter @mayormcginn, that's M C G I N N. You can find me on Twitter  @finchfrii, spelled F I N C H F R I I. And now you can follow Hacks and  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  the full versions of our Friday almost live show and our mid-week show  delivered to your podcast feed. You can also get a full transcript of  this episode and links to the resources referenced to the show at  officialhacksandwonks.com and in the podcast episode notes. Thanks for  tuning in. We'll talk to you next time.