231 episodes

Hacks & Wonks is a show hosted by political consultant Crystal Fincher, who talks 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.

Hacks & Wonks Crystal Fincher

    • News
    • 4.9 • 30 Ratings

Hacks & Wonks is a show hosted by political consultant Crystal Fincher, who talks 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.

    Week in Review: December 2, 2022 - with Executive Director of The Urbanist, Doug Trumm

    Week in Review: December 2, 2022 - with Executive Director of The Urbanist, Doug Trumm

    On this week’s Hacks & Wonks, Crystal is joined by Executive Director of The Urbanist, Doug Trumm. Crystal and Doug quickly run through news items about progress on Washington state’s capital gains tax, a discussion on the worsening traffic safety crisis, and labor stories about Amazon’s questionable fulfillment of a court order and the federal government’s blocking a railway workers strike ahead of the holidays. Public safety news out of Pierce County includes the start of embattled Sheriff Ed Troyer’s criminal trial and troubling news about an officer charged in Manuel Ellis’ death having been flagged for violent behavior during their academy training. Doug and Crystal then discuss the gulf between reality and rhetoric that has appeared in media reporting on crime and law enforcement and how it reaches into electeds’ handling of issues like decriminalization of simple drug possession at the State Legislature, outcry over a miniscule portion of the Seattle Police Department budget not being funded in the City of Seattle budget process, and the campaign messaging of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s race. On a hopeful note, Leesa Manion’s solid win in the King County Prosecutor’s race and her strong performance - across the county, across cities, and across legislative districts - serves as a referendum for voters rejecting punitive measures and signifies an appetite for root cause-addressing, data-driven solutions that work.
    As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
    Follow us on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-host, Doug Trumm, on Twitter at @dmtrumm. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.
     
    Resources
    “WA Supreme Court clears way for state to collect capital-gains tax” by Claire Withycombe from The Seattle Times 
     
    "The Urbanist’s Ryan Packer Discusses Worsening Traffic Safety Crisis on KUOW" by Doug Trumm from The Urbanist
     
    “Labor board blasts Amazon's "flagrant" attempt to flout court order“ by Emily Peck from Axios 
     
    “Biden signs rail agreement into law, thwarting strike“ by Shawna Chen from Axios
     
    “Criminal trial begins in Sheriff Ed Troyer’s false-reporting case” by Jim Brunner from The Seattle Times
     
    “Academy warned Tacoma of violent training episode by officer later charged in Manuel Ellis’ death” Patrick Malone from The Seattle Times
     
    “Washington should be a leader in ending the War on Drugs” by Mark Cooke from ACLU-WA
     
    “Nelson, Pedersen, and Sawant Dissent Ahead of Final Vote on Seattle Budget” by Doug Trumm from The Urbanist
     
    “Public Safety Politics and the Even Election Reckoning” by Doug Trumm from The Urbanist
     
    Transcript
    [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher - 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 are 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 cohost: Executive Director of The Urbanist, Doug Trumm. Welcome!
    [00:00:52] Doug Trumm: Hey, thanks for having me. It's such a busy news week - it's really going to be a slog to get through it all.
    [00:00:57] Crystal Fincher: Yeah we will make an attempt. I guess, starting off with some statewide news that isn't ultimately the news that everyone is waiting for, but kind of a pit stop along the way - the Washington Supreme Court clears the way for the state to start

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales Breaks Down the Comprehensive Plan

    Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales Breaks Down the Comprehensive Plan

    On this midweek show, Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales stops by to discuss Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan with Crystal and how this roadmap, which determines the manner in which the City accommodates growth, plays a critical role in issues that affect our day-to-day lives. Councilmember Morales fills us in on how the Comp Plan and its impending update is an opportunity for us to create a vision for what our communities look like, whether it be addressing historic inequities, tackling climate change, or realizing sustainable, healthy, connected neighborhoods across the City. The show wraps up with details on how to get involved with the Comprehensive Plan update and guide what Seattle looks and feels like in the future.
    As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
    Follow us on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find Councilmember Morales at @CMTammyMorales.
     
    Councilmember Tammy Morales
    Councilmember Tammy J. Morales was elected to the Seattle City Council in 2019.
    As an experienced community organizer and advocate, Morales worked for the Rainier Beach Action Coalition and served as a Seattle Human Rights Commissioner.
    Morales is trained as a community and regional planner, and has spent her career working with frontline communities on local issues including food security, displacement in low-income neighborhoods and community-centered development.
    Morales previously served as a Legislative Director for a state representative in Texas, as a city budget analyst in New York, and ran a successful consulting firm on food access research and programming, with clients such as the City of Seattle and King County.
    Morales has been a Seattle resident for nearly 20 years. She is a mom with three kids - two in the Seattle Public School system and one a proud Viking at Portland State.
     
    Resources
    “Seattle Reveals Rezoning Concepts and Invites Scoping Comments for Big 2024 Update” by Doug Trumm from The Urbanist
     
    Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan | Office of Planning & Community Development
     
    One Seattle Plan | Office of Planning & Community Development
     
    Seattle Within Reach - Presented by Councilmember Tammy Morales - A town hall series about how we build a Seattle in which everyone has the ability to live, work and play - within reach
     
    One Seattle Plan Community Meeting Series - In-person community meetings throughout Seattle
     
    Transcript
    [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes.
    Today, I am so thrilled to be welcoming back to the program, Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales. Welcome back.
    [00:00:47] Councilmember Tammy Morales: Hi, Crystal. I'm so happy to be here.
    [00:00:49] Crystal Fincher: So happy to have you here again, thankful for all of the hard work you've been doing, and how you've been pushing throughout the budget process in Seattle - very helpful, and I think especially those connected to community and community organizations - have been appreciating how you've been listening and trying to move in concert with community. And hopefully things turn out well on the backend. But today we're actually going to talk about the Seattle Comprehensive Plan, which is a whole undertaking. So I guess starting out, what is the Comprehensive Plan? What is this thing and why do we do it?
    [00:01:36] Councilmember Tammy Morales: Sure. So the plan is really a guide for us about how, as a city, we plan to acc

    • 31 min
    Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable Part 2

    Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable Part 2

    On this Friday show, we present Part 2 of the Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable which was live-streamed on November 15, 2022 with special guests political consultants Dujie Tahat and Kelsey Hamlin. In Part 2, the panel breaks down election results for State Legislature seats in the battleground districts of the 26th, 30th, 44th, and 47th LDs, where Democrats prevailed despite fears of backlash from passage of police accountability bills in 2021. They then dive into how the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s race embodied many of the election cycle’s themes - how fearmongering and punitive approaches to public safety lost to positive messaging about addressing root causes, and how the media and editorial boards attempted to drive narratives out of touch with the nuanced conversation voters are ready to have. Finally, the roundtable wraps up with a look at how established organizations and their history of relational organizing won successful initiatives to bring ranked choice voting to Seattle and a higher minimum wage to Tukwila.
    As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
    You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-hosts, Dujie Tahat at @DujieTahat and Kelsey Hamlin at @ItsKelseyHamlin. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.
     
    Resources
    Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable Livestream | November 15th, 2022
     
    Transcript
    [00:00:00] Bryce Cannatelli: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I’m Bryce Cannatelli – I’m the Post Coordinator for the show. You’re listening to Part 2 of our 2022 Post-Election Roundtable, with guests Dujie Tahat and Kelsey Hamlin, that was originally aired live on Tuesday, November 15th. Part 1 was our last episode – you can find it in your podcast feed or on our website officialhacksandwonks.com. You can also go to the site for full video from the event and a full text transcript of the show. Thanks for tuning in!
    [00:00:43] Crystal Fincher: Okay, okay, okay. Did you do work in any legislative races? I know you did a lot of work, but I don't know if you did any legislative work.
    [00:00:52] Dujie Tahat: We didn't do legislative work this year.
    [00:00:53] Crystal Fincher: Okay.
    [00:00:54] Dujie Tahat: Yeah. We weren't even planning on doing really a bunch of any electoral work and then, you know, suddenly we got a phone call. Yeah, exactly - it was like August and then we got six phone calls and I was like, oh, yeah, all right - sure.
    [00:01:10] Crystal Fincher: Nice. In these races, there were some interesting ones. One, legislatively, the 10th Legislative District, which is still too close to call - the lead flipped yesterday, it flipped again today. That one of the legislative districts there got a little dramatic in one of those races. Dave Paul actually looks safe in that race - I think it's safe to say that he is going to win. But whether Democrat Clyde Shavers or Republican Greg Gilday carries the day is still to be determined.
    Another huge district, battleground district, and one that people were not at all clear on how that was going to end up was the 26th Legislative District - out in Pierce and Kitsap County, with Emily Randall in a race defending her Senate seat against Jesse Young, who was a Representative. And it looks like Emily Randall has won that race. I would definitely put Emily in the category of people who are in community, connect with community, and leading boldly - not afraid to say where she stands, not afraid to make the case, and take the case to people in her district - and talk with people who agree with her, talk with people who may not agree with her. But I think what we saw there, and what she found, was that she was able to find places of agreement. And people understanding that she's operating in good faith, and even if they don't agree with everything that they heard from her

    • 47 min
    Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable Part 1

    Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable Part 1

    On this midweek show, we present Part 1 of the Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable which was live-streamed on November 15, 2022 with special guests political consultants Dujie Tahat and Kelsey Hamlin. In Part 1, the panel breaks down general election results with discussion of why the feared Republican red wave did not materialize and what lessons Democrats should learn and act upon to maintain and increase the structural advantages they now hold across Washington state. The example of Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez’s surprise win in the 3rd Congressional District can be a roadmap for Democrats looking to expand into other areas, and the increase of Democratic majorities in the State Legislature point to the importance of institutional support for candidates outside the conventionally-accepted norms who aren’t afraid of being bold. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the roundtable releasing this Friday for more election analysis!
    As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
    You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-hosts, Dujie Tahat at @DujieTahat and Kelsey Hamlin at @ItsKelseyHamlin. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.
     
    Resources
    Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable Livestream | November 15th, 2022
     
    Transcript
     
    [00:00:00] Bryce Cannatelli: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I’m Bryce Cannatelli – I’m the Post Coordinator for the show. You’re listening to Part 1 of our 2022 Post-Election Roundtable that was originally aired live on Tuesday, November 15th. Audio for Part 2 will be running this Friday, so make sure you stay tuned. Full video from the event and a full text transcript of the show can be found on our website officialhacksandwonks.com. Thank you for tuning in!
    [00:00:38] Crystal Fincher: Good evening and welcome to the Hacks & Wonks Election Roundtable - Post-Election Roundtable. I'm Crystal Fincher - I'm a political consultant and the host of the Hacks & Wonks podcast. And today I'm thrilled to be joined by two of my favorite hacks and wonks to break down what happened in this 2022 general election.
    We're excited to be able to livestream this roundtable on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Additionally, we're recording this roundtable for broadcast on KODX and KVRU radio, podcast, and it will also be available with a full text transcript on officialhacksandwonks.com.
    Our esteemed panelists for this evening are Dujie Tahat. Dujie is CEO and Managing Director of DTC. He's a political and cultural strategist with deep expertise across emerging and established nonprofit advocacy organizations, legislative and electoral campaigns, and Fortune 500 companies. They've developed countless strategic messaging and narrative guides that center Black, Indigenous, and people of color, immigrants, queer folks, elderly Washingtonians, and those experiencing homelessness across a range of issues from environmental justice to housing and labor rights. Informed by their background organizing in the Yakima Valley then among artists and social justice advocates in and around Seattle, Dujie has built a career ensuring people at the margins are pulled to the forefront of political power building, organizational priorities, and communication strategies. Welcome, Dujie.
    [00:02:17] Dujie Tahat: Thanks, Crystal - that sounds very impressive.
    [00:02:19] Crystal Fincher: It does sound very impressive, doesn't it?
    Kelsey Hamlin is a Principal Consultant at DTC. She's a communicator, organizer, and researcher who worked for four years as a journalist across the Puget Sound before switching over to nonprofit and campaign work. Much of her skillset centers writing, strategic messaging, design, and politics. She's both covered the Legislature and worked to advance policies through it, coordinating with legislators and lobbyists, gathering data and research, and

    • 40 min
    Week in Review: November 18, 2022 - with Nicole Thomas-Kennedy

    Week in Review: November 18, 2022 - with Nicole Thomas-Kennedy

    On this week’s Hacks & Wonks, Crystal is joined by friend of the show, defense attorney, abolitionist and activist, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy! They start catching up with the Seattle City Budget. The City Council revealed their proposed budget earlier this week, and in general it proposes putting back funding for programs that were originally given fewer resources under Mayor Harrell’s proposal - most notably restoring the raises for frontline homeless service workers, which were cut in Harrell’s budget. The Council’s proposal also uses JumpStart funds as originally intended, cuts ghost cop positions, and eliminates funding for the controversial ShotSpotter program.
    After the horrific incident last week that involved a shooting at Seattle’s Ingraham High School, students staged a walkout and protest on Monday to ask city leaders for resources to help prevent gun violence. The students are asking for anti-racism and de-escalation training for school security, assault weapon bans, and more school counselors and mental health resources. What they have made clear they don’t want is more cops in schools, but despite that Mayor Harrell and some of his advisory boards are advocating for an increased police presence in schools.
    Housing updates this week start with positive news: Mayor Harrell is asking for affordable housing to be exempt from the much maligned design review process. Allowing affordable housing to skip design review will encourage developers to build affordable housing, and will help us battle our housing shortage faster than we could otherwise. In frustrating housing news, KING5 released some upsetting reporting outlining some overt racial housing discrimination against Black families in Seattle, including one story about family who received a significantly higher appraisal when they dressed their home to look like it was owned by a white family. 
    Carolyn Bick from the South Seattle Emerald reported on potential City and State records laws violations by the Office of Police Accountability. The OPA has been manually deleting emails, or allowing them to automatically be deleted, before the two-year mark prescribed by City and State laws. It’s another example of a city office failing to hold itself accountable to basic records standards. 
    The Seattle Department of Transportation seemed to once again be more responsive to concerns about administrative liability than community concerns about pedestrian safety amid rising fatalities. When locals painted an unauthorized crosswalk at the intersection of E Olive Way and Harvard, SDOT workers removed the crosswalk within 24 hours. This is happening while many people and business owners, most notably Councilmember Sara Nelson, have been placing illegal “eco blocks” without removals or consequences. 
    Finally, the Chair of Washington State Democrats is being criticized for threats to withhold resources against Washington House candidates if they showed support for nonpartisan Secretary of State candidate Julie Anderson. This is a high-profile extension of a question that party groups–big and small–are dealing with: how do we handle Democrats’ support of nonpartisan or third party candidates? 
    As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
    Follow us on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-host, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, on Twitter at @NTKallday. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.
     
    Resources
    “City Council’s ‘anti-austerity’ budget package: Aiming JumpStart back where it belongs, preserving parking enforcement’s move out of SPD, nuking ShotSpotter, and giving mayor his ‘Unified Care Team’” by jseattle from Capitol Hill Seattle Blog
     
    “Morales Hopes to Resurrect Social Housing Amendment That Didn’t Make Balancing Package Cut” by Doug Trumm from The Urbanist
     
    Learn more about how to get

    • 1 hr 1 min
    RE-AIR: Washington Supreme Court Justice Helen Whitener

    RE-AIR: Washington Supreme Court Justice Helen Whitener

    Washington Supreme Court Justice Helen Whitener returns to catch up with Crystal about the last two years on the state’s highest court and her bid for re-election this November. The two talk about Justice Whitener’s path to the Supreme Court, how coming from a marginalized background with an intersecting lens impacts her time there, and the impacts COVID has had on making the courts accessible and navigable by everyone. The Supreme Court’s “June 4th Letter” from 2020 sparks conversation about addressing systemic injustice and Justice Whitener shares two recent decisions she wrote about shackling and restrictive covenants. The show wraps up with discussion of the future of the court system and what to weigh when choosing Supreme Court justices.
    Note: 
    This episode was recorded before the end of filing week in May. The candidate filing deadline passed without any challenger filing to run against Justice Whitener, so she will appear unopposed on the November ballot and serve another term on our state’s highest court.
    As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
    Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii.
     
    Resources
    Campaign Website - Justice G. Helen Whitener: https://www.keepjusticewhitener.com/
     
    Previous appearance on Hacks & Wonks (Sept 15, 2020) - Justice Whitener: The Law, Representation, and Becoming a Supreme Court Justice:https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/crystal/HW20200911JusticeWhitener_mixdown.mp3
     
    Washington Supreme Court - “June 4th Letter”:https://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20News/Judiciary%20Legal%20Community%20SIGNED%20060420.pdf
     
    “Washington Supreme Court Announces Prohibition Against Blanket Shackling Policies at Pretrial Proceedings” by Anthony Accurso from Criminal Legal News: https://www.criminallegalnews.org/news/2020/nov/15/washington-supreme-court-announces-prohibition-against-blanket-shackling-policies-pretrial-proceedings/
     
    Washington Supreme Court - State v. Jackson - Slip Opinion: https://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/976813.pdf
     
    Washington Supreme Court - In re That Portion of Lots 1 & 2 - Slip Opinion: https://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/995982.pdf
     
    “Washington Supreme Court reverses its 1960 ruling that allowed Seattle cemetery to discriminate against a Black family” by David Gutman fromThe Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/washington-supreme-court-reverses-its-1960-ruling-that-allowed-seattle-cemetery-to-discriminate-against-a-black-family/
     
    Justia - Price v. Evergreen Cemetery Co. of Seattle: https://law.justia.com/cases/washington/supreme-court/1960/34854-1.html
     
    Transcript
    [00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington state through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes.
    Today, I am absolutely thrilled to welcome back to the program Justice Helen Whitener, Justice on our Washington Supreme Court. Thank you so much for joining us again.
    [00:00:50] Justice G. Helen Whitener: Thank you and nice to see you and be with you again, Crystal.
    [00:00:54] Crystal Fincher: Excellent to see you and be with you again. Well, this time two years ago, around this time, we had a conversation - you were running your campaign to win your first election after being appointed as a Supreme Court Justice. And it's been so phenomenal for so many people who have watched you throughout your illustrious career and followed you - just to give people a bit of a background, and we talked about this on

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

KEPicturewoman ,

September 24, 2022

Discovered Hacks & Wonks in August and have listened since. Excellent information and background on King County and state issues. Thanks.

asutliff ,

Appreciate the thoughtful insights

Appreciate Crystal and the guests’ insight into Seattle, South King County, and Washington state politics. I have known Crystal for almost a decade and somehow just discovered the podcast this summer of 2022.

JazzSmit ,

Incredible podcast

I learn so much and love staying informed by people in our community

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