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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 about it.
 
“Wonks” - The people who work behind the scenes of the campaigns- gather with reporters and other insiders for a good-natured (and usually humorous) look at candidates, campaigns and each other. WONKS! is recorded in front of a live audience and with journalists thrown into the mix it’s always filled with laughs and unexpected insight.
 
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show series
 
Show Notes 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 pessimisticmessaging in candidates' primary election closing arguments; The candidate who spelled their name wrong on a mailer, and the biggest consulting mistakes Heathe…
 
Episode Notes Our good friend Alissa Vierra is back this week to introduce herself and talk about all the organizing she does and why she does it. Tune in as we get into: Why Alissa is going to law school The impact of direct action What are some red flags for organizations, social media, or real life people? A call-in from a special guest &MORE Mo…
 
Today Crystal is joined by Amy Sundberg, author of Notes from the Emerald City, and Dr. Shannon Cheng, Chair of People Power Washington to talk about public safety policy in Seattle and King County. Amy gets into the serious issues present in Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA), failing so spectacularly that the Office of the Inspector …
 
Today on the show, Marco Lowe, Professor at Seattle University’s Institute for Public Service, joins Crystal to discuss recent polls that have come out about Seattle’s mayoral, city council, and city attorney races, the importance of understanding poll methodology and margin of error, and the historic and tragic impact of Seattle’s recent heatwave …
 
Today on the show Crystal is joined by Vivian Hua, Executive Director of the Northwest Film Forum. They discuss Vivian’s path to leadership in the film forum, Vivian’s remarkable film Searching Skies which explores the Syrian refugee experience during a holiday dinner in America, supporting emerging artists through the pandemic, and the need to hav…
 
Primary ballots are in mailboxes now! Today friend of the show, former mayor of Seattle, and Executive Director of America Walks Mike McGinn joins Crystal on the show to discuss the front runners in the mayor’s race, how candidates need to be making the case to the public in these remaining weeks before the primary, and the psychology and emotion t…
 
This week Pierce County Council Chair Derek Young joins Crystal on the show to discuss what’s up in Pierce County. They discuss the vast differences in funding available for transit and other public projects in King and Pierce counties, how Pierce County and Tacoma are absorbing the population overflow of those who can’t find affordable homes in Ki…
 
This week - with primary ballots starting to arrive in mailboxes next week! - Erica C. Barnett of PubliCola joins Crystal to discuss what’s going on in Seattle’s mayoral race. They discuss the unpredictability of a crowded primary, how funding caps get raised, and why primaries are really the time to vote your conscience. Additionally, they cover t…
 
Episode Notes The OG Three are back together and ready to dish out the takes, hot and fresh. This week we're diving into the mess that is the Marches for Medicare for all, Rachel's departure and return to Twitter, and more. Check it out. FreeRachel and running a Twitter campaign Joe Biden's social media game Are the marches.... still good? How coul…
 
Today on the show Crystal is joined by Toshiko Hasegawa, candidate for Port of Seattle Commissioner, to discuss how the Port of Seattle can modernize and prepare our region for a greener future. They cover the misconception that economics and equity are at odds, the importance of the Port of Seattle in improving air quality and health of South King…
 
Crystal shares that the Friday, almost-live Week in Review show will be back next week, as we take time off to enjoy the long weekend, and we are airing a show with Melissa Santos talking about her excellent reporting on Washington's Brady List. Crystal also is very thankful for the support and amplification by Hacks & Wonks listeners online, and w…
 
Episode Notes Today we talked with Lindsi Bollinger, an activist in Atlanta and one of Brandyn's good friends. She's here ready to talk all about what motivates her politically, and we only hope we have ears big enough to listen. Check it out as we get into: How do our political priorities change? What are the realities of class in America? The ris…
 
Today candidate for City Attorney Nicole Thomas-Kennedy joins Crystal to discuss why she has chosen to throw her hat in to the ring against one of our city’s longest serving elected officials, what it truly means to be an abolitionist now, how solving poverty and homelessness will do more to alleviate crime than harsher punishments, and how Nicole’…
 
Today Crystal and local political consultant Heather Weiner discuss the record-breaking heatwave we’re going to experience this weekend, how we can support our unhoused neighbors through these dangerous heat conditions, Uber paying a historic wage theft settlement, Amazon being taken on by the Teamsters union, developments in the mayoral race, AND …
 
Episode Notes What would it mean for Atlanta to be abolitionist? This week, we're talking with Nolan and Channa, two members of Atlanta DSA's Defund APD, Refund Communities campaign, or DARC. We get into the details of abolition, the church, how important coalition building has been, and more. The origins of the DARC movie NotOurBudget. And whose b…
 
This week Crystal talks with King County Executive Dow Constantine about his decision to run for a fourth term as County Executive. They discuss the path to Covid-19 recovery, persisting inequality in King County, the comparatively low rate of vaccination in BIPoC communities in South King County, the role of government in bailing out large private…
 
Today Erica C. Barnett of Publicola joins Crystal as they analyze this week’s news, including: more mayoral candidates than ever supporting limitations of single family housing zoning and providing free transit services, ACLU of WA and the House Our Neighbors Coalition coming out in opposition to Charter Amendment 29 and the misleading rhetoric fro…
 
Episode Notes Shannon Smith is an artist and activist in Atlanta. After 25 years in prison, she's here with Brandyn to tell her story. We talk about transitioning back into society, prison outside of prison, and much more, including: What Black people don't know about prison Management, autonomy, and workplace rights Juneteenth Being the means to o…
 
Today on the show Crystal is joined again by Senator Joe Nguyen, this time to talk about his decision to run for King County Executive. They discuss why he chose to take on one of the longest serving public officials in the area, combating climate change through a lense of equality and equity, why Senator Nguyen believes the people of King County a…
 
Today former Seattle mayor and Executive Director of America Walks Mike McGinn joins Crystal to dissect the most recent finance numbers in the mayor’s race and break down what they mean, and discuss how Seattle mayoral candidates are seeking to position themselves in this year’s race. Then tea is spilled about how Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes …
 
Episode Notes The animators at Floyd County Productions, the animation studio in Atlanta that produces Archer, have started a union. Rachel chops it up with Alex, an animator, about the union and how them and their coworkers are building collective power. We get into: The realities of the animation industry Legal union-busting tactics What do you d…
 
Today Crystal is joined by candidate for Seattle mayor, Jessyn Farrell. They discuss why she supports the Compassion Seattle charter amendment and how she would uniquely respond to Seattle’s affordable housing crisis, how she would go about hiring a new police chief and negotiating the new SPOG contract, the importance of transit in our region, and…
 
Activist and entrepreneur Evan Nison speaks with hosts Jordan Wellington and Andrew Livingston about how their home state of New Jersey as well as New York as legalizing marijuana, as well as some of the work he’s done and is doing through his PR company NisonCo. Produced by Shea Gunther.Weed Wonks
 
On today’s Week in Review, Crystal is joined by Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner. They discuss congressional races across Washington State, how the GOP’s shift to Trumpism may impact Republican incumbents, how redistricting might change the calculus of political races, and the González and Farrell campaigns touting internal polling in t…
 
Episode Notes Content Warning: This episode contains extremely brief mentions of suicide. The word is mentioned and discussed as it appears in the context of the America First Caucus' platform. For the first time ever, we get our good friend Alissa Vierra and our producer, Amy into the studio. Join them and Brandyn as they get down to talk about: R…
 
Today on the show Seattle mayoral candidate Colleen Echohawk joins Crystal to talk about her plans to tackle the homelessness crisis within 14 months, how she will reform public safety, and why indigenous perspectives and leadership are so important in our country. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhack…
 
This week Crystal is joined by Marco Lowe, a professor at Seattle University’s Institute of Public Service. They discuss the outrageous length of endorsement meetings which prevents more folks from being able to attend and voice their opinions, the historic amount of money being raised on both sides of the Kshama Sawant recall effort, and what appe…
 
Episode Notes Rural voices are some of the most frequently disregarded in American politics. Today we talked to Chelsea from Down Home North Carolina, an organization that aims to amplify the real voices and concerns of those in NC. We get into: Is there any truth in stereotypes? Redirecting misplaced anger effectively What progressives in local po…
 
This week Crystal talks with Amy Sundberg, author of the newsletter Notes from the Emerald City. They get into the intricacies of local governments, developments on the city’s participatory budgeting process, roadblocks placed in front of the Black Brilliance Project, and why the public must be attentive and involved if we want to see change. As al…
 
This week on the show political consultant Heather Weiner joins Crystal to talk about former Attorney General Rob McKenna suing to stop Washington’s new capital gains tax, elections heating up as we reach the final deadline for filing to run for office, and the release of letters condemning Mayor Durkan’s intentional disregard and degradation of Bl…
 
Episode Notes Third parties in America are notoriously difficult to start and maintain, and rarely find success. But what about in the UK? Kennedy and April are in the studio with John Urquhart, the founder and general secretary of Harmony Party UK. We get into: What do we get when we trust each other? How a book can radicalize you How to achieve q…
 
Today Crystal is joined by Nikkita Oliver: Seattle activist, community organizer, lawyer, educator, and now candidate for Seattle City Council, Position 9. They get in to the transformative change needed to our systems of public health, public safety, and housing, how mutual aid is being incorporated into Nikkita’s campaign, and the virtues and cha…
 
Michelle Walker, patient advocate and director at Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, speaks with host Jordan Wellington about her journey as a cannabis activist and the work she’s done to change medical cannabis policy for the better in Colorado, Texas, and on the national level. Produced by Shea Gunther.…
 
This week Erica C. Barnett joins Crystal to review further revelations in the mishandling of public records requests by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office and the psychology of offering vaccination incentives. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com. Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitte…
 
Episode Notes In this timeless episode, Brandyn brings Sorcha back to the studio for another deep chat. They get into: The GTA online economy is in a crisis Gun violence is raging. What can we do? Why do we feel the need to own a gun? Our "hope" in Joe Biden & Afghanistan Connect with us: https://www.patreon.com/notsafe https://twitter.com/nsfwonks…
 
On this mid-week show, Crystal interviews Sara Nelson, candidate for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Sara gives revealing answers to questions about some of the pressing issues facing Seattle. 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 …
 
This week Marcus Harrison Green, publisher of the South Seattle Emerald and columnist for the Seattle Times, joins Crystal to discuss the whistleblower revelation that Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office intentionally mishandled public records requests, Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller’s announcement that he’s running for mayor and trying to position h…
 
Episode Notes We pulled this one out of the vault for y’all. Brandyn and Kennedy sat down in January to discuss: The meme stock market What’s Trump gonna do now? (lol) Biden and the aftermath of January 6th & MORE Connect with us: https://www.patreon.com/notsafe https://twitter.com/nsfwonks https://notsafemedia.com/…
 
This week Crystal is joined by Seattle Times education reporter, Dahlia Bazzaz. The 2020-2021 school year has been defined by how schools respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Crystal and Dahlia discuss how schools are managing reopening, racial disparities in opting for in-person schooling, a significant increase recently passed in the legislature…
 
Today Crystal is joined by friend of the show Mike McGinn. They dissect Joe Nguyen’s challenging of Dow Constantine for King County Executive, the massive transportation package that squeaked by the legislature at the last minute, its anachronistic focus on building new highways, and how trying to please every interest group means the public’s inte…
 
On today’s show Crystal is joined by Port of Seattle Commissioner candidate Hamdi Mohamed. Hamdi gets into her path to running for Port Commissioner, prioritizing worker’s rights issues at the Port, and the importance of the Port of Seattle in creating a just economy in our region. Additionally, she underscores the importance of reducing the air an…
 
Episode Notes We always love when Brandyn brings Sorcha in the studio, and she’s finally back for another hilarious 1-on-1. This short episode is PACKED with great bits, including: The apocalypse is coming - are we prepared? Rush Limbaugh is dead! Ted Cruz exists and that super sucks What’s going on with Lori Lightfoot? Connect with us: https://www…
 
Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director of Resident States and New Mexico at the Drug Policy Alliance, joins host Jordan Wellington to talk about the growth and ongoing advancement of marijuana legalization in the state of New Mexico. Produced by Shea Gunther.Weed Wonks
 
This week Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins joins Crystal to discuss not only what a port commissioner actually does, but how it can impact the lives of our entire state. Topics include what the Port is doing to fight climate change, how it can protect the rights of gig workers operating within the Port’s area, and how an entity like the Po…
 
Today, Crystal is joined by Seattle University’s Institute for Public Service professor Marco Lowe to discuss the state of the transportation and climate bills that are still in play in the final days of this legislative session. They talk about cap-and-trade, how climate and transportation policy questions are vital to considerations of equity in …
 
Episode Notes Allen Max Axelrod has helped get four utility shutoff moratoriums with the NoAmarenShutoffs campaign. We hang out and talk about: Working in the the bowels of the Champaign-Urbana democratic party Being forced to take on his own union What's it mean to hold the line on a broad statewide coalition? How can you do something similar in y…
 
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D) joins hosts Jordan Wellington and Andrew Livingston to talk about the ongoing push to reform federal cannabis policy, this week’s vote on the SAFE Banking Act, and the legacy of friend and marijuana activist Steve Fox, who passed away last week at the age of 53. Produced by Shea Gunther.…
 
Show Notes On this week in review, Heather Weiner joins Crystal to analyze progressive revenue being passed in the state legislature, developments in fundraising in the Seattle mayoral race, and more on the “compassionate” charter amendment seeking to make encampment sweeps in Seattle more prevalent. As always, a full text transcript of the show is…
 
Today Crystal is joined by the legend that is Monisha Harrell to talk about public safety and policing bills in the state legislature, Bruce Harrell’s run for office, and mainstream Seattle politics finally realizing that there is more than one Black leader in Seattle. As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at official…
 
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